Monday, February 28, 2005

Project WhistleStop: Harry S Truman

Project WhistleStop: Harry S Truman. Features photographs, documents, letters, political cartoons, and other original source material from the Harry S Truman Presidential Library. Includes a special section for primary kids.

From the site:

In 1948, Harry Truman chose to run for a second term as president.

"If I had heeded the desire of my family, I would have made plans to leave the White House at the end of my first term. I took no steps and made no moves at any time to discourage anyone from seeking nomination to succeed me. From a personal standpoint , I had no desire, just as I had none in 1944, to undertake a national political campaign merely for the sake of gratifying private ambitions. I had already been President of the United States for more than three and a half years."

"The compelling motive in my decision to run for the presidency in 1948 was the same as it had been in 1944. There was still 'unfinished business'."

Harry Truman began a 30,000-mile whirlwind tour of the United States to get his message to the people.

Friday, February 25, 2005

New Book of Knowledge: Zachary Taylor

New Book of Knowledge: Zachary Taylor. An encyclopedic biography written for 3rd-8th grade students. Includes fact file and inaugural address.

From the site:

Before he became President of the United States in 1849, Zachary Taylor served his country for nearly 40 years as an army officer. He fought with courage and honor in the War of 1812, The Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War, and the Mexican War. At the close of the Mexican War he was the second highest officer in the United States Army. His term as president was cut short by death before much had been accomplished, but not before Taylor had made clear his devotion to the preservation of the Union, his absolute integrity, his unyielding firmness, and his modesty.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Vincent Voice Library - President William Howard Taft

Vincent Voice Library - President William Howard Taft. Voice of President William Howard Taft talking about the abolishment of war throughout the world in RealAudio and MP3 format.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Theodore Roosevelt's Family in the Great War

Theodore Roosevelt's Family in the Great War. Describes the war service of each member of the family, including an account of Roosevelt's reaction to the news of his son Quentin's death in 1918.

From the site:

Teddy Roosevelt's children grew up in the glow of Roosevelt's crowded hour. (In his father's office at the White House, 10-year-old Quentin Roosevelt brandished his father's sword from the Cuban campaign, shouting "Step up and see the i-d-e-n-t-i-c-a-l sword carried by Colonel Thee-a-dore Roos-evelt in the capture of San Juan Hill. See it! See it!" Swinging the sword through the air, the boy opened a cut on the cheek of his friend Charlie Taft, son of Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of War William Howard Taft.)

All of the boys in their time tromped the grounds of Sagamore Hill and the White House, re enacting the battle at San Juan Ridge.All the Roosevelt children -- most especially the sons -- either absorbed or inherited his reckless, all-or-nothing approach to hazards. As David McCullough reminds us with reference to the Roosevelts, the pediatric psychologist Margaret McPharland says attitudes are caught more than they are taught. With this in mind, we may say Theodore Roosevelt's sons most certainly caught both his attraction to warfare and his egalitarian ethic.

Throughout World War I, Ted Jr. would be alternately praised and criticized as an officer who routinely and boldly moved ahead of the line in battle after battle. In each of the world wars, he was at once idolized by his men, with whom he shared all dangers, and criticized by career officers, who respected Ted's bravery more than they did his judgment. The same officers also sometimes found themselves reprimanding him for insubordination, reminiscent of his father's in '98. Patton, who admired Ted Jr. in many ways, wrote of him: "Great courage, but no soldier."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

History of Jamaica

History of Jamaica. This is an overview to the history of the island nation of Jamaica. In it, the role of President Carter in helping with free elections is noted.

From the site:

Since the 1993 elections, the Jamaican Government, political parties, and Electoral Advisory Committee have worked to enact electoral reform. In the 2002 general elections, grassroots Jamaican efforts from groups like CAFFE (Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections), supplemented by international observers and organizations like The Carter Center, helped reduce the violence that has tended to mar Jamaican elections. Former President Carter also observed the 2002 elections and declared them free and fair.

