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Biographies of leaders.

Happy Birthday Millard Fillmore: “The Accidental President”

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William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, his father, Benjamin, signed the Declaration of Independence and served three terms as governor of Virginia. His mother, Elizabeth was from one of the earliest and most prestigious families in the colonies. William was the youngest of six siblings, and his older brother, Carter Bassett Harrison, served as a member of United States House of Representatives. Growing up during the Revolutionary War William would’ve watched passing Continental troops, heard musket fire from nearby battles, and celebrated when the British surrendered.

William Henry Harrison studied at the Presbyterian Hampden-Sydney College, between 1787 and 1790. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania and studied medicine.

In 1791 William’s father died, leaving his estate to William’s older brothers, which was customary at the time. William wasn’t excited about a career in medicine, and was now broke. He used his family’s connections to procure an officer’s rank in the Army’s First Infantry division. The eighteen-year-old William rounded up about eighty thrill-seekers and troublemakers from Philadelphia’s streets, talked them into signing enlistment papers, and marched them to his assigned post, Fort Washington in the Northwest Territory.

William meet twenty-year-old Anna Symmes at Fort Washington in 1795, her father had just been appointed judge for the region. Anna was attracted to William, but her father disapproved wanting his daughter to find a more prosperous man. When Anna’s father had to travel to another part of the territory, the young couple found a justice of the peace and eloped on November 25, 1795. When her father returned and learned of the marriage, he shouted at William, “How, sir, do you intend to support my daughter?” William replied, “Sir, my sword is my means of support.”

The couple had 10 children, six of whom died before William became president. Their son John Scott Harrison would grow up to become a U.S. congressman from Ohio and the father of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd American president.

In 1798, William resigned from the Army commission and tried his hand at various jobs in the public sector. He was the first representative of the Northwest Territory and served as the member of the Sixth United States Congress from March 1799, to May 1800. He served as the governor of the Indiana territories for twelve years.

Being the governor of the Indiana region, he was responsible for protecting and assisting the American settlers against hostile Native Americans. As governor he exploited Native American poverty, corrupt leadership, and inability to hold liquor. In 1805, through a largely fraudulent land grab of 51 million acres. William and his aides hosted five minor chiefs from the Sac tribe, gave them alcohol, then persuaded them to sign away one-third of modern Illinois, as well as sizable chunks of Wisconsin and Missouri, for one penny per two hundred acres.

By 1809, the Native Americans began to organize a fighting force, under the leadership of The Chief Tecumseh. With British help they attempted to stop the encroachment of settlers on their land.

On November 6, 1811, William’s force of about 950 men moved into position outside a Native American camp, beside the Tippecanoe River. They made camp for the night to prepare for attack the next day. The Indians discovered his force by their campfires and snuck into his camp before dawn and surprised the American forces. Several Army officers were killed among the 190 causalities, William jumped on his horse to rally his men. The Indians couldn’t get through the Army rifle lines and broke off the attack. William ordered a counterattack and was successful in overcoming the Indians by midmorning. The Battle of Tippecanoe became the cornerstone for William’s political career and his claim to fame as it inspired and captured the imagination of the general public.

William was made a brigadier general and placed in charge of the Army of the Northwest during the War of 1812. He achieved a decisive victory against the British and their Indian allies at the Battle of the Thames. Chief Tecumseh was killed during the battle and the confederation of Indian tribes he led never posed a threat in the region again.

In May of 1814, with the war still raging, William resigned from the Army and settled into life on his farm in North Bend, Ohio to concentrate on his political career. Two years later he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio and served at that capacity from 1816 to 1819, and then served in the Ohio Senate between 1819 and 1821, he lost a bid for governor in 1820. Over the next two years, he ran for both of Ohio’s seats in the U.S. Senate and lost both races. He was unsuccessful at his attempt to return to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1822.

William finally won a U.S. Senate seat in 1824 and secured appointments to two military committees before being named the ambassador to Colombia. He resigned his senate seat in 1828 to go to Colombia, a post he held for a year in a country that was torn by revolution and foreign war. When Andrew Jackson assumed the presidency he recalled his old foe and William returned to Ohio. His farm didn’t perform well, and when money problems grew worse he was forced to work a menial job as recorder for his county.

In 1836 William was selected as a one of three Whig candidates for president against Martin Van Buren. William come in second and carried nine out of twenty-six states in the Union. His moderate success demonstrated to the Whigs that he was the candidate to unseat Van Buren in 1840.

In the 1840 election the Whigs flooded America with cups, plates, flags, and sewing boxes with Old Tip pictured on them. In June 1840, a Harrison rally at the site of the Tippecanoe battle drew 60,000 people, by the end of the campaign, there were parades three miles long of voters singing, chanting and drinking.

William won the presidency with an electoral vote of 234-60 and approximately 53 percent of the popular vote. On March 4, 1841, at the age of 68, he took the oath of office on a freezing, snowing day and gave the longest inaugural address in history, without a coat or hat. He did take time to become the first president to have his photograph taken on their Inauguration Day. His wife Anna didn’t accompany William to Washington due to being depressed and ill from having just lost one of their children.

William developed pneumonia and exactly one month after taking the oath of office, William passed away on April 4, 1841. He served the shortest term as the American president to date, 30 days, 12 hours, and 30 minutes.

He passed away leaving his family with no money. Anna, who outlived William by two decades, became the first presidential widow to receive a pension from Congress, a one-time payment of $25,000, the equivalent of one year of William’s White House salary. She was also given free postage on all her mail.

William and Anna Harrison are buried at the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial in North Bend, Ohio.



“There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.”

“A decent and manly examination of the acts of government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.”

“I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.”

“The virtue of its Citizens is the only Support of a Republican government.”

“I believe that all the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.”

“Far different is the power of our sovereignty. It can interfere with no one’s faith, prescribe forms of worship for no one’s observance, inflict no punishment but after well-ascertained guilt, the result of investigation under rules prescribed by the Constitution itself.”

“The chains of military despotism, once fastened upon a nation, ages might pass away before they could be shaken off.”

“The broad foundation upon which our Constitution rests being the people—a breath of theirs having made, as a breath can unmake, change, or modify it—it can be assigned to none of the great divisions of government but to that of democracy.”

“The people are the best guardians of their own rights and it is the duty of their executive to abstain from interfering in or thwarting the sacred exercise of the lawmaking functions of their government.”

“We admit of no government by divine right….The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.”

“I believe and I say it is true Democratic feeling, that all the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.”

“If parties in a republic are necessary to secure a degree of vigilance sufficient to keep the public functionaries within the bounds of law and duty, at that point their usefulness ends. Beyond that they become destructive of public virtue, the parent of a spirit antagonist to that of liberty, and eventually its inevitable conqueror.”

“I proceed to present to you a summary of the principles which will govern me…”

“The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.”

“The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators.”

“All the lessons of history and experience must be lost upon us if we are content to trust alone to the peculiar advantages we happen to possess.”

“Our citizens must be content with the exercise of the powers with which the Constitution clothes them.”

“Sir, I wish to understand the true principles of the Government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”

“Times change, and we change with them.”

“ I am the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County at your service . . . Some folks are silly enough to have formed a plan to make a president of the U.S. out of this clerk and clod hopper.”


The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. He was the second of two sons to John (Jack), and Nelle Reagan. The family lived in an apartment on main street that lacked indoor plumbing and running water. Ronald’s father nicknamed him Dutch as a baby because he reminded him of “a fat little Dutchman.” His family lived in a series of towns until they settled in Dixon, Illinois, where Ronald’s father opened a shoe store.

Ronald attended Dixon’s Northside High School and worked as a lifeguard in Lowell Park, a 200-acre woodland along the Rock River. On August 3, 1928 the “Dixon Daily Telegraph” headline read,“Ronald Reagan saves drowning man,” Ronald pulled a total of 77 people from the water over the seven summers he was a lifeguard.

He went to Eureka College, a small Christian college near Peoria, Illinois. He studied economics and sociology, he also played football, was the captain of the swim team, served as student council president, and acted in school plays. He focused more on sports and acting and less on his studies, he graduated with a “C” average.

After graduating in 1932, Ronald found work as a radio sports announcer at WOC radio in Davenport, Iowa. He moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was to create play-by-play accounts of games, even though he only received basic information of the game in progress by wire.

While traveling with the Cubs in California a movie studio agent discovered Ronald and in 1937 he signed a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers. Over the next three decades, he appeared in over 50 films, his best-known role was in the 1940 film, “Knute Rockne, All American,” which gave him the lifelong nickname, “the Gipper,” for his role as the Notre Dame football star, George Gipp. His other popular movie was in Kings Row,” and he played an accident victim who wakes up to discover his legs have been amputated and cries out, “Where’s the rest of me?”

Ronald married actress Jane Wyman on January 26, 1940 and they had two biological children, Maureen, who passed away in 2001, and Christine (who was born in 1947 but lived only one day), they adopted Michael, who was born in 1945.

In December 1941 the United States went to war and Ronald was drafted into the army. His poor eyesight made him ineligible for combat so he was assigned to the Motion Picture Army Unit in Culver City and made training and propaganda films.

In 1947 he was elected as the president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for the first of five consecutive terms. As the SAG President he was requested to testify before the United States House Committee on Un-American Activities. The hearings resulted in“the Hollywood Ten” being imprisoned and many writers and directors being blacklisted due to allegedly having ties to the Communist Party.

In June 1948 Ronald’s wife filed for divorce claiming, “mental cruelty.” Ronald had become obsessed with politics, but his wife was also having an affair with Lew Ayres, her co-star in the movie“Johnny Belinda.” Ronald is the first U.S. president to have been divorced.

Although Ronald was mainly a B-movie actor, he dated a number of A-list actresses, including Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Doris Day, Betty Grable and even Marilyn Monroe. But his womanizing days ended when he met actress Nancy Davis, who came to him for help because she was mistakenly listed as a possible communist sympathizer. They were immediately attracted to each other, she was reported saying, “I don’t know if it was exactly love at first sight, but it was pretty close.”  Ronald was still skeptical of marriage after his painful divorce, but over time Nancy became his kindred spirit and they married on March 4, 1952. They had two children, Patti and Ronald “Ron” Jr..

In late 1952 Ronald led a movement of Democrats for Eisenhower during Eisenhower’s 1952 and 1956 presidential campaigns. His movie career wasn’t going anywhere and he became financially strapped and took a job as an emcee in Las Vegas introducing the singing quartet, “The Continentals.”

Ronald was hired by General Electric in January 1954 and for the next eight years hosted “G.E. Theater” on television every Sundayevening. He also toured the United States as a public relations representative, giving pro-business talks, speaking out against too much government control and wasteful spending. He changed the way he viewed government and his speeches discussed government’s encroachment on individual freedom.

As a “Democrat for Nixon,” Ronald delivered more than 200 speeches supporting Nixon’s candidacy in the 1960 presidential campaign. Ronald continued to be outspoken and took on the Tennessee Valley Authority, as an example of “big government.” General Electric was forced to fire him in 1962 because he became a political liability.

Ronald’s mother Nelle passed away on July 25, 1962 from a condition that had the same symptoms of a disease that would later be called Alzheimer’s, the same disease Ronald would be diagnosed with in 1993.

As co-chair of California Republicans for Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona for President, Ronald gave a speech on October 27, 1964 called, “A Time for Choosing.” The speech attacked “big government” and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs.  When Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson he stepped away from politics and Ronald became the leader of the conservative movement.

Ronald published his autobiography, “Where’s the Rest of Me?” in 1965, and ran for his first public office in 1966. He defeated Edmund “Pat” Brown Sr. by almost 1 million votes and became the Governor of California, inheriting a $200 million deficit problem.  In order to balance the budget, Ronald proposed needed cuts and unpopular cuts to the University of California and in the mental health system, the state budget increased during his first term as governor.

In the spring of 1969 Ronald sent the National Guard to the University of California at Berkeley to break up a student strike.  With guns armed with bayonets and tear gas, the National Guard occupied Berkeley for 17 days. Ronald was viewed as a peace-restoring hero by some people and a trigger-happy extremist by others.

