Friday, April 29, 2005

Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln

Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln. This is the speech that President Lincoln gave at his second inauguration on March 4th, 1865.

From the site:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

State of the Union Drinking Game

State of the Union Drinking Game. OK, I am really late in posting this site. No matter, bookmark it and maybe you can play the game for the 2006 State of the Union Address.

From the site:

The general rules of this game are no different from any other drinking game. A drink is either a shot or a good gulp from a beer (or cider). Different events call for different numbers of drinks and all you do is watch the speech and play along. If all goes well, you'll be unconscious by the time they show the other party's response.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

1796: The First Real Election

1796: The First Real Election. When George Washington announced that he would retire from office, he set the stage for the nation's first two-party presidential campaign.

From the site:

The first signs of such factionalism appeared early in Washington's presidency. On one side were the Federalists who yearned for an American society and national government established on the British model. Skeptical of the growing democratization of the new nation, the Federalists desired a centralized national government that would have the strength both to aid merchants and manufacturers and to safeguard America's traditional hierarchical society.

By 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Congressman James Madison--both, like Washington, from Virginia--had taken steps to fashion an opposition party. Jefferson became the acknowledged leader of the new Anti-Federalists, a group soon known as the Democratic-Republican Party because of its empathy for the struggling republic that had emerged from the French Revolution of 1789. This party looked irreverently upon the past, was devoted to republican institutions, sought to give property-owning citizens greater control over their lives, and dreamt of an agrarian nation in which government would be small and weak.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS. JURIST: The Legal Education Network at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law presents this guide as a non-partisan educational resource on the law of Presidential pardons.

From the site:

Who did previous Presidents pardon, and how many pardons did they issue?

Given the unlimited range of discretion provided in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, previous Presidents have pardoned reprobates, political allies, wrongly-convicted persons, friends, contributors and outright rebels. For individual pardons by particular Presidents, see Notable Pardons. Of the all-but-two Presidents who granted pardons between 1789 and 2001 (Presidents William Henry Harrison and James Garfield did not live to do so), Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the most clemency orders (3687), while George Washington issued the fewest (16).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Presidential Baseball

Presidential Baseball. This is a Flash game that compares US Presidents with baseball players throughout history.

From the site:

So why baseball and presidents? We see connections on many levels.

In our day and age, the president is often considered the personification of the United States. He (and someday she) holds the only at-large political office in the nation, and thus is charged with representing all of the American people. Presidents are frequently considered windows into the personalities and values of their times. The same could be said of baseball, which, despite recurring contract and labor disputes, greedy players and miserly owners, remains the nation's pastime. If you are unconvinced of that designation, ask yourself this: When was the last time you saw a president on the gridiron throwing out the first pass of the season, or taking to the hardwood to launch the year's first free throw?

Additionally, most Americans are taught to revere the president, and if visiting the nation's capital will nearly always stop by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to snap a photo of the White House. While acknowledging that aura of respect and mystique that accompanies the office, we also believe it is important to remember that there have been only a few truly great presidents in the nation's history. Some others have amassed solid records, while most have been simply mediocre or poor. Baseball tends to produce similar results on the field, as only a small fraction of big-league players will ever grace the halls of Cooperstown.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Strong Presidents: A Theory of Leadership. - Review

Strong Presidents: A Theory of Leadership. - Review. This is a book review by William G. Shade. It was published in the Fall 1998 issue of Historian.

From the review:

Roughly stated, this book presents a theory of "belatedness" drawn from the literary critic, Harold Bloom, who argues that poets have a problem, which Abbott believes is applicable to presidents; that is, they are forced to define themselves and their actions in relation to their predecessors. The "strong" presidents are the "poetic" presidents, who overcome or, at least, confront their "strong" predecessors. Even in Washington's case of "firstness," he had to create the genre.

The "strong presidents" of the title are those one might expect from reading such recent lists as that compiled by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., although Abbott has his own idiosyncratic approach, focusing on eleven presidents. In contrast to what one would expect from the book's title, he categorizes them not in terms of "strength," but in a slightly different way that mutates as the story unfolds. He says there are three groups but produces five. Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt are "monumental strong presidents." Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Kennedy are "spirited presidents." Jefferson and Reagan are "minor poets"; while the "failed poets," but nonetheless "strong presidents," are Wilson, Hoover, and Nixon.

