A Primer on Presidential Impeachment

As I wrap up teaching the first part of the U.S. survey, we’ve been talking about President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. Because of the current impeachment inquiry into President Trump, my students were very interested in learning more about the impeachment process. I wanted to share some of what we’ve been talking about. The first thingContinue reading “A Primer on Presidential Impeachment”

Background to The Coming of Democracy

One of the things I didn’t have to address in my previous series on the evolution of a book was the changes that a book can undergo between proposal and publication. I didn’t have this experience with any of my previous books, but The Coming of Democracy was different. In 2012, I sent Johns Hopkins UniversityContinue reading “Background to The Coming of Democracy

Read the Introduction to The Coming of Democracy

My thanks to Johns Hopkins University Press for allowing me to post the introduction to my forthcoming book, The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson. On 29 May 1840, approximately 7,500 individuals gathered in Clarksville, Tennessee, to witness a parade celebrating presidential candidate William Henry Harrison. The Whig Party had chosenContinue reading “Read the Introduction to The Coming of Democracy

The Coming of Democracy Is . . . Coming!

After what has felt like an eternity, The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press) is in the final stages of production. It is scheduled to come out in July and is available for pre-sale. I want to publicly thank Harry Watson, Robert Owens, John Belohlavek, John Brooke, andContinue reading “The Coming of Democracy Is . . . Coming!”

Was Andrew Johnson the Worst U.S. President?

The National Constitution Center asked that question yesterday, the anniversary of Johnson’s birth in 1808. Nothing in the linked piece changed my mind. In fact, was there one decision that Johnson made while president that most would agree was a positive contribution? Nothing comes to mind, but I’m open to suggestions. As they say whereContinue reading “Was Andrew Johnson the Worst U.S. President?”

Was Calvin Coolidge a Klansman?

I recently came across the photo to the left, which purports to show Calvin Coolidge marching with several Klansmen in Washington. A look at several Klan websites revealed that the picture, Coolidge’s membership, or both were included on many. (See examples here and here.) One website that appears to be a major source for the Coolidge-KlanContinue reading “Was Calvin Coolidge a Klansman?”

Debunking the Lincoln-Kennedy Federal Reserve Meme

There is a meme circulating on Facebook that seems to be based on the conspiracy theory that Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were assassinated by the Rothschilds because they wanted to “end the federal reserve banking system.” Let’s pick this meme apart to see how historically accurate it is. 1. There was no federalContinue reading “Debunking the Lincoln-Kennedy Federal Reserve Meme”

John F. Kennedy and Presidential Polling Popularity

The build-up to the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination has produced renewed interest in the 35th president. PBS showed an interesting two-part series on him last week, and John Kerry believes that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone. I’ll confess that I’ve never thought much of Kennedy as president, which, according to a recent poll,Continue reading “John F. Kennedy and Presidential Polling Popularity”

Presidents Say the Most Interesting Things

R. Luke DuBois has created a fascinating visual representation of presidential State of the Union addresses (also known as annual messages until FDR’s administration). HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20 takes the State of the Union addresses from each presidency and sorts them according to word frequency, generating a Snellen eye chart for each president, with theContinue reading “Presidents Say the Most Interesting Things”