Ronald was re-elected as governor in 1970 and during his second term focused on welfare reform. In January 1973 he submitted a $9.258 billion budget with a $1.1 billion surplus, and gave taxpayers a rebate. During his second term, Watergate was impacting his friend, President Richard Nixon, and on August 6, 1974 he admitted that Nixon deceived the country.

Jerry Brown was elected governor of California on November 5, 1974, allowing Ronald to start his presidential campaign against now President Gerald Ford. Ford wins the Hampshire primary and the Republican National Committee endorsed Ford. The National Republican Conference of Mayors and the Republican governors called for Ronald to withdraw. His campaign ran out of funds but he refused to quit and won the North Carolina primary.

Ronald lost at the Republican Convention in Kansas City and Gerald Ford was the Republican Parties selection for President. In November 1975, Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Ford by a narrow margin to become president. Ronald spent the next four years working on his ranch, giving speeches and writing a weekly column before running for President again in 1980.

Ronald and his running mate George H.W. Bush, campaigned against President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale in the 1980 presidential campaign. Ronald won the election by an electoral margin of 489-49 and captured almost 51 percent of the popular vote. His vision for his Presidency was, “We must balance the budget, reduce tax rates and strengthen our defenses.”

Ronald is sworn in as the 40th President of the United States on January 20, 1981, he made the presidential oath of office with a family bible he received from his mother.  In his inaugural address, Ronald famously said of America’s troubled economy, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” On that same day, Iran released 52 hostages who had been held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran for 444 days. Ronald, who had a sweet tooth, also received 3.5 tons of red, white and blue Jelly Belly brand jelly beans on his inauguration.

Ronald and Nancy brought in an era of glamour to the nation’s capital, the first lady wore designer fashions, and hosted numerous state dinners. Nancy called him ‘Ronnie’ and he called her‘Mommy’, and would write her notes such as, ‘Whatever I treasure and enjoy . . . all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you.’

Ronald’s first steps in office was to call for $41.4 billion in cuts from the Carter budget, mostly from “Great Society” programs that benefited the poor. He also called for a 30% tax cut over three years and an increase in defense spending, he rejected the bi-partisan proposal for Social Security cuts.

On March 30, 1981 Ronald was outside a Washington hotel and was shot by John Hinckley, Jr., who said he was trying to attract the attention of actress Jodie Foster. A bullet pierced one of Ronald’s lungs and narrowly missed his heart. Ronald later told Nancy,“Honey, I forgot to duck.” Hinckley also shot three other people, the most serious was Press Secretary James Brady who was hit in the head and suffered brain damage. Hinckley was determined not guilty by reason of insanity and committed indefinitely to a mental hospital. Within several weeks of the shooting, Ronald was back at work.

The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike in August 1981 after union negotiations collapsed. Thousands of flights were canceled and Ronald ordered the controllers back to work, 11,345 workers refused and were fired and PATCO lost its union certification.

On September 1981 Ronald appointed the first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. She stepped down from her position in 2006 and recently made headlines for urging President Barack Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

In late 1981 unemployment reached a six-year high and Ronald stated that a balanced budget in 1984 is “not probable” and redefines a balanced budget as “a goal.”

In the fall of 1982 the nation sunk into its worst recession since the Great Depression. Ronald fears budget deficits as high as $200 billion and by January 1983 the unemployment rate reached 11.5 million. In Milwaukee, 20,000 people waited in 20 degree weather to apply for 200 jobs at auto-frame factory. Ronald’s approval rating dropped to 35%.

In foreign affairs, Ronald sent 800 U.S. Marines to Lebanon as part of an international peacekeeping force after Israel invaded that nation in June 1982. The following year, on October 23, 1983, suicide bombers attacked the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans. In addition to the problems in Lebanon, Ronald had to deal with an ongoing contentious relationship with Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi who was supporting terrorist operations.

Walter Mondale accepted the presidential nomination at the 1984 Democratic convention. Ronald’s popularity rebounded due to a booming economy and a resurgence of patriotic pride. In the first Reagan-Mondale debate, Ronald’s performance was so bad that the press questioned his ability to continue serving as the president, raising the “age issue.” During the second debate he answered a question about age as, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

On November 4, 1984, Ronald and George Bush defeated Walter Mondale and his running mate Geraldine Ferraro by a landslide, he carried 49 states, 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 10, with 59% of the popular vote. One fourth of registered Democrats voted for Ronald.

He is sworn in for a second term on January 20, 1985, he is the oldest president ever to be sworn in at the age of 73, his approval rating was at 62%.

On June 14, 1985 TWA Flight 847 from Athens is hijacked by terrorists. There are 153 passengers aboard, including 135 Americans. The pilot is forced to fly to Beirut, where hijackers beat and kill Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem, then dump his body on the tarmac. The plane is flown back to Algiers then back to Beirut again. Most passengers are released; 39 are held captive in Lebanon. Four days later at a press conference Ronald vows that the U.S. will never give in to terrorists’ demands. The 39 hostages who were aboard the hijacked TWA jet are freed on June 30, 1985.

Ronald was involved in the Iran-Contra affair and claimed on national television that the U.S. did send some defensive weapons and spare parts to Iran, but denies it was part of an arms for hostages deal. “Our government has a firm policy not to capitulate to terrorist demands…. We did not — repeat, did not — trade weapons or anything else for hostages, nor will we.” Polls showed that the American people didn’t believe Ronald and his approval ratings dropped from 67% to 46% in one month and to 42% a month later. He later testified to the Tower Board about his knowledge of a shipment of anti-tank missiles. When asked for an explanation, Ronald picked up a briefing memo he had been provided and read aloud: “If the question comes up at the Tower Board meeting, you might want to say that you were surprised.”

He did eventually acknowledge mistakes in the Iran-Contra ordeal and said, “There are reasons why it happened, but no excuses. It was a mistake.” Ronald’s approval rating rebounded to 51%.

Ronald gave a speech on June 12, 1987 at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany and said, “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”Twenty-nine months later, Gorbachev allowed the people of Berlin to dismantle the wall.

On November 8, 1988, Vice President George Bush defeated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis for President. George Bush is inaugurated on January 20, 1989, Ronald leaves office with the highest approval rating of any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

In November 1989 The Berlin Wall separating East Germany from West Germany is opened and Ronald is awarded honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. He also publishes his life story,“An American Life.”

The Reagan Library and Museum, located in Simi Valley, California, is dedicated on November 4, 1991. It is the only presidential library in California, and is one of the first ten in the country. Among the items on display is a 6,000-pound graffiti-covered section of the Berlin Wall, given to him by the people of Berlin.

On July 24, 1992 Ronald is questioned in the ongoing Iran-Contra trial and is unable to recall facts and figures, and even struggled to remember the name of his Secretary of State. The following year he goes to Mayo Clinic for tests and doctors diagnose him as having Alzheimer’s disease. In November 1994 Ronald informed the American people that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and made no more public appearances.

Almost ten years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, died at his Los Angeles home on June 5, 2004, he was 93 years young. Ronald was given a state funeral in Washington, D.C., and later buried at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs.

After Ronald’s death, Nancy continued in the political arena supporting embryonic stem cell research as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  She died of heart failure in 2016 at the age of 94 and is buried with her husband at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs.

Ronald and Nancy’s two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott, are still alive today. Patricia changed her last name to her mother’s maiden name, Davis, in an effort to have an independent career. She lived with Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon in the 1970s and co-wrote the Eagles song “I Wish You Peace.” She was active in the anti-nuclear movement before her father was elected president, which caused controversy and created strife in the family. In 2011, she launched “Beyond Alzheimer’s” at UCLA, which she still runs today.

Ron Reagan stated in a 2004 New York Times interview, that he did not claim any religion, but that he practiced Buddhism.  When Larry King asked him why he would not run for political office, Ron replied “I’m an atheist. I can’t be elected to anything because polls all say that people won’t elect an atheist.” In 2011, he published“My Father at 100:” A Memoir, and came under scrutiny when he stated that his father may have had signs of Alzheimer’s when he was President.



“I, in my own mind, have always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land. It was set here and the price of admission was very simple: the means of selection was very simple as to how this land should be populated. Any place in the world and any person from those places; any person with the courage, with the desire to tear up their roots, to strive for freedom, to attempt and dare to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world was welcome here.”

“If all of this seems like a great deal of trouble, think what’s at stake. We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security anywhere in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.”

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

“A tree is a tree. How many more do you have to look at?”

“Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.”

“No one who lived through the Great Depression can ever look upon an unemployed person with anything but compassion. To me, there is no greater tragedy than a breadwinner willing to work, with a job skill but unable to find a market for that job skill. Back in those dark depression days I saw my father on a Christmas eve open what he thought was a Christmas greeting from his boss. Instead, it was the blue slip telling him he no longer had a job. The memory of him sitting there holding that slip of paper and then saying in a half whisper, ‘That’s quite a Christmas present,’ it will stay with me as long as I live.”

“A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

“[The Democrats] say that the United States has had its days in the sun, that our nation has passed its zenith.… My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view.”

“It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it. This Administration’s objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy. “

“[N]o arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

“We don’t have an option of living with inflation and its attendant tragedy.…We have an alternative, and that is the program for economic recovery. True, it’ll take time for the favorable effects of our program to be felt. So, we must begin now. The people are watching and waiting. They don’t demand miracles. They do expect us to act. Let us act together.”

“Honey, I forgot to duck.”

“I hope you’re all Republicans.”

“The years ahead will be great ones for our country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West will not contain Communism; it will transcend Communism. We will not bother to denounce it, we’ll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.”

“I hope the people on Wall Street will pay attention to the people on Main Street. If they do, they will see there is a rising tide of confidence in the future of America.”

“The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.”

“It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history…. [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

“I have a special reason for wanting to solve this [economic] problem in a lasting way. I was 21 and looking for work in 1932, one of the worst years of the Great Depression. And I can remember one bleak night in the thirties when my father learned on Christmas Eve that he’d lost his job. To be young in my generation was to feel that your future had been mortgaged out from under you, and that’s a tragic mistake we must never allow our leaders to make again.”

“Let us beware that while they [Soviet rulers] preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination over all the peoples of the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world…. I urge you to beware the temptation …, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of any evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil.”

“I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering those nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

“And make no mistake about it, this attack was not just against ourselves or the Republic of Korea. This was the Soviet Union against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere. It was an act of barbarism born of a society which wantonly disregards individual rights and the value of human life and seeks constantly to expand and dominate other nations.”

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

“The poet called Miss Liberty’s torch ‘the lamp beside the golden door.’ Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we’re here tonight. The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise, every opportunity, is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America. Her heart is full; her torch is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the ’80s unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed. In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America’s is.”

“Government growing beyond our consent had become a lumbering giant, slamming shut the gates of opportunity, threatening to crush the very roots of our freedom. What brought America back? The American people brought us back — with quiet courage and common sense; with undying faith that in this nation under God the future will be ours, for the future belongs to the free.”

“[G]overnment’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.”

“In spite of the wildly speculative and false stories of arms for hostages and alleged ransom payments, we did not — repeat did not — trade weapons or anything else for hostages nor will we.”

“A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.”

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

“How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life…. And how stands the city on this winter night? … After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true to the granite ridge, and her glow has held no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”

“Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions.”

“Our friends in the other party will never forgive us for our success, and are doing everything in their power to rewrite history. Listening to the liberals, you’d think that the 1980s were the worst period since the Great Depression, filled with suffering and despair. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting awfully tired of the whining voices from the White House these days. They’re claiming there was a decade of greed and neglect, but you and I know better than that. We were there.”

“In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”


The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was born on January 30, 1882 to James Roosevelt and Sara Ann Delano. James was a land-owner and businessmen who was a widower and married Sara Delano in 1880, she was twenty-six years his junior. Sara, one of the five beautiful Delano sisters, came from a family of considerable means and was notable both for her aristocratic manner and her independent streak. Franklin was the only child of a wealthy family of English descent who was raised in an atmosphere of privilege. Sara Roosevelt proved especially dedicated to Franklin, spending almost all of her energies raising him. This unending devotion would continue throughout her long life.

