Field Trip: Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

Recently, I traveled to California for the first time to attend an event at Disneyland.  From the moment I started planning the trip, I knew that if I was going to Anaheim, I was not missing certain nearby attractions.  I’m not talking about the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theater, or any of that.  There was no question–if I was going to be in the greater Los Angeles area, I was going to be going to the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraries.

Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

I visited the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum on 9/1/2014, and then went to Reagan’s the next day.  I will cover Reagan in another post.

The museum itself is kind of tucked away in a mostly residential area in Yorba Linda, California, just ten miles from Disneyland.  It’s not the most grand of Presidential Library locales, but that’s understandable considering that it was built around Nixon’s birthplace.

Nixon’s was the fourth Presidential Library that I have visited (after LBJ, Clinton, and Carter).  I was curious to see how they told his story.  Typically, these libraries paint a very positive picture of the featured President, focusing on their accomplishments.  Really, no matter what your politics, each President of the modern era really does have some admirable accomplishments.  However, it would quite a feat for this particular library to pull off the typical “This President was AWESOME!” storyline when we’re talking about the only President ever to resign from office.

The story that the museum ended up telling was that of a man who had faced several setbacks in his life, but worked hard, never gave up, and persevered.  Fair enough.  I should however note that, while the museum has been around since 1990, it was under private control until 2007, when the National Archives took over.  Prior to the transition, the museum did present Nixon with more of a favorable aura than it does now.

As is typical, the museum experience started with a film.  A disclaimer up front said that it was made back when Richard and Pat Nixon were still alive, which makes it over two decades old.  It still help up well enough.  While you waited for the next film to start, there were some things to look at in the lobby, including a timeline and, my favorite, a model of Nixon’s childhood home.

After the film, you are snaked around through a series of exhibits, working your way chronologically through Nixon’s life.  From there, you go outside to see his burial site, birthplace, and the Presidential helicopter.  Returning to the main building, you can enter a different wing to see a replica of the East Room of the White House and a traveling exhibit before exiting through the gift shop.

Much of the museum was what you might expect.  There were replicas of White House rooms (such as the Lincoln Sitting Room, a favorite of Nixon’s), exhibits chronicling the President’s life and Presidency, historical artifacts like campaign buttons and gifts received by the President during his term in office, etc.

Nixon and Chou
One of the things that did stand out were the statues of world leaders.  Above are statues of Richard Nixon and communist leader Chou En-lai, about to shake hands!  Whaaaa?  This kind of thing just won’t fly at Reagan’s library.

I didn’t manage to snap a photo, but there was a room right before this one dedicated to statues of world leaders.  Here, Winston Churchill, Nikita Khruschchev, Mao Tse-tung, and others all hang out in the same room while a not-so-subtle disclaimer sign alerts visitors that the statues are there because Nixon requested them, and that this should not be interpreted as the US Government endorsing these leaders in any way.  Of course, that sign is not there because of Winston Churchill.

Leadership was something that Richard Nixon put a lot of thought into.  He wanted these leaders depicted because they left an impact on the world through their leadership (even if some of them were “bad guys”).  However, partly because there’s not a lot of context in the room, it can appear like all leaders are being honored as being equally good guys, and this has upset a lot of people.  This exhibit was put in place when the museum was privately owned, before the National Archives took it over in 2007.  This 2009 article from the LA Times talks about the room and suggests it may be changed, but five years later it is still intact, so who knows?  I don’t mind the room.  I kind of like how it does illustrate that leadership is complicated and not all leaders are saints and heroes.

Other exhibits include the Presidential limo, a crate that transported one of the giant pandas received during Nixon’s administration, and a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Nixon Limo

Panda Crate

Berlin Wall (Nixon)

And, of course, there’s the Watergate room.  You can’t tell Richard Nixon’s story without Watergate, right?

What’s interesting is that the current exhibit has only been there about three years.  Richard Nixon himself was involved in creating the original exhibit, which depicted the scandal as a conspiracy against him by Democrats.  That version ran from when the museum first opened (as a private institution) in 1990 until the National Archives took it over in 2007.  Then, the exhibit was removed almost immediately and ultimately replaced with the new one, resulting in much discord with the Nixon Foundation.

