February 17, 2022

What is Presidents’ Day?

Every year, in late February, America celebrates Presidents’ Day. It is placed in February to commemorate George Washington’s birthday, on February 11th, and Abraham Lincoln’s, on the 12th. Even though the holiday is most commonly associated with these two presidents, it is actually a celebration of everyone who served in the office of the president, from George Washington to modern day.

The presidency is a daunting task for anyone to take on, and some men have performed valiantly. George Washington helped defeat the British and secure America’s Independence, Abraham Lincoln guided the country through a bloody Civil War, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped lift the country out of the Great Depression and through World War Two. Just like we examined previously with our MLK word list, these men have all found their place in history, to be celebrated on Presidents’ Day.

The Lesser Known Presidents

But, there have been 45 different men who have served the Office of the President. And while there’s no doubt that some of you have all the presidents memorized, whether for an old school assignment that never left your head, as a fun party trick, or just apart of an impressive arsenal of trivia, most people may need a bit of a brush-up when it comes to these men who served as president.

Grover Cleveland

The keen-eyed of you may have noticed something; we said there have been 45 different men who have served as president, but Joe Biden is our 46th president. This discrepancy arises from Grover Cleveland, the former Governor of New York who is the only person in history to serve two non-consecutive terms. He was first elected as the 22nd president in 1884, then lost to Benjamin Harrison, but was victorious again in 1892 and took office as the 24th president.

Martin Van Buren

Before becoming the 8th President of the United States, Martin Van Buren served as Governor of New York, the Secretary of State, and Vice President under Andrew Jackson. Despite this plethora of experience, Van Buren struggled to gain political momentum during his administration, and found himself burdened by an economic crisis. Due to being mired in this crisis, Van Buren lost the presidency to William Henry Harrison in 1841. However, Van Buren managed to retain some political clout in his later years, and ran for president again in 1848 atop the Free Soil Party ticket.

William Henry Harrison

The 9th President of the United States, William Henry Harrison ended up serving the shortest term. He delivered the longest inaugural address in history, speaking for over two hours. Unfortunately, President Harrison died of pneumonia after only thirty days in office.

John Tyler

John Tyler was the 10th President, ascending to the office after William Henry Harrison’s passing. He experienced great tumult in his time in office, seeing nearly his entire cabinet resign in response to his vetoing of a banking bill. It is hard to imagine today, but as a sitting president, John Tyler was unable to even secure his party’s nomination for the next presidential election.

Chester Arthur

Chester A. Arthur was one of five U.S. Presidents who were never elected to office; taking over following James Garfield’s assasination. He attempted to reform corruption while in office, but gained little traction against the political machines of the time. He failed to secure his party’s nomination for the 1884 election.

Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore was another vice president who ascended to the highest office after the passing of his predecessor, this time Zachary Taylor. Fillmore spent most of his term in office chasing policy which didn’t come to fruition. But, he was noteworthy for being the last member of the Whig Party to be president.

James Buchanan

James Buchanan found himself in a difficult spot in the late 1850s. The country was on a clear path to Civil War, and Buchanan was charged with the monumental task of preventing it. Unable to find a satisfactory solution, President Buchanan chose not to take any action, even after states began to secede. He didn’t even attempt to gain re-election in 1860, with War on the horizon.

Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding struggled during his term in office. He was put up for office by his party bosses because he had the physical appearance of someone who was presidential. However, this proved to not nearly be enough to do the job, and Harding struggled to achieve much as far as policy during his term.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes was the first candidate in history to become president even after losing the popular vote. In hopes of uniting the nation, President Hayes appointed his cabinet members regardless of their political affiliation. President Hayes instituted the White House Easter Egg Roll, which still endures to the present day.

Presidents’ Day Words

Over the course of their terms, whether through campaign slogans, policy choices, or speeches, specific words have come to be associated with certain presidents. So, let’s take a look at what kinds of words we may find in a presidential game of Words with Friends!

  • Revolution

    17 points

    a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system.

  • Continental

    18 points

    relating to the thirteen original colonies of the US during the time of the American Revolution.

  • Hope

    9 points

    a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

  • Electoral

    14 points

    relating to elections or electors.

  • Constitution

    18 points

    the basic written set of principles and precedents of federal government in the US, which came into operation in 1789 and has since been modified by twenty-seven amendments.

  • Democracy

    21 points

    a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

  • Forefather

    18 points

    a member of the past generations of one’s family or people; an ancestor.

  • Liberty

    13 points

    the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

  • Patriot

    10 points

    a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

  • Colonial

    14 points

    relating to the period of the British colonies in America before independence.

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