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.
Washington returns to Philadelphia to deal with the continued agitations of French Minister Genêt. Meanwhile, Attorney General Randolph goes south on a fact-finding mission, Philip Freneau continues his attacks against Washington and his administration in the pages of the National Gazette, and events continue to unfold in Europe which have ramifications across the pond. Through all of this, the President has to decide what to do with his partisan Cabinet and how to preserve neutrality without offending either Britain or France. Source information can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
The new French Minister to the US arrives in Philadelphia and begins causing a stir both within the Washington administration and out in the streets. Meanwhile, Washington has another bout of ill health but recovers just in time to have to rush back to Mount Vernon despite being in the midst of diplomatic tensions. Party politics are taken to the next level with partisans beginning to organize their efforts just as both Jefferson and Hamilton contemplate their respective exits from the Cabinet to be free to pursue their own aims. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
The British and French are at war, and the Washington administration is caught in the middle. Though the US government had established a Treaty of Alliance with the French back in the Revolutionary War, the administration had to question whether the new French republican government was in fact valid and whether the US was still bound by the treaty made with the government of the recently executed Louis XVI. However, they are given little time to consider the situation as French ships start capturing British vessels off the coast of North America and bringing them into Philadelphia harbor. Washington wants to stay out of it, but will the European powers force his hand? Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Washington hopes that third time will be the charm as he taps Anthony Wayne, a general who had served under him in the Revolutionary War, to take command of the Army following St. Clair’s defeat and to prosecute military action against native forces in the old Northwest. Wayne, who earned the nickname of “Mad Anthony” during the war, is not necessarily what one would call a conventional officer, however. Will Washington’s gamble pay off? Meanwhile, unknown to everyone, a spy lurks in the midst of the military forces in the West and threatens the future westward expansion of the United States. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
While Congress deliberates on the course of the nation in New York, settlers in the frontier were forging ahead with their own future beyond the Appalachian mountains. In this episode, we look at the development of territories in the west and discuss how the Washington administration prioritized affairs in the region. The military’s role in the area is discussed at some length including the not-so-stellar outcomes of two campaigns against native peoples in the Northwest Territory and what impact this would have on the administration and the nation. Source information for this episode as well as supplementary maps can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
The new government of the United States comes grinding to a halt in the spring and summer of 1790 as Congress reaches an impasse on both Hamilton’s proposed public credit scheme and the decision of where the new government should be permanently located. Ultimately, a decision is reached on both, but how it came about is rather complicated. If you’ve ever heard of the Compromise of 1790, then you’ll want to listen to this episode as there’s more to the story than has been told over the years. Meanwhile, health concerns plague a couple of major American figures, bringing even more uncertainty to an already unstable time. All the big players are in this one – Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Knox, and, of course, Mr. President. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
After a debate over how much authority Washington would exert over its officers, the executive branch begins to take shape. I examine both the original Cabinet members and the departments as they were at the beginning of the constitutional government. Then, as Washington leaves town to take a tour of the New England states, a personal scandal becomes the talk of the town in New York City. Romantic liaisons, conflicts of interest, and strong opinions over postal routes are all to be found in this episode. Source information can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Washington’s inauguration, while starting up the wheels of the executive branch, leaves many questions to be answered by the first chief executive and the new government. What titles will be used to address the president? How will he make himself available to the public and to the other branches of government? What does seeking “the Advice and Consent of the Senate” really mean anyway? So much of what we take for granted with the presidency nowadays is established in Washington’s first few months on the job, and these precedents that he established in the early part of his administration are the focus of this episode. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
The colonies along the Atlantic seaboard declare independence and go to war with Great Britain, and George Washington is in the middle of all of the action. The lead up and the prosecution of the revolution would lift Washington from being just another Virginia planter to become “the Father of His Country” as he had to develop his skills as a politician, a military commander, a spymaster, and an administrator in order to ensure success for him and the colonial cause. In the midst of the social and political turmoil, personal tragedy struck the Washingtons at the beginning and the end of the Revolution, and the conclusion of the war would find Washington handing back all of the power that had been entrusted to him. His retirement would be short-lived as the new nation would soon find itself at a crisis point that only Washington could save them from. Sources used in this episode as well as other sources for more information on the Revolutionary War can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.