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Weird But True! -- American History

Posted by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM
  • 24 Replies
1 mom liked this

Here's some weird but true facts on American History and project ideas! 

Feel Free To add Your own!


  Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education
Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM
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by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:48 PM

We all know that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia, that Abraham Lincoln was tall, and that John F. Kennedy Jr. said, Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. But there are literally thousands of great American-history facts that we don’t know about .  Here’s a grab bag of twenty:

1. The shortest inaugural address in U.S. history -- 135 words -- was given in 1793 by George Washington. His dentures hurt, and he wanted to get it over with.

2.  George Washington was also quite an alcohol manufacturer. In 1798 alone, he produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey. 

3. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the great explorers of the Northwest, gave President Thomas Jefferson two bear cubs. Jefferson kept his new pets on the South Lawn of the White House.

4. Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, but he didn’t stop there. He’s also credited for the urinary catheter.

5. Abigail Adams, foreshadowing later feminists like Susan B. Anthony, tartly reminded her husband John, our second President: "Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors [were].  Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands."  

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:49 PM

13. John F. Kennedy. was the only president to die before his parents.

14. The U.S. first wanted to build a canal in Nicaragua, not Panama. But the French tried unsuccessfully to build a canal through Panama and then sold the rights to the  U.S.

15. The first and probably only trial of a tomato was held in 1820, in Salem, NJ. Robert Johnson ate an entire basket in front of a crowd who was convinced he was going to die right away. He didn’t, although it's safe to assume that he had a stomach ache. 

16. Thirty-eight thousand black men served in the Civil War.

17. Who besides America was born on the Fourth of July?  Louis Armstrong, the greatest of all Jazz musicians, always said he had a July 4th birthday.  Broadway song and dance man George M. Cohan, who wrote Yankee Doodle Dandy and Over There, also said he was born on Independence Day.  Others include song writer Stephen Foster who wrote “Dixie”, President Calvin Coolidge, playwright Neil Simon, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and advice-givers Ann Landers and her twin sister Abigail Van Buren.  And Malia Obama! 

18. Fourth of July fireworks have a long and honorable tradition. They were first used in July 1776 and may have been meant as a mockery of the tradition of fireworks for British royalty.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:50 PM

19. Once upon a time, we didn’t have an actual July 4 holiday. Although Americans celebrated it informally, it wasn’t an official day off until 1941. 

20. What’s on the back of the Declaration of Independence?  People who have seen the movie "National Treasure" want to know.  Well, on the back, at the bottom, upside-down, is simply written: "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776."  According to the National Archives, "While no one knows for certain who wrote it, it is known that early in its life, the large parchment document was rolled up for storage.  So, it is likely that the notation was added simply as a label."  Sorry, there are no hidden messages.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:51 PM


Posted: 07/03/2009

by Andrew Weast
The E. W. Scripps Company

As we celebrate the 4th of July, here are some very interesting facts about the history of the United States. 

1. Uncle Sam was first popularized during the War of 1812, when the term referred to a man who supplied meat for the armies. The cartoon image we're all familiar with first appeared in 1916 in a weekly magazine and, as said by the creator, became the "the most famous poster in the world". Believe it or not, the U. S. Congress didn't adopt him as a national symbol until 1961. (Source:Library of Congress)

2. The American national anthem, the "Star-Spangled Banner," is set to the tune of an English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven."

3. Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Missouri, with 111,023 residents. This is also the hometown of our 33rd President Harry S. Truman.
4. The iron framework of the Statue of Liberty was designed by French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The famous statue was a gift to the United States by the country of France in the year in 1886.

5. The "Father of Our Country" George Washington held his first public office at the tender age of 17 as a surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia. He continued in public service until his death in 1799.

6. The words "Under God" were not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, more than 60 years after it was first penned by Francis Bellamy.  The words were taken from President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. 

7. Our 8th president, Martin Van Buren, born in 1782, was the first president not born a British subject. (Source:

8. Describing the importance of the Fourth of July in a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote, “… a day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” (Source:

9. The stars on the original American flag were arranged in a circle to ensure that all colonies were equal, along with the thirteen stripes that exist on our flag today. (Source:

10. There are a number of places nationwide with “liberty” in its name. The most populous one is Liberty, Missouri. The state of Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

Read more:
by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:51 PM

The following are 40 weird facts about the United States that are almost too crazy to believe....

#1 The highest point in the state of Florida is only 345 feet (115 yards) above sea level.

#2 Today, 66 percent of all Americans are considered to be overweight.

