Friday, December 31, 2004

HomeofHeroes.com - Presidents of the United States

Homeofheroes.com - Presidents of the United States. 43 pages constitute this volume of famous quotes tied in with biographies for each president. Visitors can view portraits of each man, his Vice-President, and First Lady.

From the site:

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES is a unique Hall of Heroes e-book that introduces you to the men who have been elected to the highest office in our land. Each of the 43 pages provide you with photos and personal information on each of our Chief Executives since George Washington. If you are new to our E-books program, you may wish to visit our "Helps & Policy pages before continuing.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Gerald Ford State of the Union Addresses

Gerald Ford State of the Union Addresses. Here is a collection of the three State of the Union Adresses delivered by Gerald Ford. The last one (given in early 1977 after he had lost his bid to be elected President) has some humor in it. Ford said, "This report will be my last--maybe--[laughter]--but for the Union it is only the first of such reports in our third century of independence, the close of which none of us will ever see."

Gerald Ford First State of the Union Address
Gerald Ford Second State of the Union Address
Gerald Ford Third State of the Union Address

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Price of the Presidency

The Price of the Presidency - Article from Yankee Magazine examines the toll the presidency took on Coolidge's personal life.

From the site:

He was called Silent Cal, and the nation laughed at his taciturnity, his frugality, and his dry wit. But the Great Stone Face hid a sweet smile and a terrible anguish.

January 5, 1933 was a crisp mid-winter Thursday in Northampton, Massachusetts. In the redbrick Masonic Block, the city's most famous resident put in a short morning at the second-floor law office marked Coolidge and Hemenway. It was part of the comfortable routine Calvin Coolidge had adopted since leaving the White House nearly four years earlier. The 30th president of the United States made no pretense of being a practicing lawyer. Coolidge and Hemenway was a place to kick off one's shoes, lean back with a freshly clipped cigar, and pour over the morning's papers and ever-present mail.

The latter presented challenges of its own, reflecting the severe hardship that had fastened its grip upon the American economy like winter descending upon the Connecticut River valley. One day a package containing a diamond bracelet arrived at Masonic Block, sent by an admirer convinced that only the parsimonious Coolidge could safeguard her valuables in these uncertain times. "He treated that diamond bracelet as if it were a scorpion," recalled Coolidge's secretary, Herman Beatty. The unsolicited package was hastily returned, but only after the former president filed a post office receipt in front of several reliable witnesses.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Teaching about the Louisiana Purchase

Teaching about the Louisiana Purchase. This essay looks at ways that students can be taught about this important historical event. The topic of the Louisiana Purchase would make an excellent centerpiece for any lesson about President Thomas Jefferson.

From the site:

The year 2003 marks the bicentennial of the 1803 Treaty of France, by which the United States of America acquired the Louisiana Territory, an area of more than 828,000 square miles. Upon this acquisition, known as the Louisiana Purchase, the territory of the United States doubled. Historians consider the Louisiana Purchase to be a landmark event or turning point in American history. This Digest discusses (1) President Jefferson's decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory, (2) the significant consequences of this decision in American history, and (3) methods of teaching about the Louisiana Purchase.

THE DECISION TO PURCHASE LOUISIANA.

President Thomas Jefferson faced an important decision during the summer of 1803. Napoleon, the emperor of France, had offered to sell the territory of Louisiana to the United States for $15 million. This vast territory extended westward from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and southward from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico and the Spanish lands of what is now Texas and New Mexico.

Jefferson had offered to buy for $2 million only the region around the mouth of the Mississippi River, which included the port and city of New Orleans. The President wanted to protect the interests of farmers in the Ohio River Valley, who depended on access to New Orleans. They sent their crops down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, from which ships took the products to cities along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Americans feared that the French might interfere with their trade by imposing high taxes on products and ships moving through New Orleans. Even worse, the French might close the port to Americans.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Second Inaugural Address of James Madison

Second Inaugural Address of James Madison. This Inaugural Address was delivered on March 13th, 1813. The War of 1812 was in full swing and Madison uses this speech to justify America's declaration of war on the British.

