I asked for your questions, and you sent in some great ones! As a part of the transition into a new presidency, we send George Washington off by addressing some lingering issues about his life and tenure including whether he thought of the Federalists as a political party, whether Hamilton would have become president if not for his affair with Maria Reynolds, did Washington really want to be called “His Excellency,” and what was up with the president tallying how many women he saw during his Southern tour. The answers to these questions and more can be found in this special episode of Presidencies! Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: Statue of George Washington at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, courtesy of Matthew G Bisanz and Wikipedia
As the Revolution against Great Britain kicks off, John Adams assumes office in the Continental Congress where he makes a name for himself with individuals from the various colonies before being sent to represent the United States in Europe. While dealing with family matters and tensions with new colleagues and contemporaries, Adams navigates through challenging diplomatic waters before finally landing in the Vice Presidency then being elected to succeed George Washington as chief executive. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain,” Benjamin West [c. 1783-1784], courtesy of Wikipedia
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
While the construction of the nation’s new capital proceeds, the public battle against the Jay Treaty begins in earnest upon its publication by Benjamin Franklin Bache. Demonstrations and meetings go on up and down the Eastern seaboard, and even Alexander Hamilton has difficulty determining how to respond. Meanwhile, Washington has to fill John Jay’s position as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and deal with the last remaining member of his first Cabinet now looking to find a way out of his post. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: Burning of Stamp Act [c.1903], courtesy of Wikipedia
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
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
Developments on both sides of the Atlantic keep the administration busy in 1794. Prominent envoys are sent to both Britain and France in order to avert the US being drawn into conflict with a foreign power. General Wayne and his troops march into action in the Northwest Territory. Even Washington is getting into the action as he heads into the field to face the rebels in western Pennsylvania. Though only five years old, the new government under the Constitution is tested like never before. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured image: John Jay, copy based on an original by Gilbert Stuart, courtesy of Wikipedia
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.
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.
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.