Speeches You’ve Never Heard – For Various Reasons

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Important Speeches

Never Heard

by the Public

It’s good to be prepared. You never know for sure how a big decision will turn out, so you need to be ready for anything. This is especially true if you have to announce a victory or a tragedy to the world; you want to have a speech ready so you don’t resort to freestyle rapping your way through a declaration of war. Fate dictated that these speeches not be given, but they would have been well-remembered if they had.

10. Wamsutta James Ruins Plymouth’s Anniversary Party

Native American activist Wamsutta James was a descendant of the Wampanoags, a tribe that was living in New England when European maps were still labeling America with “Here be Dragons.” When he was asked to give a speech at a 1970 event commemorating the anniversary of the arrival of settlers at Plymouth, he saw a chance to rip apart historical myths that glossed over how natives were treated by settlers. Instead of telling the school kids and Pilgrim descendants present what they were expecting to hear — cute fictions about how buddy-buddy the Pilgrims and Natives were — he would have spent his entire speech destroying those myths, taking his audience to task for their ignorance and highlighting the many atrocities his people suffered, after which he presumably would have dropped the mic and strutted offstage.

Event organizers didn’t like his proposed text and he didn’t like their requests for a rewrite, so James never spoke. While not as historically significant as the speeches coming up on this list, James’ speech is worth mentioning because it highlights an area of American history that is woefully overlooked. It’s fittingly ironic that a speech meant to discuss an oft-suppressed historical truth was prevented from being given. Also, we have to admire the giant balls it takes to accept an invitation to speak at an event, and then spend your whole time trashing it.

Excerpt

“We forfeited our country. Our lands have fallen into the hands of the aggressor. We have allowed the white man to keep us on our knees. What has happened cannot be changed, but today we must work towards a more humane America, a more Indian America, where men and nature once again are important; where the Indian values of honor, truth, and brotherhood prevail.”

9. Sarah Palin Wins

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Near the end of the 2008 Presidential election, tensions between the McCain and Palin camps were so high that McCain’s people insisted that, win or lose, Sarah Palin would not give a speech on Election Night. Given that Palin had turned into the laughingstock of the campaign, that was probably a wise decision.

Palin was a divisive figure both during and after the election, with some voters loving her and others cringing at the thought of her being a heartbeat away from the Presidency. When the text of Palin’s proposed victory speech was revealed, it was a look into what could have been (but thankfully wasn’t). As a speech it’s decent enough, your typical gracious victory celebration. But it’s the idea behind it that’s really interesting — the 2008 election was one of the closest and most contentious in recent history, and the years that followed it would have looked awfully different had the result swung the other way. Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s a hell of a thought experiment to take a minute and wonder what America would have looked like with Sarah Palin in the White House, and her speech lets you know how that news would have been broken to you.

Excerpt

“It’s been just 68 days since that afternoon in Dayton, Ohio, when Senator McCain introduced me as his running mate. He is truly the maverick. He took a chance on me. I will always be grateful for that. It will be the honor of a lifetime to work him as vice president of the United States. And I pledge to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear conviction, and a servant’s heart.

My fellow Americans, tens of millions of you shared our convictions and gave us your votes. And I thank you for your confidence. We were facing tough odds and formidable opponents.”

8. Albert Lutuli Lectures South Africa

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Albert Lutuli was a key member of the African National Congress and their struggle against South Africa’s apartheid government. He was arrested in 1960 for burning his pass (an internal passport that all black South Africans were required to carry and produce on demand), shortly after 69 people were killed in a protest against the pass system.

Lutuli was found guilty, fined and given a suspended jail sentence. He had planned on giving a speech before the sentence was decided, but ultimately refrained for health reasons. While today the trial is little more than a footnote in the long story of the anti-apartheid movement, his proposed speech is an excellent piece of rhetoric that aptly highlights the many grievances blacks had with the system. If Lutuli had been able to give it, it may have well been remembered alongside other famous protest speeches of the era.

