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Blog: Thank You Mr. President

Thank You Mr. President
This Blog is dedicated to the good Presidents of the United States have accomplished in service to this nation.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States, 1825 – 1829, was the only President to win the Presidency with fewer electoral votes and fewer popular votes than his opponent. He was selected over Andrew Jackson, by House of Representatives, according to Article II of the Constitution. The election of 1824 put an end to the old political system in the United States, and opened the way to a more democratic process. 

Due to the fact that John Quincy Adams was not the people’s choice, he could get little done as President.  Recognizing this, he stated in his inaugural address, “Less possessed of your confidence in advance than any of my predecessors, I am deeply conscious of the prospect that I shall stand more and oftener in need of you indulgence.  Intentions upright and pure, a heart devoted to the welfare of our country, and the unceasing application of all the faculties allotted to me to her service are all the pledges that I can give for the faithful performance of the arduous duties I am to undertake.”

Deeply saddened by the landslide lost to Andrew Jackson for re-election, Adams had no reason to live on, writing in his diary, “I have no plausible motive for wishing to live, when everything that I foresee and believe of makes death desirable.” 

Then with no campaigning on his part the people of his home district in Massachusetts elected him in 1830 to the House of Representatives, where he served for the next eighteen years, until his death on February 23, 1848, when he suddenly became ill on the House floor.  

During his service he labored continually to cool the passions on the issues of slavery.  In 1845, Adams was successful in removing the gag rule in the House that prevented the discussion of slavery.

9:13 am est          Comments

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Andrew Johnson - Not To Be Pushed Around

Andrew Johnson, Seventeenth President of the United States, 1865 – 1869, impeached because he refused to let Congress usurp presidential rights, missed conviction and removal from office by one senatorial vote.  Johnson’s fortitude in the face of overwhelming congressional pressure strengthened the presidency and helped preserve the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. 

Before his Presidency, as a Tennessee Democrat, he was the only southern senator who refused to follow his seceding state.  As President, due to Lincoln’s death, he made enemies of Republican Radicals because he believed, as President Lincoln, that the South should be treated more as a wayward friend than a conquered enemy.  Johnson was the only President to be elected to the Senate after the Presidency.

In President Johnson’s last annual address to Congress in 1868, he bitterly denounced the legislator’s repeated violations of the Constitution stating, “Our own history, although embracing a period of less than a century, affords abundant proof that most, if not all, of our domestic troubles are directly traceable to violations of the organic law and excessive legislation.”

Perhaps the most valuable achievement of the Johnson administration was the acquisition of Alaska.  This vast northern territory proved to be worth far more than its purchase price of $7.2 million.

A quote from President Johnson:  "Our Government springs from and was made for the people--not the people for the Government.  To them it owes allegiance; from them it must derive its courage, strength, and wisdom."

References:  The American Presidents, David C. Whitney; A Call To America, Bryan Curtis 


7:27 pm est          Comments

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Warren G. Harding - Peace Maker

Warren G. Harding, twenty-ninth President of the United States,1921 - 1923, was the first man to move directly from the U. S. Senate to the Presidency. He received over 16,000,000 votes, nearly twice as many as any other President, many from women voting for the first time, and was the first President to have the election results of his victory broadcast on radio.

On the international stage, Harding won the respect of other nations by calling the Washington Conference for the Limitation of Armament in1921.    As a result of this conference, Harding's reputation as a peace maker was assured in foreign capitals.

When Congess passed a huge soldier's bonus bill for veterans of World War I, President Harding courageously vetoed it, pointing out that the bill did not provide the necessary revenues to pay the bonus.

A quote of President Harding: " We mean to have less of Government in businesss and more business in Government." 

Reference: The American Presidents, David C. Whitney

9:06 pm est          Comments

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Interstate Act

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President, 1953 - 1961, a graduate of West Point and a military hero, led the invasion on Normandy in 1943. In 1957, President Eisenhower sent U. S. troops into Little Rock Arkansas to control a segregation crisis.  The largest public works program in American history came under Eisenhower's administration, the Interstate Act, providing the interstate highway system of over 41,000 miles.

A quote of President Eisenhower:  "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."

