Archive for the ‘President of the United States’ Tag

Portraits: Abraham Lincoln   2 comments

This is Lincoln’s last portrait, purportedly taken on April 10, 1865—one week before his assassination. It’s also one of the few portraits that shows Lincoln grinning.

This is Lincoln’s last portrait, purportedly taken on April 10, 1865—one week before his assassination. It’s also one of the few portraits that shows Lincoln grinning. Photo by Alexander Gardner.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

The 16th President of the United States, 1861 – 1865

AKA: Honest Abe, The Rail-Splitter, The Ancient One, The Great Emancipator, The Great Liberator, The Tycoon, Uncle Abe

From: Illinois

College: One of 8 US Presidents that did not attend college

Married to: Mary Todd

Children: Robert Todd, Edward Baker “Eddie,” William Wallace “Willie,” and Thomas “Tad”

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Farm laborer, general store owner, captain in the Illinois militia, postmaster, surveyor, Illinois state representative, lawyer, newspaper publisher, US Congressman

In His Words: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

“Well, I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

“If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?”

“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.”

This familiar image of Abraham Lincoln, a version of which appears on the copper penny, is easily the most ubiquitous of all Lincoln images. William Willard based this portrait on a photograph taken by Anthony Berger at Mathew Brady's studio in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 1864. The sitting occurred three weeks prior to Lincoln's appointment of General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all the Union armies. The Lincoln penny was first minted in 1909, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth. National Portrait Gallery

William Willard based this portrait on a photograph taken by Anthony Berger in Washington, DC, February 9, 1864. This familiar image of Abraham Lincoln, a version of which appears on the copper penny, is easily the most ubiquitous of all Lincoln images. The Lincoln penny was first minted in 1909, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. National Portrait Gallery

Not true: Some historians argue that Lincoln did not really want to free the slaves. Some historians argue that Lincoln’s perspective “evolved,” and he eventually decided that freeing the slaves was the right thing to do.

Hogwash.

The issue of slavery became the central preoccupation of the US government during the mid-19th century. With Lincoln’s election, war was assured and the South seceded. Lincoln’s first priority, as he properly concluded, was for him to restore the Union. He did that.

He also worked strenuously to pass the Emancipation Proclamation. He overcame remarkable opposition from every side, and did, in fact, free the slaves. Sometimes the simple explanation is correct: Lincoln freed the slaves as quickly as he could.

True: Lincoln gave his father all of his income until he was 21. In later life, he often loaned his father money.

Lincoln received a patent in 1849 for a flotation device to move boats in shallow water. The patent was never commercialized, but he is the only President to hold a patent.

Lincoln was the first bearded President.

West Virginia and Nevada joined the Union during Lincoln’s Presidency.

Lincoln refused to change the US flag during the Civil War, believing that the secession was, in fact, illegal, and the southern states should therefore still be represented on the flag.

Abraham Lincoln used to walk alone at night to the War Department to find out news about the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln was known to beg or borrow books to read. He is often remembered for educating himself by candlelight at an early age. In any event, he was always reading. Later, he applied his self-taught reading habits as a lawyer, legislator and President. He often read aloud because he liked to hear the words.

Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated.

Historians generally rank Lincoln as the most effective President. Washington is generally ranked # 2, and Franklin Roosevelt # 3.

The Official Portrait: Lincoln sat for various artists while in office, but the official White House Portrait was painted after his death. In 1869, Congress decided to have a competition for a painting of Lincoln, with the incoming President to select the winner. Ulysses S Grant won the election, and his choice was a portrait by William Cogswell. George Healy also entered the competition, but his painting was not the President’s choice. Robert Todd Lincoln purchased Healy’s painting, commenting, “I have never seen a portrait of my father which is to be compared with it in any way.” After his death, Robert Lincoln’s widow bequeathed the Healy portrait to the White House in 1939.

Today, Healy’s portrait hangs in the State Dining Room, and the Cogswell portrait is in storage.

Abraham Lincoln, Official White House Portrait

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln by George P.A. Healy, 1869. The original version of this portrait was a template for artist George P. A. Healy’s large painting The Peacemakers, depicting Lincoln in consultation with three of his main military advisers at the end of the Civil War. But Healy recognized that this made a fine portrait in its own right and eventually made three replicas, including this one.

Abraham Lincoln signature

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Big Mo: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Saved The Union, But Did He Really Free The Slaves?

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: Abraham Lincoln, Inventor?

Posted June 13, 2013 by henrymowry in POTUS

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Portraits: Thomas Jefferson   1 comment

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, portrait by Mather Brown. London,1786. Painted with a statue of Liberty over his shoulder, and commissioned by Jefferson for $25. Now in the National Portrait Gallery.

