Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison …
When I was a kid, I took a lot of pride in being able to name the presidents of the United States in chronological order. My fourth grade teacher made up a song that helped our class memorize their names and an important fact about each of them. It was one of her many clever exercises that made a lasting impression on me.
This past weekend, I checked to see if I still had it. It had been years since I took a stab at naming all of the presidents, but I figured it would be a piece of cake—if I got stuck, all I'd have to do was replay that fourth grade song in my head.
While I'm happy to report that I got pretty close, it was a little bit of a bummer to find that I forgot two of the presidents (the elusive Pierce and Hayes). Plus I mixed up the order a couple times. Shameful, I know.
Before you judge my poor old forgetful brain too harshly, make sure you're up to the task yourself. Can you name all of the 43 men who have served as President of the United States? Remember that while there have been 44 presidencies, Grover Cleveland served nonconsecutive terms, and there have only been 43 people in the office.
Today's task is to learn (or more likely, re-learn) all of the U.S. presidents in chronological order. And if you've already got their names mastered, your task is to learn a new fact about each of them.
A great first stop is the White House's website. It's got a nifty slideshow of the presidents (in order) and links to short bios for each.
There are plenty of sites online that offer tips and tricks for memorizing the presidents. For instance, Memorize.com shows you how to do it by breaking the list down into smaller groups and creating acronyms.
A few years back, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton recorded a ditty called "The Presidents," which is the most ridiculously catchy presidential history lesson I've ever come across. One note: Coulton got the date of James Garfield's assassination wrong (it was 1881, not 1882). When Coulton performs the song live, he updates the lyrics to correct his mistake.