Upon entering the new Watergate exhibit, it is clear that any trace of the kinder, gentler Watergate exhibit are gone.  Right away the intense red color prominent throughout the exhibit visually sets it off from the rest of the museum.  Here, the walls are lined with extensive facts about the scandal.  Apparently, you are even able to listed to recordings of the Watergate tapes, but I somehow managed to miss that.

Watergate exhibitWhile obviously Watergate is one of the first things people think of when they think of Nixon, for whatever reason the scandal has never captured my interest all that much.  I didn’t end up spending all that much time in the Watergate room.

Once you finish the main exhibits inside, you can go outside and visit the burial sites of Richard and Pat Nixon.  They are buried just a few steps away from the President’s birthplace.  Their burial spot is very modest, sitting along the walkway between the museum and the house.

Richard and Pat Nixon burial siteRichard Nixon grave

One of my favorite parts was the house that Richard Nixon’s father built, and where Nixon was born.  It was just a tiny house, but they managed to cram a family of six in there for a time.  Richard was the only one who was born at home.  One thing that was especially cool is that almost all the furniture, decorative items, etc. were original.  Normally, when you visit historic homes like this, a lot of the pieces are recreations or other antiques from the same era, but the Nixons’ possessions were all put in storage, so when it was time to restore the home, they were all sitting here waiting.  The volunteer who gave us the tour of the house was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all our questions (no, Nixon’s dad did not buy his house kit from Sears).

Richard Nixon BirthplaceRoom where Nixon was born

The Presidental helicopter was nearby.  Usually they will let you on the helicopter and a volunteer will be there to tell you about it, but it was crazy hot out, so there was none of that when I was there.  It would not be good for the library’s reputation if visitors were cooked in the helicopter.

Nixon Helicopter

Returning to the main building, we came to the replica of the East Room of the White House, which made me feel like I was attending a fancy event.  There was no one else there, but it was open so we could just hang out and feel important.

East Room

Also in this area is space for a rotating exhibit, which at that time was about Presidents and baseball.  It was interesting enough, even though sports isn’t really my thing.  I did happen to see one thing that caught my interest, though… WARREN G HARDING (oh, and Babe Ruth)

Upon seeing this I excitedly turned to my father and told him to look who it was!  “It’s the Babe!” he replied.  Nope.  Not why I was excited.  I honestly didn’t even notice that Babe Ruth was in the photo until my father mentioned it.   My Warren G. Harding radar just kind of blocked out everything else.

After this, we ended in the gift shop.  Among other mementos, I picked myself up a Richard Nixon bobble head and a “What Would Nixon Do?” mug.  All in all, it was a good day.  If I’m ever in the area again, I would definitely make another visit.


Since I started this blog back in April, I have amassed quite a following!  Judging by all the comments I moderate, this following consists almost entirely of bots.

Well, bots of the Internet, rejoice!  After a four-month hiatus, I am returning to my keyboard! I will once again begin producing content, providing you with fresh new canvases on which to paint your poorly written, spamtastic masterpieces…which I will then delete.

If any human is accidentally reading this, the truth is that the structure of my blog (posting a write up of a different President each week, in order) ended up boring me pretty quickly.  It felt too much like I was producing assignments for a fifth grade social studies class.  I ended up getting stuck on Thomas Jefferson (one of my top five favorite presidents) because I wanted to get it just right since I wouldn’t be posting about him again for a while.

Moving forward, I’m dropping the one-president a week thing and writing about whatever Presidential topic happens to be on my mind, definitely giving priority to documenting any field trips I may take to places with Presidential significance.  My general goal is to produce one main post a week, while also reviving my Warren G. Harding Wednesdays series (at least most weeks).  We’ll see what happens…

Bots, get ready.  It’s go time.


Warren G. Harding Wednesday: Front Porch Campaign

harding house
Why bother leaving home just to campaign to be President of the United States?  Warren G. Harding conducted the majority of his three-month presidential campaign right from his front porch in Marion, Ohio.  Crowds would come from all over to be part of the spectacle, on some days doubling the population of the small town of 29,000.