Excerpt

“There comes a time, sir, when a leader must give as practical a demonstration of his convictions and willingness to live up to the demands of the cause, as he expects of his people. I felt that was the hour in our history, and in my life, for this demonstration. I am not sorry nor ashamed of what I did. I could not have done less than I did and still live with my conscience. I would rightly lose the confidence of my people, and earn the disrespect of right-thinking people in my country and in the world, and the disdain of posterity.

In all humility, I say that I acted as was my duty in response to the highest moral law in the best interest of the people of South Africa, because I am convinced that the urgent need of our country, for the maintenance of peace and harmony amongst the various races, black and white, is the immediate and wholesale abolition of the pass. It is my firm belief that it is the duty of all right-thinking people, black and white, who have the true interest of our country at heart, to strive for this without flinching.”

7. JFK’s Dallas Speech

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As you are hopefully aware, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. If you weren’t aware, you’re probably wondering what the magic box you’re reading this list on is. What you may not know was that Kennedy was on his way to the Dallas Trade Mart, where he was scheduled to give a speech.

His speech touches on the Cold War, America’s role in the world, and the general uneasiness of the times. Ironically, parts of the speech attack speaking itself — Kennedy argues that America needs to act against Communism instead of merely criticizing it. Some of his words are ominous — promoting financial support for the Vietnam War and the oppressive Iranian Shah does not look wise in retrospect, and bragging about how the US has been able to vastly expand its nuclear arsenal is flat-out scary.

Nevertheless, it’s a stirring piece of rhetoric that would have done well in the hands of a skilled orator like Kennedy, and certainly would have been remembered as a snapshot of the times in which he governed had he lived to deliver it.

Excerpt

“We in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago, “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.””

6. A Regular FDR Speech Would Have Been An Unofficial Goodbye

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Speaking of Presidents and dying, FDR had a speech ready to go for Jefferson Day 1945, before a massive cerebral hemorrhage changed his plans. Had he lived to give it, it would probably be remembered as a decent but generic speech, the sort of remarks the President needs to make when there’s a war going on.

But with FDR kicking the bucket and World War II ending not long after his death, his unspoken words serve as an unintentional goodbye to the American people and the world. They have a poignancy that would be lacking had he lived to speak them, and they make a fitting eulogy for the end of both the longest Presidency in American history and a historical era of depression and war. There’s an optimism to the speech, as it looks forward to the time of peace everyone knows is slowly but surely coming, that is somehow stronger for being given from beyond the grave (not literally; a zombie FDR giving a speech would be terrifying).

Excerpt

“Today, as we move against the terrible scourge of war—as we go forward toward the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world- the contribution of lasting peace, I ask you to keep up your faith. I measure the sound, solid achievement that can be made at this time by the straight edge of your own confidence and your resolve. And to you, and to all Americans who dedicate themselves with us to the making of an abiding peace, I say: The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”

5. The Cold War Goes Hot

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The Cuban Missile Crisis ended about as well as anything called a “missile crisis” could be expected to — the US publicly won a game of nuclear chicken, the Soviet Union privately achieved a strategic goal by having US missiles removed from Turkey, and nobody got blown up. It’s the sort of feel good ending that was tailor-made for Hollywood.

Most alternative “solutions” to the Crisis would have ended with shots being fired, and JFK had a speech ready to go in case he felt it necessary for American boots to hit the ground in Cuba. We can’t even begin to speculate what the fallout of a military invasion of Cuba would have been. At best, American-Soviet relations would have hit an all-time low, and at worst we’d all be living in Fallout instead of dicking around on the Internet. On the plus side, it would be a lot cheaper to take vacations to Cuba.

Anytime you can make a decision where one possible result is “nuclear holocaust,” you better have a darn good speech up your sleeve, and JFK’s remarks are appropriately somber. Considering the next words out of his mouth could have been “better duck and cover, kids!” they damn well should have been.

Excerpt

“My fellow Americans, with a heavy heart, and in necessary fulfillment of my oath of office, I have ordered – and the United States Air Force has now carried out – military operations with conventional weapons only, to remove a major nuclear weapons build-up from the soil of Cuba.”

