Throughout Jefferson’s life and career, he was surrounded and served by various enslaved individuals of three generations of the same family. In this episode, we examine the lives of the Hemings family as some worked to attain their freedom, other Hemingses disappeared from the historical record without a trace, and one became the most famous enslaved individual in the United States for bearing the third President’s children. Sources used for this episode can be found at https://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “View of the West Front of Monticello and Garden” by Jane Braddock [c. 1825], courtesy of Wikipedia
Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band
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
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” , courtesy of Wikipedia
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
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
In this special episode, we take a closer look at Martha Washington, the woman who would serve as the nation’s first First Lady before the term was even crafted for the role. To help us better understand her life and her role in American history, I am joined in this episode by Presidential and First Ladies historian Feather Schwartz Foster who shares her knowledge and insights about Martha’s strengths and shortcomings, the Washingtons’ marriage, how Martha approached her public and household duties after her husband took the oath of office in 1789, and what impact Martha had on crafting the role of the First Lady.
Audio editing by Andrew Pfannkuche, and special thanks to Toyin, Kato, Barbara, Mark, and Alex for providing the intro quotes.
This episode is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Betty Landry, and is being released on what would have been her 68th birthday.
The music between sections are selections from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto 1st Movement (Allegro), performed by Markus Krumpöck and the Merkur Orchester Wiener Neustadt conducted by Willibald Zwittkovits.
Though well known in his own day, Thomas Jefferson’s successor at the State Department is little known to modern audiences. Thus, I present this special episode in order to help you understand our second Secretary of State. His name has been brought up in the podcast previously as he was the first Attorney General, but there are a few key points that you’ll want to pay attention to about this Virginian’s story as they might just come to play in the not too distant future.
Content Note: Though not going into graphic detail, I did want to let everyone know upfront that this episode, in discussing slavery, does touch upon the violence associated with slavery including that perpetrated against female enslaved people.
Year(s) Discussed: 1490s-1792
European settlers in the Western Hemisphere began practicing slavery in the lands that they found on the other side of the Atlantic in the late 15th century. In this episode, we examine the institution of slavery in what would become the United States as it developed up to the end of Washington’s first term in office. From its beginnings to its codification, we also look at some of the living conditions of enslaved peoples and early efforts to end the practice of slavery. The episode finishes off with bringing the focus back to Washington and how he approached slavery as he participated in the Constitutional Convention and then took office as president. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Our examination of George Washington begins with his early life in Virginia. Washington has to cope with personal loss and self-improvement as he works to make his way in the world. The coming of the French and Indian War takes his life in a new direction and sets the stage for the Revolution to come. We also look at his marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis and his establishment of industries based on slavery at Mount Vernon. Source notes for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.