Franklin spent his youth near Hyde Park, about fifty miles north of New York City, on a large estate and farm tended by hundreds of workers. He was insulated from the outside world and schooled at home by tutors until he was 14 years old. His parents sent him to Groton School, a private school that educated the sons of some of the most wealthy and powerful American families. It aimed to instill in its students a mental and physical toughness, who have a desire to serve the public.

After graduating from Groton, Franklin went to Harvard College in 1900 and became the editor of Harvard’s student newspaper, the Crimson. In his second year he proposed to a Boston heiress, Alice Sohier, who turned him down. Franklin was introduced to Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1902 on a train to Tivoli, New York, she was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, making her his distant cousin.

He graduated from Harvard in 1903 with degree in history. In 1904, Franklin entered Columbia Law School but dropped out when he passed the New York Bar exam in 1907. Franklin was first employed at the Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, dealing mainly with corporate law.

Franklin and Eleanor had fallen deeply in love but had one obstacle to overcome, Franklin’s over protective mother. In 1904 Franklin told his mother that he was in love with Eleanor and planned to marry her, his mother, who didn’t know of the courtship, insisted that they wait one year. Delayed, but not denied, Franklin and Eleanor married on March 17, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt gave the bride away.

The couple had six children, Anna Eleanor, James, Franklin Delano, Jr., Elliott, Franklin and John Aspinwall. Franklin was not involved in raising the children, he was occupied with his work and believed that child-rearing was his wife’s, or nanny’s, job. The children played important roles in Franklin’s life after he was affected by polio.

Franklin practiced corporate law in New York for three years but disliked being a lawyer. He enjoyed new challenges and meeting people, he was looking to follow his role model, Theodore Roosevelt, and decided to enter politics. He had no prior experience, but being a Roosevelt and having wealth, and influence was enough to get him elected to the New York Senate as a Democrat in 1910. He won re-election to the state senate in 1912 and became friends with the political journalist Louis Howe, who would become his chief political adviser for the next two decades.

In the 1912 presidential elections, Franklin supported Woodrow Wilson’s election for President. When Woodrow Wilson was elected the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, asked Franklin to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He accepted without hesitation, his mentor, Teddy Roosevelt, had been assistant secretary of the Navy in the first McKinley administration.

In 1914 Franklin decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat of New York but he didn’t gain White House support and failed to win the Democratic nomination. He continued to serve as the assistant secretary of the Navy for a total of seven years and emerged as an advocate for a “big Navy,” which won him supporters among active and retired Navy personnel.

Franklin began a romantic relationship with Eleanor’s social secretary, Lucy Mercer. In 1918 Eleanor found out about the affair and offered Franklin a divorce, but he refused. He knew that a divorce would prevent him from achieving a career in American politics. He promised Eleanor that he would never see Mercer again, but did occasionally still see her. His political career was safe, but his relationship with Eleanor was no longer intimate, they maintained a political and social partnership and Eleanor constructed a life of her own and found intellectual and emotional satisfaction with people other than her husband. Franklin was also romantically linked to Marguerite “Missy” LeHand and Princess Martha of Sweden.

Franklin resigned from his post at the Navy to be a candidate for the Vice Presidential elections in 1920 but was beaten by a wide margin by Warren G. Harding, the Republic candidate. He returned to New York and started practicing law again.

During the summer of 1921, the 39 year old Franklin was vacationing at Campobello Island, his second home on the Canadian Atlantic coast. After a swim in the cold waters and a two-mile hike home, he woke up the next morning feverish and his left leg felt numb. Within a day he was partly paralyzed from the abdomen down, he had contracted a viral inflammation of the spinal column called “Polio,” a terrifying and rampant disease in the 1920s that had no cure.

Franklin went through years of arduous and painful rehabilitation and eventually regained some of his lost mobility. He maintained an upbeat, positive, and energetic attitude that he would fully recover. His zest for life and confidence grew in the face of his trials and he displayed remarkable courage and an unrelenting will, Eleanor would later remark: “I know that he had real fear when he was first taken ill, but he learned to surmount it. After that I never heard him say he was afraid of anything.”

Eleanor became more involved in politics, she would represent Franklin and helped him to repair his damaged relationship with the New York Democratic Party. At the 1928 Democratic Convention he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith as “the Happy Warrior.” That same year he became Governor of New York and worked to establish a number of social programs, he was reelected for a second term as Governor.

Franklin was an obvious choice for the Democratic Party in the 1932 Presidential elections. The campaign was conducted under the shadow of the Great Depression and gave Democrats an upper hand from the Republicans, who were blamed for the Depression. Franklin’s buoyant spirit, optimistic outlook and charming mannerism helped him beat Republican candidate, Herbert Hoover, with 57% of the votes.

America was undergoing its greatest period of crisis. Between 1929 and 1933, 5,000 American banks collapsed, one in four farms went into foreclosure, and an average of 100,000 jobs vanished each week. By the time Franklin took office on March 4, 1933, there were 13 million American’s unemployed.

In the first widely broadcast inaugural address on the radio, Franklin boldly declared that “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper…[T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Standing true to his campaign promise, Franklin provided relief, recovery and reform to American in a program he called ‘New Deal.’ A large number of the unemployed where put to work through various programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps which employed young men who built a number of National Park structures that are still used today. He also began speaking directly to the American people by holding “fireside chats,” which broadcasted to a radio audience of some 60 million people, it would help to restore public confidence and prevent harmful bank runs. Encouraged by Eleanor, Franklin appointed more women to federal posts than any previous president and also included black Americans in federal job programs.

Franklin enjoyed collecting stamps, bird-watching, playing cards, or swimming in the pool he had built at the White House. He was an out-going person who liked the company of others, and hosted a cocktail hour each day for those closest to him. He regularly entertained friends and acquaintances, as well as political allies and visiting dignitaries, at the White House.

By 1935 the Nation had achieved some recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Franklin’s New Deal program. They feared his experiment of taking the Nation off the gold standard and allowing deficits in the budget. Franklin responded with a new program of reform, Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.

In 1936 he was re-elected for a second term by a heavy margin, during Franklin’s second term the Supreme Court casted a stern eye on his suggested reforms and overturned many of them. Furious by this, Franklin proposed a new law which allowed him to appoint judges, but everyone, including Democrats, voted against it, it would’ve gave the President control over the Court as well. The labour unions which backed him were also split up, thus weakening the party elections from 1938 until 1946.

In Europe, Adolf Hitler’s rise to power was starting a new World War. The Neutrality Acts passed in the 1930s helped the United States from getting involved in foreign conflicts. The United States adopted an isolationist policy in foreign affairs after World War One. But in 1939, Franklin sought ways to support Britain and France as military conflicts emerged in Asia and Europe. He openly defied the neutrality act and declared France and Great Britain as America’s ‘first line of defense’ against Germany.

By December 1939, Franklin was being called “The Sphinx” by reporters and cartoonists because of his secrecy whether he would run for a third term. At the annual Gridiron Dinner for White House correspondents on December 9, 1939, the president was presented with an 8-foot tall Sphinx statue in his likeness. Franklin decided to run for an unprecedented third term in 1940, breaking the tradition set by George Washington that limited Presidents to eight years in office. He secretly felt that no one but himself had the experience to lead America in these trying times.

Campaigning against Republican candidate Wendell Willkie, Franklin won the 1940 elections with 55% votes, nearly 5 million votes more than Wilkie. Much of Franklin’s third term was dominated by the Second World War. He was tagged as a warmonger, but didn’t care much about the criticism and focused on preparing the United States for war and providing aid to the Allied coalition.

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, 16 warships and battleships were damaged and 3,000 American military personnel and civilians killed. The United States entered World War II and focused on stopping the German advances in the Soviet Union and North Africa, invade western Europe to crush Germany, save China and defeat Japan.

American forces were sent to the Pacific in 1942 and started to defeat Germany in Europe through a series of invasions, North Africa in November 1942, Sicily and Italy in 1943, and then the D-Day invasion of Europe in 1944. His four sons joined the military during the war, James joined the Marines, John and Franklin joined the Navy and Elliott served in the Air Force.

By 1944 Franklin’s health was declining, but he let his fellow Democrats know that he was willing to run for a fourth term. Democrats, even conservative southerners, backed Franklin as their party’s best chance for victory. Franklin decided against running with his current vice president, and chose Senator Harry Truman of Missouri. Together they won with 53% votes and won the Electoral College by a count of 432 to 99.

After his forth inauguration Franklin traveled to Egypt to attend the Yalta Conference where he met the Emperor of Ethiopia and the Saudi Arabia founder. Upon returning he briefed Congress on the Yalta Conference and went to rest at Warm Springs, Georgia.

After 12 years as the President of the United States, Franklin suffered from a massive cerebral hemorrhage and passed away on April 12, 1945. His body was placed in a flag-draped coffin and loaded onto the presidential train. Hundreds of thousands of people, many with tears in their eyes, lined the train route carrying his body from Georgia to Washington, D.C., and then to Hyde Park. Franklin was buried in Hyde Park, New York, on April 15, 1945.

Eleanor remained active in politics and encouraged the United States to join and support the United Nations, she became its first delegate. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, she also chaired the John F. Kennedy administration’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. When she passed away on November 7, 1962, she was regarded as “one of the most esteemed women in the world” and was called “the object of almost universal respect” in her New York Times obituary. In 1999, she was ranked ninth in the top ten of Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.



“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

“Freedom of speech is of no use to a man who has nothing to say and freedom of worship is of no use to a man who has lost his God.”

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves — and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

“War is a contagion.”

“Our national debt after all is an internal debt owed not only by the Nation but to the Nation. If our children have to pay interest on it they will pay that interest to themselves. A reasonable internal debt will not impoverish our children or put the Nation into bankruptcy.”

“The True conservative seeks to protect the system of private property and free enterprise by correcting such injustices and inequalities as arise from it. The most serious threat to our institutions comes from those who refuse to face the need for change. Liberalism becomes the protection for the far-sighted conservative.”

“There are as many opinions as there are experts.”

“We … would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”

“A wise Government seeks to provide the opportunity through which the best of individual achievement can be obtained, while at the same time it seeks to remove such obstruction, such unfairness as springs from selfish human motives.”

“The program for social security that is now pending before the Congress is a necessary part of the future unemployment policy of the government. While our present and projected expenditures for work relief are wholly within the reasonable limits of our national credit resources, it is obvious that we cannot continue to create governmental deficits for that purpose year after year after year. We must begin now to make provision for the future and that is why our social security program is an important part of the complete picture. It proposes, by means of old-age pensions, to help those who have reached the age of retirement to give up their jobs and thus give to the younger generation greater opportunities for work and to give to all, old and young alike, a feeling of security as they look toward old age.”

“Men may differ as to the particular form of governmental activity with respect to industry and business, but nearly all men are agreed that private enterprise in times such as these cannot be left without assistance and without reasonable safeguards lest it destroy not only itself but also our processes of civilization.”

“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests.”

“For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”

“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”

“The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.”

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

“We count, in the future as in the past, on the driving power of individual initiative, on the incentive of fair private profit, strengthened of course with the acceptance of those obligations to the public interest which rest upon us all.”

“Democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men’s enlightened will.”

“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

“I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen two hundred limping exhausted men come out of line-the survivors of a regiment of one thousand that went forward forty-eight hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.”

“To those people who say that our expenditures for public works and for other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order. Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as other countries have had them for over a decade. What may be necessary for those other countries is not my responsibility to determine. But as for this country, I stand or fall by my refusal to accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed. On the contrary, we must make it a national principle that we will not tolerate a large army of unemployed, that we will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment as soon as we can and then to take wise measures against its return. I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.”

“The success of our whole national program depends, of course, on the cooperation of the public–on its intelligent support and its use of a reliable system.”

“Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.”

“This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.”

“It is possible that when the banks resume a very few people who have not recovered from their fear may again begin withdrawals. Let me make it clear to you that the banks will take care of all needs except of course the hysterical demands of hoarders–and it is my belief that hoarding during the past week has become an exceedingly unfashionable pastime in every part of our nation. It needs no prophet to tell you that when the people find that they can get their money–that they can get it when they want it for all legitimate purposes–the phantom of fear will soon be laid. People will again be glad to have their money where it will be safely taken care of and where they can use it conveniently at any time. I can assure you, my friends, that it is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank than it is to keep it under a mattress.”

