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An Inside Look

By Sources: Congressional QuarterlyAmerican Heritage Dictionary of the Presidency; 'The Portable Lincoln' / February 14, 1992



* The Growing Bureaucracy

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Today's Executive Branch of the federal government has 14 cabinet posts and billions of dollars budgeted each year. George Washington's cabinet had five departments - State, Treasury, War, Justice, and Post Office - and a $4 million annual budget.

* The Hazards of Office

Andrew Jackson (served 1829-37) was the first president to face an assassin, who fired two pistols at him at point-blank range (both misfired). Four presidents - Abraham Lincoln (1865), James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), and John F. Kennedy (1963) - have been killed by assassins. Among other assassination attempts have been those against Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan.

* Mudslinging's Long Tradition

'And here is

THE TYRANT

Who, born to command,

Is the curse of the country - the

King of the land

Against whom the people have

taken their stand -

The dotard of sixty - the play-

thing of knaves

Who would make us obey him

or render us slaves.'

- Anti-Andrew Jackson campaign song, 1832

* Rating the Presidents

In 1962, historian Arthur Schlesinger asked 75 prominent Americans to rank the presidents. Those considered 'great':

Lincoln, Washington, F.D. Roosevelt, Wilson, Jefferson

According to a 1981 Chicago Tribune survey of 49 historians and political scholars, the top five presidents were:

Lincoln, Washington, F.D. Roosevelt, T. Roosevelt, Jefferson

A Gallup poll in 1985 asked average citizens: "Which three US president do you regard as the greatest?" Their top five:

Kennedy, Lincoln, F.D. Roosevelt, Truman, Washington

* Presidential Occupations

The first five United States presidents listed their occupation as 'farmer'; the last to do so was Jimmy Carter (1977-81). Twenty-three presidents were lawyers; four were career military men; one had been a tailor (Andrew Johnson); and one had been an entertainer (Ronald Reagan).