From the site:

On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty on the high seas and the security of an important class of citizens whose occupations give the proper value to those of every other class. Not to contend for such a stake is to surrender our equality with other powers on the element common to all and to violate the sacred title which every member of the society has to its protection. I need not call into view the unlawfulness of the practice by which our mariners are forced at the will of every cruising officer from their own vessels into foreign ones, nor paint the outrages inseparable from it. The proofs are in the records of each successive Administration of our Government, and the cruel sufferings of that portion of the American people have found their way to every bosom not dead to the sympathies of human nature.

As the war was just in its origin and necessary and noble in its objects, we can reflect with a proud satisfaction that in carrying it on no principle of justice or honor, no usage of civilized nations, no precept of courtesy or humanity, have been infringed. The war has been waged on our part with scrupulous regard to all these obligations, and in a spirit of liberality which was never surpassed.

How little has been the effect of this example on the conduct of the enemy!

They have retained as prisoners of war citizens of the United States not liable to be so considered under the usages of war.

They have refused to consider as prisoners of war, and threatened to punish as traitors and deserters, persons emigrating without restraint to the United States, incorporated by naturalization into our political family, and fighting under the authority of their adopted country in open and honorable war for the maintenance of its rights and safety. Such is the avowed purpose of a Government which is in the practice of naturalizing by thousands citizens of other countries, and not only of permitting but compelling them to fight its battles against their native country.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

History of Czech Republic

History of Czech Republic. President Wilson was one of the leaders who helped in the formation of Czechoslovakia. It happened after World War One. Czechoslavakia is no more but I still think the Czechs owe Woodrow Wilson some thanks as this state ulimately help bring about the Czech Republic.

From the site:

The Czech Republic was the western part of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. Formed into a common state after World War I (October 28, 1918), the Czechs, Moravians, and Slovaks remained united for almost 75 years. On January 1, 1993, the two republics split to form two separate states.

The Czechs lost their national independence to the Hapsburgs Empire in 1620 at the Battle of White Mountain and for the next 300 years were ruled by the Austrian Monarchy. With the collapse of the monarchy at the end of World War I, the independent country of Czechoslovakia was formed, encouraged by, among others, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Clinton Presidential Center

Clinton Presidential Center. Companion site to Clinton's Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. It contains an overview of the foundation and library, message boards, and news.

From the site:

The Clinton Presidential Center and Park is comprised of:

1. The Library and Archives 2. The Clinton Foundation 3. The Clinton School of Public Service

The Clinton Library and Archives contains nearly 2 million photographs, 80 million pages of records and documents, 79,000 gifts and artifacts and 21 million email messages.

The design of the Library was inspired by President Clinton’s commitment to build a “bridge to the 21st Century.” Inspiration was found in the landscape, Little Rock’s “Six Bridges,” and the historic Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland.

The architect is Polshek Partnership Architects of New York City. Polshek Partnership was the architect for the celebrated Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and in recognition of design excellence in the built environment, the firm was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture this year.

The landscape architect is Hargreaves Associates, and the design for the Clinton Presidential Center extends the urban grid of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Exhibits were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The Library contains alcoves depicting important milestones in the Clinton presidency, such as the economic boom and elimination of the deficit, reducing crime and promoting peace and democracy in the world. It features a timeline of world events between 1993 and 2001, a full-scale replica of the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office and several exhibits that detail life in the White House, including “State Events – Welcoming the World” and “Making The House a Home.”

Thursday, December 23, 2004

New York Institute for Special Education - Grover Cleveland

New York Institute for Special Education - Grover Cleveland. Offers a directory of links for studying President Cleveland including biographies, speeches, and Presidential actions.

From the site:

In the 1850's one of the head teachers was William N. Cleveland, who for two years was connected with the school. His interest was temporary, as he was a student of the Theological Seminary, neighbor to the Institution, preparing for the ministry. His younger brother was through his influence employed first in a clerical capacity and later as both secretary and teacher in the literary department. This was Grover Cleveland. The youth who became President of the United States developed in the period of his service, though less than two years, an interest in the welfare of the sightless that he never lost.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jimmy Carter State of the Union Addresses

Jimmy Carter State of the Union Addresses. Jimmy Carter delivered four State of the Union Addresses when he was President. Here are some links to access each of them. The 1980 Address (the third one) talks some about the Iran Hostage Crisis.