The 3rd President of the United States, 1801 – 1809

AKA: The Sage of Monticello, The Man of the People, The Apostle of Democracy, The Negro President

From: Virginia

College: The College of William & Mary

Married to: Martha Wayles

Children: Martha, Jane, Mary, Lucy, Lucy Elizabeth

Party: Democratic-Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Governor of Virginia, Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, US Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice President

In His Words: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

“The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes, should be one of the principal studies and endeavours of our lives.”

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. — We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the State to effect, and on a general plan.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.”

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal it’s party divisions & make them one people. I do not speak of their leaders who are incurable, but of the honest and well-intentioned body of the people.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

“No government can be maintained without the principle of fear as well as of duty. Good men will obey the last, but bad ones the former only.”

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

“That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected.”

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”

Not true: Jefferson was the greatest writer from America’s Founding Fathers, and it’s inevitable that modern society has created many phrases that support their beliefs, and attributed them to Jefferson. It’s just not true. Don’t believe all of those graphics you read on Facebook. Jefferson did NOT SAY THESE THINGS:

NO – Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

NO – Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

NO – My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

NO – The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

NO – The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

True: Jefferson was appointed to write the first draft of what became the Declaration of Independence. Others at the Continental Congress contributed to the effort.  For example, Jefferson had written, “We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable…” Franklin changed it to, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

Months before Jefferson actually assumed the role as Minister to France he arrived in Paris on August 6, 1784 and four days later rode to greet his old friend Benjamin Franklin. When the French foreign minister, the Count de Vergennes, commented to Jefferson, “You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear,” Jefferson replied, “I succeed him. No man can replace him.”

Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in Washington DC. Jefferson also was the only one to walk to and from his inauguration.

Jefferson was vehemently against the corrupting influence of banks and monied interests. He joined with Madison, and actively worked against Hamilton. Washington nearly dismissed Jefferson from his cabinet over this, and Jefferson did leave the cabinet voluntarily.  Washington, however, never forgave and never spoke to him again.

Jefferson sought to purge from government the Federalists appointed to government jobs during the previous administration … a practice common today, but greeted with howls of protest in the early 1800s.

Ohio became a state during Jefferson’s Presidency.

The Louisiana Purchase was completed during Jefferson’s Presidency. Historians disagree with how that happened, exactly. Did Napoleon Bonaparte initiate the transaction? Does Jefferson deserve credit?  Madison? Monroe? The price was $15 million, and it was a bargain. Jefferson gets credit for completing the deal, in spite of the lack of constitutional authority to do so (which Federalists criticized him for).

Historians have long disagreed about Jefferson’s commitment to the anti-slavery cause. Many believe he was the father of one or more children by Sally Hemings, a slave that he owned. It is true that in 1807, he signed a law that banned the importation of slaves into the United States.

Jefferson believed that all (white, landowning) men were created equal and should be treated the same.  His home was open to all citizens.  In 1803, England’s foreign minister came to call on him at the Presidential Mansion … wearing full diplomatic regalia.  Secretary of State Madison couldn’t find Jefferson … but when he finally was found, Jefferson came to the meeting wearing slippers.

Lewis & Clark gave him two grizzly bears, which he kept on the White House lawn for some time.

Jefferson’s original tombstone is on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, my alma mater. His epitaph, which Jefferson wrote, does not mention that he was the 3rd President of the United States!

HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

The Official Portrait: Rembrandt Peale painted the Official White House Portrait of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

Thomas Jefferson, Official White House Portrait

Thomas Jefferson Signature

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Big Mo

Monticello.org – Bad Quotes

Portraits: George H. W. Bush   Leave a comment

Bush sat for this portrait at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The picture's backdrop, however, is the East Room of the White House. Among artist Ron Sherr's aims was to balance the formality of the composition with a warmth capable of drawing the viewer into the picture.

Bush sat for this portrait at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The picture’s backdrop, however, is the East Room of the White House. Among artist Ron Sherr’s aims was to balance the formality of the composition with a warmth capable of drawing the viewer into the picture. National Portrait Gallery.

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924 – )

The 41st President of the United States, 1989 – 1993

AKA: 41, Poppy, Papa Bush

From: Massachusetts, Texas

College: Yale University

Married to: Barbara Pierce

Children: George Walker, Pauline Robinson, John Ellis “Jeb,” Neil Mallon, Marvin Pierce, Dorothy

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: US Navy Lieutenant, sales clerk, oil industry entrepreneur, company President, US Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Envoy to China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Bank Chairman, Vice President

In His Words:”I’m the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he’ll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that’s one resort he’ll be checking into. My opponent, my opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. And The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I’ll say no. And they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again, and I’ll say, to them, ‘Read my lips: no new taxes.'”