8:45 am est          Comments

Friday, January 27, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Attempts to Save The Union

By the time Abraham Lincoln, the Sixteenth President elect of the United States reached the nation’s capital to take the oath of office, seven southern states had already left the union and others were preparing to secede.  In his attempt to allay southern fears that his accession to office signaled a Republican determination to abolish slavery, he quoted form a previous speech he had made:  “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.  I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Lincoln warned that he did not recognize the secession from the Union of the southern states, saying, “I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.”  Lincoln went on to say, “In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority….In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war…. We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” 

A quote of President Lincoln:  "The union must be preserved, and hence, all indispensable means must be employed."

Reference, The American Presidents, David C. Whitney.

9:56 pm est          Comments

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Benjamin Harrison Expands Nation

Benjamin Harison, twenty-third President of the United States, 1889-1893, grandson of William Henry Harrison, born in Ohio, who campained in 1888 with the song, "Grandfather's Hat Fits Ben."  The democrats countered with cartoons showing that it took a microscope to find Ben under his grandfather's hat.

The most important development of Harrison's administration was the continuing growth of the United States, adding six new states, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dekota, and South Dekota, bringing the total to forty-four.  The population reached 63 million in 1890, an increase of more than 25 percent in a single decade, settling the country from coast to coast.  Scientific and technical progress was equally impressive.  Electric light were installed in the White House.

Harrison won the renonination on the first ballot, but lost the election to former President Cleveland, partly due to the high prices, brought on by the Mckinley Tariff Act.  




8:58 am est          Comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Calvin Coolidge A True Conservative

President Coolidge assumed office when President Harding died, the only President  to take the oath of office from his father, a notary public.  Coolidge restored some of the dinity to the White House from the scandals of the former administration.  He accepted the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Denby and forced the resignation of Attorney General Daugherty.  To deal with the previous administration's scandals, Coolidge appointed two future Supreme Court Justices:  Owen J.Roberts as special prosecutor and Harlan F. Store as Attorney General. In a press conference, he summed up, "Let the guilty be punished." 

In his inaugural address on March 4, 1925, President Coolidge concluded with these words:  "America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and force.  No ambition, no temptation, lures her to thought of foreign dominions.  The Legions which she sends forth are armed, not with the sword, but with the cross.  The higher state to which she seeks the allegiance of all mankind is not of human, but of devine origin.  She cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God."

President Coolidge was credited as pro-business, reducing the national debt and lowering taxes. He did not seek re-election in 1928, some say it was because he saw the depression coming. 

Years after his death, President Hoover wrote:  Mr. Coolidge was a real conservative, probably the equal of Benjamin Harrison.  The country was prosperous and I suspect that he enjoyed the phrase, "Coolidge prosperity", more that any other tag which the newspapers and the public pinned on Him....Any summation of Mr. Coolidge's services to the country must conclude that America is a better place for his having lived in it."

A quote of President Coolidge:  "Patriotism is easy to understand in America.  It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country."

Reference, The American Presidents, David C. Whitney.

10:17 pm est          Comments

Saturday, January 21, 2012

William Henry Harrison - In Office One Month

William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, served the shortest presidential term in American history, March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841.  After running and defeating Martin Van Buren, with John Tyler as running mate, on the catchy phrase, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”, died from the complications of a cold turning into pneumonia, after being in office for only 31 days.  Some say it was due to the longest inaugural address on record, given bareheaded on a cold rainy, and blustery day. 

In the middle of Harrison’s campaign, a Van Buren supporter made the statement about Harrison, “Give him a barrel of hard cider and settle a pension of two thousand a year on him and, my word for it, he will sit the remainder of his days in a log cabin.” 

The Whigs pounced on the remark and turned it into their candidate’s favor, playing Harrison as the rugged frontiersman, running against Van Buren, a New York city-slicker, with the campaign song:  “What has caused this great commotion, motion Our country through? It is the ball a-rolling on, For Tippecanoe and Tyler too, Tippecanoe and Tyler too.  And with them we’ll beat little Van, Van, Van; Van is a used-up man.”  

Harrison won with a landslide electoral vote of 234 to 60. Almost a million more voters went to the polls in this election, being the first election in which either candidate received over a million votes, with the popular votes tallying at over one million for each candidate.

