Office of the President…How many of these facts do you know?

As president Lyndon B Johnson once said,
“a president’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.”
This helps people realize the responsibility brought about by this
office, and the leadership, humility, and intelligence that need to be shown by
the leader of the free world! Here are 10 interesting facts about the highest
office in America that you probably don’t know. But first, can you name the
first american leader in history? It’s probably not who you think it is. Type
your answer in the comments below and then stay tuned till number one to see
if you’re right! Number 10: The Best And Worst. Who is the greatest president of all time? A great leader who led us through war, like
Franklin D Roosevelt? A risk-taker, who helped keep a divided and divisive
country from completely imploding like Abraham Lincoln? Perhaps a founding father that helped create the innovative constitutional
republic we enjoy today, like Thomas Jefferson? When one really thinks about
it…this is a pretty difficult question to answer, especially when one considers
the subjective nature of political opinion and the evolution of societal
progression. It seems like it would almost be impossible to name the
greatest president in American history! However, that is not the case for the
worst president of all time. According to the Sienna College Research Institute’s
Presidential Experts Poll, which gathers the opinions of leading historians and political scientists after every new administration, one name is consistently
at the bottom of the list. That man is James Buchanan – who is listed as the 15th president in your history book, but number 44 in your heart.
President Buchanan is rarely remembered by most Americans, and when he is, it’s
usually not for a very good reason. Beating the sitting president, Franklin
Pierce, for the Democratic nomination in 1856, Buchanan was a longtime politician
who had served five terms in the House of Representatives and was seen by most
as one who could help calm a country that was divided over issues such as
slavery and the deteriorating economy. Things did not get off to a good start,
however, as Buchanan became seriously ill and almost died before he even had
his inauguration! Once in office, things did not get much better, as his views on
slavery did not help to unite the bitterly divided country. Mainly voted in
by southern slave and border states, Buchanan’s position was seen as
unintuitive, and ultimately helped to lead the country into civil war, Add in
the worst economy in decades, a bitterly split Congress, and multiple accusations
of bribery and extortion by his administration, and it became clear that
Buchanan was not the leader many had hoped for. You know it was bad when President
Buchanan, himself, announced that he would not run for re-election after only just one
year in sitting in the high and noble office. Many historians have argued that
if the Buchanan administration had not been so horrendous, it is possible that
Abraham Lincoln would never have rose to the presidency, and ultimately led the
Union to victory in the Civil War. This does raise an interesting question,
though, if some of our greatest presidents have their birthdays
celebrated as national holidays…does that mean we should be forced to work a
double shift on James Buchanan’s birthday? Number 9: That Mountain Is
Looking At Me! Deep in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is the state’s most popular tourist attraction, welcoming almost 3 million
visitors every year. baring the faces of George Washington,
Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, these 60-foot sculptures carved in granite have since become one of the
most iconic images in American history. The mountain, originally known as the six
grandfather’s, was chosen for the monumental undertaking, to increase
tourism in the area. The initial idea for the project was to carve the images of
the Lakota Tribe Chief – Red Cloud, Lewis and Clark, Buffalo Bill Cody, and the
names of the American territories. It took over 400 workers 14 years to
dynamite and sculpt the large granite mountainside, removing 450,000 tons of
rock in the process, and it was completed in 1941. However the mountain was also supposed to include Susan B Anthony, and the words
of the Declaration of Independence before funding was halted and Congress
declared the project complete. Congress had earlier threatened to halt all
funding when the sculptor secretly carved out a secret vault called the
Hall of Records behind the heads. Seriously! Today the Mount Rushmore
National Park has made tourism South Dakota’s second largest industry, and
represents American leadership, innovation, and expansion. And…before
anyone asks…to our knowledge there is no secret treasure underneath the mountain
waiting to be located by Nicholas Cage! Number 8: Pardon Me, Sir… With great power comes great responsibility. Or, in this case, having a
powerful friend can be a great way to stay outta jail! There are many powers granted to the President, outlined under Article 2 of
the Constitution, which includes the ability to grant reprieves and pardons
for offenses against the United States. This power is largely limitless, with few
guidelines or rules, so a person can petition for clemency through the
Justice Department’s Office of Pardons at any time, as long as a federal crime
has already been committed. Of the thousands of federal prisoners and
ex-convicts who apply every year, the president can approve or deny as many as
he wishes, including himself! Although, this is not usually announced until the
end of a president’s time in office in order to minimize any possible political
consequences. This was not the case for Gerald Ford, who granted his predecessor,
Richard Nixon, a full pardon less than a month after becoming! President Ford
who was only vice president for eight months when the Watergate scandal forced
the resignation of Nixon, would lose his campaign for office in 1976 and become
the first person in history to become president without ever winning the
election for the office! Giving former President Nixon a full pardon was seen
by many as Gerald Ford helping his friend, as opposed to doing what was
right for the nation. However, this is not an unknown concept. Throughout the
history of the presidency, being a close friend of the leader of the free world
has helped hundreds of people receive clemency. The most famous example of this quid pro quo relationship was convicted murderer George Wilson, who was one of
two men sentenced to death in 1829 following a deadly train robbery. After
his accomplice was hanged in 1830, Wilson received a full pardon for his capital
crimes despite never filing a request with the President. Despite being a close
friend of President Andrew Jackson, Wilson actually refused the pardon and
accepted his fate. It didn’t end there, though, as the case was brought before
the Supreme Court in order to force Wilson to accept the friend’s gift. The
Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wilson, though, and he was executed soon after.
