Friday, January 18, 2008

Sixteenth President: Abraham Lincoln - 1 comments

I think we're all pretty familiar with Honest Abe - in fact I feel a bit funny trying to dig up little known facts about him. For further reading, I recommend this upcoming children's book.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fifteenth President - James Buchanan - 0 comments

Buchanan, our only bachelor President, is now considered one of the worst Presidents ever. Why? Well, his earlier diplomatic career was a mess, including a part in the Ostend Manifesto debacle. As President he oversaw the Dred Scott Decision (many accused him of engineering Chief Justice Taney's decision), and fueled the Bleeding Kansas crisis by supporting the Lecompton Constitution, which would bring Kansas into the Union as a slave state. He sent the Army to fight Brigham Young in Utah. He was plagued by economic crises.

He supported slaveowners, and while he declared it illegal to secede, he also declared that it would be illegal to go to war to fight a secession. By the time his term was up, he saw several states actually secede and form the Confederacy.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fourteenth President: Franklin Pierce - 3 comments

Pretty-boy Pierce won the election after Fillmore left the office, but quickly proved unpopular. The 'Ostend Manifesto,' a secret plan to make Cuba part of the Union, proved a major diplomacy debacle. The slavery debate was growing in intensity, and his actions (repealing the Missouri Compromise, and supporting the Kansas-Nebraska Act) didn't help. Pierce is now regarded as one of the worst Presidents in American history.

After his Presidency, Pierce drank heavily, supported the South during the Civil War, and ran over an elderly woman with his carriage.

Thirteenth President: Millard Fillmore - 2 comments

Unlucky Thirteen! Millard Fillmore, was our next President, and the last Whig to hold the office. He wasn't actually elected, but was VP when Zachary Taylor died (remember the bad milk?). After serving out the remainder of his term, Fillmore was not sent back to the polls by the Whig party, and four years after that he attempted again under the anti-Irish Catholic "Know Nothing" party. OK, actually they were called the American Party, but the secretive cabal-like nature earned it the nickname, as well as their slogan: "I know nothing but my Country, the whole Country, and nothing but my Country."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Twelth President: Zachary Taylor - 0 comments

The parade of great Presidential Nicknames continues. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet:

"Old Rough & Ready"

Taylor earned the name by wearing a constantly-rumpled uniform during his long military career - serving in the Mexican-American War, the Black Hawk War, the War of 1812 and the Second Seminole War*. He was drafted by the Whig party to run for President, based solely on his popularity with the people, and became the first President to be elected without ever serving in any other public office. And like many of his military cohorts, he had never voted in an election.

Other interesting facts about President Taylor: he was a southern slaveholder, his daughter married the man who would become President of the Confederate States, he moved his Inauguration because it fell on a Sunday, and he died on Independence Day (possibly by drinking bad milk).

*Yes, I said the Second Seminole War. Apparently this war actually happened, and is not just made up to sound good. So says Wikipedia.