“As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed.”

“The most difficult place in the world to get a clear and open perspective of the country as a whole is Washington.”

“The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”

“We must be the great arsenal of Democracy.”

“To a great extent the achievements of invention, of mechanical and of artistic creation, must of necessity, and rightly, be individual rather than governmental. It is the self-reliant pioneer in every enterprise who beats the path along which American civilization has marched. Such individual effort is the glory of America.”

“So many figures are quoted to prove so many things. Sometimes it depends on what paper you read or what broadcast you listen in on.”

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history. It is human history.”

“It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By “business” I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.”

“The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. Every message in a pay envelope, even if it is the truth, is a command to vote according to the will of the employer. But this propaganda is worse—it is deceit.”

“We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind.”

“An election cannot give a country a firm sense of direction if it has two or more national parties which merely have different names but are as alike in their principles and aims as peas in the same pod.”

“Lives of nations are determined not by the count of years, but by the lifetime of the human spirit. The life of a man is three-score years and ten: a little more, a little less. The life of a nation is the fullness of the measure of its will to live.”

“Wealth in the modern world does not come merely from individual effort; it results from a combination of individual effort and of the manifold uses to which the community puts that effort. The individual does not create the product of his industry with his own hands; he utilizes the many processes and forces of mass production to meet the demands of a national and international market. Therefore, in spite of the great importance in our national life of the efforts and ingenuity of unusual individuals, the people in the mass have inevitably helped to make large fortunes possible. Without mass cooperation great accumulations of wealth would be impossible save by unhealthy speculation.”

“We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.”

“We have survived all of the arduous burdens and the threatening dangers of a great economic calamity. We have in the darkest moments of our national trials retained our faith in our own ability to master or own destiny. Fear is vanishing. Confidence is growing on every side, renewed faith in the vast possibilities of human beings to improve their material and spiritual status through the instrumentality of the democratic form of government. That faith is receiving its just reward. For that we can be thankful to the God who watches over America.”

“Only a very small minority of the people of this country believe in gambling as a substitute for the old philosophy of Benjamin Franklin that the way to wealth is through work.”

“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home.”

“America has been the New World in all tongues, to all peoples, not because this continent was a new-found land, but because all those who came here believed they could create upon this continent a new life — a life that should be new in freedom.”

“Sometimes the threat to popular government comes from political interests, sometimes from economic interests, sometimes we have to beat off all of them together. But the challenge is always the same—whether each generation facing its own circumstances can summon the practical devotion to attain and retain that greatest good for the greatest number which this government of the people was created to ensure.”

“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”

“Taxation according to income is the most effective instrument yet devised to obtain just contribution from those best able to bear it and to avoid placing onerous burdens upon the mass of our people.”

“We are not isolationists except in so far as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war. Yet we must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the Nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war.”

“We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”

“Nazi forces are not seeking mere modifications in colonial maps or in minor European boundaries. They openly seek the destruction of all elective systems of government on every continent-including our own; they seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers who have seized power by force. These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is not new. It is not order.”

“In nine cases out of ten the speaker or writer who, seeking to influence public opinion, descends from calm argument to unfair blows hurts himself more than his opponent.”

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

“The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth.”


Franklin Roosevelt

FDR Library

When Franklin Roosevelt Clashed with the Supreme Court – and Lost

Franklin Roosevelt: The Father of Gun Control

The Death of President Franklin Roosevelt, 1945

Franklin Delano Roosevelt – FDR timeline


The 25th President of the United States, William McKinley Jr., was born on January 29, 1843, in the small town of Niles, Ohio. He was the seventh child of William and Nancy McKinley, his father managed a charcoal furnace and a small-scale iron founder.

When William was ten his family moved to nearby Poland, Ohio. He had a loving family and spent his childhood fishing, hunting, ice skating, horseback riding, and swimming. His father instilled a strong work ethic and a respectful attitude in young William. His mother was devoutly religious and taught him the value of prayer, courtesy, and honesty.

William graduated from high school in 1859 and joined the Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He became the president of the Debating Society and the Everett Library, but only remained there for one year due to became ill with depression. Financial issues in the family prevented him from returning to college after his health improved.

He worked as a postal clerk and then as a school teacher until 1861 when the Civil War broke out. William enlisted in the Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry under the command of Rutherford B. Hayes. He started as a private and was a valiant soldier on the battlefield, especially at the bloody battle of Antietam. He ended his four-years of service in the Army as a brevet major, gaining a title that would stay with him throughout his political career.

After the war he studied law at the Albany Law School in New York and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1867 and started to build a successful legal practice. William campaigned for his Civil War Mentor, Rutherford B. Hayes, who was nominated for governor in 1867. William made speeches and campaigned on his behalf. William won his first election as a county prosecutor in 1869.

William fell in love and married Ida Saxton on January 25, 1871. The couple had two daughters, both of whom unfortunately died in their childhood. Ida became depressed after the deaths of her daughters and also developed epilepsy. McKinley remained deeply devoted to his wife and tended to her for as long as he lived.

In 1876 when William was 33 years old, he was voted to become the northeastern Ohio representative for Congress. He held the seat for 14 years and became a well-known politician who was honest and hard working, he served as the chair for the House Ways and Means Committee in 1889.

He drafted the McKinley Tariff of 1890 which executed high tariffs on imports in order to protect American manufacturers and laborers, but it increased consumer prices considerably. Angry voters rejected William and many other Republicans in the 1890 election and William was defeated. He returned to Ohio and ran for governor in 1891, which he won by a narrow margin, he served two terms.

In 1896 William was in position to run for president and Republicans raised $4 million for the campaign, most of the funds went to printing and distributing 200 million pamphlets. A majority of the contributions came from businesses who supported high tariffs and bankers who wanted to maintain sound money policies.

The Democratic National Convention chose William Jennings Bryan for president. Bryan’s campaign had about $500,000 and campaigned with a whistle-stop political tour by train covering 18,000 miles in just three months.

William, following the tradition of previous candidates who campaigned for President from their homes, delivered 350 carefully crafted speeches from his front porch in Canton to 750,000 visiting delegates. Bryan lost to William by a margin of approximately 600,000 votes, the greatest electoral sweep. William was 54 years old on March 4, 1897 when he was inaugurated as the 25th President of the United States. William denounced lynching in his inaugural address but failed to condemn that practice formally and did little to address the anti-black violence in the South that had reached near epidemic proportions.

Despite his wife Ida’s poor condition, she was still able to accompany her husband in various social engagements in the White House but was mostly a recluse. William adapted his schedule to her needs and his patient devotion and loving attention was the talk of the capital. Senator Mark Hanna commented, “President McKinley has made it pretty hard for the rest of us husbands here in Washington.” They had no surviving children and William spent his evening’s playing cards with his wife or his personal secretary, George B. Cortelyou, answering letters, and taking walks or carriage rides. He enjoyed smoking cigars, but only in private, and liked to take a drink of whiskey before retiring for the night.

He enjoyed dressing up and meeting people and decorated his lapel with a pink carnation, which he would give to acquaintances as a personal token of his affection. He was a Christian who winced at swearing and often prayed before making large decisions. Although some of William’s supporters expressed frustration over his fair-minded approach to life, almost everyone who spent time with him liked him.
William was forced to deal with the problem of Spain’s repressive rule over Cuba which caused the Cubans to revolt in 1895. Spain’s brutal attempts to put down the rebellion infuriated many Americans who raised money and even fought on the side of the Cuban nationalists. American businesses with economic interests worried about the safety of their investments on the island. William pressured Spain to end the conflict and demanded that Spain act responsibly and humanely and that any settlement be acceptable to Cuban nationals. The situation escalated on February 15, 1898 when an explosion sank the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor, killing 266 crew members. William ordered an investigation of the explosion and on March 21, the Navy reported that an external explosion, presumably from a Spanish mine, had destroyed the ship. A team of American Naval investigators concluded in 1976 that the explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks and not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.

Diplomatic relations with Spain disintegrated and Congress gave the authority to intervene and the U.S. Navy blockaded Cuba’s ports. On April 23, Spain declared war on the United States. William operated a war room from the White House, complete with detailed maps and a battery of telephones which kept him in constant contact with his generals in the field. On May 1, Commodore George Dewey destroyed Spain’s ten-ship Pacific fleet in Manila Bay without losing a single man. In Cuba, U.S. forces, including the Rough Riders led by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, captured Santiago. The U.S. Navy destroyed Spain’s Atlantic fleet in the waters between Cuba and Jamaica, and U.S. troops captured Puerto Rico. On August 12 Spain surrendered and a cease-fire was declared. The war lasted just over three months with less than 400 Americans killed in action, although many more died from malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases.

When Spain signed The Paris Peace Treaty on December 10, 1898, the United States obtained Puerto Rico, Guam, and for $20 million, the Philippine Islands. Spain also renounced its claim to Cuba, which remained under U.S. military occupation until 1902 and was a U.S. protectorate until 1934.

Vice President Hobart fell into poor health and died on November 21, 1899, he was only 55 years old. William told the family, “No one outside of this home feels this loss more deeply than I do.” The vice president position was not filled for the rest of William’s presidential term.

William’s image as the victorious commander-in-chief of the Spanish-American War and the nation’s return to economic prosperity easily won him the nomination in 1900 as the Republican candidate for president. The Governor of New York, Theodore Roosevelt, was selected as the vice presidential candidate. William faced his previous opponent, William Jennings Bryan, who he would defeat with a greater margin of victory than he had four years earlier.

The Republicans spent several million dollars on the campaign and mailed millions of postcards and placed written inserts in over 5,000 newspapers weekly. Once again, William stayed at home and gave speeches from his front porch. His running mate, Theodore Roosevelt, traveled across the nation and campaigned. William and “Teddy” received 7,218,491 votes (51.7 percent) to Bryan’s 6,356,734 votes (45.5 percent), they also received nearly twice as many electoral votes. He was inaugurated for his second term as the president on March 4, 1901.

After his second inauguration in March 1901, McKinley embarked on a tour of western states, where he was greeted by cheering crowds. The tour ended in Buffalo, New York, where he gave a speech on September 5 in front of 50,000 people at the Pan-American Exposition.

William McKinley traveled more than any American President up to that time, and he was on the road again on the morning of September 6, 1901 to gave a speech at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He attended a public reception at the exposition’s Temple of Music that afternoon and was shaking hands with greeters as the moved through a line, he was smiling and enjoyed the public contact. The reception was only supposed to last ten minutes, due to exposing the president to danger, but William commented, “No one would wish to hurt me.” He continued to greet people and had a kind word for each one of them.

At 4:07 pm William reached for another hand to shake when Leon F. Czolgosz, a Detroit resident of Polish heritage and an unemployed mill worker, fired point blank into the President’s chest. William doubled over and fell backward into the arms of his Secret Service escorts and told his private secretary, “My wife, be careful, Cortelyou, how you tell her—oh, be careful.”

The furious crowd managed to overpower Czolgosz before he fired again. They would have beat the assassin more badly if McKinley did not shouted, “Don’t let them hurt him!”

The doors to the Temple of Music where closed to secure the area, so the public couldn’t see what was happening. Once they saw William brought out on a stretcher the crowd started crying and wailing, he was rushed to a nearby hospital by ambulance. Thomas Edison sent a brand-new X-ray machine to be used to find a bullet inside William’s body, but doctors never used it because William was improving. Gangrene set in around the bullet wounds and he went into shock and died on September 14, 1901, just six months after his second inauguration. His last words were, “It is God’s way; His will be done, not ours.” He was 58 years old and was the last veteran of the American Civil War to serve inside the White House.

Upon hearing the news, William’s friend and colleague, Mark Hanna commented, “Now that damned cowboy is in the White House!”The nation was plunged into grief at the news of William’s passing, he had been a loved and respected president.

Czolgosz shot the President because he believed him to be an“enemy of the people, the good working people.” His trial began onSeptember 23 and a guilty verdict presented the next day, he died in the latest method of execution – the electric chair, on October 29, 1901.

William’s wife Ida lost much of her will to live and couldn’t bring herself to even attend his funeral. Her health worsened and she was cared for by her younger sister. She made daily visits to her husband’s burial vault in West Lawn Cemetery until she passed away on May 26, 1907.