But in this book, categories come and go, and the basic concepts of the "belated presidency" and "strong presidents" are each treated by Abbott in an accordion-like fashion. His terms, concepts, and theory are so much his own word game that the reader cannot independently apply them to any real case. If it were a true theory this one should be applicable to every president, and the reader should be free to contest the author's choices. How might one use this theory to elucidate problematic presidencies that are not treated here, such as those of John Quincy Adams, Andrew Johnson, and James Madison, who by all odds should have been among the greatest of American presidents?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Genealogy of the Presidents of the USA

Genealogy of the Presidents of the USA. This genealogy sites offers a look at the family trees of all the US Presidents and their immediate families. This is a fun site and it is easy to click back a few generation and get lost!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln

First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln. This is the speech delivered by Abraham Linclon when he was sworn in as President on March 4th, 1861.

From the site:

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it."

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Who is That?

Who is That? This is a fun little quiz that will test your knowledge of the American Presidents. I have taken it three times now on the most difficult level and still have a perfect score. (The portraits always give it away for me...)

From the site:

How to Play:

FUNBRAIN will show you a portrait of a famous person with a clue.

For each screen, identify the correct president and click on their name.

Choose the difficulty level you wish to play and click "Show Me the People" to begin.

Monday, April 18, 2005

White House Historical Association

White House Historical Association. This site allows visitors to explore the timeline, choose a decade between 1790 and 1990, and select from five topics -- music, presidents, First Ladies, architecture, or social life -- to learn about the White House and the Presidency.

From the site:

The White House Historical Association is a charitable nonprofit institution whose purpose is to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House. To fulfill its purpose, the White House Historical Association produces educational literature and films, develops special programs, and maintains a web site interpreting the White House and its history and the persons and events associated with it. From private funding and the sale of its educational products, the Association supports the acquisition of artwork and objects for the White House collection and contributes to the conservation of the public rooms.

In 1961, when the National Park Service suggested that such an association be formed, the idea received Mrs. John F. Kennedy’s ready approval. In July 1962, The White House: An Historic Guide was delivered to a public that had already ordered 10,000 copies. The guide is now in its 22nd edition.

The association also sponsors lectures, exhibits and other outreach programs. Thousands of schools, universities and libraries have received free educational materials about the White House. Traveling exhibits and videos are circulated to the presidential libraries and museums.

Friday, April 15, 2005

U.S. Presidents: Lists and Records

U.S. Presidents: Lists and Records. Find many lists of U.S. presidents sorted by birthplace, religion, military experience, electoral events, and party affiliation. This is only lists with no analysis but it is a worthwhile collection of presidential facts.

From the site:

The presidents of the United States are so much fun. Understanding them helps us understand American history. We have compiled a series of lists about the presidents, and will be adding more as we think of new categories.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Homeschool Study Guides Fast Facts - The 43 U.S. Presidents

Homeschool Study Guides Fast Facts - The 43 U.S. Presidents. Mini-bios for presidents include birthplace notes and notable accomplishments during office. Sort by party, birth state, or vice president pairing.

From the site:

Homeschool Study Guide: Teach-At-Home's Fast Facts! are study guides that provide interesting and educational facts on a variety of topics. For the 'U.S. Presidents' we searched the Internet to provide you essential facts about the 43 U.S. Presidents. We also provide links to sites we recommend for additional information.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Information Technology and the Informed Citizen: New Challenges for Government and Libraries.

Information Technology and the Informed Citizen: New Challenges for Government and Libraries. This is an essay from 1991. I find the topic interesting as a librarian. However, I also think it is noteworthy for this blog as it begins by quoting Thomas Jefferson.

From the site:

Thomas Jefferson wrote,

If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.... [I]f we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed. (Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816)

The link between popular government and an informed citizenry was a theme that ran throughout Jefferson's writings and efforts, from the establishment of the University of Virginia to his advocacy of public libraries. Every generation since has faced the challenge of achieving an informed citizenry that is capable of making reasoned decisions and acting on those decisions. The current generation of citizens is faced with a three-fold challenge made more difficult by the volume and complexity of information relevant to public affairs: (1) how to access information, (2) how to find the best information for the given task, and (3) how to make sense of the information once obtained (that is, how to transform information into useful knowledge). The burden of citizens in becoming informed has increased dramatically as electronic technology has accelerated the production and transmission of information. As in Jefferson's time, libraries continue to be essential institutions as people in the "Information Age" grapple with their responsibility to become informed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

JoeAnt Blog of the Month

JoeAnt Blog of the Month. I am pleased to announce that this blog was selected as blog of the month at Joeant which is well established and respected Web Directory. The blog is listed on the archive page but on the index page of Joeant for the month as well. Thanks! I appreciate the positive feedback.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Inaugural Address of James Buchanan

Inaugural Address of James Buchanan. This is the speech that President Buchanan delivered after being sworn in as president on March 4th, 1857.