4. Nixon Doesn’t Resign

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Political super-villain Richard Nixon is famous for being the only President in American history to resign, but that was actually “Option B.” Had things gone according to plan he would have clung to power, and his Presidency would have begun to resemble the Nixon Administration from Watchmen.

Nixon’s “I’m Sticking Around, Suckers” speech is defiant, although in retrospect it’s also ignorant of the state of affairs, and a little megalomaniacal to boot. Nixon resigned after realizing the political winds were against him, so it’s hard not to imagine this speech being given from a throne of skulls with lighting and thunder crackling in the background. Had Nixon decided to fight public opinion and cling to power, the politics of the day would have become even uglier in a hurry.

Excerpt

“I firmly believe that I have not committed any act of commission or omission that justifies removing a duly elected President from office. If I did believe that I had committed such an act, I would have resigned long ago.”

3. D-Day Fails

As any video gamer can tell you, D-Day was a tough battle. History classes tend to gloss over the many ways Operation Overlord could have gone wrong — anything from a smarter German reaction to lousy weather would have made Saving Private Ryan a lot more depressing. General Eisenhower, well aware of the risk he was taking, took a moment on the evening before the battle to jot down a speech to be read in case of failure. The speech — actually little more than a brief statement — is chilling in how it describes what would have been a catastrophic loss of life with clinical detachment.

How would World War II have turned out if D-Day failed? Well, by 1944, it was just a matter of time until the Nazis were defeated, but with the American and British advance in tatters, the Red Army would have had to pick up the slack, pushing further into Europe than they did in reality. The end result would have been a much larger Soviet Union and a very different Cold War, changes that would have reverberated through history up until today. So jeez, Eisenhower, maybe you should have offered more than 10 seconds of commentary on the matter.

Excerpt

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

2. Apollo 11 Doesn’t Come Home

Getting men to the Moon was such a complicated endeavor that it’s easy to forget that we had to get them home, too. If something broke they couldn’t exactly call AAA for help, and considering we’re talking about travelling 384,400 km through the vacuum of space in a little ball of metal powered by rocket fuel and slide ruler calculations, it’s actually remarkable that something didn’t break. The joy and wonder felt around the world at the sight of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon would have been a bit dampened had it then been announced that their adventure had unexpectedly become a one-way trip.

Presidential speechwriter William Safire knew the White House had to be ready for anything, so he prepared a short speech entitled “In the Event of Moon Disaster.” Thankfully it never had to be given, but it’s a beautiful piece of prose that would have served as a fitting tribute to the men lying their lives down for the cause of exploration, dampened only slightly by the fact that it would have been read by Richard Nixon.

Excerpt

“For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”

1. Hitler Gets Blown Up

Carl Friedrich Goerdeler as Price Commissioner

As that Tom Cruise movie (and maybe history class) taught you, in 1944 there was a failed attempt by members of the German Resistance to assassinate Hitler. Had the attempt succeeded, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, one of the conspirators and the proposed Chancellor of post-Hitler Germany, would have given a fiery radio address denouncing Hitler and his policies. Unfortunately, Hitler survived the assassination attempt with everything but his trousers intact, and Goerdeler and his fellow conspirators were quickly rounded up. Nearly 5000 people were executed in the aftermath, essentially putting an end to all organised anti-Nazi resistance within Germany.

It’s hard to say what would have happened had the plan succeeded — internal German politics were complicated, and many of the conspirators still held anti-Semitic views. But regardless of the details, it’s likely that signing a peace treaty would have been a priority, World War II would have come to an early end in Europe, and there would have been no Berlin Wall. But then David Hasselhoff wouldn’t have been able to play a concert there, so maybe it was for the best.

Excerpt

“We would not be worthy of our fathers, we would earn the contempt of our children, if we lacked the courage to do everything, everything conceivable, to avert the terrible peril and to achieve self-respect once more. Over and over, Hitler has violated the oath given to the people ten years ago. He has done so by violating the law, human and divine. Therefore no soldier, no official, not a single citizen is bound to him by oath any longer.”