In September 1907 the McKinley Monument, and the 26 acres surrounding it were finished in Canton Ohio. William and Ida rest in the monument on an altar in the center of the rotunda in a pair of marble sarcophagi. Their young daughters rest in the wall directly behind them.

William McKinley’s picture was on the $500 bill from 1928 to 1934, which can be worth over $4,000 in today’s collector’s market.

“In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest.”

“War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.”

“The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”

“Unlike any other nation, here the people rule, and their will is the supreme law. It is sometimes sneeringly said by those who do not like free government, that here we count heads. True, heads are counted, but brains also . . .”

“The American flag has not been planted on foreign soil to acquire more territory but for humanity’s sake.”

“That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime – to set an example – and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.”

“Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.”

“The path of progress is seldom smooth. New things are often found hard to do. Our fathers found them so. We find them so. But are we not made better for the effort and scarifice?”

“The liberty to make our laws does not give us the freedom nor the license to break our laws!”

“Finally it should be the earnest wish and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.”

“I do not prize the word cheap. It is not a word of inspiration. It is the badge of poverty, the signal of distress. Cheap merchandise means cheap men and cheap men mean a cheap country.”

“I am for America because America is for the common people.”

“I have never been in doubt since I was old enough to think intelligently that I would someday be made President.”

“What in the world had Grover Cleveland done? Will you tell me? You give it up? I have been looking for six weeks for a Democrat who could tell me what Cleveland has done for the good of his country and for the benefit of the people, but I have not found him…. He says himself…that two-thirds of his time has been uselessly spent with Democrats who want office…. Now he has been so occupied in that way that he has not done anything else.”

“The people of this country want an industrial policy that is for America and Americans.”

“I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance and one night late it came to me this way. We could not leave (the Philippines) to themselves-they were unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was. There was nothing left for us to do but take them all and educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them.”

“Strong hearts and helpful hands are needed, and, fortunately, we have them in every part of our beloved country.”

“We go to war only to make peace. We never went to war with any other design. We carry the national conscience wherever we go.”

“The army of Grant and the army of Lee are together. They are one now in faith, in hope, in fraternity, in purpose, and in an invincible patriotism. And, therefore, the country is in no danger. In justice strong, in peace secure, and in devotion to the flag all one.”

“The American people, intrenched in freedom at home, take their love for it with them wherever they go…”

“Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not in conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.”

“I am a tariff man, standing on a tariff platform.”

“The free man cannot be long an ignorant man.”

“Illiteracy must be banished from the land if we shall attain that high destiny as the foremost of the enlightened nations of the world which, under Providence, we ought to achieve.”

“Our earnest prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness, and peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and powers of the earth”



William McKinley

The Assassination of President William McKinley, 1901

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President McKinley Inauguration, 1901

The 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon, was born on January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California. His parents were Frank and Hannah Milhous Nixon and he was the second born of five brothers. His father was a service station owner and grocer, who also owned a small lemon farm. His mother was a Quaker who exerted a strong influence on her son. His parents were in some ways opposites, Frank was as argumentative as Hannah was sweet-tempered.

Richard’s father sold the family home and lemon grove in 1922, and moved the family to nearby Whittier. Richard suffered two great losses in his youth, his younger brother died in 1925, and his older brother died of tuberculosis in 1933.

In 1930 Richard finished 3rd in his high school class and won numerous awards, including the Harvard Club California award for outstanding all-around student, which earned him a scholarship to Harvard University. His family couldn’t afford the travel and living expenses so Richard attended the local Whittier College.

At Whittier College Richard was elected student body president, and became the founder and elected president of the Orthogonians fraternity, a men’s club that wore open-necked shirts to represent, “athletes and men who were working their way through school,”instead of the Franklins, who wore tuxedos. He also joined the debate team, acted in several plays, and was on the football team.

In 1937 Richard attended Duke University Law School on a scholarship and after graduation returned to Whitter, took the California bar, and was hired by the city’s oldest law firm. He did apply for a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation but his scholastic achievements weren’t good enough.

Richard was trying out for the play, Dark Tower, with the Whittier Community Players when he met Thelma Catherine (“Pat”) Ryan, a teacher and amateur actress. He fell romantically in love with her and the couple married on June 21, 1940 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California. They eventually had two daughters, Patricia (Tricia) and Julie.

In 1942 he began to work as an attorney at the Office for Price Administration (OPA) in Washington D.C. and the small-town lawyer witnessed the problems of government bureaucracy. The experience greatly influenced the policies he would later develop during his political career. He left public service and joined the U.S. Navy to serve as an aviation ground officer in the Pacific. Richard saw no combat, but did develop a skill for poker, which quickly became a great diversion while on active duty. He returned to the United States with two service stars and several commendations. He eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant commander before resigning his commission in January 1946 after being urged by Republican leaders in Whittier to run for the United States House of Representatives. The large amounts of money he won playing poker while on active duty helped him fund his first political campaign.

As a campaigner, Richard mastered “The Denigrative Method” or what others call, “negative campaigning.” He attacked his opponents, sometimes unscrupulously, always effectively. His first campaign set the pattern with Richard saying that his opponent, Democratic Congressman Jerry Voorhis, was a communist sympathizer. It worked and Richard was elected to represent California’s 12th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Richard ran for the Senate in 1950 against Helen Gahagan Douglas in a campaign that resonated his race with Voorhis. This time, Richard’s campaign staff distributed flyers on pink paper unfairly distorting Douglas’s voting record as left-wing. Richard won a seat in the Senate and a permanent nickname, “Tricky Dick.”

On July 11, 1952 the Republican National Convention accepted Dwight Eisenhower’s choice of Richard Nixon as his Vice Presidential running mate. Two months before the November election, the New York Post reported that Nixon had a secret “slush fund” provided by campaign donors for his personal use. Some within Eisenhower’s campaign called for removing Richard from the ticket but he realized that he might not win without Richard. On September 23, 1952 Eisenhower gave Richard a chance to clear himself and he delivered a nationally televised address in which he acknowledged the existence of the fund but denied that any of it had been used improperly. He turned the speech back on his political enemies, stating that unlike the wives of so many Democratic politicians, his wife, Pat, did not own a fur coat but only “a respectable Republican cloth coat.” The speech is best remembered for its conclusion in which Richard admitted accepting one political gift, a cocker spaniel that his 6 year old daughter, named “Checkers.” The public responded positively to what became known as the “Checkers Speech.”

On November 4, 1952 General Eisenhower was elected President of the United States, and Richard was elected as his Vice President. The following spring President Eisenhower sent Richard and Pat on a two month trip over 30 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East.

President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in September 1955 and between 1955 and 1957 Richard presided over regular Cabinet and National Security Council meetings. As president of the Senate, he helped ensure the passage of Eisenhower approved bills, such as the 1957 Civil Rights Bill. The health scares prompted Eisenhower to formalize an agreement with Richard on the powers and responsibilities of the Vice President in the event he became disabled.

In the 1960 presidential campaign Richard ran for President against Senator John F. Kennedy and was really the first time television was used for advertisements, news interviews and policy debates. Kennedy’s youthful and confident appearance was no match for Richard during the televised debates. Post-debate polls indicated that TV viewers believed Kennedy had won the debates but radio listeners indicated that they thought Richard had won. Richard lost the presidential election by only 120,000 votes, Kennedy received 303 of the Electoral College votes to Richard’s 219 votes.

Richard wrote his book Six Crises in 1961 and in 1962 ran for governor of California. He lost and his critics wrote his political obituary. He held his “last press conference,” and told reporters,“You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.”

After the California election, Richard moved his family to New York City and continued to practice law. He agonized whether to reenter politics and go for another run at the presidency and formally announced his candidacy on February 1, 1968. President Lyndon Johnson announced on March 31 that he would not seek another term and Richard was nominated as the Republican candidate for President on August 8, 1968.

On November 8, 1968 Richard was elected President of the United States, beating Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Alabama Governor George Wallace in the general election by nearly 500,000 votes. He was inaugurated as the 37th President on January 20, 1969, stating in his inaugural address, “The greatest honor that history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

When Richard took office, 300 American soldiers were dying weekly in Vietnam. The Johnson administration had escalated the war to involve over 500,000 American troops and by 1969 the United States was spending between $60 and $80 million per day on the war. The American people were bitterly divided over the War, women marched for equal rights and racial violence rocked the nation’s cities.

When astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, on July 20, 1969 Richard made the longest long distance phone call in history. Elvis Presley also requested to meet Richard in the Oval Office of the White House, on December 21, 1970 they discussed ways in which he could use his celebrity to help fight drug use in America.

Domestically, Richard also increased the number of female appointments in his administration, created a Presidential Task Force on Women’s Rights, ordered the Department of Labor to add sex discrimination guidelines to all federal contracts, and requested the Department of Justice to bring sex-discrimination suits against blatant violators.

Richard peacefully and effectively ended school segregation. The program was well accepted by the states, by the end of 1970 only about 18 percent of black children in the South were attending all-black schools, down from 70 percent in 1968.

In December 1970, Richard reduced trade restrictions against China. In February 1972, Richard and Pat traveled to China, to talk with Mao Zedong, the Chinese leader. The visit ushered in a new era of Chinese-American relations and pressured the Soviet Union to agree to better relations with the United States. Three months later Richard traveled to the Soviet Union and with Premier Leonid Brezhnev signed the agreement on the limitation of strategic arms.

On November 7, 1972 Richard was re-elected by the largest majority in American history, winning 49 out 50 states, nearly 61 percent of the popular vote. Within a few months, the Nixon administration was embattled over the Watergate scandal involving the break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices during the 1972 campaign. A number of officials resigned, but Richard denied any personal involvement.

Vice President Spiro T. Agnew was implicated in unrelated scandals and resigned in 1973. Richard nominated, and Congress approved, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford as Vice President.

Declaring his intention to achieve “peace with honor” in Vietnam, Richard introduced a strategy known as Vietnamization, which called for gradually withdrawing American troops from the war while training South Vietnamese army forces to take over their own defense. In January 1973, the Nixon administration reached a peace agreement with Communist North Vietnam. The POWs returned home from Vietnam in February 1973, and the last American combat troops left Vietnam in March. On May 24, 1973, Richard and Pat hosted a dinner at the White House for all the POWs.

During an emotional televised press conference in November 1973, Richard famously declared, “I’m not a crook.” He claimed executive privilege, and refused to release White House tape recordings that allegedly revealed details to sabotage political opponents and disrupt the FBI’s investigation. Richard eventually released 1,200 pages of transcripts of conversations between him and White House aides but still refused to release them.

The House Judiciary Committee, controlled by Democrats, opened impeachment hearings in May 1974. The Supreme Court denied Richard’s claim of executive privilege and ruled that all tape recordings must be released to the special prosecutor. One of the recordings confirmed the allegations of the cover-up and stated that Richard knew from the beginning.

Faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Richard announced his decision to resign as President of the United States on August 8, 1974. The following day the Nixon family bid farewell to White House staff and returned to their San Clemente, California home. He spent several months distraught and disoriented but began forming a public-relations comeback in 1977.

Ford’s pardon of Richard angered many in the public who felt that he should have been held accountable for any crimes he might have committed. Richard was reluctant at first to accept the pardon because it implied guilt but his friends and advisers warned him that any legal battle would be protracted and expensive. Ford’s decision probably cost him reelection in 1976 and he told more than one of his celebrity golf partners that, “I know I will go to hell, because I pardoned Richard Nixon.”

Richard spent over $1 million defending himself in various lawsuits relating to Watergate and owed back taxes so he agreed to write his memoirs for more than $2 million, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon was a best seller. He also gave an interview to British television personality David Frost for $600,000 in the summer of 1977. Over 45 million people watch the interview and it became the most-ever watched political interview in history.

Richard continued to write books, his third book The Real War, influenced President Reagan’s foreign policy. He remained an acknowledged expert on foreign policy, gave countless speeches around the world; His other books include, Leaders (1982), Real Peace (1983), No More Vietnams (1985), 1999: Victory without War (1988), In the Arena (1990), Seize the Moment (1992), andBeyond Peace (1994).

