Useful Notes / The Presidents

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5737423571_0a7accb35a.jpg
"Washy Ad Jeffy Maddy Monroe
Ad Jackson Van Hair Ty Po Tay Fil Pear
Bu Lincoln John Grant 2
Hayes Gar Thur Cleve Hair Cleve McKin
Roos'velt Taft Wilson Hard Coolidge
Hoov Franklin Roos'velt Truman Ikey
Ken Johnson Nixon Ford
Cart Reagan Bush Clinton Dubya"

"Heigh ho, do you know?
The names of the US residents
Who then became the presidents
And got a view, from the White House loo,
Of Pennsylvania Avenue?"
Animaniacs, "The Presidents Song"

Specifically, the Presidents of the United States of America (and more specifically, the Presidents of the United States under the Constitution). They are, in order:

  1. George Washington (1789-97, independent/de facto Federalist; led the Continental Army; only President not to be a member of any political party)
  2. John Adams (1797-1801, Federalist; first to live in The White House)
  3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-09, Democratic-Republican; wrote the Declaration of Independence; also the first wartime President; butt of many jokes regarding his sexual relations with his slaves)
  4. James Madison (1809-17, Democratic-Republican; wrote the Constitution; British burnt the White House down during his 8 years)
  5. James Monroe (1817-25, Democratic-Republican; the capital of Liberia is named after him; one of only two Presidents—the other being Washington—to be elected unopposed)
  6. John Quincy Adams (1825-29, Democratic-Republican/National Republican; first son of a former President; only president whose election was decided by the House of Representatives; earliest known President to be photographed, albeit a few years after he left office; first President to lose the popular votenote )
  7. Andrew Jackson (1829-37, Democrat; first president to have an attempted assassination, only president to almost personally kill his attempted assassin after he failed)
  8. Martin Van Buren (1837-41, Democrat; first president to have been born an American citizen after America gained its independence; only President to have English as a second language—he came from a Dutch-speaking family)
  9. William Henry Harrison (1841, Whig; died of pneumonia one month after taking office; first president to die in office and had the shortest presidency, which is the only reason people remember him; last president to have been born before America's independence)
  10. John Tyler (1841-45, Whig/independent; first Vice President to inherit the Presidency)
  11. James K. Polk (1845-49, Democrat; did everything he said he would; first president to be photographed while in office; shortest natural-lived president)
  12. Zachary Taylor (1849-50, Whig; died in office, possibly of gastroenteritis from eating spoiled cherries, possibly from 19th century medicine)
  13. Millard Fillmore (1850-53, Whig; credited with delaying the eventual Civil War thanks to the Compromise of 1850, nowadays seen as a counter-intuitive empowering of slave states; sent Matthew Perry to Japan to open their borders; made fun of for his name and remembered for pretty much nothing else)
  14. Franklin Pierce (1853-57, Democrat; a deeply unlucky man)
  15. James Buchanan (1857-61, Democrat; only president never to have been married, may have been secretly homosexual; since The American Civil War started at the end of his tenure, he's consistently considered the worst to ever hold the office)
  16. Abraham Lincoln (1861-65, Republican/National Union; tallest president; first president to have facial hair; played a major part in the abolition of slavery in America, though that milestone wouldn't be reached until after his death; assassinated by a Confederate sympathizer, and in doing so was the first president to be successfully assassinated)
  17. Andrew Johnson (1865-69, National Union/de facto Democrat; first president to be impeached, but was acquitted)
  18. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-77, Republican; the greatest Civil War General; initially considered an awful President, but his reputation is on the rise)
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-81, Republican; won the closest election in American history, winning by literally one electoral vote; second President to lose the popular vote)
  20. James Garfield (1881, Republican; assassinated by a disgruntled office seeker)
  21. Chester A. Arthur (1881-85, Republican; he had crazy facial hair)
  22. Grover Cleveland (1885-89, Democrat; only President to serve two non-consecutive terms)
  23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-93, Republican; the other Harrison's grandson; third President to lose the popular vote and the last to do so for 112 years)
  24. Grover Cleveland (1893-97, Democrat; became the first president to be captured on film during this term, while inaugurating William McKinley; fans tend to prefer his first term)
  25. William McKinley (1897-1901, Republican; assassinated next to an X-ray machine that could have been used to save his life)
  26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09, Republican; youngest person to become president; definitely a Memetic Badass)
  27. William Howard Taft (1909-13, Republican; got stuck in a bathtub (he weighed the most); last president to have facial hair; only President to serve on the US Supreme Court (Chief Justice, 1921-30), thereby being the only President to have been part of all three branches of federal government and the only person to have been head of two branches)
  28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-21, Democrat; only president with a Ph.D.; had a stroke and his wife then ran the country in secret)
  29. Warren Harding (1921-23, Republican; died from a heart attack midway through his term; became notorious for corruption under his administration; only President proven to have fathered a child with one of his mistresses)
  30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-29, Republican; often silent)
  31. Herbert Hoover (1929-33, Republican; previously a humanitarian, but not that kind)
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45, Democrat; first president to appear in a televised broadcast; served four terms, two more than any other President [though he died a few months into the fourth])
  33. Harry Truman (1945-53, Democrat; authorized the only use of nuclear weapons in war; was exempted from the 22nd Amendmentnote  through ex post facto [as it was ratified during his tenure] but decided to stick to just two terms anyways)
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61, Republican; a World War II General; first president to appear in a color television broadcast; first president to be limited to two terms by the 22nd Amendment)
  35. John F. Kennedy (1961-63, Democrat; only Catholic President; youngest elected President; his assassination is still plagued by conspiracy theories)
  36. Lyndon Johnson (1963-69, Democrat; very Texan, very aggressive, and very odd)
  37. Richard Nixon (1969-74, Republican; only President to resign; also opened up relations with China, but also did Watergate; definitely corrupt—er, not a crook)
  38. Gerald Ford (1974-77, Republican; only president who wasn't elected as either President or Vice-President; only president whose would-be assassins were female; fell down steps of Air Force I; longest-lived president)
  39. Jimmy Carter (1977-81, Democrat; living, was a Farm Boy and was attacked by a bunny)
  40. Ronald Reagan (1981-89, Republican; previously a cowboy actor)
  41. George H.W. Bush (1989-93, Republican; living, was the CIA Director beforehand; "read my lips")
  42. Bill Clinton (1993-2001, Democrat; living, was impeached, but not convicted, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Also, he did not inhale.)
  43. George W. Bush (2001-09, Republican; living, added countless new words to the public consciousness; second son of a former President; first victory decided by the Supreme Court following a flawed vote in Florida that necessitated a recount; fourth President to lose the popular vote and first to do so since Benjamin Harrison in 1888)
  44. Barack Obama (2009-17, Democrat; first African-American President; first President to have a 3D portrait made of himself; received a Nobel Peace Prize, after which the United States accelerated its drone campaign in the Middle East)
  45. Donald Trump (President-elect for 2017-future, Republican; oldest elected President; first President to have hosted a reality television show; first President to have not held any prior political or military office; first billionaire President and the only one richer than George Washington; fifth and most recent President to lose the popular vote)


