10 Facts You Didn’t Know About US Presidential Elections

As we gear up for the election of our 45th President, its fun to look back at facts and trivia from the previous elections that have gripped the nation. Below are 10 little known facts about the U.S presidential election.

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1. George Washington bought votes with booze.

In 1758, a young George Washington spent 50 pounds, his entire campaign budget, on 160 gallons of liquor to win over 391 voters. This was an English custom at the time, and it was also traditional in Virginia to provide barrels of liquor at voting booths on the day of an election.

2. Not every state took part in the first presidential election.

George Washington was elected as the first president of the United States in 1789, but only 10 of the 13 existing states participated. Neither North Carolina nor Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution yet, so could not vote, and New York did not choose any electors.

3. There are not many requirements to become President.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution lists just three requirements for a president. They must be at least 35 years of age, they must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years, and they must be a natural-born citizen of the United States.

4. However, the first seven presidents did not meet these requirements.

It was not until 1837 that Martin Van Buren became the first president who was a natural-born American. Before him, all of the first seven presidents were born as subjects of the British crown. Before that, the nation was too young to have any natural-born citizens of age to run for president.

5. Americans are more likely to vote for married men.

We have only ever had one bachelor as president: James Buchanan. Ronald Reagan was also the only time a divorced man was elected president. No woman has ever won the presidential nomination of a major party, and only two have been nominated for vie-president.

6. Ronald Reagan was the most popular candidate of all time.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan was elected with the most ever popular votes (54,455,075) and the most ever electoral votes (525) in the history of American presidential elections. No other candidate has managed to get more votes in the three decade since.

7. The most popular candidate does not always win.

On four separate occasions in the history of the United States, the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes was not elected president. This happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and most recently in the 2000 elections. This system is part of what makes the U.S. a representative, rather than a direct democracy.

8. The youngest elected president was not the youngest president ever.

President John F. Kennedy was the youngest ever-elected president, at the age of 43. But he was not the youngest president. That was Theodore Roosevelt, who succeeded to the office of president after the assassination of President William McKinley, at the age of 42.

9. The title for oldest president, at 69 years, may be challenged in the 2016 election.

President Ronald Reagan was the oldest elected president, taking office at 69 years old. Some of the candidates in the 2016 election are vying to beat that title. Hillary Clinton will also be 69 in January 2017, Donald Trump will be 70, and Bernie Sanders will be 75 years old on Inauguration day.

10. Fewer and fewer Americans are voting.

In the 1960s, almost 62% of all registered voters participated in the presidential election. In the elections since 2000, just over 54% of registered voters have had their vote counted. Change the tide and make sure to vote in November 2016!


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