First Jimmy Carter State of the Union Address
Second Jimmy Carter State of the Union Address
Third Jimmy Carter State of the Union Address
Fourth Jimmy Carter State of the Union Address

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Peace Hero Jimmy Carter

Peace Hero Jimmy Carter - A look at Carter's contributions to world peace efforts both during and after his administration.

From the site:

After leaving office, most presidents either retire to their ranches, go on the political fundraising circuit, play golf, or collect political papers for the creation of their commemorative library. Not former President Jimmy Carter. Since his presidency, Carter has demonstrated that he is undoubtedly an extraordinary person in his ceaseless contributions to the world. Although former President Jimmy Carter's tenure as chief executive ended nearly two decades ago, his dedication to a world characterized by peace and freedom from conflict has grown with each passing year. Jimmy Carter's many contributions to the international community demonstrate that no vision is too great, and no dream unattainable.

His role in resolving disputes between Israel and Egypt, despite their prolonged history of antagonism, illuminates Carter's heartfelt commitment to a more peaceful and better world. One of his most notable accomplishments was his position as mediator during the Camp David Accords of 1978. Hoping to mitigate and ultimately put an end to the volatile Arab/Israeli conflict in the Middle East, Carter instigated a set of peace talks, the Camp David Accords, between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Both leaders were invited to Camp David, the exclusive presidential retreat with the goal of opening lines of communication between the two extremely hostile countries.

The peace talks spanned 13 long days, much longer than initially anticipated. At times, animosities became so unbearable that Begin and Sadat refused to meet face to face. Carter used his influence as President and his mediating capabilities to reestablish communication between the two. Ultimately, the Camp David Accords of 1978 created a landmark framework for peace in the Arab/Israeli conflict which resulted in a formal treaty signed by Egypt and Israel in 1979. What is so remarkable about the Camp David Accords is how Carter recognized the pain and suffering occurring within the Middle East and used his powerful position to influence the future. Even in the Middle East, a region so divided in ideologies, religions, and history, Carter proved that intervention and peaceful negotiation are the most logical and effective means of resolving hostilities.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Performing a Presidency: Consciousness, Crisis and Doctrine in the Making of Bush 43

Performing a Presidency: Consciousness, Crisis and Doctrine in the Making of Bush 43 - An essay by theatre expert Ronaldo Morelos seeking to explain how the 9/11 terrorist attacks shaped and set the tone for the Bush presidency.

From the site:

George W. Bush delivered three televised speeches on the 11th of September 2001 following the attacks of that day. These statements provided a context and a plan to deal with the unfolding tragedy. The emotive memory of those events, thus contextualised, became the foundation for the performative and communicative acts that the U.S., as a nation and as an international coalition leader, became committed to and later engaged in. The performances of Bush as president in that crisis were informed by and, in turn, invoked particular social, cultural, and political processes that served to "define the situation" historically, extracting meaning from those events and harnessing national identity. The authoritative narratisation, performed as presidency, compelled a course of action within the context of conflict in a social drama.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

First Inaugural Address of James Madison

First Inaugural Address of James Madison. President Madison gave his first Inaguaral speech on March 4th, 1809.

From the site:

Unwilling to depart from examples of the most revered authority, I avail myself of the occasion now presented to express the profound impression made on me by the call of my country to the station to the duties of which I am about to pledge myself by the most solemn of sanctions. So distinguished a mark of confidence, proceeding from the deliberate and tranquil suffrage of a free and virtuous nation, would under any circumstances have commanded my gratitude and devotion, as well as filled me with an awful sense of the trust to be assumed. Under the various circumstances which give peculiar solemnity to the existing period, I feel that both the honor and the responsibility allotted to me are inexpressibly enhanced.

The present situation of the world is indeed without a parallel and that of our own country full of difficulties. The pressure of these, too, is the more severely felt because they have fallen upon us at a moment when the national prosperity being at a height not before attained, the contrast resulting from the change has been rendered the more striking. Under the benign influence of our republican institutions, and the maintenance of peace with all nations whilst so many of them were engaged in bloody and wasteful wars, the fruits of a just policy were enjoyed in an unrivaled growth of our faculties and resources. Proofs of this were seen in the improvements of agriculture, in the successful enterprises of commerce, in the progress of manufacturers and useful arts, in the increase of the public revenue and the use made of it in reducing the public debt, and in the valuable works and establishments everywhere multiplying over the face of our land.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

History of Guinea-Bissau

History of Guinea-Bissau. Much to my surprise, President Grant was involved in helping to settle the boundaries of the African nation of Guinea-Bissau.

