By: Jack Swift
Johnson County Historian
In November of this year the United States of America will elect a president. The process of electing a Chief of State has been going on every four years for the duration of these United States. It is a long process as candidates began their campaigns a long time before the election.
I find the process fascinating as each candidate announces his or her views along with a lot of mud slinging. It finally boils down to one candidate from each party (Democrat or Republican) achieving that great honor. Here are some facts about some of the most prominent American presidents.
The first U. S. President was George Washington as everyone knows. What everyone may not know is that he was a licensed Surveyor. Among his many talents was his ability as a thinker. His occupation historically was as planter or farmer. But when called upon to fight for America, he was a successful soldier.
Washington was born February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was elected twice to the presidency (1789 and 1792). He died December 14, 1799 and is buried on the grounds of his home Mount Vernon, Virginia. It is interesting to note that Tennessee became the 16th state in his second term.
Perhaps one of the greatest presidents in view of his steadfastness and difficulty that he encountered was Abraham Lincoln. Born in a log cabin and self-educated, he went on to achieve the highest office in the land. He was born February 12, 1809 and died from an assassin’s bullet on April 15, 1865. He was a Lawyer by occupation.
Among those presidents considered great, I believe Thomas Jefferson would fit nicely in that category. He was an architect, a lawyer, an inventor, an author, a musician and a statesman.
As a member of the Class of 1956, my classmates and I were able to go on a trip to Washington D. C. Washington’s home Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s home Monticello were on our itinerary. Both houses were very interesting. President Jefferson’s house was designed by him and he had a number of inventions in it.
One of the greatest events of all time happened in his administration: the Louisiana Purchase. The cost was $15 million — a small price indeed for such a vast area of land. He was elected president in 1800 and again in 1804.