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15 Fascinating Facts You Never Learned About America

Which president was a hangman, which owned a saloon, the country’s deadliest job, and more fascinating trivia about American history and culture.

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American flagPhoto: Shutterstock

1. Their Grand Old Flag

The current 50-star American flag was designed by a 17-year-old as a school project in 1958. He got a B-.
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President Donald TrumpPhoto: Nicole S. Glass/Shutterstock

2. America’s Deadliest Job

Statistically, the deadliest job in America is … president. Of the 
45 men who’ve held the post, four have been assassinated in office—
a rate of roughly 9 per cent (or about one in 10) killed on the job.
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Pepperoni pizzaPhoto: Shutterstock

3. A Whole Lotta Pizza

Meanwhile, Americans sell enough pizza every day to cover 100 acres.
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American veterans paradePhoto: Glynnis Jones/Shutterstock

4. Their Mighty Military

The largest air force in the world is the U.S. Air Force. The world’s second-largest air force is the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps combined.
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Susquehanna RiverPhoto: Shutterstock

5. Cry Me a (Very Old) River

Three of the world’s five oldest rivers flow in the United States: The New, the Susquehanna, and the French Broad Rivers are each hundreds of millions of years old.
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Civil War cannonPhoto: Shutterstock

6. The Power of Youth

But the nation is young: The government is still paying one pension on behalf of a Civil War veteran (to his 85-year-old daughter).
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Lake SuperiorPhoto: Shutterstock

7. Talk About a Great Lake

There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire landmass of North and South America in one foot of liquid.
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Abraham LincolnPhoto: Shutterstock

8. An Entrepreneurial President

The only U.S. president to own a patent and a saloon: Abraham Lincoln. His patent was for a device to lift boats over sandbars. His saloon was a miserable failure.
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Grover ClevelandPhoto: Shutterstock

9. The President You Don’t Want to Mess With

The only American president who was an executioner: Grover Cleveland. As sheriff of Erie County, New York, he hanged a murderer.
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Mayflower shipPhoto: solepsizm/Shutterstock

10. In Praise of the Pilgrims

An estimated one in ten Americans could be a blood relative to one of the original 102 pilgrims who arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620.
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Fingerprint filePhoto: Shutterstock

11. The FBI is Watching Them

And roughly one in three Americans has his or her fingerprints on file with the FBI.
Here are more fascinating facts you never knew about the FBI.

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Helping handPhoto: Shutterstock

12. A Nation of Do-Gooders

According to the World Giving Index, Americans are the most likely people in the world to help a stranger.

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13. Thanks to the Firemen

Case in point: Slightly more than 69 per cent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.
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John Hancock's signaturePhoto: Shutterstock

14. The Real Independence Day

The day Congress voted Americans free from British rule is July 2, 1776. July 4 is just when John Hancock put the first signature on the Declaration of Independence to spread the word.
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Basketball courtPhoto: Shutterstock

15. The Highest Court in the Land

Finally, the real acme of the American justice system? That would be the basketball court on 
the fifth floor of the Supreme Court building. It’s known as the Highest Court in the Land.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest