Presidential trivia provides review of facts

May 19, 2006|by LISA PREJEAN

I am known as "The Father of the Constitution."

Wisconsin's capital was named after me.

At 5 feet 4 inches, I was the shortest president.

Who am I?

If you answered James Madison, congratulations. You are one step closer to being a President of the Day champion.

Last fall, I challenged the fifth-graders in my class to a State of the Day contest. Then, in the winter, we had a Capital of the Day contest. This spring, we've been learning about the presidents in our President of the Day contest.

It's a fun way to review what we've already learned and preview what's to come.

How well would you do? Try your hand at these clues. This week, I've included the first part of our contest. Next week we'll look at the second part. (If you don't do well with the first part, you have a week to brush up on your presidential knowledge before taking the second part.)


1. I greeted White House visitors with a bow.

I was "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of my countrymen."

State No. 42 was named after me.

2. I invented the swivel chair.

Missouri's capital was named after me.

I was a skilled violinist.

3. My son's middle name was Quincy.

Thomas Jefferson was my vice president.

When I was president, Washington, D.C., became the nation's capital.

4. I played the saxophone on national television.

My wife became a senator after I left office.

The Senate acquitted me of impeachment charges.

5. My love of jelly beans increased their popularity and sales.

I was the first president to wear contact lenses.

At first, some people didn't take me seriously because I was an actor.

6. Before becoming president, I was a peanut farmer from Georgia.

I negotiated a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, the Camp David Accords.

Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington State, erupted during my term.

7. I was the only president to resign.

The 26th Amendment passed during my term, lowering the voting age to 18.

In 1972, I visited China, ending 25 years of icy relations with that country.

8. In 1823, my doctrine would not allow new European colonies in the Americas.

I was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

My years as president were sometimes called the "Era of Good Feeling."

9. I supported the Compromise of 1850, which allowed California to join the Union as a free state.

In 1852, I sent Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan to open trade with that country.

While I was president, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was published.

10. I was the first president to be photographed.

During my term, Noah Webster published his American dictionary of the English language.

Until George W., I was the only son of a president to become president.

11. During my term, the Panic of 1837 gave America its first serious economic depression.

I was sometimes called the Little Magician because of my great political skill.

I was the first president to have played no role in the American Revolution.

12. Mississippi's capital was named after me.

I was a Revolutionary War soldier at age 13.

My nickname was "Old Hickory."

13. I served the shortest term of any president.

I led American troops in the War of 1812.

I was the first president to die in office.

14. I fought in the Mexican War.

The Gadsden Purchase was made when I was in office.

The Republican party was formed during my term.

15. When I was president, Samuel Morse sent a message from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore on his newly invented telegraph.

My leadership helped to end the Seminole War.

Behind my back, political opponents referred to me as "His Accidency."

16. I was nicknamed "Old Buck," a play on the pronunciation of my last name.

I was the first president to be born in Pennsylvania.

You wouldn't have to travel far to visit my birthplace.

17. My victories during the Mexican War made me famous and helped me to win the presidency.

My soldiers called me "Old Rough and Ready" for my informal dress and ways.

I liked to gallop my cavalry horse, Old Whitey, around the White House grounds.


1. George Washington

2. Thomas Jefferson

3. John Adams

4. Bill Clinton

5. Ronald Reagan

6. Jimmy Carter

7. Richard Nixon

8. James Monroe

9. Millard Fillmore

10. John Quincy Adams

11. Martin Van Buren

12. Andrew Jackson

13. William Henry Harrison

14. Franklin Pierce

15. John Tyler

16. James Buchanan

17. Zachary Taylor

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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