Since we’ve been talking about James Buchanan a lot the past couple of days, I figured we’d do a James Buchanan fact. Because we was a bachelor, many Americans worried that President Buchanan would be too lonely living in the White House by himself, so they sent him pets, which included a Newfoundland dog and a pair of bald eagles.
(FYI: One of my favorite random American History facts involves bald eagles and a guy who wasn’t President — Benjamin Franklin. Franklin didn’t think the bald eagle was a good symbol for the United States. He preferred the turkey as he wrote in a letter to his daughter in 1784. Consider this a bonus:
For my own part I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping and robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: the little king bird not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district….in truth the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and served up at the wedding table of Charles the Ninth. He is besides, though a little vain and silly, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coast on.
I don’t know, Ben. The bald eagle sounds pretty American to me. Either way, Benjamin Franklin was awesome. James Buchanan: not so much.