Happy Festivus!

In honor of Festivus, air your historical grievances, preferably 19th-century, here. Yes, airing of grievances is only supposed to cover the previous year, but I’m stretching the boundaries while the holiday is young.

I have two grievances:

1. I dislike James Buchanan for a number of reasons, but primarily because he acted coy during the “corrupt bargain” controversy during the 1824 presidential election. He either needed to fess up that he lied about Clay’s offer, or he needed to produce the evidence. We might have avoided a big mess in the 1850s if Buchanan’s political career had been cut short because he wasn’t astute enough to be dragged into the AJ-JQA-HC fray.

2. Charles Sellers has disappointed me for years. In grad school, Dr. Fred Rolater forced us to read The Market Revolution, which most graduate students at the time agreed was several weeks of academic hell. My biggest grievance, however, is that Sellers never finished his biography of James K. Polk. Two meticulously research volumes taking Polk’s life up to the Mexican-American War, then BOOM! Nothing. I’ve never forgiven him, and if I ever have the pleasure of meeting Sellers, I shall present him with an official feats of strength challenge card. I only hope he doesn’t pin me and demand that I finish the third volume. Hmm. Maybe I’ll reconsider my grievance.

Have a great Festivus and Christmas!

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2 Replies to “Happy Festivus!”

  1. Happy Festivus! I really enjoy your blog Mark. Buchanan proves the point that experience does not necessarily make a good president. He was probably had the most diverse domestic and foreign experience of any American president and he turned out to be the worst. My festivus grievance is historians who distort Andrew Jackson so they can connect him first to Abraham Lincoln and later to 20th century liberalism. I am thinking of Schlesinger and Wilentz in particular.

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