The Very Real History Behind the Crazy Politics of 'House of Cards'

While there's no evidence of someone faking a politician's suicide, national leaders have in fact killed themselves. Russo's historical predecessor may have been George Washington Adams, the eldest son of John Quincy Adams. A known womanizer and alcoholic by the time he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1826, he was often described as "gloomy" and likely suffered from depression. Historians believe that while travelling on a steamboat from Boston to New York City, where his disappointed father awaited his arrival, Adams committed suicide by drowning.

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The Peachoid is real, and it is actually located in Gaffney, South Carolina. In the midst of heated negotiations with teachers' unions, Underwood must leave Washington when a teenage girl in his own district dies while texting about the suggestive illuminated water tower. While the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that kids between the ages of 12 and 17 text a median of 60 times a day, there has been no such incident involving the four-story, 150 foot tall Peachoid.

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The teacher's union proves to be a more formidable enemy than Underwood had anticipated, and while it is nice to see the congressman struggle through his treachery, would Democrats really be so aggressive against their own constituency during negotiations? After Mayor Rahm Emanuel defied the Chicago Teachers Union last September, they launched the city's first teachers strike in 25 years. Just as the teachers turned on fictional union head Marty Spinella, teachers who once supported the Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis are now vowing to run against her.

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Towards the end of the season, Underwood visits his military college in South Carolina, the Sentinal, for the unveiling of the library the lobbying group SanCorp has paid for in the congressman's name. The Sentinel is a thinly veiled reimagining of the Citadel, the military college in South Carolina. While the library on campus is named in honor of lifelong benefactors, the late Charles E. Daniel and R. Hugh Daniel, a total of 12 alumni went on to become congressmen, seven of whom would, like Underwood, represent the state of South Carolina.

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After Underwood convinces the unhappy vice president to run for reelection in his home state, the congressman is conveniently tasked with heading up the search for Matthew's replacement—the very office he hopes to fill on his way to the presidency. What is the likelihood that the head of such a search would end up being named vice president? In early 2000, Dick Cheney led Governor George W. Bush's vice-presidential search committee. Bush considered Cheney's findings, but did not choose any of the people he vetted, instead asking the Halliburton CEO to join him on the Republican ticket.

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Alexis Coe is a writer in San Francisco and a columnist for SF Weekly.

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