15 Fascinating Facts About America You Never Learned in School
Which president was a hangman, which owned a saloon, the country’s deadliest job, and more mind-blowing trivia about American history and culture.
Our Grand Old Flag
Let’s open these facts about America with one about our country’s greatest symbol: its flag. The current 50-star American flag was designed by a 17-year-old as a school project in 1958. He got a B-.
Talk about a Great Lake
There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire landmass of North and South America in one foot of liquid.
A whole lotta pizza
Meanwhile, we sell enough pizza every day to cover 100 acres.
Our mighty military
The largest air force in the world is the U.S. Air Force. The world’s second-largest air force is the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps combined. Don’t miss these 22 words you never knew originated in the military.
Cry me a (very old) river
Here are some facts about America you didn’t know: Three of the world’s five oldest rivers flow in the states. The New, the Susquehanna, and the French Broad Rivers are each hundreds of millions of years old.
The power of youth
But our nation is young: The government is still paying one pension on behalf of a Civil War veteran (to his 85-year-old daughter). Think you know tons of facts about America? You might be wrong if you believe these lies your history teacher probably taught you.
America’s deadliest job
Statistically, the deadliest job in America is … president. Of the 45 men who’ve held the post, four have been assassinated in office— a rate of roughly 9 percent (or about one in ten) killed on the job.
An entrepreneurial president
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana, Alexander Hesler/Library of Congress
The only U.S. president to own a patent and a saloon: Abraham Lincoln. His patent was for a device to lift boats over sandbars. His saloon was a miserable failure. Don’t miss these other 24 little-known talents of U.S. presidents.
The president you don’t want to mess with
Napoleon Sarony/Library of Congress
The only president who was an executioner: Grover Cleveland. As sheriff of Erie County, New York, he hanged a murderer.
In praise of the pilgrims
An estimated one in ten of us could be a blood relative to one of the original 102 pilgrims who arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Find out how every state in America got its name.
The FBI is watching us
And roughly one in three of us has his or her fingerprints on file with the FBI.
A nation of do-gooders
According to the World Giving Index, Americans are the most likely people in the world to help a stranger. Here are 12 things about America that always confuse foreigners.
Thanks to our firemen
Case in point: Slightly more than 69 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.
Our real Independence day
The day Congress voted us free from British rule is July 2, 1776. July 4 is just when John Hancock put the first signature on the Declaration of Independence to spread the word. Don’t miss these other 16 history questions everyone gets wrong.
The highest court in the land
Finally, the real acme of the American justice system? That would be the basketball court on the fifth floor of the Supreme Court building. It’s known as the Highest Court in the Land. Next, here are 50 more astonishing facts you never knew about the 50 states.
Sources: todayifoundout.com, seagrant.umn.edu, fbi.gov, wsj.com, thewire.com, cafonline.org, nfpa.org, usnews.com, reddit.com, nationalinterest.org, navy.mil, smithsonian.com, knowledgenuts.com, washingtonpost.com, the Mayflower Society, and atlasobscura.com