William Henry Harrison ran on his military career, not having must to say about the problems of the day.  He pushed for a one term limit on the office of President. In his inaugural address he discussed what he called, “the impropriety of Executive interference in the legislation of Congress”, asserting that “the article in the Constitution making it the duty of the President to communicate information and authorizing him to recommend measures was not intended to make him the source in legislation, and, in particular, that he should never be looked to for schemes of finance. 

He went on to say in his address, “Men blinded by their passions have been known to adopt measures for their country in direct opposition to all the suggestions of policy.”  And “If parties in a republic are necessary to secure a degree of vigilance sufficient to keep the public functionaries within the bounds of law and duty, at that point their usefulness ends.  Harrison’s last words on his death bed were to one of his physicians: “Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the Government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothin more.”

 A quote of President Harrison:  "I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free."


Reference, The American Presidents, David C. Whitney, Updated by Robin Vaughn Whitney.

8:38 am est          Comments

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chester A Arthur and Civil Service

Chester A.  Arthur, 21st President, 1881-1885, signed the Pendleton Act that created the modern civil service system. President Arthur was credited for transforming the White House into a showplace, by hiring the most famous  designer in New York, Louis Tiffany.

A quote from President Arthur:  "Men may die, but the fabrics of our free institutions remain unshaken."

Reference, A Call To America, 2002

8:48 am est          Comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

James K. Polk Settles Much In A Short Time

James K. Polk settled the Oregon boundary dispute with England and signed the Treaty of 1848 with Mexico, giving the United States control over California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado and Wyomong.

Before becoming President, Polk served as: a member of the Tennessee State Legislature, member of U. S. House of Representatives, Speaker of the House, and Governor of Tennessee.

A quote of President Polk: "We must ever mandate the principle that the people of this continent alone have the right to decide their own destiny."

9:28 pm est          Comments

Zachary Taylor and California

Zachary Taylor, the 12th President of the United States, 1849-1850, died in office a hero in the Mexican war, Old Rough and Ready, a career soldier worked hard to have California admitted to the union as a free state.

A quote from President Taylor:  "The axe, pick, saw and trowel, have become more the implement of the American soldier than the cannon, musket or sword."

9:22 am est          Comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt and The Panama Canal

Theodore Roosevelt  was the commander of the Rough Riders cavalry regiment during the Spanish-American War.  During his terms as the 26th President, educated at Harvard College, Roosevelt began construction of the Panama Canal, as well as being awarded the Nobel Peace Price after mediating the end of the Russo-Japanese War.

Other offices held by Roosevelt in service to America: Member of New York State Assembly, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York and Vice President. 

 A quote of President Roosevelt: "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism."  

9:07 pm est          Comments

George Washington A Man of Utmost Character

At war’s end in 1782, George Washington faced perhaps the biggest crisis of his career, one that would define his character as a great American hero.  His men had forgone pay for as much as six years during the war, with a nearly bankrupt Congress, considering a permanent non-payment of the troops. 

Washington himself was approached to lead an armed rebellion against Congress to allow him to be set up as king, but these men did not understand his character. He responded with these words, “You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable”, “Banish these thoughts from your minds.

 On March 15, 1783, Washington met with the men in Newburgh, New York.  “Gentlemen”, he spoke, addressing a crowded room, “As I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common Country; as I never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your Distresses…it can be scarcely be supposed…that I am indifferent to your interests. But… this dreadful alternative, of either deserting our Country in the extremist hour of her distress, or turning our Arms against it,… has something so shocking in it that humanity revolts from the idea…I spun it, as every man who regards liberty… undoubtedly must.” Washington, by his selfless example, had shamed the conspirators out of their plot.

8:44 am est          Comments

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Monroe Doctrine

James Monroe gave fifty years of service to the nation as a member of the Virginia Assembly, delegate to the Confederate Congress, United States Senator, governor of Virginia, minister to France, Great Britain, and Spain, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and the fifth President of the United States. 

In his eight years as President, a period  that the Federalist had been defeated forever and Whigs had not yet risen, Monroe accomplish much in American policy. During this period population and wealth grew rapidly, and a flourishing country flexed its muscle, and recognized its strength.