“I have just repeated word for word the oath taken by George Washington 200 years ago, and the Bible on which I placed my hand is the Bible on which he placed his. It is right that the memory of Washington be with us today, not only because this is our Bicentennial Inauguration, but because Washington remains the Father of our Country. And he would, I think, be gladdened by this day; for today is the concrete expression of a stunning fact: our continuity these 200 years since our government began. We meet on democracy’s front porch, a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended.”

Official White House Portrait Photo, 1989

Official White House Portrait Photo, 1989

“I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.”

“I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli. Now look, this is the last statement I’m going to have on broccoli. There are truckloads of broccoli at this very minute descending on Washington. My family is divided. For the broccoli vote out there: Barbara loves broccoli. She has tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So she can go out and meet the caravan of broccoli that’s coming in.”

“Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.”

“We’re going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.”

“It is possible to tell things by a handshake. I like the “looking in the eye” syndrome. It conveys interest. I like the firm, though not bone crushing shake. The bone crusher is trying too hard to “macho it.: The clammy or diffident handshake — fairly or unfairly — get me off to a bad start with a person.”

Not true: A 1992 New York Times article famously portrayed Bush as being amazed by a common supermarket scanner, which helped to paint him as an elitist who was out of touch with everyday American life. In reality, the scanner that Bush was so impressed with was an advanced prototype that could weigh groceries and decipher mangled and torn bar codes. Further, it was later discovered that the writer of the infamous article wasn’t even present at the convention where Bush was shown the scanner in question.

True: While serving as the Chairman of the Republican Party, he asked Nixon to resign the Presidency for the good of the Party.

After Ford became President, Bush was considered – and rejected – as his Vice President.

After serving as the Director of Central Intelligence, Bush decided to leave the government during Carter’s administration. He served as a part-time professor at Rice University.

When Reagan needed surgery on his colon, Bush became the Acting President for 8 hours until Reagan recovered from anesthesia.

When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia, Bush rallied the United Nations, the U. S. people, and Congress and sent 425,000 American troops. They were joined by 118,000 troops from allied nations. After weeks of air and missile bombardment, the 100-hour land battle dubbed Desert Storm routed Iraq’s million-man army.

George and Barbara had two sons that became governors: George, of Texas, and Jeb, of Florida.

When son George ran for president in 2000, his father told voters, “This boy — this son of ours — is not going to let you down.” George W. Bush’s election made his father the second president in history, after John Adams, to witness a son elected president. Years later, when the latter President Bush was criticized, family members noted that the proud patriarch took the barbs more emotionally than he ever had those once directed at himself.

George and Barbara Bush were married in 1945; they are celebrating the longest marriage ever between a President and his First Lady.

The Official Portrait: The Official White House Portrait of George Herbert Walker Bush by was painted by Herbert E. Abrams in 1994. Abrams, who also painted the Official White House Portrait of Jimmy Carter, died in 2003.

The painting in the background is The Peacemakers by George P. A. Healy.

The painting in the background is The Peacemakers by George P. A. Healy.

George H W Bush Signature

Portraits: Richard Nixon   2 comments

Artist Norman Rockwell admitted that he had intentionally flattered Nixon in this portrait. Nixon's appearance was troublesomely elusive, Rockwell noted, and if he was going to err in his portrayal, he wanted it to be in a direction that would please Nixon. National Portrait Gallery

Artist Norman Rockwell admitted that he had intentionally flattered Nixon in this portrait. Nixon’s appearance was troublesomely elusive, Rockwell noted, and if he was going to err in his portrayal, he wanted it to be in a direction that would please Nixon. National Portrait Gallery

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 – 1994)

The 37th President of the United States, 1969 – 1974

AKA: Tricky Dick, Richard the Chicken-Hearted, Gloomy Gus, The Boss

From: California

College: Whittier College, Duke University School of Law

Married to: Pat Ryan

Children: Tricia, Julie

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Navy Lieutenant Commander, US Representative, US Senator, Vice President

In His Words: “We were poor, but the glory of it was, we didn’t know it.”

“I always remember that whatever I have done in the past or may do in the future, Duke University is responsible in one way or another.”

“What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against communism?”

“I leave you gentleman now. You will now write it; you will interpret it; that’s your right. But as I leave you I want you to know…. just think how much you’re going to be missing. You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference, and I hope that what I have said today will at least make television, radio, the press recognize that they have a right and a responsibility, if they’re against a candidate give him the shaft, but also recognize if they give him the shaft, put one lonely reporter on the campaign who’ll report what the candidate says now and then. Thank you, gentlemen, and good day.”

“The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

“The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.”

“I should say this—that Pat doesn’t have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her that she’d look good in anything.”

“North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”

“The Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards.”

“The Jewish cabal is out to get me.”

“When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”

“We are faced this year with the choice between the “work ethic” that built this Nation’s character and the new “welfare ethic” that could cause that American character to weaken.”

