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.
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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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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3. A Whole Lotta Pizza
Meanwhile, Americans sell enough pizza every day to cover 100 acres.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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11. The FBI is Watching Them
And roughly one in three Americans has his or her fingerprints on file with the FBI.
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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.
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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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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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.
Originally published as 15 Fascinating Facts You Never Learned About America on ReadersDigest.com.