Interesting facts in American history include a trial against tomatoes and the history of the Republican and Democratic party symbols. The leisurely life of Thomas Jefferson and his history of the hand shake also add to the intrigue that is oftentimes omitted from lessons taught in schools.
Salem, New Jersey, held a trial against tomatoes on Sept. 25, 1820. A rumor had been started that tomatoes were poisonous, but one citizen, Robert Johnson, took action to prove them wrong. Johnson stood in the middle of a crowd at the town courthouse and ate an entire basket of tomatoes, and, being that he survived, the trial was dismissed.
The symbols for the Republican and Democrat parties came to be from tongue-in-cheek comments and retribution versus actual political tact or decision. The donkey symbol, used for the Democratic party, was set into place during an election in 1828, when one of Andrew Jackson's opponents called him a "jackass," while the elephant symbol of the Republican party came in 1874 when Thomas Nast, a satirical cartoonist, labeled a drawing of an elephant as, "The Republican Vote."
Thomas Jefferson's life of leisure is best described in the accounts of his greeting White House guests while wearing his slippers and robe. He made it a point to not initiate unnecessary stress, and tried to conduct himself as simply as possible. He also initiated the custom of shaking hands when meeting new people, which was preceded by George Washington's customary bow, as he favored it over physical contact.