The more typical method of campaigning at the time was the same as it is now, where the candidate travels from town to town delivering speeches.  Harding’s opponent, James Cox, did just this.  Even so, front porch campaigns weren’t unheard of.  James Garfield (1880), Benjamin Harrison (1888) and William McKinley (1896) all became President after successful front porch campaigns.  While front porch campaigns still occasionally occur for local or regional candidates, Harding was the last US President to run a front-porch campaign.

The whole town of Marion took part in the festivities.  Local volunteers helped direct the crowds, and Harding’s neighbors were encouraged to open their homes to the visitors.  Harding’s next door neighbors even temporarily relocated during the campaign so that their home could be used as the Republican National Headquarters!  All these efforts contributed to the the idea of Harding as a simple man from a small town, and help ensure his landslide victory.

Warren G. Harding Wednesday: Brokered Convention

1920 Republican Convention

In modern times, the Democratic and Republican National Conventions are pretty boring.  Everyone knows who will win the nomination long before the convention starts, eliminating the possibility of a brokered convention.  But that doesn’t stop people from fantasizing about the possibility of a convention where no one candidate has enough delegates on the first ballot, where a candidate is chosen only after multiple ballots, much political finagling and a 2:00 AM deal made in smoky back room.  A Google search for “brokered convention” for the months leading up to the 2012 Republican convention shows that lots of people were writing about the possibility of one, even though many admitted upfront that it was highly unlikely.

Brokered conventions were not rare in Harding’s day.  While the most recent one was over 60 years ago now, back in the day it wasn’t so clear who would get the nomination.  For one thing, national media did not have nearly the reach that it does today, so voting voting was often more regional.  Party bosses also had a huge influence.  Delegate rules have changed over the years.  For these reasons and more, a brokered convention was just more likely to happen back then.

Going into the 1920 convention, Warren G. Harding was in sixth place among the Republican candidates.  To compare this to the most recent election cycle, imagine that Mitt Romney, while clearly being the leading Republican candidate, did not quite have the majority of delegates needed to clinch the nomination prior to the convention.  Then, despite garnering fewer delegates that Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and even Jon Huntsman, some back-room deals were hatched and Michele Bachman became the Republican candidate.  And then won the Presidency.  By a landslide.  That’s insane to think of now, but that’s what happened in 1920 and that’s part of how Warren G. Harding became President.

One difference to note however, that part of why Harding won out is that he was largely unknown, offended no one, and “looked Presidential.”  The same could not be said for Michele Bachman, who was covered extensively in the national media for some rather controversial opinions and, as a woman, stood no chance of looking like the traditional idea of a US President.  Warren G. Harding was probably more of a Jon Huntsman in this regard, but without all the competency and qualifications for office.

Warren G. Harding Wednesday: The Most Okay-est Option

Warren G Harding at Applebee's

Picture it: you and five of your friends want to go out to eat, but need to decide on where.  Each person suggests a favorite local restaurant, but each idea is vetoed by another group member who does not want to go there.

A steakhouse?  Too expensive.

Thai food?  Doesn’t agree with someone

Bar-B-Que?  No vegetarian options.

and so on…

In the end, you all end up at Applebee’s.  This is not not because anyone was was craving Applebee’s; it’s because no one could find a problem with going to Applebee’s.  Applebee’s is an inoffensive choice where everyone can have an adequate meal.

If you and your friends were to each vote for your favorite restaurant, Applebee’s would earn zero votes.  But that night, it gets all of your business.  You and your friends couldn’t all get what you wanted, so you compromised.

That’s kind of how Warren G. Harding ended up being president.  Especially following World War I and Woodrow Wilson’s progressive administration, people wanted a leader that wasn’t going to make them uncomfortable, and Warren G. Harding was that guy.

Harding was a nice enough guy with experience in government, but no particular agenda.  His career in government was unremarkable–during his time in the US Senate, he took no strong positions and adopted a casual policy towards attendance, missing many high-profile votes.  He gave the impression that he could do his job adequately without pushing anyone the wrong way.  He was uninspiring as Applebee’s while at the same time being as inoffensive Applebee’s.

The full story is of course more complicated, but Warren G. Harding can, in part, thank his political blandness for his rise to the top.