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape.”

“In any organization, the man at the top must bear the responsibility. That responsibility, therefore, belongs here, in this office. I accept it. And I pledge to you tonight, from this office, that I will do everything in my power to ensure that the guilty are brought to justice and that such abuses are purged from our political processes in the years to come, long after I have left this office.”

“I have never been a quitter.”

“Any nation that decides the only way to achieve peace is through peaceful means is a nation that will soon be a piece of another nation.”

“I’m not for women, frankly, in any job. I don’t want any of them around. Thank God we don’t have any in the Cabinet.”

“As long as I’m sitting in the chair, there’s not going to be any Jew appointed to that court. [No Jew] can be right on the criminal-law issue.”

Not true: Nixon did not tell the truth to the American people. Here’s how the Watergate scandal is described by Dummies.com:

President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the infamous Watergate scandal is a controversial issue, even today. Nixon’s role in Watergate has been under discussion and clouded in suspicious for years. In a nutshell, here’s what happened in the greatest presidential scandal in U.S. history:

  • On June 17, 1972, McCord and four other men working for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (or CREEP — really) broke into the Democratic Party’s headquarters in the Watergate, a hotel-office building in Washington, D.C. They got caught going through files and trying to plant listening devices. Five days later, Nixon denied any knowledge of it or that his administration played any role in it.
  • The burglars went to trial in 1973 and either pled guilty or were convicted. Before sentencing, McCord wrote a letter to Judge John Sirica, contending that high Republican and White House officials knew about the break-in and had paid the defendants to keep quiet or lie during the trial.
  • Investigation of McCord’s charges spread to a special Senate committee. John Dean, a White House lawyer, told the committee McCord was telling the truth and that Nixon had known of the effort to cover up White House involvement.
  • Eventually, all sorts of damaging stuff began to surface, including evidence that key documents linking Nixon to the cover-up of the break-in had been destroyed, that the Nixon reelection committee had run a “dirty tricks” campaign against the Democrats, and that the administration had illegally wiretapped the phones of “enemies,” such as journalists who had been critical of Nixon.
  • In March 1974, former Attorney. General John Mitchell and six top Nixon aides were indicted by a federal grand jury for trying to block the investigation. They were eventually convicted.
  • While Nixon continued to deny any involvement, it was revealed he routinely made secret tapes of conversations in his office. Nixon refused to turn over the tapes at first, and when he did agree (after firing a special prosecutor he had appointed to look into the mess and seeing his new attorney general resign in protest), it turned out some of them were missing or had been destroyed. (They were also full of profanity, which greatly surprised people who had an entirely different perception of Nixon.)
  • In the summer of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against the president for obstructing justice.

The tapes clearly showed Nixon had been part of the cover-up. On August 8, 1974, he submitted a one-sentence letter of resignation, and then went on television and said, “I have always tried to do what is best for the nation.” He was the first and, so far, only U.S. president to quit the job.

The Watergate scandal rocked the nation, which was already reeling from the Vietnam disaster, economic troubles, assassinations, and all the social unrest of the preceding 15 years. It fell to Nixon’s successor, Vice President Gerald R. Ford, to try to bring back a sense of order and stability to the nation. And no one had voted for him to do it.

True: Richard Nixon was 5′ 11′ and weighed about 175 pounds.

Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover were our two Quaker Presidents.

Nixon lost the first televised Presidential debate. Kennedy lost that same debate, according to radio listeners. Nixon refused to use make-up, and his 5 o’clock shadow made him look unkempt to TV viewers.

Nixon had the cottage cheese flown in every week from Knudsen’s dairy in Los Angeles.

He was the first president in 120 years to have both the Senate and the House of Representatives controlled by the opposing party.

President Nixon confesses his role in Watergate cover-up, 5/22/73

Faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Nixon announced on August 8, 1974, that he would resign the next day to begin “that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Nixon was the first candidate to carry 49 states (1972), a feat later matched by Reagan.

The Official Portrait: James Anthony Wills’ 1984 portrait of Nixon is the official White House Portrait.

Richard Nixon, Official White House Portrait

Richard Nixon Signature

Portraits: Franklin D Roosevelt   6 comments

1933 photo by Elias Goldensky

1933 photo by Elias Goldensky

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945)

The 32nd President of the United States, 1933 – 1945

AKA: FDR

From: New York

College: Harvard, Columbia Law School

Married to: Eleanor Roosevelt

Children: Anna, James, Franklin (I), Elliott, Franklin (II), John

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, New York State Senator, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York

In His Words: “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”

“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”

“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

“In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”

“We must be the great arsenal of Democracy.”

“We do not see faith, hope, and charity as unattainable ideals, but we use them as stout supports of a nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.”

