Monday, January 02, 2012

Dead Presidents: January

January is comparatively rich in presidential birthdays and days of death. Leading the pack among chief magistrates born during the first month of the year is none other than Millard Fillmore, born in a log cabin in Cayuga County, New York very early in the year 1800.

Other U.S. presidents born in January were, in order, Richard Nixon (January 9, 1913), William McKinley (January 29, 1843), and Franklin Roosevelt (January 30, 1882). As for vice presidents, other than those who became presidents, the January birth list includes two living -- Walter Mondale and Dick Cheney -- and two dead, John C. Breckinridge and Charles Curtis.

A good number of presidents also checked out in January, beginning with Calvin Coolidge, who supposedly inspired Dorthy Parker to say, "How can they tell?" when informed of the former president's passing, which was on January 5, 1933. Theodore Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, John Tyler and Lyndon Johnson also joined the ranks of dead presidents in January.

And of course, January is an important month for the U.S. presidency because it includes the newfangled inauguration date, January 20, as specified by the 20th amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1933. Since January 20, 1937, 12 presidents have taken the oath of office in January on 19 separate occasions.

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