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President’s Day 2012—Resources To Learn More About Our U.S. Presidents

Blogger’s Note—This is–with a few minor changes –the President’s Day post I run each year.  I very much enjoy sharing with the blog reading public the illustration you see above of Lincoln and Washington hugging. It is indeed a great work of art. Please have a safe holiday. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

President’s Day 2012 is Monday, February 20.

Here is a history of the President’s Day holiday. 

Above you see George Washington and Abe Lincoln hugging in the afterlife.

Where can you learn more about the Presidents?

I have four suggestions. Two of these resources are books and two can be found online.

The book The American Presidency–The Authoritative Reference is very useful.

Edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, American Presidency is a collection of essays about each President up until George W. Bush.

The book offers up a small measure of biography and a larger portion of analysis. With the essays running between 10 and 20 pages, this book is a good path to a reasonably complex understanding of the Presidents in a manageable amount of time.

A great deal of information about the Presidents can be found in The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William Degregoiro.

I’m not sure that any book has more facts about our Presidents than Complete Book. Here you’ll learn not just about the Presidents and their terms of office, but also about their cabinets, spouses and children, and various love affairs. It is one of the most enjoyable books I know.

The best online resource I’m aware of about the Presidents can be found at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. There you’ll find biographical information, essays and  a multimedia gallery. It is very well done.

Finally, C-Span offers the excellent American Presidents website. There are broadcasts you can watch showing where the Presidents lived, as well as programs where experts talk about the Presidents and take phone calls from viewers.

It is fine entertainment.

Make use of these top-notch resources, and you’ll know plenty about our Presidents and the impact each had on American history.

Even better, you can make use of these resources as a springboard to additional studies of American history.

The decision to learn more and understand more is up to you.

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President’s Day—Washington And Lincoln Hugging

President’s Day is upon us.

Above you see George Washington and Abe Lincoln hugging in the afterlife.

Where can you learn more about the Presidents?

I have four suggestions. Two of these resources are books and the other two can be found online.

The book The American Presidency–The Authoritative Reference is very useful.

Edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, American Presidency is a collection of essays about each President up until George W. Bush.

The book offers up a small measure of biography and a larger portion of analysis. With the essays running between 10 and 20 pages, this book is a good path to a reasonably complex understanding of the Presidents in a manageable amount of time.

A great deal of information about the Presidents can be found in The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William Degregoiro.

I’m not sure that any book has more facts about our Presidents than Complete Book. Here you’ll learn not just about the Presidents and their terms of office, but also about their cabinets, spouses and children, and various love affairs. It is one of the most enjoyable books I know.

The best online resource I’m aware of about the Presidents can be found at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. There you’ll find biographical information, essays and  a multimedia gallery. It is very well done.

Finally, C-Span offers the excellent American Presidents website. There are broadcasts you can watch showing where the Presidents lived, as well as programs where experts talk about the Presidents and take phone calls from viewers.

It is fine entertainment.

Make use of these top-notch resources, and you’ll know plenty about the Presidents and the impact they had on American history.

Even better, you can make use of these resources as a springboard to your additional studies of our Presidents and of our American political history.

The decision to learn more and understand more is up to you.

February 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Colonials Get Machine Gun—Think Of The Extra Killing We Could’ve Had Over The Years If Machine Guns Existed During American Revolution

Here’s a picture I found this evening.

Here we see this Revolutionary Era soldier bringing his colleagues a big machine gun.

I imagine that is Paul Revere holding the lantern.

Folks do have the right to own a gun. These are the facts.

My own view is that  gun owners are in many cases are a danger to themselves and others.

I don’t assume that gun ownership makes somebody a bad person. I simply feel that gun ownership and the huge number of guns in America makes society a far more dangerous and brutal place than it would otherwise be.

Do the folks who made this machine gun picture share the Federalist outlook of George Washington that called for a strong central government to combat the failure of state legislatures to effectively govern during the time of the Articles of Confederation?

I wager they do not agree with this outlook.

Instead, these folks seem to enjoy the right to own a gun without accepting the responsibility of paying the taxes needed to have a decent society, or offering any vision for the future other than a loud resounding “NO” to anything that might make people’s lives a little less difficult in these hard times.

Don’t you just wish that people had invented machine guns like the one in the picture back in the 1770’s? Think of all the additional killing that could have gone on over the years, and just how powerful our guns would be today if this was the type of gun used at Lexington & Concord.

And folks, no matter the lies the NRA is telling you so they can rack up more memberships and money, nobody is coming to take your gun.

August 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Inauguration/Washington Hugging Lincoln Because They Are Both Happy

The first Presidential inauguration took place on April 30, 1789 in New York City. The above painting of the event was completed in 1899.  It does not appear that the general public was invited. 

I guess the bloggers and media of the day had to stand out on street corners ringing bells and yelling out the day’s events.

Though members of the public who wished to mark and remember the event could buy buttons to note the day. The souvenir trade is a longstanding enterprise. 

Here is some good information about George Washington from the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. 

Here is President Washington’s first inaugural address.  

And here are pictures of the handwritten text of that address.