From the site:

Portuguese conquest and consolidation of the interior did not begin until the latter half of the 19th century. Portugal lost part of Guinea to French West Africa, including the center of earlier Portuguese commercial interest, the Casamance River region. A dispute with Great Britain over the island of Bolama was settled in Portugal's favor with the involvement of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Successes and Failures of George Bush's War on Drugs

The Successes and Failures of George Bush's War on Drugs - Offers an in-depth look at Bush's plan to fight illegal drugs and the results of the actions he took, from a pro-legalization organization.

From the site:

United States President George Bush officially began his "war on drugs" on September 5, 1989, when he gave the first prime time address of his presidency, in which he outlined the federal government's strategy for eradicating drug use. The plan called for $7.9 billion from Congress, a $2.2 billion increase from the previous budget. Of the $7.9 billion that Bush asked for, 70% would go to law enforcement, which included $1.6 billion for jails. However, only 30% went to prevention, education, and treatment. The Bush administration sought to wage its war by primarily focusing on demand in the United States, which, to Bush, meant attacking and arresting the drug user, rather than focusing on prevention, education and treatment, or interdiction (Trying to reduce the supply of drugs). Since the federal government has very limited police power, it would have to wage this war through the coercion of states. States that did not comply with the Bush plan would be penalized with a reduction in funding from the federal government.History

Every president since Eisenhower had created new measures to decrease drug use in the United States, but, until 1979, none had actually succeeded. In 1989, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a report stating that there was a 37% drop in casual (non addicted) use from 1979 to 1989.3

Despite this trend, drug abuse and addiction had become a serious and dangerous problem in the 1980's, due to a rise in the popularity of casual cocaine use among the middle and upper class, and the invention of crack cocaine, a smokable, more potent form of cocaine, used primarily by poorer, drug addicted people. Before long, cocaine became the main export of Colombia, and a major product of Bolivia and Peru. Crack became so prevalent that by 1990 it cost only 35 cents to import and manufacture a vial (a common quantity) of it. Moreover, despite the interdiction efforts of President Ronald Reagan, the wholesale price of cocaine dropped from $60,000 per kilo in 1980 to $10,000 per kilo in 1988. All of this drug use amounted to immense profits; drug lords were getting $80 billion in tax free profits every year.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

James Buchanan

James Buchanan. Official White House biography of the 15th President with facts and life history. Not surprisingly, no mention is made of the rumors that this president may have been gay.

From the site:

Tall, stately, stiffly formal in the high stock he wore around his jowls, James Buchanan was the only President who never married.

Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time. Relying on constitutional doctrines to close the widening rift over slavery, he failed to understand that the North would not accept constitutional arguments which favored the South. Nor could he realize how sectionalism had realigned political parties: the Democrats split; the Whigs were destroyed, giving rise to the Republicans.

Born into a well-to-do Pennsylvania family in 1791, Buchanan, a graduate of Dickinson College, was gifted as a debater and learned in the law.

He was elected five times to the House of Representatives; then, after an interlude as Minister to Russia, served for a decade in the Senate. He became Polk's Secretary of State and Pierce's Minister to Great Britain. Service abroad helped to bring him the Democratic nomination in 1856 because it had exempted him from involvement in bitter domestic controversies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Presidential Pet Museum

Presidential Pet Museum - Preserving information and artifacts related to the pets who shared the White House with presidents from George Washington to the present.

From the site:

The Presidential Pet Museum was founded in 1999 as a repository and means of preserving information, artifacts, and items related to the Presidential Pets. The Museum is now open to the public for all to view and enjoy. Over 1500 items of interest are displayed for lovers of pets, Presidents and pet trivia. Children learn by association and what better way to educate visitors about our Presidency, than through the White House Pets. Nearly every President had a pet, both exotic and common, and one can learn about them all at the Presidential Pet Museum.

The Museum highlights past and current White House Pets. See a portrait of Lucky (President and Mrs. Reagan's Bouvier des Flandres) made from her own hair, and photos and exhibits of famous pets from George Washington's Horse, Nelson, the Clinton's famous Buddy and Socks to the current White House Pets, Barney, a Scottish Terrier, and Spot, a Springer Spaniel (recently deceased), daughter of Millie Bush.