Monday, February 21, 2005

RED-STATE.COM - President's Day Column

RED-STATE.COM - President's Day Column. Michael Meckler has written a column on President's Day for his RED-STATE blog. It focuses on Presidents who have come from Ohio of which there have been many including Hayes and McKinley. In addition, it also looks at the many failed Presidential candidates from Ohio including Robert A. Taft and John Glenn.

From the site:

On this Presidents' Day, it seems appropriate to look back on the history of those individuals connected to Ohio who became, or tried to become, President of the United States. Ohio, in competition with Virginia, claims eight presidents: William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren Harding. But unlike Virginia, whose claimed eight were all born in the state (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson), only seven of Ohio's eight -- as you can see, William Henry Harrison was born in Virginia -- were actually born in the Buckeye State.

Six of Ohio's claimed eight were officially resident in Ohio when elected to the White House: W. H. Harrison, Hayes, Garfield, McKinley, Taft and Harding. Grant was a resident of Illinois, Benjamin Harrison of Indiana. The state with the most residents elected president remains New York, with eight: Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. But only four were natives (Van Buren, Fillmore and the Roosevelts), and, as we all know from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent history, New York is quite welcoming to "carpetbaggers".

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Inaugural Address of Martin Van Buren

Inaugural Address of Martin Van Buren. This Inaugural speech was given by President Van Buren on March 4th, 1837.

From the site:

The practice of all my predecessors imposes on me an obligation I cheerfully fulfill--to accompany the first and solemn act of my public trust with an avowal of the principles that will guide me in performing it and an expression of my feelings on assuming a charge so responsible and vast. In imitating their example I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men, whose superiors it is our happiness to believe are not found on the executive calendar of any country. Among them we recognize the earliest and firmest pillars of the Republic--those by whom our national independence was first declared, him who above all others contributed to establish it on the field of battle, and those whose expanded intellect and patriotism constructed, improved, and perfected the inestimable institutions under which we live. If such men in the position I now occupy felt themselves overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for this the highest of all marks of their country's confidence, and by a consciousness of their inability adequately to discharge the duties of an office so difficult and exalted, how much more must these considerations affect one who can rely on no such claims for favor or forbearance! Unlike all who have preceded me, the Revolution that gave us existence as one people was achieved at the period of my birth; and whilst I contemplate with grateful reverence that memorable event, I feel that I belong to a later age and that I may not expect my countrymen to weigh my actions with the same kind and partial hand.

So sensibly, fellow-citizens, do these circumstances press themselves upon me that I should not dare to enter upon my path of duty did I not look for the generous aid of those who will be associated with me in the various and coordinate branches of the Government; did I not repose with unwavering reliance on the patriotism, the intelligence, and the kindness of a people who never yet deserted a public servant honestly laboring their cause; and, above all, did I not permit myself humbly to hope for the sustaining support of an ever-watchful and beneficent Providence.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pearl Harbor - Mother of All Conspiracies

Pearl Harbor - Mother of All Conspiracies. Site presents "evidence" that FDR and others in the United States government knew of the pending Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

From the site:

President Roosevelt (FDR) provoked the attack, knew about it in advance and covered up his failure to warn the Hawaiian commanders. FDR needed the attack to sucker Hitler to declare war, since the public and Congress were overwhelmingly against entering the war in Europe. It was his backdoor to war.

FDR blinded the commanders at Pearl Harbor and set them up by --

1. denying intelligence to Hawaii (HI)
2. on November 27 and later, misleading the commanders into thinking negotiations with Japan were continuing to prevent them from realizing the war was on
3. having false information sent to HI about the location of the Japanese carrier fleet.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The American Experience: Reagan

The American Experience: Reagan. In-depth portrait of the 40th president includes timeline, gallery of photos, brief descriptions of the people and events that played a key role in Reagan's administration, and transcripts of various speeches. From PBS.

