Wait, He Was President? Remembering ‘those other guys’ on Presidents Day 2019

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George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the Roosevelts – whenever we talk about U.S. presidents, these guys are always the first to come to mind. But what about some of the presidents who aren’t talked about as much, like James Buchanan and William McKinley? In honor of Presidents Day, which is Feb. 18, here are some fun facts about the lesser-known –and slightly forgettable ¬– presidents of the United States.

Martin Van Buren: eighth president (1837–1841)
Van Buren was the first president to be born a citizen of the United States. The rest of the presidents before him were all British citizens who had immigrated to the colonies before America’s independence.

William Henry Harrison: ninth president (1841)
At 67 years old, Harrison was the oldest president sworn into office at the time of his election, but he served one of the shortest terms at just one month. It is also said that he had the longest inaugural address in the history of U.S. presidents, lasting two full hours. 

John Tyler: 10th president (1841-1845)
Tyler’s presidency has apparently been dubbed  “His Accidency,” according to Time, because he succeeded Harrison into the White House after Harrison’s death. While this may be hard to prove, there’s pretty good evidence that White House life wasn’t for him in the fact that all but one of his Cabinet members eventually resigned.  

James Buchanan: 15th president (1857-1861)
Buchanan remains the only president who never married. At one point, he was engaged to a woman named Anne Coleman, but the engagement was broken off just before her death in 1819. Instead of a wife, Buchanan’s niece and ward, Harriet Lane, acted as a sort of pseudo-first lady during his presidency. 

Chester Arthur: 21st president (1881-1885)
According to Ranker, Arthur was one of the 14 presidents who were first vice presidents. Arthur became president after the murder of James Abram Garfield, who was one of four assassinated U.S. presidents, making Arthur’s presidency even more unexpected.

Grover Cleveland: 22nd and 24th president (1885-1889, 1893-1897)
Cleveland is the only president who served two nonconsecutive terms. He is said to have used his veto a notorious amount of times, and according to Pearson, he was even nicknamed “the human iceberg” because his personality was so cold.

William McKinley: 25th president (1897-1901)
The second of the lesser-known presidents who were assassinated, McKinley is famous for heading the war against Spain in 1898. This conflict ultimately led to the U.S. acquiring Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. 

 All of the information in this article was taken from Encyclopedia Britannica, except for the sources mentioned specifically above.