In 1980, the Richard and Pat moved to New York City and then two years later they moved to Saddle River, New Jersey. He and Pat spent considerable time with their children and grandchildren.

Richard and a group of his friends raised more than $20 million to establish the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation in Yorba Linda, California. When it was dedicated in 1990, former Presidents Ford and Reagan and President Bush all attended along with 50,000 friends and supporters.

First Lady Pat Nixon died of lung cancer at home in Park Ridge, New Jersey, on June 22, 1993 at the age of 81, she was laid to restfour days later at the Nixon Library.

Richard took the loss of his wife hard, just 10 months after her death, on April 22, 1994, Richard Nixon died of a massive stroke at the age of 81. President Bill Clinton was joined by four former presidents and an estimated 50,000 to pay homage to the 37th president when he was buried beside his wife at his birthplace, in Yorba Linda, California.

President Bill Clinton’s eulogy dwelled on Nixon’s great accomplishments, particularly in foreign affairs, rather than on his constitutional crimes, remarking “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”
Nixon finished his tenth book, Beyond Peace, before he passed, it was published posthumously.

In 2007, the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opened in Yorba Linda as part of the federal presidential libraries system. Nixon’s presidential papers and tapes are now located in both Maryland and California.


Richard Nixon Quotes

“Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

“A man is not finished when he’s defeated he’s finished when he quits.”

“I had never expected that the China initiative would come to fruition in the form of a Ping-Pong team.” (On first friendly overture by People’s Republic of China)

“I took a look around the office. … I walked out and closed the door behind me. I knew that I would not be back there again.” (On leaving the Executive Office Building)

“Violence or the threat of violence must never be permitted to influence the actions or judgments of the university community. Once it does, the community, almost by definition, ceases to be a university. It is for this reason that from time immemorial expulsion has been the primary instrument of university discipline.”

“While technically I did not commit a crime, an impeachable offense… these are legalisms, as far as the handling of this matter is concerned it was so botched up, I made so many bad judgments. The worst ones, mistakes of the heart, rather than the head. But let me say, a man in that top job – he’s got to have a heart, but his head must always rule his heart.”

“Your mind must always go, even while you’re shaking hands and going through all the maneuvers. I developed the ability long ago to do one thing while thinking about another.”

“Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.”

“I gave ’em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish. And I guess if I had been in their position, I’d have done the same thing.”

“The antiwar movement is a wild orgasm of anarchists sweeping across the country like a prairie fire.”

“The greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you’re really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”

“Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much.”

“You’re so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I don’t give a damn. to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on civilian casualties in Vietnam”

“So you are lean and mean and resourceful and you continue to walk on the edge of the precipice because over the years you have become fascinated by how close you can walk without losing your balance.”

“I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body. But as president I must put the interests of America first … Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.”

“I wish I could give you a lot of advice, based on my experience of winning political debates. But I don’t have that experience. My only experience is at losing them.”

“My strong point, if I have a strong point, is performance. I always do more than I say. I always produce more than I promise.”

“Well, I’m not a crook.”

“’Good luck, Mr President,’ I said to him. ‘As I told you when I named you, I know the country is going to be in good hands with you in the Oval Office.’”

“Any lady who is first lady likes being first lady. I don’t care what they say, they like it.”

“As this long and difficult war ends, I would like to address a few special words to … the American people Your steadfastness in supporting our insistence on peace with honor has made peace with honor possible.” (On the Vietnam War)

“Because of what you have done the heavens have become a part of man’s world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquillity, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and Tranquillity to Earth. For one priceless moment, in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one. One in their pride in what you have done. One in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.”

“By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of the healing.”

“Certainly in the next 50 years we shall see a woman president, perhaps sooner than you think. A woman can and should be able to do any political job that a man can do.”

“Get a good night’s sleep and don’t bug anybody without asking me.” (To re-election campaign manager Clark MacGregor)

“I believe in the battle-whether it’s the battle of a campaign or the battle of this office, which is a continuing battle.”

“I brought myself down. I impeached myself by resigning.”

“I can see clearly now … that I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate…”

“I can take it… The tougher it gets, the cooler I get…”

“I have impeached myself by resigning.”

“I hereby resign this office of president of the United States.”

“I let the American people down.”

“I turned into the helicopter … the red carpet was rolled up. … The White House was behind us now.”

“I want you to stonewall it.” (To staff on news of break-in at Watergate)

“I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, but I’d bet the main house. I wouldn’t even bet the outhouse on Mondale.”

“I’d rather use the nuclear bomb…Does that bother you I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christ’s sake. to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on escalating the Vietnam War”

“I’ve analyzed the best I can … and I have not found an impeachable offense, and therefore resignation is not an acceptable course.”

“If an individual wants to be a leader and isn’t controversial, that means he never stood for anything.”

“If I were to make public these tapes, containing blunt and candid remarks on many different subjects, the confidentiality of the office of the president would always be suspect.”

“If we take the route of the permanent handout, the American character will itself be impoverished.” (Proposal to reform welfare programs)

“If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.”

“It is not too strong a statement to declare that this is the way civilizations begin to die … None of us has the right to suppose it cannot happen here.”

“It’s a piece of cake until you get to the top. You find you can’t stop playing the game the way you’ve always played it.”

“Look at the Justice Department, it’s full of Jews…The lawyers in government are damn Jews.”

“My concern today is not with the length of a person’s hair but with his conduct.” (On campus radicals)

“My own view is that taping of conversations for historical purposes was a bad decision on the part of all the presidents. I don’t think Kennedy should have done it. I don’t think Johnson should have done it, and I don’t think we should have done it.”

“My strong point is not rhetoric, it isn’t showmanship, it isn’t big promises-those things that create the glamour and the excitement that people call charisma and warmth.”

“My telephone calls and meetings and decisions were now parts of a prescribed ritual aimed at making peace with the past his calls, his meetings and his decisions were already the ones that would shape America’s future.” (On transfer of power to Gerald R Ford)

“My view is that one should not break up a winning combination.”

“No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.”

“Once you get into this great stream of history, you can’t get out.”

“People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I earned everything I’ve got.”

“Success is not a harbor but a voyage with its own perils to the spirit The lesson that most of us on this voyage never learn, but can never quite forget, is that to win is sometimes to lose.”

“The 1976 Bicentennial is not going to be invented in Washington, printed in triplicate by the Government Printing Office and mailed to you by the United States Postal Service.”

“The game of life is to come up a winner, to be a success, or to achieve what we set out to do. Yet there is always the danger of failing as a human being.”

“The memory of that scene for me is like a frame of film forever frozen at that moment the red carpet, the green lawn, the white house, the leaden sky. … The new president and his first lady.”

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

“The presidency has many problems, but boredom is the least of them.”

“The student who invades an administration building, roughs up a dean, rifles the files and issues ‘non-negotiable demands’ may have some of his demands met by a permissive university administration. But the greater his ‘victory’ the more he will have undermined the security of his own rights.”

“There are some people, you know, they think the way to be a big man is to shout and stomp and raise hell-and then nothing ever really happens. I’m not like that … I never shoot blanks.”

“There is a time to be timid. There is a time to be conciliatory. There is a time, even, to fly and there is a time to fight. And I’m going to fight like hell.” (On Congressional moves toward impeachment)

“There will be no whitewash in the White House.” (On Watergate investigation)

“This is a burden I shall bear for every day of the life that is left to me.”

“This is the greatest week in the history of the world since the Creation.” (Saluting crew of the Apollo 11)

“Tonight-to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans-I ask for your support.” (On his Vietnam War policy)

“Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the manner in which the president personally exercises his assigned executive powers is not subject to questioning by another branch of government.”

“Unless a president can protect the privacy of the advice he gets, he cannot get the advice he needs.”

“We are all in it together. This is a war. We take a few shots and it will be over. We will give them a few shots and it will be over.”

“What starts the process, really, are laughs and slights and snubs when you are a kid. … If your anger is deep enough and strong enough, you learn that you can change those attitudes by excellence, personal gut performance.”

“When I retire I’m going to spend my evenings by the fireplace going through those boxes. There are things in there that ought to be burned.”

“When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

“Who are you going to shoot joking with Attorney General Richard Kleindienst about creating an opening on the Supreme court.”

“You must pursue this investigation of Watergate even if it leads to the president. I’m innocent. You’ve got to believe I’m innocent. If you don’t, take my job.”

“You see these bums, you know, blowing up campuses … storming around about this issue.” (On student protesters against Vietnam War)



Richard Nixon

The Richard Nixon Foundation


Watergate: The Scandal That Brought Down Richard Nixon


Books By Richard Nixon

Six Crises

The Real War


Real Peace

No More Vietnams

1999: Victory without War

In the Arena

Seize the Moment

Beyond Peace

Books by other authors

Richard Nixon: The Life

Nixon’s Secrets: The Rise, Fall, and Untold Truth about the President, Watergate, and the Pardon

Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full

Andrew Johnson was born in a log cabin in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 29, 1808, he would become the 17th president of the United States in 1865 after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. His father, Jacob Johnson was a porter at an inn and a bank janitor, he died while trying to save two of his wealthy employers, Andrew was only three. His mother, Mary “Polly” McDonough Johnson, worked as a seamstress to make ends meet.

When she remarried Andrew and his brother William where apprenticed to a local tailor. Andrew and his brother ran away from their obligation and after being on the run for two years he returned to Raleigh in 1826 to reunite with his mother and stepfather. At seventeen years old Andrew moved to Greeneville, Tennessee and set up shop as a tailor.

Andrew’s tailoring business became successful but he never mastered the basics of English grammar, reading, or math until he married sixteen year old Eliza McCardle in 1827. She also taught him to invest his money wisely in town real estate and farmlands. Over time, Andrew became prosperous enough to buy property and acquire several African-American slaves, who worked in his home. The couple had five children, Martha (1828), Charles (1830), Mary (1832), Robert (1834), and Andrew Jr. (1852). Eliza suffered from tuberculosis, but remained a constant supporter of Andrew through their 50-year marriage.

Andrew took a strong interest in politics and was elected alderman in 1829, five years later he was elected mayor of Greeneville. In 1835, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature. He advocated for the poor, was opposed to non-essential government spending, he was a strong anti-abolitionist and a promoter of states’ rights. But he did support the Union, which was starting to be torn apart due to the north and south states disagreement on slavery.

In 1843, Andrew became the first Democrat from Tennessee to be elected to the United States Congress and declared that slavery was essential to the preservation of the Union. Southern states started to discuss separating from the Union if slavery was abolished. During his fifth and final term in Congress Andrew saw that his chances for a sixth term were slim due to the Whig party becoming more popular in Tennessee.

In 1853, Andrew was elected governor of Tennessee and served two terms, but found the experience frustrating due to his limited constitutional powers. He had no veto power and could only give suggestions to the legislature.

As the 1856 election neared, Andrew briefly considered a run for the presidency, but decided to run for the U.S. Senate instead. As senator, Andrew stayed independent, opposing abolition while making clear his dedication to the Union.

When Tennessee left the Union, Andrew was the only Southern Senator not to resign his seat in the U.S. Senate. He became one of the strongest supporters of President Lincoln, objecting to any compromise with the Confederacy as long as the rebels were in charge.

In the south, Andrew was vilified and called a traitor, his properties were confiscated, and his wife and daughters were essentially driven from the state with what they could carry in a wagon. In the north, he was an overnight hero, praised in the press as a true patriot who risked his life and fortune to side with the Union in the Civil War.

Once Union troops occupied Tennessee in 1862, Lincoln appointed Andrew military governor. He was never able to gain complete control of the state as Confederate insurgents raided cities and towns at will. Andrew originally opposed the Emancipation Proclamation, but accepted it after gaining an exemption for Tennessee.

In 1864 Lincoln selected Andrew, a Southerner, to run as his Vice President. Lincoln defeated his opponent General George McClellan by an electoral margin of 212-21, and received 55 percent of the popular vote. The President and new Vice President were sworn into office on March 4, 1865. Andrew, who was recovering from typhoid fever, drank some whiskey before the ceremony and gave a slurred, semi-incoherent inaugural address, leading to rumors that he was an alcoholic. Several other times during his presidency Andrew appeared to be in an inebriated state.