From the site:

In 1988, after two terms in office, Ronald Reagan left the White House one of the most popular presidents of the twentieth century -- and one of the most controversial. A failed actor, Reagan became a passionate ideologue who preached a simple gospel of lower taxes, less government, and anti-communism. One by one, his opponents underestimated him; one by one, Reagan surprised them, rising to become a president who always preferred to see America as a "shining city on a hill."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Library Reference Search: Presidents

Library Reference Search: Presidents. I have my own Web directory. It is called Library Reference Search. I recently revamped it to feature data from the Open Directory Project. This gives the directory over 600,000 categories and more than 4 million sites. It has a ton of information on American Presidents. Unlike the ODP, my site actually loads rather fast! Please give the directory a try for your favorite president.

Additional sample categories:

Bush, George Walker
Taft, William Howard
Hayes, Rutherford Birchard
Pierce, Franklin
Van Buren, Martin
Washington, George

Monday, February 14, 2005

Looking for Franklin Pierce's Gravesite

Looking for Franklin Pierce's Gravesite. A tourist's interesting search for Franklin Pierce's gravesite. My wife would never let me hijack a vaction to go looking for a presidential grave...

From the site:

On the way back from a long weekend in Quebec, I was making good time on I-91 and thought, "Y'know, I haven't revisited Pierce's grave and I have shots left on the camera and I have time..." So, at White River Junction I changed course and headed into New Hampshire. The interstate cuts through the White Mountains and the scenery is stunning. I imagine it would be even more starkly beautiful in the winter, but here in late May, the White Moutains were lush green.

While visiting and revisiting the other graves since starting this site, each one was a carefully planned expedition. Thanks to MapQuest I knew just where to go in most cases to find the cemetery. The challenge was in finding the grave once in the cemetery (which was frequently challenge enough with the Vice Presidents). This adventure was different. This was spur of the moment. "Hey guys! Let's go find Franklin Pierce's tomb!" I knew it was in Concord, but beyond that I only had my trusty Rand/McNally road atlas to guide me.

The detail map of Concord had a point of interest labeled "Pierce Manse". This seemed like as good a place as many to start. I left the highway in the midst of a Memorial Day traffic jam and drove through city streets looking for a helpful sign to point the way more precisely.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Smoking Gun Archive

The Smoking Gun Archive - Nixon's 1937 FBI application and the agency's subsequent report on the applicant.

From the site:

Every August 9th, as the country mourns the anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation, The Smoking Gun wonders what would have become of Dick had he joined the FBI, as he once intended. Here's Nixon's 1937 FBI application and the agency's subsequent report on the G-man wannabe (the bureau noted that the future president had a "manly appearance" and "perhaps" had executive ability.) Regretfully, Nixon opted for a legal/political career instead of a badge and a gun.

Friday, February 11, 2005

History of Israel

History of Israel. One of President Carter's greatest achievements was the peace accord between Egypt and Israel. This history of modern Israel notes this.

From the site:

In the years that followed, sporadic clashes continued along the cease-fire lines but guided by the U.S., Egypt, and Israel continued negotiations. In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Jerusalem, which opened the door for the 1978 Israeli-Egyptian peace summit convened at Camp David by President Carter. These negotiations led to a 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, pursuant to which Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1982, signed by President Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menahem Begin of Israel.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Second Inaugural Address of Andrew Jackson

Second Inaugural Address of Andrew Jackson. This is the speech that President Jackson gave after being sworn in for the second time on March 4th, 1833. It was not a long speech.

From the site:

The will of the American people, expressed through their unsolicited suffrages, calls me before you to pass through the solemnities preparatory to taking upon myself the duties of President of the United States for another term. For their approbation of my public conduct through a period which has not been without its difficulties, and for this renewed expression of their confidence in my good intentions, I am at a loss for terms adequate to the expression of my gratitude. It shall be displayed to the extent of my humble abilities in continued efforts so to administer the Government as to preserve their liberty and promote their happiness.