Profiles in Presidenting: John Adams

John Adams was our second President, serving from March 4th, 1797, to March 4, 1801.John Adams


Born: October 30, 1735, Braintree, Massachusetts
Died: July 4, 1826, Quincy, Massachusetts

50-Word Biography

John Adams was a Harvard-educated lawyer from Massachusetts who was a major figure in the American Revolution, earning significant influence in the Continental Congress. He spent a decade representing the US in France, Holland, and England before becoming the first Vice President, and then second President of the United States.

What’s Awesome about this President

  • As the first Vice President of the United States, he cast more tie-breaking votes in the Senate than any other VP to this day.
  • He was the first President to live in what would later be called the White House
  • He died on the 50-year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, just hours after his frenemy Thomas Jefferson
  • Out of the first five Presidents, he was the only one to not own slaves.
  • He earned the amusing nickname “His Rotundity” due to his sometimes pompous nature and physical stature
  • He was the only President from the Federalist Party, and the only President to have a Vice President from the opposing party.

My Thoughts

Some men elected to the office of President really shine in this role and leave a lasting impact.  Some men aren’t particularly inspiring or capable individuals and serve a lackluster term.  And then you  have those few who were truly remarkable individuals, but for whatever reason don’t excel as President.  John Adams is part of this last group.  His Presidency wasn’t disastrous by any means, but he wasn’t particularly popular, and ended up being the only President to serve a single term until his son, John Quincy Adams.

John Adams was a brilliant man who was passionate about the government of his new country, wanting to separate from Great Britain early on.  He was an instrumental figure in the First and Second Continental Congress, serving on more committees than anyone else.  It was Adams that proposed that the colonies form a united Continental Army and nominated George Washington to lead it.  He persuaded others that Thomas Jefferson should be the one to write the Declaration of Independence, while he himself contributed to its content and then lead the debate in favor of its adoption.  Adams then spent most of the years between the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the start of his Vice Presidency working in a diplomatic role in Europe.

Adams was sworn in as our first Vice President on April 21, 1789, nine days before George Washington was sworn in as President.  He found the role to be a frustrating waste of his talents and abilities.  The fact that George Washington did not consult with or involve Adams much in the running of the country didn’t help.  Adams described his job as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

After eight years as VP, Adams was elected President, which was perhaps not the best fitting job for him.  He was very independent in nature and thought, which meant he was less influenced by others in his decisions, but also that he didn’t exactly build many strong alliance and often rubbed some people the wrong way.  Once decision he made, to establish peace with France rather than going to war, was very unpopular, but he was so proud of his decision that he requested it be engraved on his gravestone.

He lost the election of 1800 to Thomas Jefferson.  Besides Adams’ unpopular peace decision, his Federalist party was unorganized and fractious and Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican party had their stuff together.  Adams retired to Massachusetts, where he lived out his days, which were many.  He lived to be 90 years old, and lived longer after leaving office than any President until Herbert Hoover.

Adam’s political career was largely defined by his relationship with Thomas Jefferson.  The two of them worked well together at times, but fought bitterly at others, usually about the nature of government–Adams was in favor of a strong central government, while Jefferson was not.  After Adams left office, the two lost contact for some time before being persuaded to reconnect.  They then regained friendship through writing each other letters for the last several years of their lives.  In one of those stories that is so good that it seems like it should have been made up, they both died on July 4, 1826, the 50-year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, just a couple hours apart.  Adams’ last words are said to be “Thomas Jefferson survives,” when, in fact, Jefferson passed away first.

Warren G. Harding Wednesday: Dude looks like a leader

Warren G Harding

Does this like a leader to you?  For many people in 1920, the answer was “yes.” There’s little doubt that Warren G. Harding’s looks are one of the main reasons that he ended up in the highest office in the land.  What he lacked in substance, he made up for in style.

In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses what he calls the “Warren Harding Error,” in which people can make snap judgments about others and their abilities based solely on their appearance and the way they present themselves.   Warren G. Harding, on the surface, looked like leader.  Presidential, even.  Beneath that surface, there wasn’t much that would suggest that he’d make a good president, but that kind of minor detail often doesn’t make a difference to people when they’re making major decisions like who should lead the country.  Instead, they’ll go for the candidate they feel looks like they would be a good leader, even if the facts aren’t there to support that assumption.