Roosevelt and Fala“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him – at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself – such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.”

Not true: Hyde Park on the Hudson, a movie about FDR and his relationship with “Daisy” Suckley, was widely panned as poor history. It misstated the relationship between these two very good friends, and doesn’t portray events in a historically accurate way. For example, the cottage featured in the movie was not actually a surprise to Daisy; rather, she and Roosevelt collaborated on its design. Enjoy the movie if you like … but don’t look to it for history.

True: FDR and his wife called each other “CP,” a term of endearment that was short for “Certain Person.”

Roosevelt was the first President elected with a physical disability.

He was the first person to lose the election as a Vice Presidential candidate, and then win as the Presidential candidate.

A case can be made that Roosevelt was a racist. After the 1936 Olympics, all of the white athletes were invited to the White House. The black athletes, including the 4-gold medal winner Jesse Owens, were never acknowledged by Roosevelt. During the war, he ordered the internment of over 100,000 US citizens of Japanese descent.

FDR built a swimming pool and a movie theater in the White House.

Roosevelt was the first President to appear on television.

Roosevelt’s “New Deal” redefined the role of government in America. The new federal involvement in matters traditionally handled by the private sector was anathema to the conservatives of his day. His engagement in solving America’s economic problems, however, resulted in his election to an unprecedented 4 terms.

FDR worked at improving his reading speed. Eventually, he was able to absorb an entire paragraph at a single glance.

Roosevelt’s White House pet was a black Scottie named “Fala.”

In high school, I learned that FDR’s “New Deal” helped end the Great Depression and fueled the recovery. In college, I learned that the build-up of the war machine is actually what caused the recovery, and the “New Deal” actually had little impact on the economy. My conclusion: Democrats love it, Republicans hate it, and such is the nature of political discourse. It was true in the 70s, and it’s true today. Unfortunately.

The Official Portrait: Frank O Salisbury painted the image of FDR that ultimately became the Official White House Portrait.  The original was painted in 1935, and now hangs in the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. Salisbury made 5 copies, each with slight variations from the original. One of these is in the FDR Library, and the last, painted in 1947, hangs in the White House.

Franklin Roosevelt, Official White House Portrait

Franklin Roosevelt Signature

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Freedom From Want

New York Times: Tapping The Inner Dog

Portraits: John F Kennedy   1 comment

Elaine de Kooning, known for her contemporary, gestural portraits, was chosen in 1962 to create a portrait of President Kennedy for the Truman Library because she worked quickly. She had seven informal sessions in Palm Beach, Florida, with Kennedy at the end of December and early January of 1963. De Kooning was so moved by Kennedy that over the next ten months she created hundreds of drawings and twenty-three paintings of him. After his assassination, she didn't paint for a year.

Elaine de Kooning, known for her contemporary, gestural portraits, was chosen in 1962 to create a portrait of President Kennedy for the Truman Library because she worked quickly. She had seven informal sessions in Palm Beach, Florida, with Kennedy at the end of December and early January of 1963. De Kooning was so moved by Kennedy that over the next ten months she created hundreds of drawings and twenty-three paintings of him. After his assassination, she didn’t paint for a year.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

The 35th President of the United States, 1961 – 1963

AKA: JFK, Jack

From: Massachusetts

College: London School of Economics, Princeton, Harvard

Married to: Jacqueline Bouvier

Children: Arabella, Caroline B., John F., Jr., Patrick B.

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: US Navy Lieutenant, US Representative, US Senator

In His Words: “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis”. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.”

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.””

“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all — except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.”

“I believe in an America where the rights that I have described are enjoyed by all, regardless of their race or their creed or their national origin – where every citizen is free to think and speak as he pleases and write and worship as he pleases – and where every citizen is free to vote as he pleases, without instructions from anyone, his employer, the union leader or his clergyman.”

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. Our requirements for world leadership, our hopes for economic growth, and the demands of citizenship itself in an era such as this all require the maximum development of every young American’s capacity. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”

“The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

“Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities.”

JFK, FlagNot true: Kennedy debated his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, in the first Presidential debates ever televised. Radio listeners felt that Nixon either won or tied the debates. However, Kennedy trounced Nixon on television. Kennedy allowed make-up to be applied to his face, and he looked cool and calm during the debate. Nixon, however, had a “5 o’clock shadow” and perspired throughout the event.

True: “Jack” Kennedy was the first President who had been a Boy Scout in his youth.

Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for bravery in WWII after his ship, PT109, was sunk by a Japanese destroyer and JFK saved his men.

His 1955 Profiles in Courage won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected President. He was the first President born in the 20th century.

He was the first Roman Catholic President (and this was controversial during the campaign, with some fearing the Pope could order him to implement specific policies).

