Can You Match the President to the U.S. Currency?
How well do you know the presidents hiding in your wallet?
A presidential money quiz
We’ll never know why many presidents were chosen to grace the faces of U.S. currency. The U.S. Treasury website says, “our records do not suggest why certain Presidents and statesmen were chosen for specific denominations.” (We do, however, know, why real living people will never appear on dollar bills.) There have been numerous changes to our currency over time, but one thing is for sure, we like to put U.S. presidents on our money. Can you answer these clues to determine which president is on these commonly circulated bills and coins?
Here are a few clues: He never lived in the White House. He owned slaves, but he struggled with the moral implications of owning another human being and freed every single one of them in his will. This president was born in the state that has produced the most U.S. presidents. In addition to being president, he was also well-known as a great military leader.
George Washington’s visage graces the face of the $1 bill, which is fitting since he was the first U.S. president. He was a reluctant president who didn’t spend any time or money campaigning and the only president in history to be unanimously elected by the electoral college. To learn more about the electoral college, check out these answers to questions about the American political system.
This man wasn’t only the president but also an accomplished architect. He was a bibliophile whose personal collection became the helped establish the Libary of Congress. When he was 76, he founded the University of Virginia, designing its buildings and curriculum. He died deeply in debt, despite his hidden talents.
Thomas Jefferson was our second vice-president and third president. Among the myriad accomplishments of his presidency were successfully negotiating the Louisiana Purchase and commissioning the Corps of Discovery (better known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition). Before he took office, he famously penned the Declaration of Independence.
This man is generally considered to be one of the greatest presidents of all time yet despite this, there’s a typo in the memorial that bears his name. He delivered what is arguably the most important proclamations in American history. He was one of four presidents to share a very grim fate.
Abraham Lincoln was one of only four presidents to be tragically assassinated while in office. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation three years into the Civil War in 1863, declaring that all slaves were free. You’ll love these timeless Abraham Lincoln quotes that are truly modern words to live by.
This president went by the nickname, “Old Hickory.” He received only a sporadic education growing up and taught himself to practice law through reading books. As president, he was known for using his veto power on a regular basis. In his private life, he was known to have a temper and once killed a man in a duel over a perceived insult to his wife who lived to see him elected president, but sadly passed away before he was sworn in.
Andrew Jackson was the seventh president to serve our country, having previously made his name as a congressman and general. He has a complicated legacy, largely due to the fact that he sat idly as U.S. treaties made with Native Americans were broken and 15,000 indigenous peoples were relocated during the Trail of Tears, leading to thousands of deaths. He was also a slave owner who opposed attempts to abolish slavery. On a lighter note, he also owned a parrot who learned how to swear—one of the most famous pets to live in the White House.
This president was a famous Civil War General before he entered into politics. In his post-presidential years, he founded a financial firm that subsequently went bankrupt around the same time he learned he had throat cancer. He sold his memoirs for $450,000 and successfully managed to complete them just before he died. He was known for having a dry sense of humor—in fact, he told one of the funniest jokes told by a U.S. president.
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th president of the United States. He was only 46 when he was sworn into office, making him the youngest president in history at the time. Before becoming president he gained notoriety as General and Commander of the Union Army during the Civil War. Since Grant was famous for his dry sense of humor, laugh along with the best presidential jokes for President’s Day.
This man practiced law early in his career and served in Congress and as governor of Ohio before being elected president. We won a war while he was in office and he was a champion of tariffs as a means of protecting the American economy. He was tragically assassinated shortly into his second term. This president didn’t have a middle name.
William McKinnley was the 20th president of the United States. He took office in 1897 at a time when the nation was deep in a financial depression and led the nation to victory during the Spanish-American War. He was assassinated while in office and succeeded by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, who was such a staunch conversationist that he banned Christmas trees in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president. Although most of his legacy centers around his role in the Civil War and abolishing slavery, he was also known, at 6’4″ as for being extremely tall. The toy, Lincoln Logs was named for him. Lincoln also has the honor of being one of the U.S. presidents with the highest IQ’s.
This president’s face also graces one of our denominations of paper money. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and famously lived in a grand estate he called Monticello, which is still a tourist attraction to this day. He was a slave owner who fathered several children with a slave named Sally Hemmings. Here’s what presidents’ handwriting reveals about them.
Thomas Jefferson lived on his estate, Monticello in Charlottesville until his death. It is widely accepted that he fathered at least four children with Sally Hemmings, a woman he owned as a slave. Because their mother was a slave, the law dictated that their children were born into slavery as well. Jefferson eventually freed them but Hemmings herself remained enslaved until she died. These presidential mysteries are still unsolved.
This president was married to a much-admired first lady who once accepted a trial run on a bobsled at the 1932 Olympics. He was partially paralyzed from polio and spent much of his time in a wheelchair. He spent so much time in the therapeutic waters of Warm Springs in Georgia that people began referring to it as “The Little White House.”
George Washington was our first president and was extremely disappointed to see our country move towards a two-party system, which he thought would be unnecessarily divisive. (One could only imagine what he would think if he had a chance to observe a modern election!) If you’ve ever wondered why we vote on Tuesdays, here’s your answer.
He was married to one of the most glamorous first ladies in history. He was reportedly so obsessed with his weight he never traveled without a bathroom scale. There are still many unanswered questions about this president’s assassination.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. In these rare photos of JFK and his wife, Jackie, you can see why the pair captured the hearts of the American people. He was tragically assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. This is the last thing JFK said to Jackie before he died.
This president was one of seven children and was educated at West Point. He was a general and Supreme Commander of the troops invading France on D-Day. After the war, he served as president at the prestigious Columbia University. His wife was named Mamie. Don’t miss these 52 astonishing facts you never knew about U.S. presidents.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States. He won the presidency with the slogan, “I Like Ike,” which proved so popular and memorable it helped propel him to victory. He was elected to a second term despite having recently suffered a heart attack. Now, learn the presidential firsts you didn’t learn in school.