According to many reports, when Harry Daugherty, the political maestro who orchestrated Warren G. Harding’s rise to the top, first encountered Harding, he immediately thought to himself that Harding was a man who could be elected President.  This is with knowing really nothing about him, except that he was a pleasant, dignified-looking individual who happened to be getting his shoes shined at the same hotel as Daugherty was that day.  If not for Harding’s appearance and Daugherty’s snap judgment, it’s unlikely that any of us would even know who Warren G. Harding was.

Take a look at the two candidates for President in 1920.  James M. Cox looks like a decent enough guy, but he lacks Harding’s presence and suggestion of authority.

Cox and Harding

Of course, looks can be deceiving…which is part of the 1920 election resulted in arguably the worst President ever.

Profiles in Presidenting: George Washington

George Washington was our first President, serving from April 30, 1789, to March 4, 1797.

George Washington

Born:  2/22/1732, Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: 12/14/1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia

50-Word Biography

Prior to the Revolutionary War, George Washington worked as surveyor, served in the Virginia militia, and developed and managed his impressive land holdings with a strong interest in agriculture.  He of course was a prominent leader in the American Revolution and served as the first US president for eight years.

What’s Awesome about this President

  • He was the first President of the United States
  • He invented the Inaugural Address
  • He was the only president to be unanimously elected
  • He was an excellent and enthusiastic dancer
  • He was instrumental in designing Washington, DC, and the White House, although he was the only President to never serve there
  • He belonged to no political party
  • He owned the largest whiskey distillery in America

My Thoughts

George Washington was a remarkable man with wooden teeth.  As a child, he cut down his father’s cherry tree, and then confessed, stating “I cannot tell a lie.”  One time, he even threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River!

Of course, none of that is actually true…except for the part about Washington being remarkable.

George Washington was our first President.  This is something that pretty much every American knows.  It’s one of those basic facts that make up our collective common knowledge, like how the sky is (or at least appears to be) blue, grass is green, and Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father.  But even though George Washington’s presidency is just a given today, it’s important to reflect on how significant a deal this actually was.

Imagine the position he was in.  Here was this relatively new country still trying to figure things out after declaring independence thirteen years ago.  Its first attempt at a national government didn’t work out, and now it was George Washington’s job to set everything right and, at the same time, serve as the standard for all future Presidents to follow.  No pressure.

Washington understood the situation he was in.  Early on in his Presidency, he wrote the following in a letter to English historian Catherine Macaulay Graham:

In our progress towards political happiness my station is new; and, if I may use the expression, I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct wch. may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.

Had Washington been pompous and self-serving, things would have gone much differently.  Fortunately for the US, our first President possessed the perfect mix of humility and appreciation for the significance of his office.  One example that illustrates this is his choice of designs for what would become the White House–it was important to him for the structure to be substantial and grand enough to serve as not just a building, but a symbol of the Presidency, but at the same time not be too grand as it also need to serve as a symbol of a republic, not a monarchy.

In the end, Washington chose to step down after two terms.  Of course, today, we know a President can only be elected to two full terms, but this was not a given back then–Presidential term limits didn’t even exist until 1951.  Choosing to step down when he probably could have continued in office until his death was a bold choice.  Once he set the two-term precedent, it held for over 140 years, until FDR was elected to a third term in 1940.

His Presidency aside, one of my favorite fun facts about George Washington is that he owned the largest whiskey distillery in America.  His distillery at Mount Vernon started up around the time he left office and became one his most profitable enterprises.  The Mount Vernon website has a lot of interesting information about the distillery.  While the original distillery burned down in 1814, a reconstruction was built between 2005 and 2007, and is operational today.  You can even buy whiskey that was produced at the distillery using the same old-school methods used in Washington’s day.  A visit to the distillery is definitely on my Presidential bucket list!

Warren G. Harding Wednesday: Was women’s suffrage really such a great idea?

1920 Voting Ribbon

True story:  Warren G. Harding was the first US President elected after the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.  He was elected on November 2, 1920, just 76 days after the amendment received the final state ratification required for enactment on August 18.

