A Long History of Condescension and Apathy in the Presidency

Open arrogance and caring only about their own political pursuits became the name of the game. The fury over racial injustice that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s killing has forced Americans to confront their history. That’s unfamiliar territory for most Americans, whose historical knowledge amounts to a vague blend of fact and myth[…]

Running for President and the Political Machine since George Washington

The technical qualifications for candidates are the same, but how people seek the nation’s highest office has shifted over the centuries. Introduction The requirements have stayed the same – just about any natural-born citizen over the age of 35 can run for president. But who decides who runs has changed substantially. So has campaigning. Nowadays,[…]

James Madison’s Last Stand

Madison was deeply concerned with tyranny. Recent events–from Black Lives Matter protests, to a show trial for an impeached president, to the mismanaged spread of COVID-19, to Stormtrooper-like tactics in American cities—demonstrate that liberal democracy is under siege. To better understand this unique moment in the history of this worldview, a brief look at its[…]

John Adams: A Lesson in Losing and Peacefully Leaving

Adams decided that losing an election, even one for the presidency, means what it says. Students of the Presidency honor George Washington for establishing that two terms as president were enough for any man. The precedent he set, the two-term tradition, bound his successors, even those who wanted more time in office, until Franklin D. Roosevelt[…]

How to Be Presidential: Lessons from George Washington

George Washington was not born a leader, but he carefully made himself into one. On June 22, 2012, for $9,826,500, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association purchased George Washington’s personal bound copy of the Constitution with the Bill of Rights and Acts of Congress. The volume dated from 1789, Washington’s first year in office as president[…]

Roosevelt’s Smashing of Landon in the 1936 Presidential Election

Roosevelt won the greatest electoral landslide since the beginning of the two-party system in the 1850s. Introduction The 1936 United States presidential election was the 38th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1936. In the midst of the Great Depression, incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican Governor Alf Landon of Kansas.[…]

Four Presidential Elections that Changed U.S. Politics

The changes the 20th century brought to American politics continue to hold true in the 21st century. Margaret O’Mara, associate professor of history at the University of Washington and author of Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections that Shaped the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press) discussed the book and the four critical elections with writer Peter Kelley. I[…]