Things Americans Don't Know About America
Most Americans consider themselves as fairly knowledgeable about their country's history. They could probably tell you that Abe Lincoln was the 16th president or that Teddy Roosevelt was a proud "Trust Buster" or, at the very, very least, that we've been around since 1776 (and formally so since 1789).
But beyond the basics, there are a few crazy facts about America that most people never heard before. Ahead, beef up your trivia knowledge and get ready for 15 facts about the U.S.A. that will blow your mind.
1. Russia sold Alaska to the United States for 2 cents per acre
Talk about a bargain buy! The largest state in the nation by far is Alaska, and it came cheap at just $7.2 million total. In just 50 years following the purchase, America made their money back more than 100 times over. The Russians probably didn’t know about the gold, right?
2. The Deadliest Job In the Country Is: President
Statistically speaking, no job in the United States of America is more deadly than that of the president. Think about it: 45 men have held the title. Four of those men were assassinated in office (Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, James A. Garfield, and William McKinley), while four died of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren Harding, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt). That's a rate of almost 18 percent, or nearly 1 out of 5 who died on the job. Would you apply for a job with those kind of stats?
3. There is no official language in the United States
Welcome to the melting pot, where most people speak English, a huge portion of people speak Spanish, and if you speak just about any other language you’re bound to find a community of folks who share that same form of communication. There are more than 350 languages spoken in the U.S.
4. Independence Day Didn't Happen on July 4th
Nope, July 2nd was the day that Congress voted to free us from British rule. However, the Fourth of July is when John Hancock wrote the first signature on the Declaration of Independence in order to spread the word of the vote. Fifty-six men signed the document that announced intended independence from British rule.
5. Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe daylight savings time
Many people believe that daylight savings time was implemented for farmers, but that’s not true. In fact, most farmers are against it. The practice started during WWI in the German Empire. And despite all the opposition, most of the country follows it — except for Arizona and Hawaii.
6. Speaking of the Declaration Of Independence, Eight of the 56 Signers Were British
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence from England, eight of whom were actually…British. Sure, the majority of the signers were native-born Americans, but eight heralded from across the Atlantic. Two were from England, one from Wales, two from Scotland, two from Ireland, and one from Northern Ireland.
7. In the U.S., 40% of babies are born to unmarried women
It wasn’t always this way, but for the eighth year in a row, a whopping 40% of all babies were born to unwed mothers. That’s in stark contrast to 1940, when just 3.8% of babies had unmarried parents. That number didn’t hit 10% until 1969.
8. The Original Capital of the United States Was Philadelphia
The country's capital wasn't always Washington, D.C. As stipulated by the Residence Act, Philly was made to be the temporary capital of the newly created United States of America between 1790 and 1800, while Washington, D.C., was being built. Today, you can still find many famous pieces of early U.S. history through the city of Philadelphia.
9. Most presidents were born in Virginia
Maybe it’s because of the close proximity to the nation’s capital? Whatever the reason, eight United States presidents were born in Virginia, including four of the first five. They were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
10. The United States' Debt Per Person Is $54,000
Ouch! Here are some more (probably related) stats. Approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be low income or are living in poverty. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that 167,000 Americans have more than $200,000 in student loan debt. The unemployment rate is currently 4 percent, according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.