Don’t get me wrong, I think women’s suffrage is a swell idea.  I myself have exercised this right in every Presidential election since I’ve been of age.  But I have to wonder what the earlier members of my gender were thinking.  I mean, generations of women had to work and fight for over 70 years for this basic right, and once they finally get it, they elect…Warren G. Harding?  Really, ladies?  This is how you want to demonstrate to your country and the world that you should be trusted with the responsibility of helping to choose our nation’s leaders?  Really?

I do sometimes like to joke, facetiously of course, that Warren G. Harding’s election is proof that women should not have been given the right to vote.  However, women in 1920 didn’t vote all that differently than men, so even if the 19th Amendment wasn’t ratified in time for this election, our country’s men would have made the same bad decision without the assistance of the fairer sex.  Warren G. Harding won by a significant margin, and as you can see by the electoral map, candidate selection was decidedly regional.  Democrat James M. Cox won most of the South, and Republican Warren G. Harding took everything else.

Interestingly enough, Warren G. Harding was a sitting US Senator when the 19th Amendment some up for a vote in Congress, meaning he had an opportunity to weigh in on its passage…but he was not present, and did not cast a vote.  Even so, he was known to be moderately in favor of granting women the right to vote.

Profiles in Presidenting Special Edition: Nobody

Nobody was our President from July 4, 1776, to April 30, 1789.

No Image Available

Note: As I started to write my post about our first President, George Washington, it occurred to me that I was skipping over a big chuck of our nation’s history.  Therefore, I’m starting off with this post on Nobody.

1776 was a long time ago.  238 years to be exact.  With all that has transpired between now and then, it can be very easy to take a lazy view of history and assume that as July 4, 1776 is considered to be our nation’s birthday, that this is also when our current system of government sprung forth fully formed and George Washington assumed office.  Not so much.

In actually, a period of twelve years, nine months, and 26 days passed between the US declaring its independence from Great Britain and George Washington assuming office.  That means that “Nobody” was our President for longer than any of our actual Presidents, even FDR!

This doesn’t mean that our country was without leadership during this time.  It’s just that this leadership was weak–not the leaders, per se, but the structure.  The original colonies were striving to be free of the oppressive control of Great Britain, so it makes sense that they weren’t especially eager to construct their new country with a strong central government, as this could also be oppressive to the individual states.

So, at first, our governing body was the Continental Congress.  The First Continental Congress met briefly in 1774 to address issue with Great Britain, then largely the same group (with a few exceptions) reconvened as the Second Continental Congress in 1775.  It was this Congress that declared independence and was the de facto national government for most of the Revolutionary War.  The Continental Congress was not designed to be the permanent governing body of the United States, so the members worked to set up the new government.  The Congress passed the Articles of Confederation in 1777, but they didn’t go into effect until 1781, when the last state (Maryland) finally ratified them.

What the Articles of Confederation set up was a loose association of thirteen individual, sovereign states, or as the Articles state themselves, “a firm league of friendship.”  The central government was very weak, have little power to do anything but conduct foreign policy.  It only took a few years for folks to realize that this wasn’t working out too well.  As it turns out, the members of this league of friendship weren’t so friendly when it came to things like interstate trade regulation, and the central government did not have enough authority to resolve the resulting conflicts.  By 1786, it was officially recognized that something needed to be done.  While the original plan was to revise the Articles of Confederation, they ended up being scrapped altogether and replaced with the US Constitution, which took effect on March 4, 1789.  The following month, George Washington was inaugurated and we had our first official President!

I should point out here, that if you really wanted to, you could argue that the US was not without a president during this time frame.  Some like to claim that the first US President was not George Washington, but John Hanson.  “Who’s that?” you may ask.  Good question!  Once the Articles of Confederation took effect, John Hanson was the first man to be elected “President of the United States in Congress Assembled.”  But this was hardly the same office as President of the United States under the Constitution, so as far as the US Presidency goes, I consider John Hanson to be a fun trivia fact as opposed to a actual holder of the highest office.  (In total, 14 men served as president over the various versions of Congress from 1774 to 1789).

Next week, I shall return to my original plan and start posting about our actual Presidents, in order, starting with George Washington.