Speeches You’ve Never Heard –

For Various Reasons

Crazy But True – WIF Conspiracies

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Crazy Conspiracies

That Turned Out

to be True

Conspiracy theories will always fire up the imaginations of even the most reasonable of us. It’s fascinating to imagine a bunch of people in a dark room, controlling actions from their chairs and encouraging events that change the course of the world, with no one truly being the wiser. Now, most conspiracy theories are flimsy nonsense that are obviously full of holes and not true at all. However, some conspiracy theories have more truth than most people would ever imagine. In some situations, there really was a group of people in a dark room conspiring to massively pull the wool over the eyes of others, in order to change the course of the world.

10. The US Government Once Planned A False Flag Operation Against Their Own People

When most people hear about the 9/11 conspiracy theories, they have very similar reactions. Most people believe that the amount of complexity and manpower required to pull off such an operation would have meant that we would have had far too many people snitching about what happened for the conspirators to ever get away with it. People also seem skeptical that the government would ever even consider something so horrific. However, while it seems like something out of a dark fantasy, the truth is that the United States government has, at the highest levels, planned similar operations in the past.

During the Kennedy years, the United States greatest threat were the Cubans led by Fidel Castro, and some in the government were looking for an excuse to start an actual ground war with the Cubans — something they wanted to get public support for both at home and around the world. It was to achieve this goal that the joint chiefs of staff at the time came up with a plan, and proposed it to JFK, to attack United States citizens and property (while pretending to be Cubans) as part of a false flag effort to gain support for a war. Kennedy was very angry and told them it was a terrible, immoral idea and that they were to shelve it and never bring it up again. However, while Kennedy did not want to play ball, that doesn’t mean there weren’t ever any presidents who would consider taking part in a similar plot.

9. President Woodrow Wilson’s Wife Ran The Presidency For Over A Year

During Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, he was considered a very hard working executive, whether you liked the man and his politics or not. He was regularly traveling the world in his attempts to get the United States involved in worldwide political alliances, and also engaged in speaking tours across the country. Unfortunately, his habits of hard work eventually caught up with him and nearing the end of his presidency, he suffered from a stroke. Many people at the time wondered if something was wrong, and if there might be a conspiracy to keep the extent of the president’s troubles from the public.

In fact, the government tried so hard to cover it up that his stroke and general ill health was not known for months. Even after that the true damage was never really spoken about to the press and not known for years later. Many people suspected that his health was indeed worse than the government was letting on, and that his wife was actually making most of the decisions — basically being the first woman president, in a way. While Edith claimed that she was nothing but a steward, historians who studied the time period in later years are certain that she practically was the chief executive of our country for well over a year. For those who still doubt her influence, keep in mind that while Edith Wilson was running the show, women finally gained the right to vote.

8. HAARP Is Not A Weather Control Device, But Massive Weather Control Has Been Attempted

Many people like to go on about HAARP, a government science project that many people were convinced had a lot more going on than actually met the eye. The government claimed it was simply testing radio waves and their effects on the ionosphere and other mundane things that aren’t really that interesting. Of course, conspiracy theorists were certain that something boring couldn’t actually be boring; it had to be hiding something actually interesting.

Of course, all evidence points to the government telling the truth in this case, and HAARP being nothing more than a rather mundane research project that was shut down when the research had run its course. However, that doesn’t mean weather control attempts have never been made, or that the governments of the world aren’t trying to understand the science behind it better. We know that during the Vietnam war, the United States government tried to seed the clouds around South Vietnam with various substances in the hopes it would increase rainfall and make the war effort harder for their enemies. It certainly doesn’t stretch the imagination that technology of that sort has improved over time, if the government has decided to continue researching it.

7. The United States Government Has Experimentally Poisoned US Cities Multiple Times

Many people will claim that the government is secretly poisoning you in one way or another, whether through chemtrails, fluoride, or some other insidious means. Now, evidence has shown that most of these theories are total hogwash; however, that doesn’t mean the United States government has never poisoned its own people. According to records that were released years after the fact, from the 1950s through the early 1970s, the United States government conducted nearly 300 bacterial weapon attacks on various US cities in order to understand the results.