On the night of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater, in Washington, D.C.. Andrew and U.S. Secretary of State William Seward were also targets that night, but the other assassin, George Azterodt, didn’t follow through with his plans. Three hours after Lincoln died, Andrew was sworn in as the 17th President of the United States. In a strange irony, the racist Southerner was charged with the reconstruction of the South and the extension of civil rights and suffrage to former black slaves.

Because his wife, Eliza, was suffering from tuberculosis she stayed in her room most of the time and Andrew’s two daughters lived in the White House and served as official hostesses.

Congress was in recess the first eight months of Andrew’s term, and he took full advantage of their absence by pushing through his own Reconstruction policies. He issued pardons and amnesty to any rebels who would take an oath of allegiance. This resulted in many former Confederates being elected to office in Southern states and instituting “black codes,” which essentially maintained slavery.

When Congress reconvened, members were outraged that the president issued pardon’s and his lack of protecting black civil rights. In 1866, Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau bill and the Civil Rights Act, Andrew vetoed both of these measures because he felt that Southern states were not represented in Congress and that suffrage policy was the responsibility of the states, not the federal government. Both vetoes were overridden by Congress. On March 2, 1867, the first Reconstruction Act was passed which allowed the free male slaves to vote. As usual, he vetoed it, nevertheless the bill was passed. His visible hostility towards the African-Americans drew a lot of criticisms and some even claimed that he was involved in Lincoln’s assassination.

Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which denied the president the power to remove federal officials without the Senate’s approval. Andrew challenged the Tenure of Office Act as a direct violation of his constitutional authority and in August 1867, he fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, with whom he’d had several confrontations. In February 1868, the House voted to impeach Andrew for violation of the Tenure of Office Act, but he was acquitted by one vote. He remained president, but both his credibility and effectiveness were destroyed.

Andrew sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York and was popular among Southern whites, just before the convention he pardoned any Confederate not already indicted, meaning that only Jefferson Davis and a few others still might face trial. Former New York governor Horatio Seymour received the nomination and Andrew would complete his presidency in March 1869. Andrew issued a final amnesty before leaving office, this one covering everyone, including Jefferson Davis and Dr. Samuel Mudd, the doctor who splinted John Wilkes Booths leg after he assassinated Lincoln.

In the end, Andrew did more to extend the period of national strife than he did to heal the wounds of war. Andrew returned to Tennessee and ran for Congress in 1872 but lost. Two years later he ran for the Senate and won, he is the only former President to serve in the Senate. A few months later, on July 31, 1875, he suffered a stroke while visiting family in Carter County, Tennessee, he was 66 years old.

Andrew was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the Constitution placed under his head. The cemetery outside of Greeneville is now part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, which includes his house and tailor shop.

“Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.”

“If blacks were given the right to vote, that would place every splay-footed, bandy-shanked, hump-backed, thick-lipped, flat-nosed, woolly-headed, ebon-colored in the country upon an equality with the poor white man.”

“I have lived among negroes, all my life, and I am for this Government with slavery under the Constitution as it is. I am for the Government of my fathers with negroes. I am for it without negroes. Before I would see this Government destroyed I would send every negro back to Africa, disintegrated and blotted out of space.”

“When I die, I desire no better winding sheet than the Stars and Stripes, and no softer pillow than the Constitution of my country.”

“It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.”

“Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.”

“The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.”

“If you always support the correct principles then you will never get the wrong results!”

“The life of a republic lies certainly in the energy, virtue, and intelligence of its citizens.”

“Let us look forward to the time when we can take the flag of our country and nail it below the Cross, and there let it wave as it waved in the olden times, and let us gather around it and inscribed for our motto: ‘Liberty and Union, one and inseparable, now and forever,’ and exclaim, ‘Christ first, our country next!’”

“The sovereignty of the States is the language of the Confederacy and not the language of the Constitution. The latter contains the emphatic words. This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”

“Legislation can neither be wise nor just which seeks the welfare of a single interest at the expense and to the injury of many and varied interests.”

“There are no good laws but such as repeal other laws.”

“I have been almost overwhelmed by the announcement of the sad event [Lincoln’s assassination] which has so recently occurred. I feel incompetent to perform duties so important and responsible as those which have been so unexpectedly thrown upon me.”

“I realized, there are people out there who can beat me, want to beat me. And unless I continue to innovate and evolve, I am going to learn a painful lesson from someone who has.”

“There are some who lack confidence in the integrity and capacity of the people to govern themselves. To all who entertain such fears I will most respectfully say that I entertain none . . . If man is not capable, and is not to be trusted with the government of himself, is he to be trusted with the government of others . . . Who, then, will govern? The answer must be, Man for we have no angels in the shape of men, as yet, who are willing to take charge of our political affairs.”

“It is our sacred duty to transmit unimpaired to our posterity the blessings of liberty which were bequeathed to us by the founders of the Republic.”

“If the rabble were lopped off at one end and the aristocrat at the other, all would be well with the country.”

“If I am shot at, I want no man to be in the way of the bullet.”

“If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the Constitution of the United States in English and write their names and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty dollars and pay taxes thereon, and would completely disarm the adversary. This you can do with perfect safety. And as a consequence, the radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled in their attempts to keep the Southern States from renewing their relations to the Union.”

“Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigorously, more vigorously, and more severely, than by one.”

“My right side is paralyzed. I need no doctor. I can overcome my own troubles.”

“I feel incompetent to perform duties…which have been so unexpectedly thrown upon me.”

“Let them impeach and be damned.”

“Washington, DC is 12 square miles bordered by reality.”


Andrew Johnson

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

The Trial of Andrew Johnson, 1868

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

10 Things to Know About Andrew Johnson

Fun Facts on Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson Timeline


Andrew Johnson: A Biography

Andrew Johnson: The American Presidents Series: The 17th President, 1865-1869

Andrew Johnson’s Civil War and Reconstruction

Slavery, Impeachment and Legacy of President Andrew Johnson


President Andrew Johnson Biography

#17 Andrew Johnson

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia. Tommy Wilson as he was called, was barely a year old when his family moved to Augusta, Georgia. He would live there until his early teens when the Wilson family moved to Columbia, South Carolina. Tommy was the third of four children to grow up in the Wilsons’ house. His father was a Presbyterian minister whose parents emigrated from Northern Ireland to the United States in 1807 and settled in Ohio. His father also served as a chaplain in the Confederate army during the American Civil War, and used his church as a hospital for injured Confederate troops. Woodrow saw Confederate President Jefferson Davis march through Augusta in chains, and always remembered looking up into the face of the defeated General Robert E. Lee.

Woodrow did not learn to read until he was 10, likely due to dyslexia. His father trained him in oratory and debate, which became a passion for Woodrow. He enrolled at Davidson College and transferred to Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey) in 1875, and then studied law at the University of Virginia. Woodrow entered The Johns Hopkins University in 1883 to study government and history and wrote Congressional Government, which was published in 1885. His book was accepted as his dissertation and he received a Ph.D. degree from Johns Hopkins the following year. Woodrow is the only U.S. president to earn a doctorate degree.

In the spring of 1883, Woodrow went to assist in settling his Uncle William’s estate in Georgia. While there he fell in love with Ellen Louise Axson, the daughter of a minister from Savannah, Georgia. They became engaged but the marriage was delayed when her father was admitted to the Georgia State Mental Hospital, he committed suicide in 1884. Ellen gained admission to a New York art school and after graduation she agreed to sacrifice further independent artistic pursuits in order to keep her marriage commitment. In 1885, Woodrow married Ellen Axson, the couple would eventually have three daughters, Margaret, Jessie, and Eleanor.

Woodrow taught at Bryn Mawr College from 1885 until 1888, teaching ancient Greek and Roman history, he refused offers as university president from both Michigan and Indiana Universities. In 1888, Woodrow went to Wesleyan University where he coached the football team and founded the debate team, which bears his name.

Woodrow’s first book, Congressional Government, advocated a parliamentary system. He also became a contributor to the academic journal, Political Science Quarterly. His second publication was a textbook, entitled The State, and was used in college courses throughout the country until the 1920s. His third book, entitled Division and Reunion, was published in 1893 and his fourth publication, a five-volume work entitled History of the American People, was published in 1902.

In 1890 Woodrow got his dream job as a Princeton professor and became the university’s 13th president in 1902. Woodrow focused on curriculum upgrades and was always voted the most popular teacher on campus. He also expanded the university and increased the faculty from 112 to 174, who were selected for their record as outstanding teachers. He also made biblical studies a scholarly pursuit and appointed the first Jew and Roman Catholic to the faculty.

Woodrow suffered his first stroke while at Princeton in May 1906, it seriously threatened his life. He woke up one morning to find himself blind in the left eye, the result of a blood clot and hypertension. He took a Bermuda vacation where he met socialite, Mary Hulbert Peck. In his letters home Woodrow was open to his wife Ellen about his visits with Mary. Ellen thought there may have been an affair but nothing was ever proven, Woodrow did keep correspondence with her and took other trips to Bermuda to relax.

In his last scholarly work, Constitutional Government of the United States published in 1908, Woodrow said that the presidency“will be as big as and as influential as the man who occupies it.”This also brought Woodrow into the state and national political arena. After having difficulties with the Princeton Board of Directors he resigned as the Princeton University’s President in 1909, and made it known that he was interested in running for political office.

In 1910 Woodrow accepted the Democratic nomination for governor of New Jersey and easily won the election. His ambitious and successful progressive agenda earned him national recognition, and in 1912 he won the Democratic nomination for president. Woodrow’s “New Freedom” campaign, focused on revitalizing the American economy, he became the 28th United States President with 435 out of 531 electoral votes, and 41.8% of the popular vote. Thomas Riley Marshall, former Indiana Governor, was elected as the Vice President.

Woodrow was the first Southerner President since Andrew Johnson and was supported by an unprecedented number of African Americans. He was the first President since John Adams, in 1799, to make his State of the Union Address personally in Congress and was also the first Democratic president since Grover Cleveland.

On March 4, 1913 Woodrow was the last American president to travel to his inauguration ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage. The Wilson’s decided against an inaugural ball and instead gathered with family and friends at the White House.

Washington D.C. was flooded with revelers who dreamed of a return to the glory days when southern gentlemen ran the country. Rebel yells and the song “Dixie” could be heard throughout the city. The new administration brought to power political leaders from the old South who would play influential roles in Washington for generations to come.

Woodrow used his Presidential powers to reverse federal government agencies integration during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period which enabled African-Americans to obtain federal jobs. He promptly authorized members of his cabinet to reverse the policy of racial integration in the federal civil service. By the end of 1913 many departments, including the Navy, had workspaces segregated by screens, and restrooms, cafeterias were segregated, although no executive order had been issued.

Wilson defended his administration’s segregation policy even after the practices were protested in letters from both blacks and whites, to include official statements by both black and white church groups. The president’s African-American supporters, who had crossed party lines to vote for him, were bitterly disappointed. His grandfather would have been disappointed also, he had published a pro-tariff and anti-slavery newspaper when he settled in Steubenville, Ohio in the early 1800,

Woodrow’s wife Ellen died of kidney disease on August 6, 1914, making him one of three former presidents to become a widow while serving in the White House. He experienced a long period of depression which was eventually replaced with a feeling of happiness when he met and married Edith Bolling Galt in December 1915. She was a widow whose husband had owned a Washington, D.C., jewelry business.

As president, Woodrow was responsible for many social and economic reforms including the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the Child Labor Reform Act, and legislation that supported unions to ensure fair treatment of working Americans. The 19th Amendment was ratified during his second term, guaranteeing all women the right to vote.

When World War I broke out in Europe on July 26, 1914, Woodrow declared America neutral, and during his second presidential campaigned he used the slogan “He kept us out of war.” He and Vice President Marshall won in 1916 with a narrow electoral margin of 277-254 and a little more than 49 percent of the popular vote.

In March 1917 several American ships were sunk by Germany and Teddy Roosevelt privately stated, “if he does not go to war I shall skin him alive”. The United States also learned that Germany tried to persuade Mexico to enter into an alliance against America. On April 2, 1917, Woodrow asked Congress to declare war on Germany, stating, “The world must be made safe for democracy.”

