Tag Archives: Henry Knox

Interview with Lindsay Chervinsky



Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1809

George Washington established many precedents during his tenure of office, but one that had arguably the greatest impact was his establishment, not by law but by practice, of what we now know of as the Cabinet. To examine the beginnings of this institution and what it meant for the Washington presidency, I am joined in this special episode by Lindsay Chervinsky, a historian with the White House Historical Association and author of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. In our conversation, Lindsay provided great insights into Washington’s thought process in turning to the Cabinet as an advisory body as well as how the events and culture of the 1790s influenced the development of the executive branch. Additional resources for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: Lindsay M. Chervinsky, Ph.D., courtesy of the author, and “Henry Knox” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1806], courtesy of Wikipedia


V002 – The Washington Presidency in Five (or So) Minutes



Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1797

In response to a question from Les, I attempt to do a summation of the Washington presidency from memory in five minutes. Though the full series is recommended for more detail, I think the result is rather entertaining.

Images used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

002 – The Washington Presidency in Five (or So) Minutes from Presidencies Podcast on Vimeo.

Featured Image: “George Washington (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait)” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1797], courtesy of Wikipedia


2.10 – Checkmate: Hamilton



Year(s) Discussed: 1798

Adams quickly comes to regret his naming George Washington as commander-in-chief of the US Army when Washington decides to appoint Alexander Hamilton as his second in command. As the threat of war looms, the President and his commanding general end up in a back and forth that threatens the preparedness of the Army. Meanwhile, Elbridge Gerry’s mission to France makes little headway as Talleyrand and Napoleon focus on plans to reestablish France as a major colonial power. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Alexander Hamilton” by William J Weaver, courtesy of Wikipedia


2.06 – Scandals and Observations



Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1797

Adams is joined in Philadelphia by his wife Abigail as he tries to balance war and peace with the first of the original six frigates of the US Navy being launched around the time that he appoints peace commissioners to France. Meanwhile, the US Senate is rocked by a scandal involving one of its leaders while news of Hamilton’s extramarital affair becomes public. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Alexander Hamilton” [possibly by John Trumbull, c. 1790], courtesy of Wikipedia


1.35 – Washington Post-Presidency



Year(s) Discussed: 1796-1799

Washington envisioned a relaxing retirement at Mount Vernon with his family after leaving the presidency in March 1797, but it was not to be. Between personal issues and a return to public service, the last couple of years of Washington’s life prior to his sudden demise would be filled with business and breaches of trust and friendship. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Life of George Washington: The Christian” lithograph by Claude Regnier, original painting by Junius Brutus Stearns [c. 1853], courtesy of Library of Congress


"Evacuation day" and Washington's triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783

1.34 – The Final(ish) Curtain Call



Year(s) Discussed: 1794-1797

After President Washington releases his Farewell Address, informing the nation that he would not seek another term, the 1796 election is carried out though, both domestically and abroad, there is much confusion about how exactly the United States would decide upon its next president. Meanwhile, the French plot to interfere with the election, the public attacks on Washington continue, and a military leader meets his untimely end. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “”Evacuation day” and Washington’s triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783,” Edmund Restein and Ludwig Restein, c. 1879, courtesy of the Library of Congress


1.29 – The Not So Dream Team



Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1796

With positions in his Cabinet to fill, Washington is finding it difficult to convince anyone to join his administration. Meanwhile, the son of his Revolutionary War comrade the Marquis de Lafayette shows up in the US and places the President in a difficult position as he’s forced to choose between personal loyalty and public duty. Around the same time, the disgraced Edmund Randolph makes his way up and down the east coast gathering evidence to clear his name. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: Timothy Pickering by Charles Willson Peale, 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