The Most Surprising Fact About Every American President

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16. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
> Years served as president: 1861-1865
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Lincoln won all but one wrestling matches.

Abraham Lincoln is remembered fondly for myriad reasons, namely for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that abolished slavery. What is less known about Lincoln, however, is his extraordinary strength and athleticism. Lincoln won all but one of his wrestling matches.

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17. Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)
> Years served as president: 1865-1869
> Political party: Democratic
> Surprising fact: Johnson was an indentured servant for two years of childhood.

Needless to say, Andrew Johnson had a bit of a rough childhood growing up. The later impeached president and his brother were sent away by their mother as young children to be a tailor’s indentured servants. After two years, the boys ran away. From his experience working with the tailor, Johnson made all of his suits while president.

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18. Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
> Years served as president: 1869-1877
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Grant hated wearing a military uniform.

We associate Ulysses S. Grant with some of the greatest victories of the Union Army in the Civil War, such as Fort Donaldson in Tennessee and Vicksburg in Mississippi, and the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox. However, the West Point graduate disliked wearing military uniforms, eschewing the epaulets and other regalia officers wore for a private’s coat and a hat typically worn by civilians.

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19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893)
> Years served as president: 1877-1881
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Paraguay holds Hayes in high regard.

While President Rutherford B. Hayes isn’t thought of as one of the more popular American presidents, he is praised by one particular country in South America. After the Triple Alliance War, Paraguay lost a significant part of its territory to Argentina and Brazil. Hayes interceded in the dispute and, following negotiations, a large amount of territory was given to Paraguay.

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20. James Garfield (1831-1881)
> Years served as president: 1881
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Garfield could write in two different languages at one time.

James Garfield, among many things, was ambidextrous, but his capabilities went far beyond his ability to write with both his left and right hands. He developed the unique talent of simultaneously writing in Greek with one hand and in Latin with the other.