The Presidential Pet Museum is located only 19 miles from the White House on Route 4, (Pennsylvania Avenue and Wrighton Road) which is on the way to the National Wildlife preservation known as JUG BAY where over 10,000 visitors a year enjoy the wildlife and natural protected lands of the Patuxent River area. Call 410-741-0899 for directions if you wish.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden

The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden - Official exhibit site of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Traces the history and culture of the presidency from 1789 through 2000.

From the site:

Now that the Revolutionary War was over, and independence from Britain had been won, what would the United States do with their freedom? The Declaration of Independence acted as a guide to the values that the new American government should embrace, yet the form that the government would take was still unclear.

Having rebelled against King George III, the first inclination of Americans was to avoid a centralized authority, and place most of the power in the states. National authority would be limited by establishing a weak central legislature. However, the realities of building a nation that faced internal disputes and international affairs led many to reconsider the role of the national government and the need for strong executive leadership. Out of this debate emerged the American presidency.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Thomas Jefferson Second Inaugural Address

Thomas Jefferson Second Inaugural Address. This speech was delivered on March 4, 1805.

From the site:

Proceeding, fellow citizens, to that qualification which the constitution requires, before my entrance on the charge again conferred upon me, it is my duty to express the deep sense I entertain of this new proof of confidence from my fellow citizens at large, and the zeal with which it inspires me, so to conduct myself as may best satisfy their just expectations.

On taking this station on a former occasion, I declared the principles on which I believed it my duty to administer the affairs of our commonwealth. My conscience tells me that I have, on every occasion, acted up to that declaration, according to its obvious import, and to the understanding of every candid mind.

In the transaction of your foreign affairs, we have endeavored to cultivate the friendship of all nations, and especially of those with which we have the most important relations. We have done them justice on all occasions, favored where favor was lawful, and cherished mutual interests and intercourse on fair and equal terms. We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations, as with individuals, our interests soundly calculated, will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties; and history bears witness to the fact, that a just nation is taken on its word, when recourse is had to armaments and wars to bridle others.

At home, fellow citizens, you best know whether we have done well or ill. The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless establishments and expenses, enabled us to discontinue our internal taxes. These covering our land with officers, and opening our doors to their intrusions, had already begun that process of domiciliary vexation which, once entered, is scarcely to be restrained from reaching successively every article of produce and property. If among these taxes some minor ones fell which had not been inconvenient, it was because their amount would not have paid the officers who collected them, and because, if they had any merit, the state authorities might adopt them, instead of others less approved.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

History of Liberia

History of Liberia. It is a well known but still interesting bit of trivia that the capitol of Liberia is named after President Monroe.

From the site:

Portuguese explorers established contacts with Liberia as early as 1461 and named the area Grain Coast because of the abundance of grains of Malegueta Pepper. In 1663 the British installed trading posts on the Grain Coast, but the Dutch destroyed these posts a year later. There were no further reports of European settlements along the Grain Coast until the arrival of freed slaves in the early 1800s.

Liberia, which means "land of the free," was founded by freed slaves from the United States in 1820. These freed slaves, called Americo-Liberians, first arrived in Liberia and established a settlement in Christopolis now Monrovia (named after U.S. President James Monroe) on February 6, 1820. This group of 86 immigrants formed the nucleus of the settler population of what became known as the Republic of Liberia.

Friday, December 10, 2004

President for a Day

President for a Day. David Rice Atchison was never the President of the United States. Yet there is an urban legen that holds that he was the President on 4 March 1849. This claim is easily disproved.

From the site:

A favorite bit of annoying trivia is for someone to ask who the 12th President of the United States was, chortle when the respondent answers "Zachary Taylor," proclaim that the 12th President was really David Rice Atchison, and then chortle again when the respondent's expression indicates he never heard of any such person.

