A Presidential Quiz

The Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Presidential Quiz


With the Presidents' Day holiday coming up on Monday, we thought you'd enjoy testing your knowledge of America's chief executives. Which one was born "Leslie Lynch King Jr."? Who lost the race for a Senate seat - but won the White House two years later? And who had a dog named "Sweet Lips"? Look at the photos, read the clues, and consult the list of presidents. The answers are below.

A) He was named Leslie Lynch King Jr. at birth, but his mother changed all three names when she remarried and her new husband adopted her son. He was the only president never to be elected by the people. He spent much of his abbreviated term trying to heal the national wounds of Vietnam and Watergate.

B) He lost his first bid for the presidency by 118,000 votes - less than 0.2 percent of all the votes cast. When he was elected eight years later, he oversaw America's first landing on the moon. The only president to resign his office, historians see him as both a brilliant success - and as a dismal failure.

C) "We hold these truths to be self-evident," he wrote before he became president, "that all men are created equal." He banned the importation of slaves to America starting in 1808. He also introduced the egalitarian French idea of lace-up shoes to Washington society. (Until then, gentlemen's shoes had buckles.)

D) The only president with a PhD, he was president of Princeton before he entered politics. His dream of a League of Nations, a forerunner of the United Nations, was defeated in the US Senate.

E) He and a fellow lawyer held a series of famous debates when the two ran for a Senate seat from Illinois. He lost that election, but won national attention. Two years later, he was elected president. He was the first US president to have received a patent (for a floating drydock).

F) He helped to bring about the end of a 31-year-long state of war that existed between two countries in the Middle East. He was the first candidate from the Deep South to win the presidency since Zachary Taylor in 1848.

G) His initials were the result of a mistake when he entered West Point. But he liked the patriotic "statement" they made, so he kept them. He was one of 10 former generals who became president. (Can you name three others?)

H) He joined the Army at age 13 to fight in the Revolutionary War. Later, he was a savvy general in the War of 1812. He was the first president to ride a railroad train, and his picture is on the $20 bill.

I) His presidential office was in New York City, at that time the nation's capital. He worried about foreign alliances and the growth of the two-party system. He was the only president elected unanimously by the Electoral College. And he had a dog named Sweet Lips.

Extra credit: George W. Bush is our 43rd president, but actually there have only been 42 presidents. How can this be? (Hint: Look carefully at the list of presidents on the facing page.)

Sources: The World Almanac and Book of Facts; White House official website (www.whitehouse.gov); The Detroit Free Press; Infoplease.com; The World Book Encyclopedia; factmonster.com; University of Missouri at Kansas City website (www.umkc.edu).

United States presidents

The names in bold are presidents whose images were used to create the artwork. Dates in parentheses are terms in office.

1789-1850

George Washington (1789-97)

John Adams (1797-1801)

Thomas Jefferson (1801-09)

James Madison (1809-17)

James Monroe (1817-25)

John Quincy Adams (1825-29)

Andrew Jackson (1829-37)

Martin Van Buren (1837-41)

William Henry Harrison (1841)

John Tyler (1841-45)

James K. …

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A Presidential Quiz
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