Kennedy was the first President to have a live televised press conference.Motorcade

After a failed meeting with Khrushchev, Kennedy believed the country must prepare for nuclear war … and that there was a one in five chance that war would happen.

Kennedy ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion in an attempt to overthrow Castro. It was a total failure.

JFK was the 4th President to be assassinated (after Lincoln, Garfield & McKinley).

The Official Portrait:  Aaron Shikler was selected in 1970 by Jacqueline Kennedy to paint a posthumous portrait of John F Kennedy; it became his official White House Portrait.

John F Kennedy, Official White House Presidential Portrait

Kennedy,-John,-FINAL

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Being A Scout Is Expensive

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum

Biography: John F. Kennedy

Portraits: Ulysses S Grant   6 comments

Ulysses Grant, circa 1870 – 1880

The 18th President of the United States, 1869 – 1877

AKA: Sam, Unconditional Surrender Grant, U S Grant

From: Ohio, New York

College: United States Military Academy

Married to: Julia Dent

Children: Fredrick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. (Buck) Grant, Jr., Ellen (Nellie) Wrenshall Grant, Jesse Root Grant

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Horse trainer, soldier, farmer, real estate agent, leather goods merchant,

In His Words: “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.”

General Ulysses Grant, a 2-star General, 1864

General Ulysses Grant, a 2-star General, 1864

“I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the special regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officers at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department, but they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel anywhere. They will land at any woodyard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves, they will act as agents for someone else, who will be at military post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy up at an agreed rate, paying gold.”

“God gave us Lincoln and Liberty, let us fight for both.”

“Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”

A 3-star General, circa 1864.

A 3-star General, circa 1865.

“I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.

-Terms of surrender, given to General Robert E Lee after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, 1985.

“I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything. I thank you for your hearty welcomes and good cheers.”

– Grant’s “Perfect Speech,” used frequently in 1865

“I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.”

“Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately you occasionally find men disgrace labor.”

“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.”

“Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions.”

Not true: In 1839, his father arranged for his admission to West Point. The congressman who nominated him mistakenly believed his name was Ulysses Simpson Grant (Simpson was his mother’s maiden name). Grant never corrected the error, maintaining that the “S.” didn’t stand for anything. His birth name, however, was Hiram Ulysses Grant.

True: When the Confederate Army launched a surprise assault at the Battle of Shiloh, the Union Army under Grant suffered devastating casualties on the first day of fighting.  President Abraham Lincoln received several demands for Grant’s removal from command. Nevertheless, Lincoln refused, stating, “I can’t spare this man. He fights.”

Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief in March 1864.

Grant was appointed our first 4-star general in 1866.

The Suez Canal opened and the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, his first year as President.

His annual salary as President was $25,000 … the same sum paid George Washington and every other President through 1872. In 1873, his salary was doubled to $50,000 (where it stayed through Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure).

Our first national park, Yellowstone, was established during Grant’s Presidency.

Colorado became a state during his tenure.

Ulysses Grant’s time in office was marred by scandal and corruption. However, he did not participate nor profit from the illegal actions of his associates and appointees.

After leaving Washington to write his memoirs, Grant entered into an investment partnership with Ferdinand Ward. Unfortunately, Ward embezzled Grant’s asset, for which he went to jail. This left Grant with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and he claimed bankruptcy. He was forced to sell his Civil War memoirs to save his family from further financial hardship.

Ulysses S. Grant is buried in New York City in the largest mausoleum of its kind in the United States.  Grant’s tomb is a National Memorial.

The Official Portrait: President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes took great interest in collecting presidential portraits for the White House, adding paintings of Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison in the 1870s. German-born Henry Ulke completed a fine portrait of Grant from life in 1875.

Ulysses S Grant, Official White House Portrait

Ulysses Grant Signature

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Civil War Trust’s Biography

Grant’s Tomb

The Presidential Seal   1 comment

Why does the President need a Presidential Seal?

Tradition, mainly. The origin of a “seal,” after all, is that it formed an imprint in wax to “seal” a document or envelope and prove its authenticity. Officially, the Presidential Seal is used today to seal correspondence sent to Congress.

This is the ivory-handled seal Lincoln used to decorate the outside of envelopes for letters he sent.

This is the ivory-handled seal Lincoln used to decorate the outside of envelopes for letters he sent. This Seal, still encrusted with red wax, is owned by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, IL. There’s a link below to a video about this Seal.

Various old versions of the Seal of the President of the United States, as printed in an 1885 issue of the Daily Graphic, a New York newspaper. The large seal on the left was made in 1850 by Edward Stabler, a Maryland farmer, postmaster, and engraver who made many governmental seals at the time. It was made according to the rough design submitted by President Fillmore, which can be seen at the bottom center. The associated article said that a smaller version was made by Stabler at the time, but since the seal in the upper right has only 27 stars and is labeled "The Old Seal", it would instead appear to be an earlier seal dating from about 1846. The seal in the bottom right was used by Thomas Mifflin, the President of the Continental Congress, in 1784. It is a reprint from an 1856 Harpers Magazine article by Benson J. Lossing.

