Truman and Civil Rights

Harry Truman announced a bold plan to guarantee civil rights to all Americans regardless of race. He made the declaration to a special session of Congress on February 2, 1948. His plan divided his party’s convention that summer. “Today, the American people enjoy more freedom and opportunity than ever before. Never in our history hasContinue reading “Truman and Civil Rights”

Changing the Office Forever

“The President is the direct representative of the American people…”  Andrew Jackson defiantly responded to his censure by the Senate.  Jacksonians believed the election victory in 1832 was a mandate from the people to kill the National Bank.  Jackson withdrew the nation’s deposits from the bank despite protests from Congress and his own Cabinet.  BankContinue reading “Changing the Office Forever”

Madison and Party

The current political parties are trying to harness the power of the disinterested masses by stoking fears and passions rooted in volatile issues like immigration and the culture wars. Both parties want to maintain a majority and implement policy. Neither side has been given such a mandate by the people. Any minority with greater thanContinue reading “Madison and Party”

Madison and American Spirit

Madison argues that oligarchy is difficult in America because of our size and diversity… but critics consistently cited the House of Representatives as the most susceptible institution in the new government.   Anti-Federalists argued that the Representatives would have the least amount of sympathy… with the masses of people; focusing exclusively on the narrow interestsContinue reading “Madison and American Spirit”

Truman’s Wit and Wisdom

Truman on firing General Douglass MacArthur – “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”Continue reading “Truman’s Wit and Wisdom”

Nullification Lingers

The Doctrine of Nullification lost in the court of history… as a nation state and as a people we rejected it, outright.  Our Constitution created a hierarchy of law to bring order to the muddled system of 13 competing legal systems.  Madison, describing government as an unruly beast defended the Supremacy Clause: “it would haveContinue reading “Nullification Lingers”

Censure of a President- The Senate’s Voice

Whig opposition to President Andrew Jackson did not have enough votes in the House of Representatives to impeach Jackson for his Constitutionally suspect attacks on the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson’s rival, Senator Henry Clay took matters into his own hands and censured Jackson’s conduct in the Senate. “Resolved that the President inContinue reading “Censure of a President- The Senate’s Voice”

Great American Duels- Congressional Violence

Challenger:  Henry Clay- United States Secretary of State, Former Speaker of the  US House of Representatives Challenged: John Randolph- United States Senator from Virginia, Seven term US Representative from Virginia The Offense:  On the floor of the US Senate, Randolph challenged the legitimacy of the John Quincy Adams administration and implicated Clay was part ofContinue reading “Great American Duels- Congressional Violence”

Bring Back Washington’s Birthday Celebration

There is something absurd in our generic observances of “Presidents Day.” Do we truly wish to venerate Warren Harding, Zachary Taylor, and Franklin Pierce? Should Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump really be exalted in our collective memory? President’s Day is a workplace convenience contrived by the government to limit available vacation days inContinue reading “Bring Back Washington’s Birthday Celebration”

Supreme Court Justices- Mt. Rushmore

Recent discussion about the Supreme Court prompted… some thoughts about the greatest men to sit on our nation’s highest bench.   Four faces that best exemplify jurisprudence in American history. Here goes…. John Marshall: Chief Justice 1801-1835– The George Washington of justices, the first and possibly the greatest.  Marshall established all future Court behavior in MarburyContinue reading “Supreme Court Justices- Mt. Rushmore”