For the rest of us who don’t know the most powerful person in the country…you
probably want to keep carrying that monopoly “get-out-of-jail-free” card around in your pocket! Number 7: It’s All About The
Benjamins. What does it pay to be president? Four hundred thousand dollars a year! Huh! Where do I sign up? For most people
living in the United States, where the average salary is just fifty six
thousand dollars, and forty five million people live below the poverty line, this
seems like an obscene amount of money. However, for most former presidents,
that’s actually a massive pay cut. Many wealthy men have held the office of
President, including the current president, Trump and founding father
George Washington, whose net worths were estimated at three billion dollars and
700 million respectively. President Washington, whose salary, adjusted for
inflation, would hover just below seven million dollars by today’s standards,
even made the promise during his inaugural address that he would not
accept payment for his time in office. However, Congress saw this as fighting
the ideals of the new democracy, where the public servants are paid by the
American people in order to serve the American people. So, Washington
reluctantly accepted. Today, the presidential salary is actually at its
lowest point in history, and the president is responsible for his own
personal expenses. Although..you do get free cable, which is totally worth it! Number 6: What Do I Do Now?? Nothing lasts forever, and the presidency
is no different. No matter who becomes president, or his standing when he leaves,
the job always has an expiration date. This presents an interesting question
for the former leader of the United States, “What do I do now?” The poster child for post-presidential life, Jimmy Carter, has shown the world that former
presidents have a lot to offer. The 39th president has since become the most
recognizable figure for Habitat for Humanity, and has helped build a homes
for thousands of needy families. While that would be very inspiring just by
itself, President Carter has also become a world-class diplomat, becoming one of
the first Americans to enter North Korea after the initiation of their nuclear
weapons program. Slowing down ever so slightly at the tender age of 92, Jimmy
Carter has since become the longest retired president in history. Many
other presidents took a different route when they left office, but still wanted
to serve the American people. William Taft, the current record holder
for the heaviest president while in office, became the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court after losing his re-election campaign. And John Tyler
served in the Confederate House of Representatives until his death in 1862.
Surprisingly left out of history books is Richard Nixon’s retirement…as a
killer robot in the year 3000 on the TV show Futurama! Number 5: A House Is A Man’s Castle. In order to be seen as a viable candidate for president, one must meet certain criteria. You must love to travel, show leadership traits, and for
the love of all that is Holy…do NOT lose the nuclear codes! However, if you survive the geriatric Fight Club known as politics, you get a
pretty amazing perk…the White House! Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the
Executive Mansion was built in 1800 and has housed every president, except for
George Washington. The first tenant, John Adams, christened the new residence by
hanging laundry in the East Room and writing an inspirational prayer, seeking
protection for the new residence. This was NOT kept in mind by the British Army,
who burned the building to the ground 14 years later. The Executive Mansion, which
is legally a museum, has since been rebuilt and currently has 132 rooms and
35 rest rooms. This is usually expanded, every new administration, when new
additions are made in an effort to make the First Family feel more comfortable.
From a heated pool and wheelchair ramps for FDR, to a flower shop and a bowling
alley during the Nixon administration, these changes can help make life less
stressful in the chaotic political scene. Today, the White House has become a
symbol of the executive branch and is recognized worldwide…sometimes more so than the President, himself! It has an estimated value of over 400 million
dollars, and the ability to bowl a few games with the ghost of Honest Abe Lincoln? …Priceless. Number 4: It’s Tradition! It is the same story every November for
people all across North America. We get together with family and give thanks. We
sit down to watch some great holiday football (only to watch our favorite team
lose again). Every year, almost 50 million turkeys are
eaten by America’s families during Thanksgiving dinner. However, just as
famous as this holiday tradition is the annual Presidential Pardon of one of
these turkeys. This tradition began in a surprising fashion, with the Truman
administration, and has spared the lives of countless birds in the year since.
