The thought of being President frightens me and I do not think I want the job.

RONALD REAGAN (1911-2004)

American Presidents

The First President

The first American President was Peyton Randolph. He was the first of 14 pre-Washington Presidents of the Continental Congress, or the ‘United States in Congress Assembled’.
The Continental Congress was the debating body formed by the 13 colonies to formulate their complaints to the British Crown. In its second meeting, under Randolph, the Continental Congress resolved that Britain had declared war on them, and in response created the Continental Army and appointed George Washington as its Commander-in-Chief. Randolph's successor, John Hancock  presided over the declaration of independence of the colonies from Great Britain shortly afterwards, where the Congress asserted its own right to govern the colonies.
Peyton was followed by 13 other presidents until on 30 April 1789, the triumphant George Washington was sworn in as the President of the independent USA and the rest, as they say, is history.

Washington’s Teeth

George Washington lost his first tooth at the age of 22 and only had one left by the time he became President. He had several sets of false teeth but despite common wisdom they weren’t made from wood. The set made when he became President were carved from hippopotamus and elephant ivory and were held together with gold springs. The plate was also made from hippo ivory and human with horse and donkey teeth inserted. Washington’s teeth left him in constant discomfort and his agony can be seen in many of the portraits painted while he was in office – including the one still used on the $1 bill.

Herbert Hoover wrote a book entitled Fishing for Fun - and to Wash your Soul.


I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.

Grover Cleveland 

Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) served two non-consecutive terms: from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897 making him both the 22nd and the 24th President.
He was the only Democrat elected to the office in the 50-year period of Republican ascendancy from 1860 to 1912. A liberal, no one seems to have had a bad word to say about him. As his biographer notes: ‘He had no endowments that thousands of men do not have. He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not.’ To attack his clean-cut image, his opponents put it about that he had an illegitimate child; they used the slogan ‘Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?’ When he won the election his supporters added the rejoinder: ‘Gone to the White House. Ha! Ha! Ha!’
Cleveland actually won the popular vote in his contest with John Harrison in 1888, but Republican electoral fraud in Indiana – which he lost by 2,348 votes – cost him the election. Upon leaving the White House his young wife Frances – who at 21 remains the youngest ever First Lady and the only one to have been married in the White House – told her staff: ‘I want you to take good care of all the furniture and ornaments in the house, for I want to find everything just as it is now, when we come back again.’ When asked when that would be, she said: ‘We are coming back four years from today’.
This is exactly what happened. In a campaign universally considered to be the cleanest and quietest since the Civil War, Cleveland beat President Harrison by a landslide in both popular and electoral votes.

Electing the President

Despite putting a cross next to the name of the candidates on the ballot paper, the American people do not directly elect their President and Vice-President. This is done a month after the popular vote by a ‘college’ of 538 state electors, allocated according to the size of the state’s population: California (55) and Texas (34) have most; Vermont (3) and Alaska (3) the fewest. This system dates back to the beginning of the Union and was adopted because George Washington hoped it would reduce the amount of divisive party politics.
It’s not perfect. The ‘electors’ have no power: they are a constitutional formality, pledged to vote for whichever candidate wins the popular vote in their state. Just as in British general elections, where votes don’t always translate into seats, so in America. As long as a candidate wins the 11 biggest states they can be elected President with fewer votes overall. This is how Cleveland lost in 1888 and how George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in 2000. 

Encylopedia Britannica says the 'snowstorm' that killed William Henry Harrison was 'a cold drizzle'.

Woodrow Wilson kept a flock of sheep on the lawn at the White House.

Every US president with a beard has been Republican.


I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down...