Here's a quick (and somewhat random) list of factoids about the presidents of the United States of America that might surprise you!
- James Buchanan—our only bachelor president (though some would include Bill Clinton)—used to love to dance and held dances at the White House. He had particularly small feet and hands, and during his dancing, would proudly display these in gestures to the ladies.
- John Quincy Adams was the only president ever to be kicked out of office ... then return as a U.S. Congressman. Indeed, it might be said that he had more of an impact on the U.S. as a congressman than as president, in that he fought a long and ultimately successful battle to end the “gag rule” that prohibited any discussion of slavery in the House, and he successfully defended the Amistad slaves who had rebelled aboard ship. For the record, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice president, was the only U.S. president ever to lose and election and return as a U.S. Senator.
- Martin Van Buren, who would create the modern-day Democratic Party specifically to prevent the slavery issue from causing a Civil War, was personally opposed to slavery. But technically he owned a slave----as a teenager he received a slave from his father, but the slave had run away.
- John Tyler, who became president when “Old Tippecanoe” William Henry Harrison died after only weeks in office, was the first president to have “Hail to the Chief” played routinely at his functions.
- James Monroe presided over a period in which there was only one political party—the Democratic Republicans. (Some would say we still have that!)
- Grover Cleveland had mouth cancer, and had surgery while in office. His advisers kept it secret, telling the public he was vacationing on a yacht where the surgery took place. Although surgeons had to take out quite a bit of Cleveland’s cheek , he wore a prosthesis so good virtually no one except his closest friends and family knew he’d had surgery.