What’s so surprising about the origin of this annual custom, though? The fact that
Truman ATE his pardoned bird! Since 1989, however, a new tradition was created.
Every presidential turkey since George H. W. Bush’s first term has had their lives
spared. What actually happens to these lucky birds after having their lives
spared, you ask? Well, they are sent to a rather extravagant chicken coop that
sits on the former home of George Washington in Mount Vernon! Number 3: Want To Get Away. In the movie Air Force One, Harrison Ford gives a riveting portrayal of what life is like for the President of the United
States. In a grounded, and completely believable performance, he shows what
skills are required for someone to be the leader of the free world. You must
attend meetings all over the world, make military decisions that can affect the
lives of millions, and, of course, you must know how to properly say a memorable pun after breaking Gary Oldman’s neck! Okay, so most of that isn’t true. One thing
that is true, though, is the amount of travel required by the president on a
daily basis. A man whose responsibilities can affect the lives of millions of
people needs to have a way to be in constant contact and protection. In 1880,
when Rutherford B Hayes became the first sitting president to travel to the west
coast, this was done with a presidential rail-car and horse-drawn carriages. But,
this required the most important man in the country to be away from the White
House for over two months! Today, the United States government maintains a
huge fleet of cars and planes to make sure that the president is never
unavailable, including two state-of-the-art 747’s valued at over 200
million dollars each! Despite usually traveling on
presidential aircraft, since the days of FDR, the call-sign “Air Force One” is
actually reserved for any airplane that the president rides in, and not simply
for the iconic blue-and-white jet liners. Personally, I think we should go back to
the days of single-digit horsepower just to see how Harrison would get out of THAT situation! Number 2: Keep Your Head Down. In 1939, a small movie was released with the brilliant title, “Murder Plane.” This film, whose plot
revolves around an undercover Secret Service agent infiltrating a murderous
group of pilots, came and went with little fanfare. However, today this classic b-movie has been renamed “Secret Service of the Air,”
and is known for its young lead actor Ronald Reagan! 42 years after his
performance came and went on cinema screens across the country, Ronald Reagan
was on television sets worldwide narrowly escaping an assassination
attempt, while being saved by the legendary Secret Service agents he once
portrayed. Famous today for its protection of the first family, among
other important officials, the Secret Service was established in 1865 to act
as federal law enforcement agency…mainly investigating financial and counterfeiting crimes, however, the Secret Service was not tasked with the
Presidential Protection until 1901 when William McKinley became the third
sitting US president to be murdered. It became clear that a solution was needed,
when the most common cause of death for presidents who died while still in the
office was assassination. Lincoln, himself, had already survived two previous
attempts to end his life, and would not be the last President to be targeted.
Receiving thousands of threats every year, the Secret Service has stopped over 30 assassination attempts since its inception. Unfortunately this trend has not slowed down for the agents who put their lives
on the line, as the former three presidents; Barack Obama, George W Bush,
and Bill Clinton, have avoided more attempts than the previous seven
presidents combined! Number 1: Who’s On First? The first person to walk on the moon? Neil Armstrong. First female Supreme Court Justice? Sandra Day O’Connor. First
presidential leader in American history? George Washington…or is it? General
George Washington helped the United States gain independence, created the
first national mint, and established the first Supreme Court. However, despite
winning every electoral vote in the first presidential election in 1788,
George Washington is NOT officially recognized as the first president.
This honor is actually held by Payton Randolph, who served as the President of
the Continental Congress for 47 days. When the Constitution was originally
written, there was no executive office and the Congress held all the power. By
1788, with the war of independence against the British over with, Congress saw a need for a better system of checks and balances, and the official office of the
President of the United States was voted on and ratified. By the time of George
Washington’s inauguration, in January 1789, 14 different men held the position
of President of the Continental Congress, and helped establish the executive
office of today…including creating the official seal of the president! Did you get your answer correct in the comments below? If not, go ahead and tap that
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facts! Otherwise…how else would you learn that Ulysses S Grant was the first president in American history to have a mustache? Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button to keep up with other exciting stories, and we’ll see you
next time!

Stephen Childs

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