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As everyone knows, George Washington was the first President of the United States. Wrong! The first was John Hanson of Maryland who served for one year before George Washington.
George Washington grew marijuana on his plantation. In his time, pot was a legal crop. It was not used for smoking, but instead the stalks of the plant were used to make ropes, canvas and paper.
If you have a book in your house older than 1883, there is a 75 percent chance it is made out of marijuana. So far, there has not yet been discovered a better natural material for ropes and nautical material, in terms of strength and weather resistance. It can also be used as a good fiber in clothing. Properly utilized, marijuana stalks, called hemp in this application, yield fibers up to twenty feet long and they could be made into all sorts of industrial materials ranging from paper to two-by-fours.
Smoking pot did not become particularly fashionable until it was made illegal starting around 1938. In 1971 it was listed as a narcotic that could not even be legally prescribed by a doctor. Then, smoking marijuana suddenly became very fashionable among young people who felt a need to test the bounds of society. Smoking pot is becoming less interesting even to those people today who need to do something "naughty" because we are finding out that it can have long lasting negative effects on our bodies.
Some day soon, people who are hooked on pot will seem stupid to everyone else. I predict that it will be used as a cash crop that will help save the world's old-growth forests and will even make a good substitute for gasoline. In Brazil over one million cars and trucks are running on methanol, made from corn. Pot yields up to forty times more methanol than corn. Bibliography -69, Bibliography -82
"If you're going to keep staring at me, I might as well introduce myself. . ." That's what Hilary Rodham said to long-haired, bearded, Bill Clinton when she first saw him in the Yale Law School library. Bibliography -138
In what some may say is typical governmental paranoia, the White House asked Wellesley College to suppress Hilary Clinton's senior thesis about political activist Saul Alinsky who specialized in somewhat left-wing, non-violent, social justice organization in Chicago and elsewhere in the 1930s to the 1960s.
After Hilary left the White House as First Lady, the 92-page document was made public in a limited way, it had to be read in person at the Wellesley library. Turns out it contains nothing subversive, nothing incriminating, nothing shocking. Bibliography -139
Eugene Debs was a candidate who ran for the office of President of the United States from within jail. At least one out of every fifty eligible voters voted for him. Bibliography -69
The President of the United States gets 20,000 letters or emails a day. Most of the corespondents probably expect a personal reply. If the President took only two minutes to answer each one, he would have to work 82 days to answer a single day's mail. Bibliography -1
In 1957, a senator, Strom Thurmond, made a speech that lasted 24 hours, 19 minutes. Bibliography -4A
When Ripley's Believe it or Not reported that the Star Spangled Banner (which was originally called "Defense of Fort McHenry") was written to the music of a "rousing tavern ballad" from a popular songbook, five million Americans wrote letters to "Washington." Bibliography -13, Bibliography -51 (page 104)
Although he was not a skeleton in the closet of America, David Rice Atchison was a president who served for only one day. He was leader of the Senate on a Sunday when James Polk, the President of the United States' term ended. The new President, Vice-president Zachary Taylor, being very religious, did not want to be sworn in on a Sunday, so that left Mr. Atchison officially in charge of the country. He neglected to do any president-like things that day because he never knew that he was the boss. He didn't even find out until a long time after it was over. Bibliography -62, Bibliography -69, Bibliography -94 (page 117)
One snowy night in 1967 George and Barbara Bush arrived in Washington, DC. The moving van arrived near midnight and the movers unloaded the bedding first, but were having trouble with the snow storm. The Bushes told the movers to take it easy - quit until morning - and invited them in to spend the night. Bibliography -66A
The government owns 34% of all the land in America.
Until the work of Richard Nixon which opened relations with Mainland China, it was illegal for U.S. citizens to collect Chinese postage stamps. Bibliography -69
Ex-U.S. President Gerald Ford had his name changed when he was younger. He was born Leslie King, Jr. Bibliography -56
The United States imports 22 metal ores that are crucial to self-sufficiency such as chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum. If we were involved in a war and our supply of these metals was cut off, our increasingly high-tech industry would be unable to make the things ranging from televisions to cars. Scientists are working to find synthetic replacement materials.