#3 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger populationthan Alaska does.

#4 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#5 Approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

#6 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#7 In the UK, an average of about $3,500 is spent on healthcare per person each year.  In the United States, an average of about $8,500 is spent on healthcare per person each year.

#8 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#9 The average U.S. citizen drinks the equivalent of more than 600 sodas each year.

#10 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#11 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people.  Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.

#12 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California.  But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.

#13 For many years it was the other way around, but today a majorityof all Americans (including Pat Robertson) actually support the legalization of marijuana.

#14 Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. president to have been born in a hospital.

#15 In the middle of the last century, the United States was #1 in the world in GDP per capita.  Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

#16 Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:52 PM

#17 One survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access in the United States visit pornography websites while they are at work.

#18 In 2011, our trade deficit with China was more than 49,000 times larger than it was back in 1985.

#19 One out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#20 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles large.  It is actually bigger than the entire state of Delaware.

#21 The United States puts a higher percentage of its population in prison than any other nation on earth does.

#22 There are more unemployed workers in the United States than there are people living in the entire nation of Greece.

#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was "Terminus".

#24 Sadly, more than 52 percent of all children that live in Cleveland, Ohio are living in poverty.

#25 The median price of a home in the city of Detroit is now about $6000.

#26 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#27 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#28 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,approximately 167,000 Americans have more than $200,000 of student loan debt.

#29 There are three towns in the United States that have the name "Santa Claus".

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:52 PM

#30 There are 313 million people living in the United States.  46 million of them are on food stamps.

#31 In the United States as a whole, one out of every four childrenis on food stamps.

#32 In 1940, 68.0% of all women in the 20 to 34 year old age group in the United States were married.  In 2010, only 39.2% of women in that age group were married.

#33 The United States has a teen pregnancy rate of 22 percent - the highest in the world.  New Zealand is number two at 14 percent.

#34 According to the CDC, there are 19 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in the United States every single year.

#35 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.  Puerto Rico is number two.  Perhaps Puerto Rico really would fit in as the 51st state.

#36 More people have been diagnosed with mental disorders in the United States than in any other nation on earth.

#37 The United States has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

#38 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#39 The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

#40 It took from the founding of the nation until 1981 for the U.S. national debt to cross the one trillion dollar mark.  Today, our national debt is well over 15 trillion dollars and we add more than a trillion dollars to our debt every single year.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:53 PM

  1. Technically there are only 46 states; Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania are Commonwealths.

  2. Ulysses S. Grant was once fined twenty dollars for speeding with his horse and carriage.

  3. In 1916, Jeanette Rankin was the first woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. But though she could vote in Congress, woman's suffrage had not passed in the United States at that time.

  4. Taft was the heaviest president at 332 pounds and once got stuck in a White House bathtub.

  5. Maine is the only state whose name is one syllable.

  6. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams both died on the same day, July 4th, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

  7. Massachusetts is home to the body of water with the longest name in the U.S., Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

  8. Both of James Madison's vice presidents died while he was in office.

  9. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S. but it has the longest name. The official name of the state is: Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

  10. Until Ronald Reagan (who was elected in 1980) all presidents who were elected in a year that ended in zero died or were assassinated while in office, these include Abraham Lincoln (1860), James Garfield (1880), William McKinley (1900), Warren G. Harding (1920), Franklin Roosevelt (1940), and John F. Kennedy (1960).

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Podcast #87 - American History Idol Project

Hello. Today I want to share one of the projects we did at the end of the school year. We were required to have our semester test finished a couple of days before the official last day of school so at South Valley Jr High we decided to have an "American History Idol" competition.

Erin Garvey, the other 8th grade American History teacher at SVJH, and I created a list of 160 famous Americans. We then printed them out on paper, cut them into strips and had our students pair up and draw a name. The students then had about an hour to research the individual they drew and create a poster that would be displayed in the commons. Students were instructed to vote for the person they felt had the greatest impact on American History in combination with the visual appeal of the poster and other factors (hey - American Idol isn't just about the quality of the singer or Melinda would have won this year!).

The first day students voted for three individuals and only 50 stayed. It was tough - Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson were sent home on the first day! After the second day of voting we cut it to 10 and then on the last day of school students were shown the results of the top 10 in a video that was shown as part of our student news broadcast. Want to find out who was in the Top 10 and who won - watch the video below (also available at Teacher Tube here) 

Direct link to Podcast #87 - American History Idol Project - MP3 Format - 11:04 minutes

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:55 PM

An awesome American History Resource?

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