After a year of President’s birthdays, we’d like to try something new! Each month, we’ll tell you about the unique talents of the Presidents born that month. Then you, in your best Simon Cowell impression, will elect a winner for the month and send the others home. Ready?
First up is Thomas Jefferson, President #3 and drafter of the Declaration of Independence. He excelled at linguistics; he spoke French, Spanish, Greek, Latin, German, and Italian (and English, we assume). Once, he bragged to have taught himself Spanish in only 19 days, and that was before Rosetta Stone or Dora. Jefferson also had a knack for inventing. Like Doc Brown’s workshop, his home was littered with homemade contraptions, from revolving chairs and music stands, to a pedometer, to a chair that could be collapsed into a walking stick.
James Buchanan was the 15th President, and the only one from Pennsylvania. His talents were primarily academic, having attended college at age 14, graduated with top honors, and joined the bar association by age 21. He also had a talent for bachelorhood (the only President who never married) and for philanthropy, regularly taking in younger relatives who had lost parents.
The 18th President, Ulysses S Grant, is of course near and dear to us for his role in the Civil War. You can certainly count “military genius” among his finest attributes. Lesser known was his affinity for horses: by age 9 he mastered the art of breaking and training horses, so well that neighbors hired his services. Unfortunately, he later became very talented at a number of vices, like the ability to smoke 20 cigars a day or to make large amounts of whiskey disappear.
James Monroe, the 5th President of the USA, was a strong political leader whose name you might recognize with the “Monroe Doctrine,” or associate with the Louisiana Purchase. He was very popular. In fact, when he ran for his second term, he was essentially unopposed and received all but one electoral vote. A lesser known talent was his retro fashion sense, perhaps the birth of the “hipster” movement. He wore a powdered wig, a tricorner hat, and knee breeches long after they were out of fashion.
Make a bracket here.