The basis for this routine is that President-elect Zachary Taylor was set to succeed James K. Polk and be inaugurated as the 13th President of the United States on 4 March 1849. However, March 4 was a Sunday, and Taylor declined to be sworn in on the Sabbath, so his inauguration was deferred for a day. Now, over one hundred and fifty years later, a ubiquitous bit of presidential apocrypha is the claim that someone else served as President during the twenty-four hour period between the expiration of Polk's term and the swearing-in of Taylor. A plethora of trivia reference sources state that Missouri senator David Rice Atchison was (or acted as) President for that one day, but claims placing him in that office are really nothing more than latter day "what if?" fantasies based on erroneous assumptions and interpretations.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The World On the Brink: John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The World On the Brink: John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis - Site for the 40th anniversary exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Library has a chronology and extensive links to documents and audio files.

From the site:

Forty years have passed since the hottest moment of the Cold War: the Cuban missile crisis.

U.S. forces around the world were placed on alert. More than 100,000 troops deployed to Florida for a possible invasion of Cuba. Additional naval vessels were ordered to the Caribbean. B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons were in the air at all times.

The United States had caught the Soviet Union building offensive nuclear missile bases in Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. soil, and the two superpowers were now joined in the first direct nuclear confrontation in history. Reconnaissance flights over Cuba had begun in the summer of 1962, and surveillance photographs taken on October 14 showed the beginnings of a Soviet medium-range ballistic missile base near San Cristobal. Two days later, the President called together his most trusted advisers to serve as an Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm). They discussed several courses of action -- everything from doing nothing to invading Cuba. After much debate, a naval blockade of the island emerged as the leading choice.

In a televised address on October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy informed the people of the United States of the Soviet missiles and of the "quarantine" placed around Cuba by the U.S. Navy.

Tensions mounted over the next few days as the world wondered if there could be a peaceful resolution to the crisis. On October 24 several Soviet vessels turned back from the quarantine line, though construction at the missile sites continued. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev wrote a long letter to the President on October 26 proposing a settlement. He declared that ships bound for Cuba did not carry armaments and added that if the blockade were lifted and the President gave assurances that the United States would not invade Cuba, the missile sites would be removed.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

George H.W. Bush State of the Union Addresses

George H.W. Bush State of the Union Addresses. Here is access to the four State of the Union Addresses delivered during the presidency of the first President Bush. The 1991 address is of particular note as it was delivered during the First Persian Gulf War. Note that the 1989 address is not officially recognized as a State of the Union Address. Regardless, it was perceived as being a State of the Union Address by the press and the public at the time it was delivered and is commonly remembered as being a State of the Union Address.

George H.W. Bush First State of the Union
George H.W. Bush Second State of the Union
George H.W. Bush Third State of the Union
George H.W. Bush Fourth State of the Union

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

John Hanson, American Patriot and First President of the United States

John Hanson, American Patriot and First President of the United States. Who was John Hanson and why do some think he the first president of the United States? Written by George Grant and excerpted from The Patriot's Handbook. He was never really President but he had a title under the Articles of Confederation that has confused many novice historians. Still, this is fun to read.

From the site:

The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land). Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country. John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the Revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.

As the first President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future Presidents. He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch. All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington.

Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the removal of all foreign flags. This was quite a feat, considering the fact that so many European countries had a stake in the United States since the days following Columbus. Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on all official documents. President Hanson also established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Selected Works

Selected Works - Poems by the sixth U. S. President John Quincy Adams, from his book Poems of Religion and Society (1848).

From the site:

To The Sun-Dial

UNDER the Window of the Hall of the Houseof Representatives of the United States

Thou silent herald of Time's silent flight!
Say, could'st thou speak, what warning voice were thine?
Shade, who canst only show how others shine!
Dark, sullen witness of resplendent light
In day's broad glare, and when the noontide bright
Of laughing fortune sheds the ray divine,
Thy ready favors cheer us--but decline
The clouds of morning and the gloom of night.
Yet are thy counsels faithful, just, and wise;
They bid us seize the moments as they pass--
Snatch the retrieveless sunbeam as it flies,
Nor lose one sand of life's revolving glass--
Aspiring still, with energy sublime,
By virtuous deeds to give eternity to Time.

John Quincy Adams

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address

Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address. This inaugural address from Jefferson happened after the election of 1800. This was the first election that saw one party lose power and hand it over to another. Jefferson uses this peech to try and smooth this over as he is trying to establish an American tradition of peaceful transfers of power.