From the site:

I appear before you this day to take the solemn oath "that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

In entering upon this great office I must humbly invoke the God of our fathers for wisdom and firmness to execute its high and responsible duties in such a manner as to restore harmony and ancient friendship among the people of the several States and to preserve our free institutions throughout many generations. Convinced that I owe my election to the inherent love for the Constitution and the Union which still animates the hearts of the American people, let me earnestly ask their powerful support in sustaining all just measures calculated to perpetuate these, the richest political blessings which Heaven has ever bestowed upon any nation. Having determined not to become a candidate for reelection, I shall have no motive to influence my conduct in administering the Government except the desire ably and faithfully to serve my country and to live in grateful memory of my countrymen.

Friday, April 08, 2005

American Warriors: Five Presidents in the Pacific Theater of World War II

American Warriors: Five Presidents in the Pacific Theater of World War II. This site is promoting a book by Duane T. Hove. In addition to teaser material to encourage purchase of the book, there are a variety of pictures of American Presidents in uniform during the Second World War. I have not read the book so I can not speak to the quality of that source but the topic does look interesting.

From the site:

Presidents Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George Bush served their country as Navy Reserve officers in World War II. Most biographies gloss over this important period of the presidents' lives and are often inaccurate. American Warriors reconstructs the presidents' wartime roles in the Pacific Theater based on interviews with more than one hundred World War II veterans and on primary sources such as action reports, ships' logs, war diaries, and letters.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Get Out The Vote! Campaigning for the U.S. Presidency

Get Out The Vote! Campaigning for the U.S. Presidency. Examines the process of campaigning and electioneering through partisan artifacts, symbols, and ballots. Negative campaigns have been a feature of Presidential politics for hundreds of years. This is evident in many of the included essays.

From the site:

On November 2, 2004, American citizens exercise a fundamental privilege granted by the U.S. Constitution. By the time ballots are cast on the first Tuesday of November, Presidential candidates have already spent months campaigning to win over the voting public. These campaigns and their strategies have evolved considerably since the first contested Presidential election in 1796.

This exhibition examines the process of campaigning and electioneering through partisan artifacts, symbols and ballots. Ten featured elections-all well represented in the Cornell Library’s collections-are represented alongside recurrent campaign themes. Bandannas, mugs, pipes, walking sticks, sunglasses, and yes, even bars of soap, demonstrate how campaigns have employed imagery to create mythic personae for candidates, to fashion party mascots, and to entice Americans to vote.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Escape from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!

Escape from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! Even the President needs to take a break once in a while. looks back at some memorable presidential vacations.

From the site:

Anyone who's ever endured summer in Washington should sympathize with a President's urge to escape the capital for a week (or four). And when you consider that it's no picnic being leader of the free world, it's hardly surprising that these commanders-in-chief tend to look forward to their vacations — strolling the links, frolicking on a beach or galloping around a ranch — just as much as the rest of us do.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Presidents of the United Colonies and United States of America

Presidents of the United Colonies and United States of America. Argues that ten men held the office of U.S. President prior to the inauguration of George Washington in 1789. I am skeptical on this point. Clearly, there is a historical case that some men held the title of "President of the United States" prior to Washington. However, the presidency was a very different office under the Articles of Confederation and I don't think we can really consider these man as president in the same sense we mean today.

From the site:

Clearly these points make a "stars and stripes" case that George Washington, who was the 1st President of the United States under the Constitution of 1787, was not the 1st President of the United States. The Articles of Confederation clearly created the Perpetual Union of the United States and established an office – President of the United States in Congress Assembled. Although many of us believe that George Washington is actually the 11th US President and George W. Bush the 53rd we realize this re-numeration is simply avoidable with an actual, rather then implied, footnote “under the US Constitution of 1787”. We do believe, however, these Forgotten Presidents should gain the same annual recognition as the successors by amending the Presidential Wreath Laying Order. To help us honor these Forgotten Presidents please take a moment and review the bi-partisan Presidential Request, led by Rep. Congressman Rob Simmons (R), US Senator Christopher Dodd (D), and supported by institutions like the James Monroe Memorial Foundation, Norwich Historical Society, and James Madison’s Montpelier, to have the US Military lay an wreath of thanks, each year, at their gravesites on the anniversary of their birth.

Friday, April 01, 2005 Secret White House tapes and recordings of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower.

From the site:

Between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties secretly recorded just under 5,000 hours of conversations. This site is designed as a service to the research community by making freely available all of the presidential recordings, along with relevant research materials, so that scholars, teachers, students, and the public can hear and use these remarkable tapes for themselves. The site is hosted and maintained by the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.