Despite what Histeria! may have said about his being President for one day between Polk and Taylor, any attempts to put David Rice Atchison on this list will be laughed off in the traditional mannercontext . So will any attempts to add John Hanson or any other presidents of the Continental Congress.

An urban legend, popularized by Ripley's Believe It or Not! in 1931, claims that there is a curse upon the Presidency. This curse, variously known as the "Curse of Tippecanoe", "Tecumseh's Curse" and the "Zero-Year Curse", states that any President who is elected in a year ending in a zero (1840, 1860, etc.) will die in office or have a near miss. It was allegedly placed upon William Henry Harrison by Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatana during the Indian wars and the War of 1812, in which Harrison won two decisive battles against Tecumseh in present-day Indiana and Ontario (the latter leading to Tecumseh's death). Whatever the curse's validity, it was apparently "broken" by either Ronald Reagan (if deaths alone count), or George W. Bush (if near-misses count as well) as both survived to serve two full terms.

There is also a band called The Presidents of the United States of America, however nobody that has ever served as POTUSA has been so far a member of the band. However, the band members did a parody of the Presidential race in which each member had a campaign video to be elected President...of the Presidents. They did play at the White House, by Chelsea Clinton's request, though. Rumor has it, Bill Clinton played sax with them during that show.

Jonathan Coulton has two songs about them: One ("The Presidents") is simply their names and a small factoid about them, and the other ("Washy Ad Jeffy") is a mnemonic device designed to help you remember their names and how many terms they served (by way of the number of syllables in the name). Other songs include this one from Animaniacs.

With one exception, every American President is descended from King John of England. He's the king from the Robin Hood stories and the one who was forced to sign the Magna Carta. The one exception is Martin Van Buren, whose ancestry is Dutch on both sides. All of the other 42 men to hold the executive office, as well as President-elect Donald Trump, have British blood in them that can be traced back to King John. And even then, Van Buren is still related to King John, as his descent has been traced via separate lines of descent from King John's mother and paternal great-grandparents. In fact, Van Buren was descended from William The Conqueror, who was also an ancestor of King John, so every President is descended from the Norman king who conquered England.note 

Some Presidents who typically rank very high in "Greatest Presidents" historian/scholar polls include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some who are usually found at the very bottom include William Henry Harrison, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Warren Harding. A few are more popular in public polls than in scholarly ones, such as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

For the action film, see Dead Presidents. For the much-desired pictures of dead presidents (plus a few other people), see American Money. For the President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, see Jefferson Davis.

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