So many events have occurred within the last four years which have necessarily called forth--sometimes under circumstances the most delicate and painful--my views of the principles and policy which ought to be pursued by the General Government that I need on this occasion but allude to a few leading considerations connected with some of them.

The foreign policy adopted by our Government soon after the formation of our present Constitution, and very generally pursued by successive Administrations, has been crowned with almost complete success, and has elevated our character among the nations of the earth. To do justice to all and to submit to wrong from none has been during my Administration its governing maxim, and so happy have been its results that we are not only at peace with all the world, but have few causes of controversy, and those of minor importance, remaining unadjusted.

In the domestic policy of this Government there are two objects which especially deserve the attention of the people and their representatives, and which have been and will continue to be the subjects of my increasing solicitude. They are the preservation of the rights of the several States and the integrity of the Union.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Monroe, James

Monroe, James. An encyclopedic biography from the New Book of Knowledge written for 3-8 grade students. Includes fact file and inaugural addresses.

From the site:

James Monroe was the last of the Virginia Dynasty of U.S. presidents, which also included Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. A modest man, Monroe was overshadowed by the brilliance of his great contemporaries, but his honesty and integrity won him wide esteem and the unwavering loyalty of his friends. He spent nearly all of his adult life in the public service, steadily rising to ever higher office. As president, he is best known for his proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine, opposing European intervention in the affairs of the countries of the Western Hemisphere. His two terms in office, sometimes called the Era of Good Feelings, were generally a period of national optimism, growth, and expansion for the United States.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Women of Achievement Exhibit Hall - Annie Oakley Letter

Women of Achievement Exhibit Hall - Annie Oakley Letter - Letter in which Oakley offers President McKinley the services of a company of fifty female sharpshooters who would provide their own arms and ammunition should war break out with Spain.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison

A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison - Paul Jennings, Madison's slave for many years, writes about the burning of the White House and his master's death.

From the site:

Among the laborers at the Department of the Interior is an intelligent colored man, Paul Jennings, who was born a slave on President Madison's estate, in Montpelier, Va., in 1799. His reputed father was Benj. Jennings, an English trader there; his mother, a slave of Mr. Madison, and the grand-daughter of an Indian. Paul was a "body servant" of Mr. Madison, till his death, and afterwards of Daniel Webster, having purchased his freedom of Mrs. Madison. His character for sobriety, truth, and fidelity, is unquestioned; and as he was a daily witness of interesting events, I have thought some of his recollections were worth writing down in almost his own language.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Smithsonian Magazine: Absence of Malice

Smithsonian Magazine: Absence of Malice - In a new book, Historian Ronald C. White, Jr., explains why Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, given just weeks before he died, was his greatest speech.

From the site:

"For too long," says Ronald C. White, Jr., "Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address has lived under the shadow of the Gettysburg Address. And yet Lincoln thought this was his best effort." White does too. In his new book, Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, excerpted here, the professor of American religious history at San Francisco Theological Seminary sees the speech as key to understanding Lincoln’s greatness.

White’s fascination with the 16th President was sparked at a 1993 seminar. "He was the average American, with only one year of education, a man who was really quite ugly in a certain sense—could he ever have campaigned today?—tall, awkward, gawky, clothes ill-fitting, with a tenor voice, almost a falsetto, and yet he was a huge man for his day, 6 feet 4 inches tall. Everything about him was against his being a powerful speaker. But once he began to speak, what people sensed was his integrity. He was not playing a role. And the audience of that day picked it up." More than 130 years after Lincoln’s assassination, that quality still moves people powerfully. "He had the knack of asking these simple but very profound questions. In every crisis, whether it’s September 11 or World War II, it is amazing how people return to Lincoln."