In 1989 President George Bush shook the hands of 25,000 people, or about one out of every 10,000 Americans. He traveled well over one-tenth of a million miles, more than enough to circle the globe five times, and he spoke three million words to Americans.
Grover Cleveland has two distinctions among US presidents. He went into the office as a single man and came out married. Also, he is the only president to serve two terms, but non-consecutively.
In 1961, 44-year-old Janio da Silva Quadros was elected President of Brazil with more votes than any previous Brazilian president. He stayed away from the Presidential Palace and instead of being driven in a chauffeur-driven limousine, he drove himself around Brazil in his old Volkswagen. He had some radical ideas for curbing the country's inflation, including automatic reduction of all government spending by 30%. Unfortunately, the rest of the government ignored him and his ideas, and within the first year of his term he ran away from office. In his sudden absence, a political battle over who was to be his successor almost led to a civil war.
The president of Switzerland, by tradition, lives the life of a common worker. He lives in a normal size apartment and rides public transportation. The term of presidency is one year. Bibliography -96
At one time, American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, was a lawyer who sat on the board of directors for Wal-Mart. Bibliography -150
At one time George Washington had over 300 slaves. Bibliography -97 (page 282)
George Washington was not America's first president. The first was John Hanson, then came Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, Nathan Gorham, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin. George Washington was the first elected by the people. The others were elected directly by the Continental Congress, sort of as fill-in presidents until the nation was cohesive enough to truly elect a president. Bibliography -97 (page 143)
President Lincoln was originally in favor of slavery! His party was against slavery, and so he took appropriate actions. Bibliography -97 (page 289)
President-to-be Grover Cleveland never fought in the Civil War, even though he was eligible. Being wealthy, he simply hired someone to fight in his place. This was legal at the time. Bibliography -69, Bibliography -94 (page 138)
President Lincoln had a good organization technique a century before 'organizer' notebooks. He kept a special envelope on his desk labeled, "When you can't find it anywhere else, look in this." Bibliography -97 (page 289)
Until he was 51 years old, Abe Lincoln was clean-shaven. Bibliography -97 (page 340)
President Nixon was known to his fellow college students as "Iron Butt." Bibliography -97 (page 318)
Richard Nixon's very first case as a lawyer, representing a client in court trying to recover a bad debt, he lost. He was then sued by the client for inept handling of her case. Bibliography -97 (page 318)
A few days before he was shot to death, Abraham Lincoln told a friend, Ward Hill Lamon, of a disturbing dream he had. Mr. Lamon wrote it down, and so this historical account exists. In his dream, Lincoln wandered through the White House and heard many invisible people sobbing. Looking for the source of the trouble, he came upon a dead man in the East Room. He asked a guard who had died and was told it was the President.
A few hours before he died, he told another friend, William H. Crook, "I believe there are men who want to take my life... And I have no doubt they will do it... If it is to be done, it is impossible to prevent it."
A few hours before John F. Kennedy was shot to death, he told his friend, Ken O'Donnell, "If somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it?" When Lincoln died, President (Andrew) Johnson took his place. When Kennedy died, President (Lyndon) Johnson took his place. Bibliography -69
Sometime around 1776 the house in which George Washington grew up burned down. Archaeologists have recently found the remains near Fredericksburg, Virginia, under another home, which was buried under yet another home which had been built on top of that.
The modern President of the United States is surrounded by Secret Service agents, reporters and photographers wherever he goes. In the White House are lots of guards and electronic equipment. The man does not lead anything like an ordinary life. In Abraham Lincoln's time, the situation was different. There were no secret service employees. Reporters, souvenir hunters, even unemployed folks looking for work could come into the White House and speak with the President. Lincoln's pet goats grazed on the White House lawn and were invited inside occasionally. Bibliography -29J
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