Tag Archives: Dolley Madison

3.29 – A Winter to Remember



Year(s) Discussed: 1804-1805

President Jefferson had much to celebrate in the latter half of 1805 as he finally secured a new Attorney General, envoys arrived from distant lands in the east and the west, and his daughter and her family joined him in the President’s House for the winter. Little did he know, though, that difficult negotiations in Madrid and the machinations of the former Vice President, Aaron Burr, would soon lead to difficulties for his administration. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: “Tchong-tas-sáb-bee, Black Dog, Second Chief” by George Catlin [c. 1834], courtesy of Wikipedia and “John Breckinridge” [c. 1891], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.285 – The Two Marthas



Year(s) Discussed: 1748-1836

Studies of Thomas Jefferson’s life often discuss the impact of the two Marthas – his wife, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, and his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph – on him, but few studies examine matters with the focus on the lives of the two women. While our knowledge of Martha Jefferson is limited, in this episode, we sift through the fragments of what we know about her before shifting to her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. In addition to the narrative, part of the episode features an interview with a special guest, Dr. Cynthia A. Kierner, whose biography of Martha is an invaluable resource for learning more about a person who was educated in Paris and mingled with presidents and political leaders but is far too often relegated to the background of history. Her life has much to tell us about the role of women and families in the early republic as well as in US presidential history. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: “Martha Jefferson Randolph” by Thomas Sully, courtesy of Wikipedia, and “Silhouette of Martha Jefferson,” courtesy of Wikipedia

Transition Intro and Outro Music: Samples from “Bread,” prod. by LuKremBo


3.26 – Present but Absent: The Hemings Family of Monticello



Year(s) Discussed: 1735-1873

Throughout Jefferson’s life and career, he was surrounded and served by various enslaved individuals of three generations of the same family. In this episode, we examine the lives of the Hemings family as some worked to attain their freedom, other Hemingses disappeared from the historical record without a trace, and one became the most famous enslaved individual in the United States for bearing the third President’s children. Sources used for this episode can be found at https://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “View of the West Front of Monticello and Garden” by Jane Braddock [c. 1825], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.19 – The Not So Merry Merry



Year(s) Discussed: 1802-1803

The new British Minister to the US, Anthony Merry, arrived in Washington, DC in late 1803, and though his arrival was initially seen as a strengthening of British-American relations, it would soon prove to be quite the opposite. Meanwhile, the end of the year saw representatives of the Jefferson administration on both sides of the Atlantic assume new roles as well as Louisiana officially brought into the United States. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Dänische Post” by Johann Wilhelm Cordes [c. 1859], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.11 – Making Plans for Monroe



Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1803

As continued resistance in Saint-Domingue threatens French First Consul Napoléon Bonaparte’s plans to take control of Louisiana, President Jefferson works to keep tempers cool on the domestic front while turning to a trusted ally, James Monroe, to find a permanent solution to the New Orleans situation. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Engraved BEP portrait of U.S. President James Monroe,” courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.10 – We Need to Talk



Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1803

As French First Consul Napoléon Bonaparte begins to shift the balance of power in the Western Hemisphere in his favor, President Jefferson works to counter these ambitions through diplomatic efforts in both Washington and Paris. Meanwhile, a Mediterranean power declares war on the US, and Jefferson’s powers of persuasion are put to the test when dealing with family matters. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool” by Thomas Lawrence [c. 1790s], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.05 – Affairs, Foreign and Domestic



Year(s) Discussed: 1799-1801

The beginning of Jefferson’s administration coincided with changes in other parts of the world including France, Great Britain, Spain, and Saint-Domingue that would ultimately come to impact the United States. Meanwhile, as Jefferson continued to assemble his Cabinet, he and his administration also had to deal with a new round of negotiation with Napoléon’s government and appeasing an irate office seeker who threatened to expose the President to public scandal. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Le général Toussaint Louverture” [c. 19th century], courtesy of Wikipedia


V004 – Interview with Zacharie Kinslow



Year(s) Discussed: 1795-1891

On the anniversary of James K Polk’s death, I spoke with Zacharie Kinslow of the President James K Polk Home and Museum in Columbia, TN about the 11th President and his wife Sarah Childress Polk. Zach also shares his research on the life of Elias Polk, an enslaved individual whose life after attaining freedom following the Civil War provides insight into life for African-Americans in the Reconstruction Era and the Gilded Age. Images used for this episode as well as links to Zach’s article on Elias and video of a presentation at a conference on Polk can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: “Zacharie Kinslow” and “Elias Polk”, courtesy of Zacharie Kinslow


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