Various old versions of the Seal of the President of the United States, as printed in an 1885 issue of the Daily Graphic, a New York newspaper. The large seal on the left was made in 1850 by Edward Stabler, a Maryland farmer, postmaster, and engraver who made many governmental seals at the time. It was made according to the rough design submitted by President Fillmore, which can be seen at the bottom center. The associated article said that a smaller version was made by Stabler at the time, but since the seal in the upper right has only 27 stars and is labeled “The Old Seal”, it would instead appear to be an earlier seal dating from about 1846. The seal in the bottom right was used by Thomas Mifflin, the President of the Continental Congress, in 1784. It shows a constellation of 13 stars surrounded by clouds. This image is a reprint from an 1856 Harpers Magazine article by Benson J. Lossing.

The official design of the modern Presidential Seal was formalized by President Truman in 1945 in Executive Order 9646. The origin of this design rests with President Hayes, who was the first to use the central image (the eagle clutching the arrows and ivy leaves), known as the coat of arms, on White House invitations in 1877.

Today, you’ll see the Seal wherever the President goes: in the Oval Office, on Air Force One and on the front of the lecturn he’s speaking from.

The symbology of the Seal:

The eagle represents the United States of America and symbolizes the President’s role as head of state. In the eagle’s beak is a ribbon emblazoned with “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “Out of many, one.” Above the eagle are 13 white clouds and 13 white stars.

The 13 arrows symbolize the President’s role as Commander in Chief, while the 13 olive branches (with 13 olives) symbolize peace and the President’s role as chief diplomat.

The 13 stripes in the central shield represent the original 13 states, with a blue field uniting them and representing the Congress.

The 50 stars surrounding the coat of arms represent the states. Truman’s Seal had 48 stars; the only changes to the Seal since 1945 have been to add the 49th (in 1959) and 50th (in 1960) stars.

This image, on a deep blue field, comprises the “Presidential Coat Of Arms,” which is used on the Presidential flags … including those little flags on the car the President rides in.

When the Coat of Arms is surrounded by a tan field with the words “Seal of the President of the United States,” the Seal is complete.Presidential Seal - today

A picture of the Seal on the ceiling of the Oval Office.

A picture of the coat of arms on the ceiling of the Oval Office.

A persistent misconception is about why the eagle today faces to the eagle’s right … but formerly faced to the eagle’s left. Sources including one of Dan Brown’s novels and the popular TV show West Wing both cited this as the nation turning from war to peace. Some even say that the coat of arms in the rug in the Oval Office is replaced when the nation goes from war to peace!

It’s all not true. The eagle had faced to its left until 1945, and that is unusual in birds shown in heraldry. Truman did turn the eagle to its right because he felt it did symbolize the nation turning in a new direction after WWII, but there is no deeper, hidden meaning behind that change.

The Resolute Desk was originally given to President Wilson by Queen Victoria. FDR later had a central panel installed, with the carved image of the Presidential seal, to help conceal the fact that he was sitting in a wheel chair.

The Resolute Desk was originally given to President Rutherford B Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880. FDR later had a central panel installed, with the carved image of the Presidential Seal – as used by President Hayes – to help conceal the fact that he was sitting in a wheel chair.

Presidential Seal - Bush

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Lincoln’s Presidential Wax Seal

The Oval Office Rug

President Kennedy, working late at his White House office, wears a slight smile on his face, indicating perhaps he is not completely unaware that his son, John Jr., is exploring under his desk in the Oval Office in the White House in 1963. (AP, Look Magazine)

President Kennedy, working late at his White House office, wears a slight smile on his face, indicating perhaps he is not completely unaware that his son, John Jr., is exploring under his desk in the Oval Office in the White House in 1963. (AP, Look Magazine)

Portraits: Grover Cleveland   Leave a comment

The painter of this portrait, Swedish artist Anders Zorn, drew his loose brushwork and preference for natural lighting from French impressionism. Cleveland was quite pleased with Zorn's likeness, declaring to a correspondent, "As for my ugly mug, I think the artist has 'struck it off' in great shape."

The painter of this portrait, Swedish artist Anders Zorn, drew his loose brushwork and preference for natural lighting from French impressionism. Cleveland was quite pleased with Zorn’s likeness, declaring to a correspondent, “As for my ugly mug, I think the artist has ‘struck it off’ in great shape.”