One of the most famous of these was in San Francisco, where the government wanted to see if the fog would help spread a biological attack, and if an enemy could stage such an attack from the sea. They used hoses to release the bacteria, and according to their own data, it reached essentially everyone in the city and effectively spread out enough that if it were a harmful bacteria, the damage could be horrific. While the United States government used bacteria that they thought were mostly harmless, multiple people were proven to be hospitalized because of the attack, and at least one person died because of it. The United States secret experiments were deeply against the Nuremberg codes they had just recently agreed to, which makes the entire thing all the more irresponsible and immoral.

6. There Is Some Small Truth To The Beliefs People Have In Government Spraying Chemtrails

One of the most oft recurring conspiracy theories is the claim that the government (or governments) are spraying chemicals in the upper atmosphere in order to do all kinds of terrible things. Some people claim that the chemicals are to slowly make people stupider, while other people claim the earth has an overpopulation problem, and world governments are releasing anti-fertility drugs into the upper atmosphere. Of course, there is no evidence for any of this, and scientists and other engineers in the know will tell you that the trails you see from planes are not out of the ordinary. Even if planes were secretly releasing chemicals, it would be impossible to sample properly to prove it.

However, while there is no concerted effort to poison the atmosphere, and no known plan to ruin peoples’ fertility or anything of the sort, the fact is that governments of the world have strongly considered and researched geo-engineering solutions to our current climate change problem, and if they thought they had a workable idea, they would almost certainly attempt it — and they may or may not immediately tell the public about such an attempt. Even back in the days of Lyndon Johnson, scientists have been proposing dealing with climate problems with massive geo-engineering, either with satellites in orbit, particles laced in our upper atmosphere — which sounds similar to chemtrail theories — or any number of other crazy solutions. Of course, while we know governments have attempted at least somewhat massive geo-engineering in terms of making it rain, there is no hard evidence that massive attempts to push back environmental damage are at anything more than the research stage as of now.

5. The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln Was Not Just One Crazy Actor Acting Alone

Now, folks at the time of Lincoln’s assassination may or may not have immediately known or guessed that many different people were involved, however, most people today tend to not be aware of the scale of the plot. Many people today believe that the assassination of a president like JFK could not have been pulled off by one lone wolf, but don’t give much thought to the common belief held by most people that John Wilkes Booth acted alone when killing President Lincoln.

The truth is, though, assassinating a president is very hard work and Booth had a lot of help. There were several co-conspirators involved and they all had a role to play. If they had succeeded, they could have sowed horrific chaos in the highest levels of the United States government. The thing was, it was a much bigger conspiracy than most people know, and included most of his important cabinet members. One man was supposed to kill Vice President Johnson, but lost his nerve, and another man attempted to kill the Secretary of War, William Seward, but failed in his attempt. Booth also would likely not have managed to escape without help, as he had co-conspirators helping him along to freedom as well, after he murdered the president.

4. During Vietnam The US Government Fabricated An Attack To Gain Support For War

Many people consider the idea of the government actually lying to get us into war as unthinkable, and some are still convinced that the Bush administration was only mistaken when it came to Iraq, WMDs, and that country’s involvement in 9/11. People simply don’t like to believe that their government would lie to them just so they could start a violent conflict in another part of the world, or amp up one that was already ongoing. However, back during the days of the Vietnam War, that is exactly what happened.

There was an incident with a US ship called the Maddox, which supposedly reported a torpedo attack from the Vietnamese, which led to further involvement by the US in Vietnam. The truth, however, is that the entire thing was a total fabrication, designed from beginning to end in order to get us further into the war. The Johnson administration actually sent the Maddox to perform covert attacks for the express purpose of egging the enemy on to attack them, so they could get more support for war. On top of that, the torpedo was a false signal and the Maddox quickly told the higher ups it was a false alarm, but the top brass still used it as an excuse for more war funding.