The swearing in took place in Federal Hall which is located at 26 Wall Street. This building, which still stands, was the first capitol of the United States. Below is what Federal Hall looks like today. Federal Hall is now run by the National Park Service. Here is the web home for Federal Hall.

Below is a rendering of George Washington and Abe Lincoln celebrating the election of Barack Obama. They are very happy.

While progress is not inevitable, nor once made irreversible, there is much to be said from the progression, and I think progression is the correct word, from the days of George Washington to the days of Barack Obama.

It is progress from the closed circle in 1789 evident in the painting at the top of this post, to the open festivities we will see later this month. ( Though what would President Washington have made of all the security our celebrations later this month will require?) 

Hopefully, President-elect Obama will conduct the office in a way that will continue to enlarge the circle of American opportunity in these hard times.  Though we hope that we can trust Mr. Oabma, we must not forget that we as citizens will need to keep on him all the time.

January 2, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who I Would Have Supported For President—1788-1820

If I’d been around, who would I have supported for President between the years 1788 and 1820?

( Here is part two of this series–1824-1852)

Without knowing the past, we can’t grasp the present.

In the years 1788-1820, I would have been looking for a strong federal government, an expansion of our new found freedoms to include all people, and just treatment of Native Americans.

As it turned out, by 1820 there was little doubt that America was one nation united, it’s just that this unity often came at the expense of the freedoms and just treatment I would have hoped for.

Elections in these days were not decided by popular vote. Candidates were often nominated by caucuses of sitting members of Congress. This was the so-called King Caucus. Electoral votes were won by votes in state legislatures.  

1788—In the first Presidential election, I’d have backed George Washington of Virginia (above as painted by Gilbert Stuart.) I would have felt the new nation needed a solid start, and that General Washington would be best to provide that foundation. Also, General Washington had no opponent in 1788.

1792—Washington was again the only candidate. Though by this point an opposition was emerging to the ruling Federalists.

1796—While I would have been concerned by the elitist tendencies of Federalist Alexander Hamilton, I would have supported Federalist Party Vice President John Adams of Massachusetts. In part this is because I’m a native New Englander. More meaningfully, Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian slave holding republic would not have held much appeal. Adams beat Jefferson of Virginia in 1800.

Jefferson’s candidacy can be seen as a beginning of the very successful Democratic-Republican Party.

1800—While I would have been turned off by Adams’ Alien & Sedition Acts, I would have supported President Adams over repeat challenger Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s view against standing armies in peacetime and his advocacy of slavery and states rights would have gone against my support of strong central government and a move towards the end of slavery. Jefferson won the election. 

1804—The Federalist party was in disarray in 1804 and there was hardly a contest. I would have softened on Jefferson to a degree because of the Louisiana Purchase. This was an act of an assertive federal government no matter what Jefferson put forth as the official line. The Federalist was Charles Pinckney of South Carolina. Pinckney had a record of work and support for a strong federal government. By 1804 though, he had moved towards a more southern influenced view of these questions. I don’t think I would have backed either candidate.

( Below—The Louisiana Purchase and what America was in 1810.)

1808—This time it was Pinckney against Secretary of State James Madison of Virginia. At this point it would have all seemed useless. Many Virginia Federalists bolted and supported Madison. The narrowing of the Federalist party gave the party an increasingly aristocratic tint. I would have been frustrated in 1808.

Where were the champions of an America both more free and not looking towards the South? Madison won the election.

1812—Opposition to the Democratic-Republicans and the Virgina Dynasty got a moderate lift from debate over war with England. This is what would become known as the War of 1812. I would of have had a tough call in 1812. Democratic-Republican dissident DeWitt Clinton of New York was endorsed by Federalists to run against President Madison.

I would have liked Clinton for his role as “Father of the Erie Canal.” The canal helped unify the country. I would have been suspicious of the motives behind the War of 1812. I would have seen the war as about protecting the Southern cotton trade and as a vehicle to stop British assistance to Native Americans resisiting the advance of the United States across their lands.

On the other hand, I would have noted the nationalist sentiments behind the war and seen these feelings as, over the long haul, likely leading to the undermining of the states rights position.

( Below–The Erie Canal at Kirkville, New York. Looks like a nice place for a picnic.)  

I think I would have gone with Clinton. Madison won the election.

General Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812 helped set off an agressive white man’s democratic nationalism that I would have seen as a logical extension of Jefferson’s views many years earlier.

1816—I would have sat 1816 out. Opposition to the Democratic-Republican Party took the form of 1814’s Hartford Convention. Secession was an option considered at this meeting by some of the leading remaining Federalists. I could have never had gone for that program. Secretary of State James Monroe of Virginia won the White House in 1816. In this so-called Era of Good Feelings election, Monroe won easily. 

1820—Monroe was reelected without opposition. This would be the last election before the popular vote of eligible white males become the deciding factor.

David Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Electionsis the best online source of Presidential election history.   

The Penguin History of the USA by Hugh Brogan is a great one volume history of the nation.

Next up will be my Presidential choices for the years between 1824 and 1852.

( Below–White House portrait of James Monroe. I don’t think he is gazing out at the future. Monroe was the last of the Virginia Dynasty.)

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Who I Would Have Supported For President | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments