The term “fit for office” is often bandied about when talking about the US presidency, but how exactly does physical fitness relate to the office or to presidential campaigning? To explore that question, I recently spoke with Jon Finkel, author of Jocks in Chief. In our conversation, Jon shared the system that he came up with to rank the athleticism of the 44 individuals who thus far have served as president, and we discussed how various presidents approached exercise in their lives as well as how impressions of the vigor of some presidential candidates impacted their campaigns and historical legacies.
Jefferson and his administration early on focused their attention on the civilian and military operations in the western frontier of the US and worked through the year leading up to the convening of the first session of the Seventh Congress to determine who would stay and who would go. Meanwhile, despite his concerns about a standing army and navy, Jefferson also worked in his first year in office to establish two key supports for the US military establishment: a military academy and a dry dock. Sources used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: Portion of “The Treaty of Greenville” [c. late 18th century], courtesy of Wikipedia
Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band
In this episode, I talk with Jared Cohen, author of Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America, about the presidents who came to the office due to the untimely demise of their predecessor and how their becoming president altered the course of US history. In this wide-ranging discussion, we assess some of the successes and failures of these presidents as well as the history of how constitutional questions related to succession were answered and what questions still remain. Images used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
With the new members of the Adams Cabinet coming on board, the President travels south to inspect the work on the new Federal Capital as the US government begins its move from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. Meanwhile, Adams makes a decision on the fates of those convicted of crimes for their participation in Fries’s Rebellion while federal prosecutions under the Sedition Act continue and Democratic-Republicans gear up for the upcoming presidential election. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Samuel Dexter”, courtesy of Wikipedia
Despite achieving a major diplomatic victory in the Northwest Territory, the administration is rocked by controversy as Secretary of State Randolph is confronted about allegations of collusion with the French while Washington himself is accused of improper use of public finances. Scandals and controversies abound in this episode! Source information can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com
Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar, courtesy of Wikipedia
“Oliver Cromwell” by Samuel Cooper [c. 1656], courtesy of Wikipedia
“George Washington” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1797], 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
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.
To mark the occasion of the 45th president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, I present to you this special episode on how presidents have communicated with other politicians and government officials as well as with the general public and how this has changed both with the advent of new technologies and with the varying personalities of the chief executives. From George Washington’s public levees and national tours to Abraham Lincoln’s effective use of the telegraph, from Theodore Roosevelt’s bully pulpit to the Johnson treatment, and from the installation of the White House telephone to the current president’s use of Twitter, this episode covers a great deal of ground. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.