3. The US Government Deliberately Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition To Discourage Use

Prohibition was one of the strangest eras in the history of the United States. People who were convinced drinking was the worst thing ever pushed super hard to ruin everyone’s fun, and they succeeded for a time, but not before doing untold damage because they couldn’t mind their own business. The ban on one of the most popular things to ever exist in the history of the world backfired rather spectacularly, giving rise to all new organized crime groups, some of which took decades to break up to the state they are today. For a long time, the black market on drugs was very organized.

Of course, the government wasn’t happy with people not only openly flouting the law whenever possible, but also empowering criminal enterprises. So, the United States government went to great length to poison a bunch of alcohol that they knew would be making its way onto the black market, in order to make people less likely to drink it. This program adulterated the alcohol, making it unfit to drink and causing people to get sick, and some to even go blind. It would be many years after before the government admitted to their role in sickening people who dared drink some booze while it was illegal. While it sounds like an absurd conspiracy out of a very bad movie, it was a reality during prohibition and added countless deaths and hospital visits to those already caused by alcohol that was accidentally poisonous.

2. Joseph McCarthy’s Methods Were Wrong, But He Was More Right Than People Realize

Joseph McCarthy is considered to be one of the most wrong people who was ever wrong in politics, according to most of America. He is (in)famous for constantly and consistently decrying an incredible amount of people as Russian spies, and angrily grilling them in front of the senate. His paranoia about Russian agents was legendary, and his scorched earth tactics earned him the ire of the nation, and the senate, who eventually decided to censure him in 1954.

However, while McCarthy’s methods were almost certainly over the top, and put a lot of innocent people unnecessarily through the ringer, the truth was that his paranoia may have been more justified than many people realize. Historical proof shows that the administrations of Truman and FDR were full of Russian spies, that the communist party in America was funded by Moscow, and there were indeed several high profile Russian agents that were caught around that time period, including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. McCarthy may have gone about things almost entirely wrong, but his fears were not entirely without justification.

1. The MLB May Have Changed The Baseballs For The 2017 World Series

Baseball has always had a bit of a problem when it comes to exciting crowds, and also tends to have a bit of a trust problem with its fans. For baseball nuts, it’s really exciting to see a pitcher pitch a perfect game, for example, but the sport is boring for a general audience. This means that if the MLB wants more people to tune into games, they need to make sure that more home runs happen, because it excites people’s passions and keeps their butts in the seats. When the steroid scandal first broke, it turned out the rabbit hole went far deeper than anyone thought, and it turned out that the MLB knew more than they were letting on and were trying to cover things up, because viewership was up.

More recently, things have become rather suspicious once again. The steroid era was starting to end and pitchers were getting control again — this meant not as much excitement, so something had to be done. The 2017 World Series set a record for having the most home runs in any World Series ever played, and players from both teams are 100% convinced that the balls used were significantly different. Both teams claimed that the balls were noticeably slicker, and this meant pitchers found it much harder to achieve proper control, which means more home runs. While the MLB officially denied it, they officially denied knowledge of the steroid issue as well, and with both teams agreeing there was a major difference, it’s hard to believe the MLB’s denials in this situation.


Crazy But True –

WIF Conspiracies

Presidential Fun Facts

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 Fun Facts About American Presidents

It’s kind of a given that the President of the United States should be pretty smart. Despite what hack comedians will tell you about George W. Bush, an idiot can’t just walk into the White House and run the country. But even by the standards of the office, some of America’s most impressive minds could do some pretty ridiculous things.

10. Lyndon B. Johnson Could Find Out Everything about a Person

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At an impressive 6 ft 3 1?2 in (192 cm), Lyndon B. Johnson is the second tallest President in history. The tallest U.S. President was Abraham Lincoln at 6 ft 3 3?4in (192.4 cm). Johnson was well aware of his height, and often used it to his advantage to intimidate or coerce both political opponents and allies. He used what became colloquially known as “the treatment,” where he would use his massive frame and dominating presence to get all up in someone’s grill before making them spill their guts.

