On November 8th, the voters of the USA will elect their 45th President. The first, as everybody knows, was George Washington, who held the position from 1789 until 1797. According to a 1951 change to the country’s Constitution, nobody can occupy the White House for more than eight years (or two terms of office). So Barack Obama will be packing his bags and Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump moving in to take over his job as the most powerful person in the world.
William Henry Harrison died only 31 days after being elected, while Franklin D. Roosevelt served over twelve years (he died early in his fourth term) and is the only president who served more than two terms. Today there are four ex-presidents who are still alive: Jimmy Carter, George Bush Senior, Bill Clinton and George Bush Junior.
Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) was the first president who was a US citizen. All those before him were born British subjects, although they were born in the States. If you are interested in becoming president, these are the requirements: you must be a US citizen; you must be at least 35 years old, and you must have lived in the USA for at least 14 years.
Four presidents have been killed while in office, all of them shot. The first assassination was that of Abraham Lincoln, in a Washington theatre in 1865, and the last in Dallas, in 1963, when John F. Kennedy was the victim. Today the president travels in a specially-made Cadillac with 130mm-thick windows, 200mm-thick doors and many other defensive and offensive features.
A few more curious facts
The tallest president was Lincoln, at 1.93m. The largest, William Howard Taft, weighed 147 kilos and often got stuck in the bath! John Tyler had more children than any other president: eight by his first wife and seven by his second. No president has been an only child. JFK was the first Catholic president and the first president born in the 20th century.
And what about this year’s candidates? If he were elected, Donald Trump (70 last June) would become the oldest president to take office. He would also be the richest (his fortune is estimated at 3-4 billion dollars). And Hillary Clinton, of course, the first woman candidate for a major party, would become the first female president in the nation’s 240-year history.