Think U.S. history is boring? Think again. United States presidents weren't just leaders—they were real people with real lives, just like you. Read on to find out surprising information about the actual person behind the president.
Many presidents had unusual careers before entering the White House. Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, was a peanut farmer. Ronald Reagan, the 40th president, was a famous movie star. And Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, once worked chopping rails for fences.
And if the phrase "clothes make the man" is true, so is this one: "Presidents make the clothes." Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States, was a tailor before he was president. Harry Truman, the 33rd president, was a haberdasher, someone who deals in men's clothing and accessories, particularly hats.
Once in the White House, each president made his mark in different ways. In fact, before Theodore Roosevelt came to office in 1901, the White House wasn't even called the White House! People called the building the President's Palace, the President's House, and the Executive Mansion. Roosevelt officially named it the White House.
Theodore Roosevelt wasn't the only president to invent a new expression. Martin Van Buren, the eighth president, is sometimes credited with creating the expression "OK." Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York. During his campaign, Old Kinderhook (O.K.) clubs formed to support the president. Later "OK" came to mean "all right."
Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to ride in a car while in office. His fifth cousin and the 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was the first to ride in an airplane. What's next—the first president in space?