Grover Cleveland (1837 – 1908)

The 22nd President of the United States, 1885 – 1889

The 24th President of the United States, 1893 – 1897

AKA: His Obstinancy,  The Stuffed Prophet, The Elephantine Economist, Uncle Jumbo, The Guardian President

From: New Jersey, New York

College: One of 8 US Presidents that did not attend college

Married to: Frances Folsom

Children: Ruth, Esther, Marion, Richard, Francis

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: Clerk, teacher, assistant district attorney, county sheriff, lawyer, Mayor of Buffalo, Governor of New York

In His Words:  “The laboring classes constitute the main part of our population. They should be protected in their efforts peaceably to assert their rights when endangered by aggregated capital, and all statutes on this subject should recognize the care of the State for honest toil, and be framed with a view of improving the condition of the workingman.”

“I have tried so hard to do the right.”

“The wants and needs of the employers and the employed shall alike be subserved and the prosperity of the country, the common heritage of both, be advanced.”

“He mocks the people who proposes that the Government shall protect the rich and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor.”

“The United States, in aiming to maintain itself as one of the most enlightened nations, would do its citizens gross injustice if it applied to its international relations any other than a high standard of honor and morality.”

“What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?”

Not true: Charles Lachman wrote A Secret Life, chronicling the events surrounding a child that may, or may not, have been the product of Grover Cleveland’s so-called date rape of Maria Halpin, a 38-year old sales clerk and mother of 2. This affair was a smarmy sex scandal involving a bachelor … who would later run for governor, and then for President. At the time, newspapers pounced on the scandal, and Cleveland steadfastly clung to “the truth:” that Halpin had affairs with more than one man, including Cleveland’s law partner.  Cleveland took responsibility for the boy … and had the mother committed to an asylum when her drinking became a problem.

What’s true here? We don’t know. But can an author in 2011 really know definitively what happened in 1873? I think not. It is true the scandal was investigated in its day, and that Cleveland won two elections to the highest office in the land after the affair was widely known and investigated while the participants were all still living.

True: He is also the only President to have had his wedding inside the White House. He married his law partner’s ward, 24 years his junior, that he claimed to have fallen in love with when he first saw her as a baby.

Grover Cleveland is the only president to serve 2 terms separated by another President.

Utah was admitted as the 45th state during Cleveland’s Presidency.

He kept a mockingbird and several canaries as pets while President.

Cleveland paid a man $150 to serve in the Civil War in his stead (which was legal at the time).

He believed the President should be the executor of the nation’s laws … and not the creator of public policy. He believed that it was Congress’ job to make the laws, and he sought to avoid that task.

The Official Portrait: Eastman Johnson painted Grover Cleveland’s portrait in 1891; he also painted Benjamin Harrison’s portrait. Those two are the last portraits officially painted for the White House collection in the 19th century.

Grover Cleveland, Official White House Portrait

Grover Cleveland Signature

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Big Mo

Portraits: James Monroe   Leave a comment

John Trumbull's Capture of the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton shows Monroe wounded.  He took a musket ball in the left shoulder.

John Trumbull’s Capture of the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton shows Monroe wounded. He took a musket ball in the left shoulder.

James Monroe (1758 – 1831)

The 5th President of the United States, 1817 – 1825

AKA: The Era of Good Feelings President, The Last Cocked Hat (because he loved the fashion of the last century)

From: Virginia

College: The College of William & Mary

Married to: Elizabeth Kortright

Children: Eliza, James Spence, Maria Hester

Party: Democratic-Republican

Previous Jobs: Planter, Lieutenant in the Continental Army, Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, US Senator, Minister to France, Minister to the United Kingdom, Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Secretary of War

In His Words: “The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”

“A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.”

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze.  Monroe is shown holding the flag.

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze. Monroe is shown holding the flag.

“Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete.”

“Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all — liberty!”

“Preparation for war is a constant stimulus to suspicion and ill will.”

Not true: It’s not true that everyone loved Monroe – though he was an extremely well-liked war hero, statesman and President.  He ran unopposed in 1820 and received every electoral college vote except one, which was cast for John Quincy Adams, his eventual successor.

True: James Monroe died on July 4th – just like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

Monroe  was in favor of founding African colonies for the return of free African Americans.  Those colonies would eventually form Liberia.  Its capital, Monrovia, is named in his honor.

Five states were admitted during his Presidency: Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819), Maine (1820), Missouri (1821).

On December 25, 1776, George Washington’s army crossed the Delaware River to attach a Hessian army camped near Trenton, New Jersey.  Lieutenant James Monroe was one of two wounded; he was shot in the shoulder rushing an artillery battery.

The Official Portrait: James Monroe was painted by Samuel F.B. Morse, circa 1819. Better known as the inventor of the electric telegraph, Morse was also the first professor of painting and sculpture for New York University.

James Monroe, official White House Portrait

James Monroe signature

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Big Mo

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