While some presidential elections function in much the same way as others of the time, there are those select few that reshape the process or are noteworthy for being unique in some way. In the next two episodes of the special series, I will be examining four presidential elections that stand out to me as unprecedented. In this episode, I start with the election of 1824 which saw a four way match up between Secretary of State John Adams, Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford, Speaker of the House Henry Clay, and Senator Andrew Jackson. The remainder of the episode is devoted to the election of 1864 which saw President Abraham Lincoln running for reelection against his challenger, General George McClellan. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Images: “Abraham Lincoln” by George Peter Alexander Healy [c. 1869], courtesy of Wikipedia and “George Brinton McClellan” by Julian Scott [c. 1888], courtesy of Wikipedia
The term “fit for office” is often bandied about when talking about the US presidency, but how exactly does physical fitness relate to the office or to presidential campaigning? To explore that question, I recently spoke with Jon Finkel, author of Jocks in Chief. In our conversation, Jon shared the system that he came up with to rank the athleticism of the 44 individuals who thus far have served as president, and we discussed how various presidents approached exercise in their lives as well as how impressions of the vigor of some presidential candidates impacted their campaigns and historical legacies.
In this episode, I talk with Jared Cohen, author of Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America, about the presidents who came to the office due to the untimely demise of their predecessor and how their becoming president altered the course of US history. In this wide-ranging discussion, we assess some of the successes and failures of these presidents as well as the history of how constitutional questions related to succession were answered and what questions still remain. Images used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
To mark the occasion of the 45th president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, I present to you this special episode on how presidents have communicated with other politicians and government officials as well as with the general public and how this has changed both with the advent of new technologies and with the varying personalities of the chief executives. From George Washington’s public levees and national tours to Abraham Lincoln’s effective use of the telegraph, from Theodore Roosevelt’s bully pulpit to the Johnson treatment, and from the installation of the White House telephone to the current president’s use of Twitter, this episode covers a great deal of ground. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.