What made it so effective was Johnson’s incredible ability to find out exactlywhat made people tick. Johnson was able to find out basically everything about a person, from how they felt about political issues to their shoe size, and could recall all of it without error and with just the right tone of voice to persuade or bully someone to do whatever he wanted. This allowed Johnson to bring even staunch opponents who totally disagreed with him around to his way of thinking in a matter of minutes by overwhelming them with his intricate knowledge of their politics, ideas and flaws.

9. JFK Knew How to Shake Hands Perfectly

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Considering that John F. Kennedy allegedly slept with more beautiful women than a copy of Cosmo, it’s not going to come as a surprise that he was known as a fairly charismatic dude. However, President Kennedy wasn’t just charming and handsome — he was a borderline hypnotist when it came to influencing people.

For example, President Kennedy once commissioned an entire study on the art of shaking hands, all so that he could set the tone of a relationship from the instant he met someone. JFK’s handshake was so comforting and warming that it wasn’t uncommon for him to return after a long day of meeting people with ascratched up hand from the sheer amount of people clambering to grasp at his magical palm.

When it came to talking to people, JFK was known to be able to sway an entire crowd with nothing more than his smile, as you can see in this video of himkilling it in a question and answer session. What makes this more impressive is that JFK could reportedly turn on the charm at will, being able to influence people to his way of thinking even if they didn’t fully agree with it. We guess Magneto was right — JFK really did have a mutant superpower.

8. Teddy Roosevelt Could Read an Entire Book Before Breakfast

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There’s little we could say about how awesome Roosevelt was that wouldn’t just be us repeating ourselves, but few people realize that Roosevelt was both an unflinching badass and a huge nerd. It’s estimated that Roosevelt read in excess of 10,000 books, many of which were in foreign languages because even when it came to reading Roosevelt liked to challenge himself.

Roosevelt’s inhuman ability to eye-punch knowledge came about as a result of him teaching himself to speed-read, which allowed him to quickly gloss over a book while still retaining about 90% of the information it contained. This meant that Roosevelt could read a book or magazine in a matter of minutes or hoursand hold detailed, lengthy conversations about its contents like he’d studied it for years. Roosevelt’s thirst for knowledge was so great that he reportedly read a book before he ate breakfast every single day. Kind of makes you want to finish reading that novel you’ve had sitting around for a month and a half, huh?

7. Calvin Coolidge Only Lost One Election

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While Calvin Coolidge may not be the most well-known President, he’s noted as being one of the most electorally successful — in his entire political career he only lost once at the ballet box.

When Coolidge applied to be a member of Northampton, Massachusetts City Council in 1898, he won. A year later he was re-nominated but applied to be a City Solicitor instead, and won. This trend continued for the next few decades as Coolidge went from being a member of city council to a State Legislator, to a Mayor, to a Governor, to a Vice President and finally to being the President himself, winning almost every time by a landslide. In fact, when he became President Coolidge won the vote in every State with the sole exception of the home state of the guy running against him. When the time came for Coolidge to run again he politely declined, saying that 10 years in Washington was too much, even though many agree he would have won again. He retired with an almost flawless political record. The only loss Coolidge ever suffered was when he campaigned to be a member of a local School Board, because he didn’t have kids that went to that school.

6. James Garfield Could Write in Two Languages at the Same Time

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James Garfield is mostly remember alongside William McKinley as being one of the Presidents who was shot but didn’t have a cool hat or nice eyes. Which is a shame, because James Garfield is possibly the smartest man to ever hold office. Garfield had an exceptionally keen mind, teaching himself to be proficient in a multitude of disciplines and subjects. After just a year at college he was teaching classes on literature and ancient language, when previously he’d worked there as the janitor.

Garfield was also known to be ambidextrous, which he would show off to friends and colleagues by asking them to pose him a question before writing down the answer in Latin with one hand and Greek with the other, all while maintaining unflinching eye contact.

