Tag Archives: James Madison

2.07 – One Hand Washes the Other: The XYZ Affair



Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1798

The three commissioners sent by Adams arrive in France to begin negotiations but find themselves beset with new characters and new circumstances following French victories in the field and a coup in the government. One figure in particular stands between the envoys and peace, and he’ll gladly get out of the way…if, of course, the Americans are willing to pay. Sources used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord” by François Gérard [c. 1808], courtesy of Wikipedia


2.03 – The New Sheriff in Town



Year(s) Discussed: 1796-1797

The election of 1796 results in John Adams becoming the nation’s second chief executive, but he quickly finds more questions than answers awaiting him on the path to taking the oath of office. Adams is immediately faced with the need to make decisions about who to keep from the previous administration, what if any policy changes to make, and even where he and his family will live. It’s a transition unlike any other in American history to that point, and with various pressing issues waiting on the desk, the honeymoon for the new President promised to be short-lived. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Congress Hall,” unknown artist, courtesy of the US Senate Historical Office


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


1.33 – Race to the Finish Line



Year(s) Discussed: 1790-1796

Relations between the US and France deteriorate after the Jay Treaty goes into effect while Washington gets involved in the campaign to secure Lafayette’s release from his imprisonment in the Habsburg Monarchy, the administration takes care of business as the end of Washington’s second term draws closer, and the parties position themselves to launch into the 1796 presidential campaign as soon as Washington finally makes official his plans to retire (aka the worst kept secret in the 18th century). Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Portrait of Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, Marquise de La Fayette (1759-1807)”, courtesy of Wikipedia


1.32 – Samsons and Solomons



Year(s) Discussed: 1795-1796

Though finally managing to resolve his personnel issues, Washington and his Cabinet find themselves faced with a host of new problems including a new round of debate over the Jay Treaty and political maneuverings by the Democratic-Republicans as the next presidential election draws ever closer. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “James McHenry” by H Pollock, courtesy of Wikipedia


1.30 – Under Pressure, Near and Far



Year(s) Discussed: c. 16th century-1795

Diplomatic representatives of the Washington administration navigate new waters as they seek a peaceful resolution to conflicts with the Barbary States and Spain while the President continues his frustrating search to find candidates willing to fill his vacant Cabinet offices. Meanwhile, the Senate throws the President a curve ball by rejecting one of Washington’s appointments. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs,” Lorenzo A Castro [c. post-1681], courtesy of Wikipedia


1.26 – A Monument of Folly and Venality



Year(s) Discussed: 1794-1795

The Jay Treaty finally arrives in Philadelphia, but it turns out to be more of a curse than the blessing for which Washington and his administration were hoping. As Washington and Randolph scramble to figure out what to do with the treaty, the opposition makes preparations for a full-on attack on this treaty with the British. Meanwhile, the Administration learns of US Minister James Monroe’s “fraternal embrace” of the French and goes in search of a special envoy to send to Spain. Diplomacy and political intrigue abound at home and abroad in 1795. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Portrait of John Jay” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1794], 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


1.21 – The Bigger They Are



Hugh Henry Brackenridge by Clayton Braun, courtesy of Wikipedia

Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1794

The Washington administration is beset by various problems in the west while the British threaten American shipping interests in the West Indies, leading the two nations on the path to war. Though growing ever more tired of his position, President Washington must devise a plan to thwart attempts at rebellion in the west, decide upon an envoy to send east to London to seek out a diplomatic resolution, and begin work to build the US Navy. No rest for a weary President in 1794! Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.