By March 1865 (until 1937, Presidents were generally inaugurated in March), America had been flayed by four years of a war that had lasted longer than anyone thought it would, but whose end, at last, seemed in sight. Not since Andrew Jackson, 32 years before, had any President been elected for a second term, and, says White, "there had been no expectation of it. There had been a series of one-term Presidents with not much to commend them." Nor did those gathered to hear Lincoln that rainy day—fans and detractors, newspaper reporters, Confederate deserters, black troops, plainclothes detectives fearful that Lincoln was going to be abducted—expect the 703-word speech the President delivered. What they heard was neither a recitation of achievement nor a statement of policy, but a sermon in which, White says, "Lincoln would ask his audience to think with him about the cause and meaning of the war."

Friday, February 04, 2005

2005 State of the Union Address

2005 State of the Union Address. Here is the text of this State of the Union delievered recently by President Bush. I'll highlight the part that will probably be the most controversial which is social security.

From the site:

Here is why personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver -- and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security. In addition, you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away.

The goal here is greater security in retirement, so we will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We will make sure the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and stock funds. We will make sure that your earnings are not eaten up by hidden Wall Street fees. We will make sure there are good options to protect your investments from sudden market swings on the eve of your retirement. We will make sure a personal account can't be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security benefits. And we will make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside four percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts.

Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees, because you already have something similar, called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion of their paychecks into any of five different broadly based investment funds. It is time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

History of Vietnam

History of Vietnam. Several American Presidents are mentioned in this essay dealing with Vietnamese history. In this case, the focus is on the Vietnam War.

From the site:

In December 1961, at the request of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, President Kennedy sent U.S. military advisers to South Vietnam to help the government there deal with the Viet Cong campaign. In the wake of escalating political turmoil in the south after a 1963 generals' coup against President Diem, the United States increased its military support for South Vietnam. In March 1965, President Johnson sent the first U.S. combat forces to Vietnam. The American military role peaked in 1969 with an in-country force of 534,000.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

First Inaugural Address of Andrew Jackson

First Inaugural Address of Andrew Jackson. The newly sworn in President Andrew Jackson gave this speech on March 4th, 1829.

From the site:

About to undertake the arduous duties that I have been appointed to perform by the choice of a free people, I avail myself of this customary and solemn occasion to express the gratitude which their confidence inspires and to acknowledge the accountability which my situation enjoins. While the magnitude of their interests convinces me that no thanks can be adequate to the honor they have conferred, it admonishes me that the best return I can make is the zealous dedication of my humble abilities to their service and their good.

As the instrument of the Federal Constitution it will devolve on me for a stated period to execute the laws of the United States, to superintend their foreign and their confederate relations, to manage their revenue, to command their forces, and, by communications to the Legislature, to watch over and to promote their interests generally. And the principles of action by which I shall endeavor to accomplish this circle of duties it is now proper for me briefly to explain.

In administering the laws of Congress I shall keep steadily in view the limitations as well as the extent of the Executive power trusting thereby to discharge the functions of my office without transcending its authority. With foreign nations it will be my study to preserve peace and to cultivate friendship on fair and honorable terms, and in the adjustment of any differences that may exist or arise to exhibit the forbearance becoming a powerful nation rather than the sensibility belonging to a gallant people.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Smoking Gun: A Dark Day In Dallas

The Smoking Gun: A Dark Day In Dallas - Collection of government documents related to JFK's killing. Touches on everything from Kennedy's autopsy to a cop's notes of his post-arrest interviews with Lee Harvey Oswald.

From the site:

November 22 marks the 40th anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy. And while the assassination has been endlessly chronicled and debated, The Smoking Gun thinks that these documents, released by the federal Assassination Records Review Board, provide a unique--and harrowing--picture of that day in Dallas.

Charged with assembling government documents related to JFK's killing, the ARRB secured--and has made public--records from the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Warren Commission, Dallas police, House Select Committee on Assassinations, and countless other agencies, groups, and individuals. The following selection of documents touches on everything from Kennedy's autopsy to a cop's notes of his post-arrest interviews with Lee Harvey Oswald to the bill for JFK's casket.