From the site:

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

History of Panama

History of Panama. Two American Presidents (Reagan and H. W. Bush) played a major role in the history of Panama in the late 20th Century. This essay has some details.

From the site:

The United States froze economic and military assistance to Panama in the summer of 1987 in response to the domestic political crisis and an attack on the U.S. Embassy. General Noriega's February 1988 indictment in U.S. courts on drug trafficking charges sharpened tensions. In April 1988, President Reagan invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, freezing Panamanian Government assets in U.S. banks and prohibiting payments by American agencies, firms, and individuals to the Noriega regime. When national elections were held in May 1989, Panamanians voted for the anti-Noriega candidates by a margin of over three-to-one. The Noriega regime promptly annulled the election and embarked on a new round of repression. By the fall of 1989, the regime was barely clinging to power, and the regime's paranoia made daily existence unsafe for American citizens.

On December 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush ordered the U.S. military into Panama to protect U.S. lives and property, to fulfill U.S. treaty responsibilities to operate and defend the Canal, to assist the Panamanian people in restoring democracy, and to bring Noriega to justice. The U.S. troops involved in Operation Just Cause achieved their primary objectives quickly, and troop withdrawal began on December 27, 1989. Noriega eventually surrendered voluntarily to U.S. authorities. He is now serving a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking.

Friday, December 03, 2004

John Adams: Unsung Hero of the American Revolution

John Adams: Unsung Hero of the American Revolution - Examines the role Adams played during the Independence movement.

From the site:

So John Adams has apparently not received his fair share of credit, and glory, in the birth of the United States of America, in light of his contribution to the most important event in its history. This was mostly because he spent his political career situated precariously between two opposing factions represented by some of the greatest men in early American history, the Hamilton Arch-Federalists, and the Jefferson/Madison/Monroe Republicans. Because of this, he was slighted, criticized, insulted, and denied his rightful place and credit in American history, simply because he stood up for what he thought was right for the people of this nation and the precepts and ideals which that nation stood for, a nation which he helped create. The result has been that Independence Day in the United States is celebrated on July 4th, instead of July 2nd.

So then, if you were a proud American citizen, or if you were someone like, let's say, Todd Zeile of the New York Mets baseball team (who has been claimed to be a direct descendant of both John Adams and John Quincy Adams), then you'll be lighting up an old stogie on July 4th every year, and on July 2nd also. And you'll be remembering John Adams and the Adams Family of Massachusetts, the real Adams Family, America's First Family in politics for the first century of its life.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Woodrow Wilson: Prophet of Peace

Woodrow Wilson: Prophet of Peace - Classroom-ready lesson plan examines Wilson's struggle to achieve lasting world peace following World War I.

From the site:

For two painful weeks he had prepared for this moment. Now, on November 10, 1923, the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Armistice that concluded World War I, Woodrow Wilson was ready to deliver a commemorative address by radio from the library of his brick home on S Street in Washington, D.C. Frail and weak, Wilson rose that morning from a replica of the Lincoln bed in the White House. Above him hung a large picture of the American flag; an old mahogany desk from his days as president of Princeton University stood in the corner. On the mantel above the fireplace a tarnished brass shell fired by the American artillery against the Germans in 1917 was a constant reminder of the thousands of lives sacrificed to that European war.

Wilson then began the long process of dressing for the occasion, his butler helping him fit his paralyzed left side into his clothes. The president relied on the strong arm of his servant and his cane to walk to the elevator, which carried the two men down to the second floor. Wilson passed the drawing room that displayed the mosaic of Saint Peter, a gift of Pope Benedict XV, and a Gobelin tapestry, a gift of the people of France, and entered the library. Though it was filled with books, it still could not hold his entire collection of more than 8,000 volumes. On one shelf was a special case containing his own published works.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Bill Clinton State of the Union Addresses

Bill Clinton State of the Union Addresses. Bill Clinton gave 8 State of the Union speeches at President. Here is access to all of them from USA Presidents. Please note that the 1993 address is not officially recognized as a State of the Union Address. Regardless, it was perceived as being a State of the Union Address by the press and the public at the time it was delivered and is commonly remembered as being a State of the Union Address.

First Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Second Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Third Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Fourth Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Fifth Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Sixth Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Seventh Bill Clinton State of the Union Address
Final Bill Clinton State of the Union Address