The New Year is here, and so are January’s presidential birthdays! Eldest of the bunch is Millard Fillmore, born January 7, 1800, just a week into the new century. He became our 13th President, the first who could be classified as “middle class.” He lost favor in the North by allowing slavery in new territories, as well as signing the Fugitive Slave Act, but he did stop Napoleon III from annexing Hawaii. A joke about Fillmore installing the White House’s first bathtub has persisted as trivia to this day, so don’t be fooled!
Hailing from Ohio, William McKinley Jr. was born on January 29, 1843. He was a natural leader, progressing from Congressman to Governor and, with the aid of innovative advertising, from Governor to President. He ushered in an age of prosperity following the Panic of 1893, relying heavily on the gold standard and import tariffs to boost the economy. His presidency peaked with the Spanish-American War, through which he led the US to a quick victory in just 100 days, freeing Cuba and annexing Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Phillipines. In 1901, while visiting the Pan-American Exposition, he was assassinated by anarchist Leon Frank Czolgoz.
If you take out a dime, you’ll see our next subject, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, aka FDR. He was born January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, NY. FDR, who was elected for an unparalleled four terms, is regularly ranked among the top three American Presidents in polls. His optimistic spirit, combined with his far-reaching New Deal program, reeled the country up from the depths of the Great Depression. He played a major role in WWII, but didn’t live to see the end of it. FDR had many hobbies, but few know that he once wrote a screenplay about the ship Old Ironsides (it didn’t sell).
Last on our roster is Richard Milhous Nixon, the President whose name is synonymous with “Watergate.” He entered the world on January 9, 1913 and was named after Richard the Lionheart. While you know about the scandal, you might not know that he oversaw the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, initiated diplomacy with China, implemented desegregation, and presided over the Apollo moon landing. His re-election in 1972 garnered him 60% of the popular vote, missing just two states. And while many people would like to have suggested New Year’s Resolutions to him, he was known for having his own: Set great goals, write more books, and daily rest, among others.
Resolve to learn more about the Presidents! Check out the December batch here!