Great men with larger-than-life personalities … do not always make the best Presidents. Too much of their focus is directed inward, and the needs of the electorate are overlooked (see Jackson.) Consistency is required when dealing with momentous issues.
In the right place at the right time
James Knox Polk was the right man… in the right place, at the right time. He was not flashy, brilliant, cagy, or diabolical as many have charged. Polk was steady, determined, erudite, and conscientious; some might even call him boring. His presence demanded respect, but did not inspire awe. He possessed a keen mind and was an excellent administrator. Simply put, he got things done, with nearly no regard for his own legacy.
For too long revisionists in academia… have kept the real Polk from us. Hopefully this blogger has been able to shed new light on an important figure long shrouded by academic misdeeds. Polk now sits comfortably in the top ten lists of most Presidential historians…where he belongs.
There should be no surprise that the greatest of all our Presidents’ annual messages was delivered by Abraham Lincoln… The daunting task of explaining his decision to emancipate the slaves, a drastic measure that drew the ire of conservatives and skepticism from moderates.
Lincoln was able to explain how emancipation would not only help save the Union… but was the only way to keep our republic on the right side of history.
December 1, 1862-
“The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just–a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.”
It’s often the quiet people who have the most profound things to say… With the Holiday season in full swing, let us all take heed of the words from our most reticent President:
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
Silent Cal picks the right tree
Trump is no Truman… North Korea bluster cause bogus comparison
Diplomatic shortages damaging North Korean progress… Trump administration fails to accept history
Army refuses to rename base streets… NY Democrats demanded Confederate names removed
50th anniversary of the Detroit Riots... 1967 unrest changed the city forever
Trump donates first salary installment to Antietam battlefield… donation of $78,333 to repair battlefield structures
The rivalry between Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay defined American… political history during the Age of the Common Man. But this competition was far from standard, civil political discourse. Clay and Jackson despised each other.
Merely a Military chieftain
Jackson infamously described Clay in the following vitriol:
“He’s the basest, meanest scoundrel that ever disgraced the image of his God….nothing too mean or low for him to condescend to…(Clay) is the Judas of the West.”
Just Sour Grapes?
Clay never believed Jackson to be fit for public office:
“He is ignorant, passionate, hypocritical, corrupt, and easily swayed by the basest men who surround him. I cannot believe that the killing of two thousand Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies a person for the various difficult and complicated duties of the presidency”
Clay feared an unpredictable and potentially dangerous man… was using his martial popularity to win the nation’s highest office:
“But the impulses of public gratitude should be controlled by reason and discretion… I was not prepared blindly to surrender myself to the hazardous indulgence of a feeling… I solemnly believe General Jackson’s competency for the office to be highly questionable.”
Further proof that the trend of combining different commemorations into banker’s holidays… is truly foolish, look no further than Thomas Jefferson.
April 13, 1743- Just another day…
Upon entering the executive mansion… citizens began petitioning him for the use of his birthday as a holiday, he gently reminded them, ‘The only birthday I ever commemorate, is that of our Independence, the Fourth of July.’
When a formal request arrived from the Mayor of Boston… Jefferson explained it like this, ” it is clear, disapproving myself of transferring the honors and veneration for the great birthday of our republic to any individual, or of dividing them with individuals, I have declined letting my own birthday be known, and have engaged my family not to communicate it. This has been the uniform answer to every application of the kind.”
Filed under Ephemera, News
1960 Primary election edition
- Only 15 states held primaries in 1960
- The New Hampshire primary was not held until March 8
- Vice President Richard Nixon won 89% of the Republican primary votes
- Senator John Kennedy won 33% of the Democratic primary votes
- President Eisenhower received .4% of the vote despite being disqualified by the 22nd Amendment
No sure thing in 1960