After scoring some key political victories in Virginia, Madison decided to lead an effort to reform the government of the United States. However, he would find that getting the Constitutional Convention to agree on a new federal structure was only half the battle, and he would soon acquire some powerful enemies in the ratification campaign. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Scene at the Signing of the United States Constitution” by Howard Chandler Christy [c. 1940], courtesy of Wikipedia
Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band
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.
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.
In the inaugural episode of this podcast, we examine the nature of the presidency – what qualifies someone for the presidency, what powers and limitations does the president have, how was the office developed in the first place, and how has the office changed over time? This high level overview gives us an opportunity to be introduced to some themes that are going to carry through the podcast, and I take a few minutes to share the intended format of the podcast. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.