George Washington (left) won the first race for the presidency in 1789 without opposition, gaining the office with sixty-nine electoral votes; he did not claim a political party affiliation during that contest. The only other election in American history in which no candidate had party ties was in 1824. This election would eventually be decided by the House of Representatives and would result in John Quincy Adams’s sole term in office.
More presidents were born in October (six) than any other month.
More presidents were born in Virginia (eight) than any other state.
The Oval Office has only been around for a century. Designed for William Howard Taft, it brings the presidency closer to the operations of the executive offices in the west wing. President Reagan spoke to the nation about the space shuttle Challenger tragedy from the Oval Office, and President Bush addressed America the night of September 11, 2001, from there also.
According to the White House Web site, it takes 570 gallons of paint to cover the exterior of the presidential residence. Also, the White House residence has thirty-five bathrooms.
Fourteen vice presidents have become president.
All three presidents buried in Tennessee (Jackson, Polk, Andrew Johnson) were from the Carolinas.
Richard Nixon (right) was born farther west (Yorba Linda, California) than any other president.
The strongest independent candidacy of modern times was that of H. Ross Perot in 1992. Perot received no electoral votes, but harvested more than 19,700,000 popular votes, more than half of then–President Bush’s popular vote that election; the 1992 winner, Bill Clinton, received almost 45,000,000 votes, far from a popular majority. Perot gathered almost 19 percent of the popular vote in that election. The closest non–major party candidate to that election day performance was also H. Ross Perot (he ran as the Reform Party candidate his second time out), who took more than 8,000,000 votes, or about 8.5 percent of the popular vote, in 1996.
Two dutiful early cabinet members: Joseph Habersham of Georgia served as postmaster general for George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts held three separate offices in George Washington’s cabinet—postmaster general, secretary of war, secretary of state—and then went on to serve as the first secretary of state under John Adams.
Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents by Cormac O’Brien
Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts by Isaac Asimov
American Presidents by David C. Whitney
Portraits of the Presidents by Frederick Voss
George Washington (Lansdowne portrait)/Gilbert Stuart, 1796/Oil on canvas/National Portrait Gallery; acquired as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
Richard Nixon/Norman Percevel Rockwell, 1968/Oil on canvas/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; donated to the people of the United States of America by the Richard Nixon Foundation/© The Norman Rockwell Estate Licensing Co.