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-.
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.
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.