Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Five U.S. Presidents You May Have Forgotten

Another article I wrote for my company letter, was going to post it on Presidents' Day but you know how these things go...

Traditionally, Presidents’ Day (February 16) is a federal holiday honoring our nation’s fist president, George Washington, and our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. This month, we would like to honor five lesser-known presidents.

William Henry Harrison, 9th US President. His term (March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841) was the shortest of any US president, only serving the office officially for a little over 30 days before he died of pneumonia. His untimely death, the first death of a US President in office, brought about the 25th Amendment to the Constitution detailing the succession of the US President.

Millard Fillmore, 13th US President, was the second Vice President to take office after the death of the elected president. The most notable accomplishment during his term (July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853) was having California signed in to statehood – a process begun by his predecessor.

James Buchanan, 15th US President, has been ranked by most historians as one of the worst presidents. During his term (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861) the Southern states declared their secession but Buchanan declared the action illegal and remained inactive on the topic. Failure to avoid the Civil War has been considered the worst single failure by any U.S. president.
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th US President, was sworn in to office after winning the election with a mere one electoral vote over his opponent. His term (March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881) was marred by indecision and conflict including the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 which ended in the death of 70 striking Baltimore & Ohio Railroad employees.

Calvin Coolidge, 30th US President, was dubbed “Silent Cal” for being a man of few words in social situations. He completed Harding’s term as president and then was elected to office in his own right serving as president for a term and a half (August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929). Coolidge signed the Radio Act of 1927 which regulated radio use in the U.S. until the formation of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934.

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