Skip to main content

Top 5 Myths About US Presidents

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

College graduate, freelance writer, cooking aficionado. Political junkie by day and screenwriter by night.


5. President Zachary Taylor Was Poisoned to Death

President Zachary Taylor died on July 9, 1850, from a mysterious illness. Some speculated at the time that Taylor was poisoned, with his wife becoming the prime suspect. While historians still don't agree on a cause of death, they do agree that the First Lady did not murder the president.

How did President Zachary Taylor really die?

Taylor ended up falling violently ill after attending an event for the Washington Monument. He had eaten some raw fruit and milk. At the time of his sickness, cholera outbreaks were common. The disease easily spread throughout Washington's sewers. But conspiracy theorists chalk up his death to an assassination at the hands of pro-slavery Southerners. Taylor's wife was already severely ill by the time they arrived at the White House, so she delegated most of the First Lady duties to her daughter.


4. Teddy Roosevelt Once Rode a Bull Moose

There once was a well-circulated photo of Teddy Roosevelt showing him riding a massive bull moose. The truth is that he never rode a moose. The photo was part of a publicity stunt used during Roosevelt's third presidential campaign for the "Bull Moose Party." Roosevelt lost the Republican nomination to William Taft, so Roosevelt hoped to start a movement by breaking away from the Republican Party. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The photo ended up being revealed as being doctored. Voters ended up wanting new leadership and elected democrat Woodrow Wilson.

3. Gerald Ford Was a Goof

Gerald Ford was the butt of jokes on Saturday Night Live. Chevy Chase depicted the President as a clumsy buffoon. The sketches ended up drawing record ratings, launching the SNL cast into stardom and helping the show become one of the longest-running programs in television history.

While Gerald Ford had a number of political mishaps including pardoning Nixon, the 38th president was a star linebacker for the Michigan Wolverines, which went undefeated for two years in 1932 and 1933. Ford ended up receiving offers from Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers but passed.

Ford ended up joining the U.S. Navy during World War II and rose to the rank of Lt. Commander. Ford took part in several operations in the Pacific, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

2. The Emancipation Proclamation Freed All Slaves

Lincoln has become the most worshiped president in American history. History constantly shines a glowing light on him as a martyr who preserved the Union. But Lincoln's views on slavery didn't always live up to his views.

President Lincoln stood against the expansion of slavery, but later told newspaper editor Horace Greeley, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it." Tip-toeing around the issue of slavery, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which only granted freedom to slaves in states which seceded. It took two years for slavery to formally be abolished.

1. JFK Was Groomed to Be President

John F. Kennedy was born into a distinguished political family as the son of politician Joe Kennedy. JFK lived like royalty at the Kennedy compound known as Camelot. Kennedy's brother, Joe Jr., was originally the one groomed to become president. Joe had the same good looks and brains that ran in the bloodline. Joe graduated from Harvard in 1938 and also attended the London School of Economics.

America's entrance into World War II changed Joe's political ambitions as he turned his focus on becoming a naval aviator. He ended up flying 25 combat missions as a bomber pilot. Before returning stateside, Joe was sent on a mission that called for him to purposely crash a B-24 loaded with munitions inside Nazi territory. The operation, Operation Aphrodite, had Joe set the course, but the munitions detonated early, killing him instantly. His remains were never found. The Navy awarded him posthumously the Navy Cross. Joe was given a headstone at Arlington National Cemetery next to his brothers.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.