Tag Archives: slavery

3.02 – Jefferson Pre-Presidency Part Two



Year(s) Discussed: 1774-1801

Between the publication of “Summary View of the Rights of British America” and his assuming the presidency, Jefferson made a name for himself by drafting the Declaration of Independence, struggled to see his home state of Virginia through the Revolution as governor, experienced a devastating personal loss, and served the new nation at home and abroad. Though his rise in national prominence as the leader of the opposition would ultimately lead to him becoming the third President, not only his public record but also various facets of Jefferson’s personal life would pose challenges for the new administration before it even began. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: “Thomas Jefferson” by Mather Brown [c. 1786], courtesy of Wikipedia, and “Thomas Jefferson” by Rembrandt Peale [c. 1800], courtesy of Wikipedia


3.01 – Jefferson Pre-Presidency Part One



Year(s) Discussed: 1612-1774

From his birth in Albemarle County, VA, Thomas Jefferson’s personality and public career began to take shape through his education at William and Mary, and his introduction to the world of politics in colonial Virginia. Along the way, he would be influenced by family members and mentors and would in turn start to impact his own young family, his neighbors, those individuals he enslaved, and the course of events in British North America. Sources used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Rebuilt Wren building with Italianate towers c. 1859” [1875], 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


2.22 – Enter the Federal City



Year(s) Discussed: 1799-1801

As President Adams and the federal government transition to the new federal capital, the next presidential election looms, and both Federalist and Democratic-Republican leaders work on behalf of their favored candidates to meet challenges to their prospects. While Federalists cope with an internal debate over exactly which candidate to support, Democratic-Republicans in Virginia work to cover up the involvement of French agents in Gabriel’s Rebellion. All the while, the US commission to France scrambles to conclude their work with a treaty in time for Adams and the Federalists to claim credit for winning the peace. Source notes for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “A view of the Capitol of Washington before it was burnt down by the British” by William Russell Birch [c. 1800], courtesy of Wikipedia


2.21 – I am Gabriel, That Stands in the Presence of God



Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1801

The revolution in Saint-Domingue inspires enslaved people in the United States to seek their freedom in the 1790s at a time that the slaveocracy was becoming more ingrained in the American economy, society, and legal codes. With a focus on Virginia, this episode will explore the shifts in the American slave system in the late 1790s and the planned insurrection that has come to be known as Gabriel’s Rebellion. Sources used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Struggle for freedom in a Maryland barn.” by William Still [c. 1872], courtesy of Wikipedia


2.15 – Hot Time, Summer in the Country



Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1799

John Adams makes a fateful decision that threatens his administration and its ability to react quickly to developing events. Meanwhile, General James Wilkinson’s past collusion with the Spanish is discovered by a government agent in the Mississippi Territory. Closer to home, Fries’s Rebellion comes to a close as harassment of Democratic-Republican newspaper editors ramps up. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Watercolor of Peacefield Before the 1800 Addition” by E Malcom [c. 1798], courtesy of Wikipedia


1.36 – Washington Q&A



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


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


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


Newspaper advertisement asking for return of Oney Judge

1.31 – Runaway



Year(s) Discussed: 1773-1848

On May 21st, 1796, Ona/Oney Judge slips out of the President’s House in Philadelphia, PA in a bid to obtain her freedom from enslavement. The story of her being born into slavery at Mount Vernon, her being brought to work in the Washingtons’ household, and the Washingtons’ attempts at bringing Ona back into captivity is a narrative that brings much insight into the institution of slavery in the United States in the mid-1790s as well as a more complete view of George Washington’s legacy. Source information can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: Newspaper advertisement of the escape of Oney Judge with a reward for her return, 24 May 1796, Philadelphia Gazette, courtesy of Wikipedia