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An Easy Way to Remember the US Presidents

May 7, 2008
Every American should know the names of the Presidents. First we list the Presidents and find substitute words for their names. Beside each president write words of similar sound. The degree of similarity in sound is an individual matter. For the person who relies greatly on the aid of sound, the substituted word must be very like that of the word to be memorized.

Then we make up a little story which includes these substituted words in order. The story might run somewhat like this:

In Washington Adam was jeopardized by a mad monster. Adam and Jack ran to the bureau, but in their hurry they broke a tile or poked a tailor. They filmed more buildings, pierced by a cannon which was linked by John to a grand tree.

The haze over garden and field sheltered Arthur, who cleaved his way in a hurry. He cleaved mockingly as he cried: "A rose taffeta dress will hardly be the right thing in a college; but whoever desires rose veils may truly wear them?"

The underlined words mean:
Washington -- Washington
Adam -- Adams
jeopardized -- Jefferson
mad -- Madison
monster -- Monroe
Adam -- Adams
Jack -- Jackson
bureau -- Van Buren
hurry -- Harrison
tile -- Tyler
poked -- Polk
tailor -- Taylor
filmed more -- Fillmore
pierced -- Pierce
by a cannon -- Buchanan
linked -- Lincoln
John -- Johnson
grand -- Grant
haze -- Hayes
garden and field -- Garfield
Arthur -- Arthur
cleaved -- Cleveland
hurry -- Harrison
cleaved -- Cleveland
mockingly -- McKinley
rose -- Roosevelt
taffeta -- Taft
will -- Wilson
hardly -- Harding
college -- Coolidge
whoever -- Hoover
rose veils -- Roosevelt

Use this small story, and you will know the Presidents of the United States.

When we work out a story embodying these substitute words just as we did in the case of the states, except that in this instance we must use them in historical order. The story might run somewhat like this:

In Washington Adam was jeopardized by a mad monster. Adam and Jack ran to the bureau, but in their hurry they broke a tile or poked a tailor. They filmed more buildings, pierced by a cannon which was linked by John to a grand tree.

The haze over garden and field sheltered Arthur, who cleaved his way in a hurry. He cleaved mockingly as he cried: "A rose taffeta dress will hardly be the right thing in a college; but whoever desires rose veils may truly wear them?

This story is somewhat harder to learn than the one about the states, because of its prescribed order. Nevertheless, one can learn this list without special effort in half an hour, while to learn the Presidents without such aid takes much longer.

Every American is expected to know not only the names of the Presidents in chronological order but also the dates of their terms. The latter, too, is considerably lightened by mnemonics, but before we attempt it we need further preparation. We will return to its solution in a later chapter.

The following interesting version of the list of Presidents was worked out by Mr. Edwin C. Silvey. It is excellent in that it avoids many connecting words. This series, a masterpiece in phonetics, is also easy to learn:

Washing done, a dame gave her son medicine. We know Washington Adams Jefferson Madison Monroe at times that son, a wine bum, had his son dial (telephone) her: Adams Jackson Van Buren Harrison Tyler broke; tell her fill my purse By cannon and gun Polk Taylor Fillmore Pearce Buchanan Lincoln John's son groaned to haze our field. Are they Johnson Grant Hayes Gaineld Arthur Gleeful and merry, son? Cleve and Mack when they rose felt Cleveland Harrison Cleveland McKinley Roosevelt
tough. Well, son, Hearty! College over. Who's fooled. Taft Wilson Harding Coolidge Hoover Roosevelt
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