Category Archives: 01 – George Washington

The episodes related to the presidency of George Washington

1.26 – A Monument of Folly and Venality



Year(s) Discussed: 1794-1795

The Jay Treaty finally arrives in Philadelphia, but it turns out to be more of a curse than the blessing for which Washington and his administration were hoping. As Washington and Randolph scramble to figure out what to do with the treaty, the opposition makes preparations for a full-on attack on this treaty with the British. Meanwhile, the Administration learns of US Minister James Monroe’s “fraternal embrace” of the French and goes in search of a special envoy to send to Spain. Diplomacy and political intrigue abound at home and abroad in 1795. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Portrait of John Jay” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1794], courtesy of Wikipedia


1.25 – The Happy Course



Year(s) Discussed: 1772-1795

As Alexander Hamilton readies himself to depart from the administration at the beginning of 1795, I use this defining point of the Washington presidency to explore various points of domestic policy and foreign issues including the establishment of the Trans-Oconee Republic, the state of the Democratic-Republican faction, the first steps of the Thermadorian government in France, the Kościuszko Uprising in Poland, the influx of refugees from Saint-Domingue and the progress of the Haitian Revolution, and British intrigues in the Caribbean. Many issues face Washington and his new Cabinet secretaries as they enter the final two years of his second term. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Portrait of Tadeusz Kościuszko” by Karl Gottlieb Schweikart, courtesy of Wikipedia


1.24 – The Mvskoke and Mathews



Year(s) Discussed: 1783-1793

The development of white settlements in what was then the Southwest United States brings about conflicts with various Native American nations including the Mvskoke (commonly referred to as the Creek). Thus, the Washington administration finds itself in the position of having to police its own citizens while at the same time negotiating peace with native peoples in the region. Meanwhile, the threat of slave uprisings moves closer to the United States and causes some slaveowners to reconsider their approach to enslaved people and the institution of slavery as a whole. Source information for this episode as well as supplementary maps can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “James Oglethorpe presenting the Yamacraw Indians to the Georgia Trustees” by William Verelst [c. 1734], courtesy of Wikipedia


1.23 – Effigies and Efficacies



Year(s) Discussed: 1793-1794

James Monroe arrives in France as major changes are occurring in the governance of the nation – Robespierre is out, and the Thermadorians are in. Back in the US, Washington and Hamilton ride at the head of an army west to put an end to the Whiskey Rebellion once and for all, but they will be shocked by what they find as they draw nearer to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, as we near the end of 1794, the longest serving member of Washington’s Cabinet considers his future. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: James Monroe by Louis Semé [c. 1794], courtesy of Wikipedia


1.22 – My, What Big Treaties You Have



Year(s) Discussed: 1793-1794

Developments on both sides of the Atlantic keep the administration busy in 1794. Prominent envoys are sent to both Britain and France in order to avert the US being drawn into conflict with a foreign power. General Wayne and his troops march into action in the Northwest Territory. Even Washington is getting into the action as he heads into the field to face the rebels in western Pennsylvania. Though only five years old, the new government under the Constitution is tested like never before. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured image: John Jay, copy based on an original by Gilbert Stuart, courtesy of Wikipedia


1.215 – Martha Washington



Year(s) Discussed: 1731-1802

In this special episode, we take a closer look at Martha Washington, the woman who would serve as the nation’s first First Lady before the term was even crafted for the role. To help us better understand her life and her role in American history, I am joined in this episode by Presidential and First Ladies historian Feather Schwartz Foster who shares her knowledge and insights about Martha’s strengths and shortcomings, the Washingtons’ marriage, how Martha approached her public and household duties after her husband took the oath of office in 1789, and what impact Martha had on crafting the role of the First Lady.

Audio editing by Andrew Pfannkuche, and special thanks to Toyin, Kato, Barbara, Mark, and Alex for providing the intro quotes.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Betty Landry, and is being released on what would have been her 68th birthday.

The music between sections are selections from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto 1st Movement (Allegro), performed by Markus Krumpöck and the Merkur Orchester Wiener Neustadt conducted by Willibald Zwittkovits.

Sources used in this episode as well as links to Feather’s website and social media can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.


1.21 – The Bigger They Are



Hugh Henry Brackenridge by Clayton Braun, courtesy of Wikipedia

Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1794

The Washington administration is beset by various problems in the west while the British threaten American shipping interests in the West Indies, leading the two nations on the path to war. Though growing ever more tired of his position, President Washington must devise a plan to thwart attempts at rebellion in the west, decide upon an envoy to send east to London to seek out a diplomatic resolution, and begin work to build the US Navy. No rest for a weary President in 1794! Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.


1.045 – A Proclamation of Thanksgiving



Year(s) Discussed: 1619, 1621, 1789

To mark the upcoming US holiday of Thanksgiving, I wanted to release this special episode to provide a few thoughts on the holiday and its history and legacy as well as share with you President Washington’s proclamation issued on October 3rd, 1789 calling for the first day of national Thanksgiving under the constitutional government. The text can be found in the cited link below.

Music: Gustav Holst’s Movement II of “The Planets,” Venus, the Bringer of Peace


1.205 – Randolph



Edmund Randolph, courtesy of Wikipedia

Year(s) Discussed: 1753-1789

Though well known in his own day, Thomas Jefferson’s successor at the State Department is little known to modern audiences. Thus, I present this special episode in order to help you understand our second Secretary of State. His name has been brought up in the podcast previously as he was the first Attorney General, but there are a few key points that you’ll want to pay attention to about this Virginian’s story as they might just come to play in the not too distant future.

Audio editing for this episode by Andrew Pfannkuche.

The source used for this episode was, to date, the only biography of Randolph that I’ve been able to find:

  • Reardon, John J. Edmund Randolph: A Biography. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co, 1974.

1.20 – Go West, Young Men



William Bradford by William E Winner [c. 1872], courtesy of the US Department of Justice
Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1794

Washington and his administration adjusts to the shake-up following Jefferson’s departure from the Cabinet. Meanwhile, attention is turned west due to General Wayne making steps to take his Legion of the United States into action as an attempt at negotiation with native forces fails in part because of British interference. The federal government must also decide how to approach an increased uproar coming from western Pennsylvania over the whiskey excise tax. Though Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton has to devote a good portion of his time in the first part of 1794 to defending his record, this doesn’t stop him from meddling in affairs with other parts of the government. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.