Interesting Facts You Never Knew About Each President of the United States

You'll never guess which POTUS liked skinny-dipping in the Potomac River.

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From assassination attempts to sitcom cameos, the life of an American president is never boring. Many of them had unique ways of unwinding, like golfing on the White House lawn, playing musical instruments, or enjoying a strong drink. Read on to find out more interesting, unusual facts about each president.

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George Washington didn't have wooden teeth.

Contrary to , the first president did not in fact wear wooden teeth. Instead, his dentures were made of human and cow teeth, ivory, and metal. However, the president was fond of very dark wines, which may have stained his dentures, giving them the appearance of being wooden.

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John Adams died on a particularly notable day.

on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Coincidentally, Thomas Jefferson, his former vice president who later became his bitter political rival, died on the same day. were reportedly "Thomas Jefferson survives," but Jefferson had actually passed away a few hours earlier.

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Thomas Jefferson's presidency wasn't his proudest accomplishment.

Jefferson accomplished quite a lot in his lifetime. When it came time to plan his , he requested that three things be put on it — and his presidency didn't even make the cut! Instead, he wanted to be remembered as: "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia."

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James Madison was the smallest president.

The fourth president of the United States was . He was only 5'4" and weighed about 100 pounds. And it probably didn't help that , having been described by various physicians as "fragile" for most of his life.

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James Monroe created the "Era of Good Feelings."

Long before the Summer of Love, there was the Era of Good Feelings.  had one of the most peaceful presidencies, as he tried to create a more unified country in the wake of the War of 1812. And it apparently worked — the time period during his presidency became known as the "" and he was re-elected without opposition in 1820.

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John Quincy Adams had a strange routine.

We can imagine there would be quite the controversy if any of our modern presidents went skinny-dipping in the Potomac River. But that's exactly what as part of his daily routine. According to his journal, he regularly took a long walk and a dip in the river early in the morning before returning home for breakfast.

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Andrew Jackson hated paper money.

We're used to seeing his face on the $20 bill, but ironically, . He only trusted silver and gold, and he even shut down Second Bank of the United States partially because of its ability to manipulate paper money.

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Martin Van Buren was the first American-born president.

Van Buren was the , to parents who had immigrated from the Netherlands to Kinderhook, New York. He was born in 1782, six years after the colonists had declared their independence from Britain.

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William Henry Harrison had the shortest presidency in history.

, lasting only one month. He famously did not wear a coat to his inauguration, where he gave a lengthy 90-minute speech. This likely caused him to fall ill with pneumonia, though it was later theorized that he may have also been suffering from deadly .

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John Tyler was very, very unpopular.

To say John Tyler was not particularly well-liked is an understatement. When he died in 1862, his obituary in the called him "the most unpopular public man that had ever held any office in the United States." Yikes. It probably didn't help that he was considered when he died, having recently been elected to the Congress of the Confederacy.

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James K. Polk wasn't what you'd call the life of the party.

Polk's devout Presbyterian wife, Sarah, in the White House during her time as first lady, making for a very dull celebration

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Zachary Taylor was nominated without knowing it.

In 1848, Taylor had no idea the the Wig Party chose him as their nomination for president. Apparently, , and when he refused to pay for it, he ended up going weeks without knowing the good news. 

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Millard Fillmore was a major bibliophile.

Fillmore and his wife, Abigail, were definitely book-lovers. They , and Fillmore personally helped fight a fire that destroyed parts of the Library of Congress in 1851. He later signed a bill to fund the replacement of all the books that had been destroyed.

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Franklin Pierce was a heavy drinker.

Though presidents before him had been known to have a drink now and again, Pierce was one of the . As he was leaving office, he reportedly said to a friend "There is nothing left to do but get drunk."

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Jamies Buchanan was a lifelong bachelor.

Buchanan is the only president to , though he was engaged to a woman at one point. There was much speculation about his personal life, including that he was in a secret relationship with Alabama Senator William Rufus King.

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Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service only a few hours before his death.

The story of Abraham Lincoln's assassination is widely known. But few people are aware that several hours before his death, Lincoln , which is now responsible for protecting the president's life. However, it probably wouldn't have helped Lincoln: the original purpose wasn't to protect the president, but rather to investigate counterfeit money.

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Andrew Johnson escaped indentured servitude as a child.

Though many presidents came from elite, well-educated backgrounds, did not. His mother sent him to work as an indentured servant when he was a child, though he and his brother later escaped. He never had a formal education, but his wife, Eliza, helped him learn to read and write.

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Ulysses S. Grant was not this president's real name.

His birth name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but due to a mistake made on his West Point application, he became Ulysses S. Grant. His middle initial doesn't stand for anything, but , "Find some name beginning with 'S' for me."

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Rutherford B. Hayes started the annual Easter Egg Roll.

Hayes had a presidency full of "firsts," including the first in 1878. He had when a group of children approached him and asked about the possibility of an Easter egg roll on the South Lawn of the White House. Hayes liked the idea, and it continues to be a tradition today.

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James Garfield was a southpaw.

Though his presidency only lasted 81 days, Garfield sticks out in many people's minds for being . Apparently, he was also the first ambidextrous president. 

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Chester Arthur enjoyed a rather luxurious lifestyle.

While it may not seem like a lot for a president today, , which was quite the extravagance for the time period. Other luxuries he enjoyed: a personal valet, a White House decorated by renowned artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, and placed in front of his deceased wife's portrait daily.

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Grover Cleveland served two terms, but they weren't back-to-back.

is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. He won his first election by a very narrow margin, lost the 1888 election to Benjamin Harrison, and then came back in 1892 by winning the popular vote.

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Benjamin Harrison was the first White House occupant with electricity.

and his wife Caroline were the first occupants of the White House to enjoy the wonders of electricity. But as it was a new technology, the couple was afraid of being electrocuted by the light switch and so they regularly left the lights on all day and night.

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William McKinley was very forgiving towards his attempted assassin.

's reaction to being shot is unlike anything you've ever heard. He was shot in the torso by an anarchist in 1901 in a receiving line, and as they took him away, he said "don't let them hurt him," referring to a mob that was forming around the would-be assassin. He later said the shooter was "some poor misguided fellow," and "he didn't know, poor fellow, what he was doing. He couldn't have known."

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Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was one tough guy. Need proof? He was shortly before giving a campaign speech in 1912, but instead of heading straight to the hospital, he stayed there to give his planned speech — with the bullet still lodged in his body.

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William Howard Taft never got stuck in a bathtub.

Popular legend would have you believe that Taft is best known for being the president who got stuck in a White House bathtub, but that's . However, he did have an embarrassing bathtub incident at a hotel in New Jersey. The bath water displaced by his body flooded the floor in his room and trickled onto the heads of guests in the downstairs dining room.

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Woodrow Wilson was the first president to give an address using broadcast radio.

Although Wilson was obviously used to public speaking, he was reportedly very anxious about giving his the , where he honored the anniversary of Armistice Day and outlined a vision for America

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Warren Harding had unique nicknames.

Legend has it that Harding's mother wanted to name him Winfield, but when she didn't get her way, she found a loophole by Some folks also called him "Sonny." 

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Calvin Coolidge was born on Independence Day.

Sometimes a person's birthday seems unusually significant. Case in point: . But you probably wouldn't see him getting too wild and crazy at his birthday party – he was notoriously quiet, earning the nickname "Silent Cal."

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Hoover was the first president born in a Western state.

Previous presidents were all born in the Eastern part of the county, but of the Mississippi. He grew up the very small town of in West Branch, Iowa, and reportedly never even crossed the Mississippi until he was 22 years old.

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