Tag Archives: Benjamin Rush

1.18 – Pestilence

The Arch Street Wharf by William Birch [c. 1800] (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Year(s) Discussed: 1786-1793

Washington, his household, and his administration struggle to deal with an epidemic of yellow fever as it makes its way through the city of Philadelphia, indiscriminately infecting people from all walks of life including a resident at the President’s House. In addition to the loss of life, the epidemic brings up questions about how best to utilize medical knowledge to the public good, the role of the press, the relationship of individuals to their environment, and the ability and role of the government in a crisis management situation. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

1.12 – Slavery in America

The First Slave Auction at New Amsterdam in 1655 by Howard Pyle, courtesy of Wikipedia

Content Note: Though not going into graphic detail, I did want to let everyone know upfront that this episode, in discussing slavery, does touch upon the violence associated with slavery including that perpetrated against female enslaved people.

Year(s) Discussed: 1490s-1792

European settlers in the Western Hemisphere began practicing slavery in the lands that they found on the other side of the Atlantic in the late 15th century. In this episode, we examine the institution of slavery in what would become the United States as it developed up to the end of Washington’s first term in office. From its beginnings to its codification, we also look at some of the living conditions of enslaved peoples and early efforts to end the practice of slavery. The episode finishes off with bringing the focus back to Washington and how he approached slavery as he participated in the Constitutional Convention and then took office as president. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.