The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden and From the Great State of Minnesota

“The American Presidency”
Fun Facts

How much do you know about the men who served as President, or those who ran for President but never won? Some were born into poverty, some were war heroes and others focused heavily on their family. Discover interesting facts about our presidential candidates - many who won, and several Minnesotans who did not - and recent leaders.

  • Iran finally released 52 Americans held hostage the same day he left office. (Jimmy Carter)
  • He was the only President who never married. (James Buchanan)
  • While in high school, he was a delegate to Boys Nation, and met President John Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The meeting inspired him to enter public service. (Bill Clinton)
  • While attending a one-room school in the Finger Lakes of New York, he fell in love with a redheaded teacher who later became his wife. (Millard Fillmore)
  • This Minnesotan ran for U.S. president 10 times, from 1944 through 1992. He never won the election. (Harold Stassen)
  • This President appointed Minnesotan Harold Stassen to his Cabinet and the National Security Council in 1953. (Dwight Eisenhower)
  • He was the only President to serve a four-year term then return for a second term four years later. (Grover Cleveland)
  • He was once the youngest pilot in the Navy and flew 58 combat missions during World War II. (George Herbert Walker Bush)
  • He was President when American astronauts made the first moon landing. (Richard Nixon)
  • He was the youngest man elected President. (John F. Kennedy)
  • He was the first President to die in office when, after he had been in office less than a month, he caught a cold that developed into pneumonia. (William Henry Harrison)
  • This Minnesota sought either the presidency or the vice-presidency six times, starting with the vice-presidential race in 1952 and trying for one last time in 1976. (Hubert Humphrey)
  • This Minnesotan made an impassioned plea for civil rights at the 1948 Democratic National Convention, gaining national acclaim and provoking a walkout by southern Democrats. He was not elected President. (Hubert Humphrey)
  • In one of the closest elections in American history, this Minnesotan conceded the presidency to Richard Nixon by 1% of the popular vote. (Hubert Humphrey)
  • He was a force in World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the troops invading France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (Dwight Eisenhower)
  • His wife - following her husband's instructions - banished liquor from the White House. (Rutherford B. Hayes)
  • Before he became President, he was engaged in a duel that killed another man. The man was said to have slurred the future President's wife, Rachel. (Andrew Jackson)
  • This President said, "From President Johnson to President Nixon to President Ford to myself, I think that we all know that Hubert Humphrey did more for our country than any one of us." (Jimmy Carter)
  • He received the oath of office from his father - a notary public - who he was visiting in Vermont when, at 2:30 a.m. on August 3, 1923, he found out he had been elected President. (Calvin Coolidge)
  • He succeeded the first President ever to resign. (Gerald Ford)
  • This Minnesotan Presidential candidate declined to hire a professional campaign manager and never once spoke from a prepared text during his nine-month presidential campaign in 1968. (Eugene McCarthy)
  • Many observers credit this Minnesotan with giving Jimmy Carter the margin he needed in one of the closest presidential elections in history in 1976. (Walter Mondale)
  • As the Democratic presidential candidate in 1984, this Minnesotan became the first major-party candidate to choose a woman, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York, as a running mate. (Walter Mondale)
  • While he was President, the British entered Washington and set fire to the White House and the Capitol. (James Madison)
  • He often repeated one of his favorite adages, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." (Theodore Roosevelt)

Most information gathered from "The Presidents of the United States of America," by Frank Freidel and Hugh S. Sidey (contributing author), published by the White House Historical Association with the cooperation of the National Geographic Society