As the 2020 United States Presidential election draws ever nearer, many are attempting to learn more about the government and the election system. As such, there’s never been a better time to familiarize yourself with fun presidential trivia questions.
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You can use the following questions and answers to engage friends, family members, and coworkers. Not only can these informational tidbits help you break the ice, but they may also help you to feel more confident when you submit your vote this November.
Without further ado, let’s explore some of the best presidential trivia questions and answers!
US Presidents Trivia
There have been 44 unique US Presidents over the last few centuries, and each one is notable for at least one particular trait or accomplishment. Do you know which president never ended up getting married, or which one only served for a month? If not, keep on reading!
- Who was the first American-born US President?Martin Van Buren was the first American-born President. This statement might seem confusing, especially when you consider the fact that George Washington, the very first US President, was born in Virginia. John Adams, the second President, was born in Massachusetts.
Martin Van Buren was the son of Dutch immigrants, and he was born several years after the colonies declared themselves independent of British rule. Technically, this makes him the first American-born US President. The Presidents who came before him were born in English colonies that later became US states.
- Which President holds the record for the shortest time served?William Henry Harrison. He was elected into office in 1841, becoming the 9th US President. However, he never made it past his first month in office, falling gravely ill from some kind of respiratory illness.
Those who attended his inauguration ceremony noted that he delivered a lengthy speech without wearing a coat or jacket. Some have speculated that this may have led to pneumonia, and consequently, an unexpected death.
- Which US President never got married?James Buchanan. He never had a First Lady with him at the White House. Buchanan, the 15th President, was briefly engaged to be married when he was 28 years old.
However, it seems that Buchanan wasn’t prepared for marriage, leading to a dissolution of the engagement not long after. He never married, making him the only US President to remain a bachelor all their life.
- Who was the first left-handed President?James A. Garfield. All of the left-handed readers perusing this list may be interested to know that the 20th President of the United States was also the first left-handed President. He was also partially ambidextrous, allowing him to switch between using his left and right hand.
Interestingly, it seems that Garfield was a bit of a Renaissance man. He spoke both English and German and he was also familiar with classic languages such as Latin and Greek. Sadly, he is often remembered as the second US President to be assassinated, rather than for his unique talents.
Presidential Election Trivia
The election process can be a little mysterious and confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with US election history. Do you know why the US Presidential election is held in early November every four years? The answer may surprise you!
- Why is the US Presidential election held in early November?Farmers. While there are a few other, more technical reasons, the bottom line is that the early US government wanted to ensure that the majority of Americans could vote. The merchant class was a small minority of the total population, and most folks lived agricultural lives working on farms that their families or employers owned.
While it may seem strange now, what with 80% of the US population living in cities or urbanized areas, there was once a time where the average family lived off the land. As such, farming trends and schedules determined a good deal, including election processes.
The first week of November was convenient because it fell after the harvest period but before the first pangs of hard winter weather. This ensured that farmers were free and unhindered when voting time arrived.
- Has the voting age always been 18?No, it was 21 before the 1970s. 1970 was only 50 years ago, so there are plenty of people alive today who remember the change of voting age in the United States. The 26th Amendment is responsible for the lowering of the voting age to 18, and it was officially adopted in 1971. However, less than half of all 18-year-olds tend to vote during the Presidential election.
- When were women granted the right to vote?Women were granted the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. This was sensational news for women all across the country, and a massive step forward toward equal rights for all US citizens.
Presidential Inauguration Trivia
Watching a President’s inauguration has become a bi-decade tradition that fascinates Americans and viewers across the world. However, the inauguration wasn’t always broadcast to televisions or computer screens. In the far past, you could even buy a ticket to the inaugural ball for a mere $4.
- When was the first inaugural ball held?The first inaugural ball was held in 1809. James Madison was the man of honor, and it cost guests $4 for a ticket to attend. While the destination for this ball is listed as “Long’s Hotel”, this venue wouldn’t exactly pass as a hotel nowadays.
It was more like a tavern, with plenty of drinking opportunities. You can imagine what kind of evening guests had, especially when you factor in the fact that political campaigns once solely consisted of giving voters beer.
- Whose inauguration was the first to be televised?Harry S. Truman’s was the first Presidential inauguration to be televised, in 1949. However, less than 20% of US households had a television set at this time. Additionally, the entire TV broadcast lasted a total of eight minutes, which is nothing compared to today’s standards.
Consequently, it’s more likely that the majority of people gathered around their living room radios to listen to a broadcast of the inauguration. Of course, inauguration parties were also relatively common during this time.
- Who was the youngest person ever to be inaugurated as US President?
- Whose inauguration was attended by the largest amount of people?Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration broke records for attendance. It’s estimated that approximately 1.8 million people crowded the National Mall on inauguration day in 2009. That’s equivalent to about 1% of the entire US adult population!
Presidential Trivia for Kids
Are you ready to rock out with some presidential trivia for kids? These questions might seem easy at first, but they get a little bit harder—and more bizarre—as they go on. Go ahead and share these kid-friendly trivia questions with your friends and family!
- Who was the first President of the United States of America?George Washington. You may feel like this was an easy question to answer, but do you know who Washington ran against? If not, don’t feel too bad. George Washington was such a popular pick for President, no one ran against him during either of his terms. Talk about being well-liked!
- Which President had a dog named King Tut?Herbert Hoover. The 31st President was a bit of an odd fellow. In 1927, he became the first person to ever participate in a long-distance television broadcast. When he was only 9 years old, he became an orphan.
And while he was President, he owned a Belgian dog named King Tut. Truly, Herbert Hoover was one of the most eccentric Presidents to ever hold office, and one of the least fortunate. He was President during the Great Depression and the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
- Who was the next President after George Washington to have a wife named Martha?Thomas Jefferson, the third US President. Martha seems to have been a particularly popular name from the mid-1600s until the late 1800s, but only two First Ladies have this name. Elizabeth and Mary are actually far more common among the pool of First Ladies.
- Which President is known for his love of nature and the creation of the U.S. Forest Service?Theodore Roosevelt. This bespectacled President, often called Teddy Roosevelt, is well known for his love of the outdoors. While he did enjoy hunting, he also wanted to preserve the national forests and parklands for future generations to enjoy.
In some ways, Teddy Roosevelt was a stout academic who fancied himself a cowboy. His Presidency was once marked by a devotion to the working class and the environment, making him one of the earliest ‘progressive’ Presidents.
Enjoy These Trivia Tidbits
We hope that you enjoyed these Presidential trivia questions and answers as much as we enjoyed researching them! There’s so much to learn and investigate when it comes to US history, even though the United States is far younger than many other countries.
Discovering new facts about previous presidencies and elections can help you look forward to this year’s upcoming election, and the many elections to come in the future!