5. John Adams Had a Silver Tongue

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Even if your knowledge of American history is limited to whatever you managed to glean from Assassin’s Creed 3 in-between stabbing wolves, you can probably tell what happened at the Boston Massacre from the name alone. If you’re still a little fuzzy, the short version is that in 1770 eight British soldiers opened fire on a crowd of people in the middle of Boston, killing five people.

When the soldiers walked into the courtroom, almost everyone expected the sentence to be death. But with just a few words the future President was able to convince the entire jury that the men were innocent because they acted in self-defense, resulting in six of them walking free while the other two were given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist.

Just let that stew for a moment. John Adams managed to convince a jury to acquit a bunch of British soldiers charged with shooting people in the street at a time when revolutionary fervor was growingWe can’t even convince employees at Subway to give us extra ham.

4. Lincoln Trumped a 13,000 Word Speech In Two Minutes

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The Gettysburg Address is one of those speeches that will never be forgotten, mostly because you could write it on the back of a napkin. Clocking in at just 272 words and delivered in a little over two minutes, Lincoln’s speech was barely longer than the previous entry on this list and yet it’s consistently ranked as one of the greatest speeches ever given.

A fact that’s often overlooked is that Lincoln’s speech was never supposed to bethe Gettysburg Address. That honor originally belonged to the two hour, 13,000 word long speech given by Edward Everett. His speech, which is regarded as a masterpiece of oration given by a man famed for his abilities as a speaker, was trumped by little more than an off the cuff utterance from Lincoln. Immediately after Lincoln gave his speech, Everett, who’d spent weeks crafting his magnum opus, knew that he’d been bested and the next day he penned a letter to Lincoln saying that he was happy to come close with two hours to what Lincoln had accomplished in two minutes.

3. Andrew Jackson Managed to Pay Off All of America’s Debts

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Did you know that there’s only ever been one time in America’s history that the country’s been entirely debt free? It was all thanks to Andrew Jackson and how much he hated owing people money. When Jackson took office in 1829, he vowed that he’d eliminate America’s 58 million dollars of debt, the equivalent of paying off about 800 million today. Six years later, America was debt free — Jackson had somehow managed to pay off every cent through careful planning, frugal spending and telling creditors where to stick it.

Jackson’s feat has never since been equaled. Even worse is that America was only debt free for a year before it once again needed to borrow money. Still, Jackson accomplished something many thought to be impossible just because he really didn’t like the idea of running a country that owed someone money.

2. Thomas Jefferson Could Read Five Books at Once

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When it comes to smart Presidents it’s hard to top Thomas Jefferson. An expert in almost every subject he put his mind to, Jefferson could converse with anyone about anything effortlessly. President Kennedy once famously addressed a room filled with Nobel Prize winners by saying:

“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Nothing sums up Jefferson’s intelligence better than this, an invention personally created by Jefferson so that he could read five books simultaneously. Jefferson was a prolific writer who liked to consult multiple books while penning essays and letters, so to make this easier Jefferson created a revolving book stand that would allow him to read and consult multiple texts. We really think these should still be made so that we can see what happens if we stick 5 iPads to it.

1. George W. Bush Didn’t Need To Have Meetings Because He Already Knew It All

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Just to be clear, yes, we’re talking about the same President Bush who once said “Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?” the same President Bush who coined the term “Misunderestimate” and the same President Bush who once tried to exit a press conference through a locked door. Although pop culture has painted Bush as a buffoon, stupid people don’t get to be President of the United States. Part of the reason Bush is often seen as inept is his strong southern accent, which studies have shown makes someone appear less intelligent regardless of their educational background. In regards to Bush, while he wasn’t an amazing student he was by no means a poor one.

According to aides and people who’ve interviewed him George W. Bush is a remarkably smart man, with one interviewer describing him as “60 IQ points smarter in private than he was in public.” During his time as President, many commented on his ability to recall and absorb information with an extraordinary level of speed and comprehension. It’s said that Bush would often hurry people through presentations about complex policies because he’d already read through their notes and didn’t want his time wasted.

Presidential Fun Facts