It’s Presidents Day! The holiday started as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday and evolved into a day to remember all of America’s presidents, but let’s be honest, some are more memorable than others, at least for good reasons. I wanted to share some information about a few presidents that I always find interesting. This doesn’t necessarily mean their politics – I’m just talking about the coolest presidents.
3 – George Washington
Ok, the founding father is pretty freaking cool. Even beyond being the first president, and acknowledging that he should step down rather than become a king in everything but name, he also created the foundation for the Presidential Cabinet, acknowledging that the person in charge should have other opinions to weigh. Growing up in a poor family after his father died, he educated himself, constantly seeking out opportunities to acquire more knowledge. He had a strong moral compass, and that moral compass led to a lot of unspoken rules or guidelines for the government. For instance, when he became president, he gave up his military commission to prevent conflicts of interest. Also, he was a huge proponent of religious liberty, and a 1790 speech on the topic established a precedent for such that continues to this day.
2 – Barack Obama
The first black president of the US, Barack Obama is cool for any number of reasons. He has an awesome wife – does anyone NOT like Michelle?, a great singing voice (remember when he busted out some Al Green?), and some great dance moves. More than anything though, he had one of the best senses of humor we have ever seen in the White House.
1 – Theodore Roosevelt
OK, anyone who knows me knows who my favorite president is. Is there anyone cooler than Teddy? I could rhapsodize for hours (and have), but I will only share some of my favorite anecdotes here. The man was an icon. He created 230 million acres of nationally protected land, and his reading Upton Sinclair’s Utopia led to the creation of the FDA. He created and then led the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill, which had previously been considered unsurmountable. As a child, he was extremely weak and suffered from severe asthma, which he beat himself through sheer determination, essentially.
Edmund Morris, TIME magazine
They don’t hold White House lunches the way they used to at the beginning of the century. On Jan. 1, 1907, for example, the guest list was as follows: a Nobel prizewinner, a physical culturalist, a naval historian, a biographer, an essayist, a paleontologist, a taxidermist, an ornithologist, a field naturalist, a conservationist, a big-game hunter, an editor, a critic, a ranchman, an orator, a country squire, a civil service reformer, a socialite, a patron of the arts, a colonel of the cavalry, a former Governor of New York, the ranking expert on big-game mammals in North America and the President of the U.S.
All these men were named Theodore Roosevelt.
When he was a sheriff in North Dakota, he captured three prisoners and during the 40 hour journey back to town, kept himself awake (and punished them) by reading Anna Karenina out loud. After his presidency, he travelled the unnavigable river, the River of Doubt, in South America, which led to it’s renaming of Theodore Roosevelt River. And, when running for president in 1912, he was shot on his way to a speech. The bullet penetrated his chest, and while those around him urged him to go to the hospital, he proceeded to give his speech, talking for an hour and a half. Thomas R. Marshall said, ” Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight”, a statement that is so very, very true.