Archive for the ‘Harvard’ Tag

Portraits: John Adams   8 comments

Edgar Parker painted the portrait in 1878 based on an original by Gilbert Stuart.

Edgar Parker painted the portrait in 1878 based on an original by Gilbert Stuart.

John Adams (1735 – 1826)

The 2nd President of the United States, 1797 – 1801

AKA: His Roundity, The Atlas of Independence, The Colossus of Independence, Bonny Johnny, The Duke of Braintree

From: Massachusetts

College: Harvard

Married to: Abigail Smith

Children: Nabby, John Quincy, Susanna, Charles, Thomas, Elizabeth

Party: Federalist

Previous Job: Teacher, lawyer, Colonial legislator to the Massachusetts General Court, Delegate to the First Continental Congress, Delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Ambassador, Vice President

In His Words: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with the power to endanger the public liberty.”

This 2 cent stamp was introduced in 1938.

This 2 cent stamp was introduced in 1938.

“There is something very unnatural and odious in a government a thousand leagues off. A whole government of our own choice, managed by persons whom we love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which men will fight.”

“Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”

“Since the decay of the feudal system, by which the public defense was provided for chiefly at the expense of individuals, the system of loans has been introduced, and as no nation can raise within the year by taxes sufficient sums for its defense and military operations in time of war the sums loaned and debts contracted have necessarily become the subjects of what have been called funding systems. The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own. The national defense must be provided for as well as the support of Government; but both should be accomplished as much as possible by immediate taxes, and as little as possible by loans.”

“Thanks to God that he gave me stubbornness when I know I am right.”

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.”

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”

Not true: It’s a quote often attributed to John Adams:

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm; and that three or more become a Congress!”

Just one problem: John Adams didn’t say it. It’s a line from the 1969 Broadway music comedy, 1776!

True:The Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Members included Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R Livingston and Roger Sherman. The committee apparently wanted Adams to write the document, but he persuaded the committee to have Jefferson write the first draft. In later years, Jefferson would say that Adams was “the pillar of [the Declaration’s] support on the floor of Congress, its ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults it encountered.”

Adams was appointed our first Ambassador, traveling with his son and future President, John Quincy Adams, to France in 1777.

In our first Presidential election, George Washington was unanimously elected by our electors. The race was for 2nd place, and 11 candidates split the 69 available votes. Adams received the most, so he became our first Vice President.

Unfortunately, Mr. Adams didn’t like his position, saying, “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived. . . .” However, he did win the 1797 election, only to lose in 1800 to his Vice President, Thomas Jefferson. Adams thus became our first one term President.

Adams kept a horse named Cleopatra.

The Official Portrait: Portrait of John Adams by John Trumbull, c. 1792-93.

John Adams, Official White House Portrait

John Adams Signature

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Big Mo

Portraits: Rutherford B Hayes   5 comments

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822 – 1893)

The 19th President of the United States, 1877 – 1881

AKA: Rutherfraud or His Fraudulency

From: Ohio

College: Kenyon College, class of 1842 and Harvard Law, class of 1845

Married to: Lucy Ware Webb (the first wife of a President to graduate from college)

Children: Birchard, Webb, Rutherford, Joseph, George, Fanny, Scott and Manning

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: businessman, lawyer, soldier, congressman, governor

In His Words: “He serves his party best who serves his country best.”

“Fighting battles is like courting girls: those who make the most pretensions and are boldest usually win.”

“In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments.”

“Lemonade Lucy” Hayes was the first Presidential wife called “First Lady” in the national press.

Not true: President Obama invoked Hayes in the 2012 Presidential campaign, saying,

“One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mount Rushmore because he’s looking backwards.  he’s not looking forwards.”

There is no proof that this ever happened.  Indeed, Hayes installed the first telephone in the White House, given the number of 1, when there were only 190 telephones in all of Washington, DC.

True: Hayes was the first President to travel to the west coast while in office.

Hayes is the only President whose election was decided by a congressional commission.  The 1876 election was rife with fraud by both parties.  Eventually both sides agreed to have a non-partisan congressional commission appointed, with 5 from the House, 5 from the Senate, and 5 from Supreme Court Justices.  Affiliations were to be 7 Republicans, 7 Democrats, and a well-respected independent Supreme Court Justice, David Davis.  The Democrats attempted to influence even this process, with the Illinois legislature electing Davis to the Senate.  Davis then declined the nomination to the congressional commission due to the conflict, further muddling the process.  Eventually, a compromise was worked out, with Hayes agreeing to end Reconstruction, withdrawing the Army from the South, and the Democrats agreeing to support his Presidency.

Hayes was the first President to have a typewriter in the White House.

Banned alcohol from the White House, perhaps in support of his wife who was a staunch supporter of the temperance movement.

The Official Portrait:

Daniel Huntington was one of the most fashionable portraitists of his generation.  He accepted Lucy Hayes’ invitation  to paint her portrait after the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union offered to fund this memorial for her.  After her husband retired from the Presidency, Huntington was selected by the President to paint a companion piece, which was to be his official portrait.  It was completed in 1884, three years after Hayes left office.

Portraits: John Quincy Adams   4 comments

John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1849)

Adams was the first (ex) President to be photographed, in 1843 … though there are claims that Harrison was photographed in 1841, no proof exists.

The 6th President of the United States, 1825 – 1829

When Adams sat for this portrait, he doubted that artist George Caleb Bingham could produce “a strong likeness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson commented that the aging Adams was “like one of those old cardinals, who as quick as he is chosen Pope, throws away his crutches and his crookedness, and is as straight as a boy.”

AKA: Old Man Eloquent or The Abolitionist

From: Massachusetts

College: Harvard College, class of 1787

Married to: Louisa Adams

Children: Charles Francis Adams, Sr, George Washington Adams, John Adams II, Louisa Catherine Adams

Party: Federalist, Democratic-Republican, Whig

Previous Jobs: secretary, lawyer, state senator, senator, diplomat, Secretary of State

In His Words: “Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom.”

“The manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not.”

“America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Not true:  Adams’ service to the United States became an issue in the 2012 Presidential race, 183 years after he died.  Michelle Bachmann famously declared that our founding fathers “worked tirelessly to end slavery.”  When  journalists called Bachmann on being inaccurate, she cited John Quincy Adams as one founding father that was an example of what she meant.  In spite of his unprecedented international experience at a very tender age, it does seem to stretch credibility to call him a founding father, as he was only 9 years old in 1776.  It is true that he railed against slavery while serving in the House of Representatives, but he was not a steady advocate for abolition until after he was President.

True: He served in the diplomatic service at the age of 13 as the secretary to the US envoy to Russia.  He later was one of the secretaries to Jefferson and Franklin, helping them draft the documents confirming US independence from Great Britian.  He was barely 16.

In the 1824 Presidential election, he did not win the popular vote, nor a majority of the electoral college.  Because no candidate won a majority, he was eventually selected as President by the House of Representatives.  Adams had been a brilliant diplomat, but proved to be an idealistic and inflexible President.  He followed his father’s unfortunate example as the 2nd President to only serve one term.

He’s the only President to serve in the House of Representatives after he left the White House.

The Official Portrait:

George Peter Alexander Healy was one of the most prolific portrait artists of his day.  He painted 18 Presidents, from John Quincy Adams to Ulysses S Grant.  Some of his other famous paintings were of Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Pope Pius IX and John James Audobon.

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