Monroe’s two terms sparkled with diplomatic achievements, the Rush-Bagot Agreement in 1817, providing for the practical disarmament of the Great Lakes; agreement with Spain in 1819 and with Russia in 1824 whereby they renounced any claim to the Territory of Oregon; an agreement with Great Britain in 1818 to a boundary line between the United States and Canada.  But the most important of all Monroe’s diplomacy was the one bearing his name, The Monroe Doctrine.

The Monroe Doctrine was the declaration in December 1823, buried in President Monroe’s annual message to Congress, that the United States would not tolerate a European nation colonizing an independent nation in North or South America. Any such intervention in the western hemisphere would be considered a hostile act by the United States, though the United States would respect existing European colonies. It was a declaration of separation of the New World from the Old, which exercised a powerful influence on policy for many generations, and did much to shape the diplomatic action of the United States in its early years.

8:57 pm est          Comments

Department of Navy

John Adams, second President of the United States, was elected to the Continental Congress and was one of the most powerful voices supporting the Declaration of Independence.  He was the main voice in the appointment of George Washington as Commander-In-Chief of the 16,000 New England Minute Men.  He served twice as Vice President under Washington. During the Adams administration the Department of Navy was created.

From the moment Adam assumed office he was confronted with a crisis in relations with France that dominated his entire administration, being in constant threat of war, but just before his administration ended, Adams had the satisfaction of receiving a peace agreement with France and seeing it approved by the Senate. 

8:22 am est          Comments

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Louisiana Purchase A Great Real Estate Deal

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, Secretary of State under Washington and Vice President under John Adams, as President, secured the most important piece of real estate in the history of this nation, The Louisiana Purchase.

The purchase of the Louisiana territory from the French was the making of America as we know it today, a two ocean world power. It gave us control of some of the most fertile territory and some of the richest mines in the world.  It gave us control of the Mississippi River, which was a vital commercial route, free of Spanish influence. 

The Louisiana Purchase made the Mississippi River firmly American, as well as the vast stretch of country reaching to the Rockies.  The United States could now turn its back on the Atlantic world and the troubles in Europe for a century.  We could devote ourselves to developing our own immense resources and internal markets, unhampered by tariffs between the states.  We could provide for a growing population.  Kentucky was no longer the West.

References taken from the writings of Historian, John Bakeless, New York University. 

9:10 pm est          Comments

Jackson's Use of Presidential Power

Jackson’s first spectacular act as President expressed his sense of devotion to the people in the redistribution of federal jobs, which he and his supporters called, “rotation-in-office” and his opponents called the ‘spoils system”. Jackson’s intents were very clear, which were to break the monopoly of office-holding by a certain class and to open up the United States government to the man in the street. 

This was the first of a series designed to serve the political, social and economic desires of the common man.  His greatest fight was against the Bank of the United States, a privately controlled banking corporation, enjoying unique and profitable powers over the whole system of currency and credit.  Jackson felt this power in private hands was incompatible with democracy and was being used to the benefit of the already well-to-do, which restricted economic opportunity for the men who had their way to make.

After Jackson exercised the power of veto on the bank’s re-charter, he made this statement, “It is to be regretted, that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes…to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society, the farmers, mechanics, and laborers, who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.” 

References taken from the writings of Historian, Authur Schlesinger, Jr., Associate Professor, Harvard University, Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Jackson


9:01 pm est          Comments

Philosopher of the Constitution

It was James Madison who put a solid foundation under democratic self-government.  He said, “The abuses of democracy were at their worst in small republics (states).  The only remedy was to enlarge the sphere of government that would divide the community into so great a number of interests and parties that it would be difficult to organize a majority for the oppression of the minority.   State governments, being inclined to oppress minorities, must be held in check by federal authority and the federal authorities held in check by different branches of government.”  His view was accepted and is built upon to this day. James Madison truly is the Philosopher of the Constitution. 


References taken from the writings of Historian, Irving Brant.

8:18 pm est          Comments

Thomas Jefferson Founded The University of Virginia
The service that Thomas Jefferson is thought most memorable was the founding, in his old age, of the University of Virginia.  Jefferson stands in our national history as the most eminent early apostle of education for everyone according to his abilities, regarding universal education a necessary corollary of political self-government, stating, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
4:22 pm est          Comments

2012.02.01 | 2012.01.01

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References taken from, The American Story, 1956, Edited by Earl Schenck Miers

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