Presidential trivia in the news

Presidential trivia time. Can you name a president who was not a US citizen when he were born? Spoiler alert for Birthers: it’s not Barack Obama.

Ready? Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born after the United States became a country. So any of the presidents from Washington to Jackson began their lives as subjects of the Crown. If you’re keeping score, that includes Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and a brace of Adams.

Is that a trick question or not? I’m not sure, but I like it. But even more do I like my next question. It is my favorite presidential trivia question: Can you name a president that was not a US citizen when he died?


Ready? Coming along just one president after Van Buren is John Tyler. Tyler, a Virginian, was known as His Accidency because he filled the office after William Henry Harrison’s speedy demise. By the time of the Civil War, he had long since retired from political life. Nevertheless, he joined the Confederacy and was elected as a representative to the Confederate House. He died in 1862, which means that his death occurred after he had renounced his status as a US citizen. QED. Tyler’s death went officially unmourned in Washington. Last question: Can you name another president whose death was unmourned?

Ready? Carter, Clinton, Obama, and a brace of Bushes are unmourned because they are as yet undead.

Now that’s a trick question.

John Tyler came to mind recently because he made the news the other day. Incredibly, and despite the fact that he was born 221 years ago, two of his grandsons are still alive. That’s right. Two grandchildren of a US president who took the oath of office in 1841 are eating Cheerios and watching the Daily Show.

Now you know. If you don’t use that one at your next cocktail party, don’t blame me.

2 thoughts on “Presidential trivia in the news”

  1. Love it. My son Adam is a huge American Presidents history buff and I’ve learned a lot from him. Together we devised what we call the Mother of All American Presidents Trivia Questions:

    Which U.S. President was sworn in for his first term by his father and sworn in for his second term by an ex-President?

  2. Got it. I knew about Taft becoming Supreme Court Chief Justice, but I had to scratch my head about the two terms. Good one!

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