Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Presidential Trivia of the Week

Presidential Trivia Questions to Share
with the Young People in Your Life!

Copyright (c) 2008 Wendell Minor
Are YOU playing presidential trivia?!  In honor of this year's presidential campaign, the NCBLA is posting three presidential trivia questions each week. Check out this week's questions and have fun sharing the questions and answers with the kids in your life!

This Week's Trivia Questions
  1. Which American president bred his own hunting dogs with French hounds that had been shipped to him as a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette?
  2. In today's presidential campaigns, candidates are always traveling, and sometimes they may visit several states in one day in their efforts to reach voters. But presidential campaigns did not always involve such extensive travel. Which presidents won the election by campaigning from the front porches of their homes?
  3. Which First Lady is credited with saving important papers and a portrait of George Washington from the White House before British soldiers arrived to burn it down in the midst of the War of 1812?
A go-to resource for discovering more about America's presidents is the NCBLA's interdisciplinary anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, and it's coordinating educational website! An incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and a stunning array of original art, Our White House offers a multifaceted look at America’s history through the prism of the White House.

 Answers and Information for Learning MORE!
  1. George Washington. In "Presidential Menageries: George Washington, Hound Dogs, and Super Mules," Mary Brigid Barrett writes, "George Washington bred hunting dogs, and his papers at the Library of Congress note that he wanted to breed 'a superior dog, one that had speed, sense and brains.' In the mid-1780’s, aware of Washington’s intense interest, Marquis de Lafayette Washington’s French friend and ally during the Revolutionary War, sent him seven massive hounds. ... The French hounds were reportedly so fierce Washington assigned a servant to monitor their meals because they tore each other apart fighting over their food. He crossed these French beasts with his own black and tan hounds to create a new breed—the American Foxhound." To read the entire article on, click here
  2. James Garfield and William McKinley. The construction of railroads enabled presidential candidates to travel easily from state to state throughout the nineteenth century, but even with mass transportation widely available two candidates made the unusual decision to campaign from home. James Garfield welcomed hundreds of flag-waving visitors–many of them simply curious to see an actual presidential contender–to his home in Mentor, Ohio. From his front porch, Garfield spoke to the people while his wife served cold drinks on the lawn. Garfield won the 1880 election, so in 1896 fellow Ohio native William McKinley followed his lead and invited voters to his home in Canton. McKinley’s campaign was much more controlled, however. His staff insisted on evaluating potential visitors rather than allowing unpredictable crowds of Americans to show up in the front yard for a rowdy party. McKinley was also carefully briefed in advance regarding the topics he was to discuss with his pre-approved visitors of the day. The front-porch strategy was successful for McKinley even though his opponent made hundreds of speeches to millions of people around the country. McKinley’s win cannot be attributed simply to his staying at home, however. Many Republican leaders spoke around the country on his behalf. Plus, his campaign manager raised millions of dollars, which allowed them to produce substantial amounts of advertising, including flyers printed in several foreign languages so that new immigrants could read them. Learn more in "Persuading the People: Presidential Campaigns" on
  3. Dolley Madison. In "Dolley Madison Rescues George Washington" in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, Don Brown writes, "Dolley doesn't hesitate to show her grit. She has promised the president to protect important government documents housed in the president's mansion and is determined not to abandon them to the British. To the boom of nearby cannons, she packs the papers into the only carriage she can find. She is about to race away to safety when she remembers a portrait of George Washington." Be sure to read the entire essay in Our White House, and for more about Dolley Madison, check out "Primary Sources: Dolley Madison's Letter to Her Sister About the Burning of the White House" on

Our White House is available
in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.
Ask for it at a library or bookstore near you!

And be sure to check out the companion educational website,, which provides expanded book content that includes additional articles, resources, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics as well exclusive resources and articles regarding the presidency, presidential campaigns, and presidential elections.