Nearly a year and a half later the war was declared over and Americans were perceived as heroes because they helped bring victory for the European Allies. Woodrow helped negotiate the Treaty of Versailles and outlined his ideas to form a League of Nations.

He embarked on a cross-country speaking tour to promote his ideas for the League of Nations directly to the American people. Woodrow was on a train bound for Wichita, Kansas on September 25 when he collapsed from stress, and the rest of his tour was cancelled. On October 2, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Woodrow’s condition was kept hidden from the public, his wife worked behind the scenes to fulfill a number of his administrative duties for his remaining time in office.

Historians state that the lack of Vice President Mashall’s support for the League of Nations resulted in Congress not joining, it was adopted by Europe. This decision may have resulted in World War II due to the United States being unable to influence European policies leading up to the rise of Adolph Hitler. Woodrow was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize and heralded in Europe as a savior of peace.

After leaving office in 1921, Woodrow and his wife moved to a private residence in northwest Washington, D.C.. He died on February 3, 1924 at the age of 67, and is buried in the Washington National Cathedral.

Woodrow was an automobile enthusiast and enjoyed riding in his 1919 Pierce-Arrow with the top down. He was the first president in office to watch a World Series game in 1915 and threw out the 1st ball in the game. He also enjoyed cycling and golf.

A highly respected figure in society, Mrs. Wilson devoted the rest of her life to managing her husband’s legacy. Edith Wilson held the literary rights to all of her husband’s papers and denied access to those whose motives she did not trust and granted access to those who proved their loyalty to her. She rode in President Kennedy’s inaugural parade in January 1961 and died later that year on December 28, the anniversary of her famous husband’s birth.

Woodrow’s idealism and status as a great world leader led to the creation of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. as the U.S. memorial to him.


“…it is as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you.“

“A conservative is a man who sits and thinks, mostly sits.”

“America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.”

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”

“Just what is it that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another it is for the sovereignty of self-governing people.”

“No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence.”

“The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history.”

“The law that will work is merely the summing up in legislative form of the moral judgement that the community has already reached.”

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.”

“The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.”

“Only a peace between equals can last. Only a peace the very principle of which is equality and a common participation in a common benefit.”

“In the last analysis, my fellow country men, as we in America would be the first to claim, a people are responsible for the acts of their government.”

“The world must be made safe for democracy.”

“We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our own ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves.”

“Once lead this people into war and they will forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance.“

“I can imagine no greater disservice to the county than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to criticize their own public officials. While exercising the great powers of office I hold, I would regret in a crisis like the one through which we are now passing to lose the benefit of patriotic and intelligent criticism.”

“Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.”

“No nation is fit to sit in judgement upon any other nation.”

“There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight; there is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.”

“The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.”

“America is not a mere body of traders; it is a body of free men. Our greatness-built upon freedom-is moral, not material. we have a great ardor for gain; but we have a deep passion for the rights of man.”

“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.”


Woodrow Wilson

Expunging Woodrow Wilson from Official Places of Honor

Wilson – A Portrait / African-Americans

The Nobel Peace Prize 1919 – Woodrow Wilson

Ten Things to Know About Woodrow Wilson 

Books by Woodrow Wilson

Congressional Government

Constitutional Government in the United States

The Minister and the Community

The State: Elements of Historical and Practical Politics

Division and Reunion

A History of the American People

George Washington

On Being Human

An old master, and other political essays

On the Writing of History


Books by other authors

Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

Madam President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and World War II


#28 Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson ***

American Presidents Series: Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Life Portrait of Woodrow Wilson


Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York. He was the third of five children of Abraham and Maria Goes Van Alen, and was the first U.S. president not born a British subject. His ancestors emigrated from Holland in 1633, and English was his second language, his family and the Kinderhook community spoke Dutch.

His mother had been widowed with three children before marrying his father who was a tavern keeper and farmer. The Van Buren’s owned six slaves, which was not unusual for a family in Kinderhook. His father’s tavern and inn was frequented by government workers traveling between Albany and New York City and Martin was exposed to discussions on politics. He was influenced to pursue work as an apprentice to a local lawyer in 1796, he swept floors and run errands during the day, and studied law at night.

In 1801 he accompanied his cousin to Troy, New York who was selected as a delegate to the Democratic-Republican Congressional Caucus, due to Martin campaigning for him. At the age of twenty-one Martin moved to New York City and gained admission to the state bar.

On February 21, 1807 Martin married Hannah Hoes in Catskill, New York. She was his childhood sweetheart, and also his first cousin. They lived in Hudson, a small town about ten miles from Kinderhook where Martin practiced law and was appointed to his first public office on February 20, 1808. Four years later, in a close heated race, Martin was elected to the New York State Senate.

He was appointed Attorney General of New York on February 17, 1815, and he still served in the state senate and was reelected to the state senate again in 1816. Martin and the Bucktails, who where a group of men committed to defeat the Federalists and tried to stop DeWitt Clinton from being elected as the New York’s Governor in 1817. Unfortunately for them Clinton became governor and began to dismiss all Bucktail appointees in the state’s government. Martin held onto his attorney general post for another two years before he was removed.

On February 5, 1819, at the age of 35, Martin’s wife Hannah died of tuberculosis, she was buried in Kinderhook. Martin never remarried and their four boys spent much of their childhood living with relatives. Martin regretted not being more involved in their upbringing but he did provide for their education and well-being.

Martin was elected to the United States Senate by the New York state legislature on February 6, 1821 and in 1823 became the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By 1827 Martin became the principal northern leader supporting Andrew Jackson and traveled throughout the south campaigning for him. In September he commits the Bucktails to Jackson, confirming the North-South alliance, which could be considered the official beginning of the Democratic Party. He was also running for Governor of New York and in November was elected. He was directly responsible for Andrew Jackson taking the majority of New York’s electoral votes, making Jackson the nation’s seventh President.

When Andrew Jackson was elected President he rewarded Martin by appointing him Secretary of State, a position four of the past five Presidents occupied. Although Martin was just elected as the Governor of New York he resigned from that position after serving in that capacity for only a couple of weeks and accepted the Secretary of State position. Martin emerged as the President’s most trusted adviser.

Martin resigned as Secretary of State during Jackson’s cabinet reorganization in 1831. This give Jackson the opportunity to remove the entire Cabinet and replaced them with members loyal to him instead of his Vice President John Calhoun. Martin became minister to Britain but only spent six months in England due to not being confirmed for his appointment by one vote, a ballot cast by Calhoun.

President Jackson selected Martin as his running-mate for the 1832 presidential election, although thirty electors refused to support him. The Jackson-Van Buren ticket won easily over the Whig Henry Clay and Martin was inaugurated as the Vice President on March 4, 1833.

In May of 1835 Martin was nominated for President at the second national convention of the Democratic Party with Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky being nominated as vice president. Martin was elected as the eighth president of the United States on December 7, 1835. He received 50.83% of the popular vote and 170 electoral votes, winning 15 out of 26 states. Even though the race was closer than expected, Martin still got more votes than his four Whig opponents combined.

Martin was the first American president of Dutch descent and also the first to be born as a United States citizen, free from the British colonial rule. He was also the first president elected from New York. Since Martin never remarried after his wife died he relied on his daughter-in-law, Angelica Van Buren, to fulfill the duties of the First Lady during his time in the White House.

The Van Buren’s administration continued to push American Indian tribes west and in 1838 General Winfield Scott rounded up the Cherokee of Georgia and forced them to move west of the Mississippi. One-quarter of the tribe died of disease and deprivation along the Trail of Tears. Similarly, the Seminoles in Florida were forced to relocate to the West, eventually hostilities between the tribe and the federal government ended by 1842.

During Martin’s Presidency the slave ship Amistad drifted into the Long Island Sound and was seized by an American survey ship. Looking to cash in on salvage money, the commander of the ship steered it to New London, Connecticut. But the Van Buren administration accepted that the ship and its passengers belonged to the Spanish government. The matter went to Federal court who ruled that the Africans who staged the mutiny on the Amistad were kidnapped and should be transported back to Africa. The Van Buren administration appealed the decision.

Martin easily won the Democratic nomination for a second term, but he and his party faced a difficult election in 1840. During his presidency he was criticized for his actions on how he dealt with the slumping economy, slavery, the Trail of Tears, and tensions with Great Britain. But he still made a lasting impact, and his supports formed the OK Club, short for “Old Kinderhook,” a reference to the village he was born in. They marched with placards marked OK, which is the origin of what is now used as an abbreviation for okay, to just OK.

The Whigs selected William Henry Harrison of Ohio as their candidate for the presidency. The Whig party flooded the public with promotional items like sewing boxes, cigar tins, whiskey bottles, and pennants with the Whig slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” Tippecanoe was Harrison’s nickname after a battle he had won and Tyler was his running mate. The Whigs also sang “Van, Van, is a used-up man,” and gave Martin a new nick-name, “Martin Van Ruin.” Martin’s chances of being reelected didn’t get any better when the Whigs claimed that Vice President Richard Johnson had several affairs with African American women. Martin was close in the popular vote but Harrison crushed him in the Electoral College and received 234 electoral votes to Martin’s 60.

Martin tried to gain the Democratic presidential nomination in 1844 but failed, he miscalculated a political decision when he didn’t support the annexation of Texas. Andrew Jackson was in favor of the annexation and suggested that Martin step aside and southern delegations favored James Polk. Antislavery Democrats known as “Barnburners” backed Martin and the movement led to the formation of the Free Soil Party.

Although he lost the nomination he supported Polk’s candidacy, which helped the Democrats to win over the Whig candidate Henry Clay. Andrew Jackson and his allies believed that Polk owed his election largely to Martin’s efforts and he should receive an important post in the Polk administration. But Polk offered Martin the ministership to London, which he refused and the relationship between Martin and Polk disintegrated.

In 1848 Martin ran for president as the Free Soil candidate with Charles Francis Adams, who was the son of the longtime abolitionist John Quincy Adams, as his Vice President. Martin failed to win a single state and announced his retirement from politics.

The following years he traveled extensively and enjoyed the time he spent with his children and grandchildren. He started to work on his autobiography in 1854 but never finished it, oddly enough he never mentioned his wife who had died 35 years before he started to write his autobiography. It was finally published in 1920.

Surrounded by his family at his Lindenwald estate in Kinderhook, Martin died July 24, 1862 at the age of seventy-nine of bronchial asthma and heart failure. He’s buried in Kinderhook, New York cemetery with his wife.


“The atonement of Jesus Christ is the only remedy and rest for my soul.”

“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.”

“I am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political opinion – the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican government – would be exposed by any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities.”

“The government should not be guided by Temporary Excitement, but by Sober Second Thought.”

“There is but one reliance.”

“The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity.”

“I never knew a man more free from conceit, or one to whom it was a greater extent a pleasure, as well as a recognized duty, to listen patiently to what might be said to him upon any subject under consideration….Neither, I need scarcely say, was he in the habit of talking, much less boasting, of his own achievements.”

“Most men are not scolded out of their opinion.”

“Railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by engines which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to the crops, scaring the livestock, and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such break-neck speed.”

“All the lessons of history and experience must be lost upon us if we are content to trust alone to the peculiar advantages we happen to possess. Look, being a lame flunky for a batshit crazy person isn’t all that bad. Stay alive long enough and you may sneak your way to Washington!”

“I only look to the gracious protection of the Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit, and whom I fervently pray to look down upon us all. May it be among the dispensations of His Providence to bless our beloved country with honors and with length of days; may her ways beways of pleasantness, and all her paths be peace.”

“In time of peace there can, at all events, be no justification for the creation of a permanent debt by the Federal Government. Its limited range of constitutional duties may certainly under such circumstances be performed without such a resort.”

“The case of the Seminoles constitutes at present the only exception to the successful efforts of the Government to remove the Indians to the homes assigned them west of the Mississippi.”

“No evil can result from its [slavery’s] inhibition more pernicious than its toleration.”

“There is a power in public opinion in this country – and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers – which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.”

“As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.”

“I shall tread in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessor.”

“In a government whose distinguishing characteristic should be a diffusion and equalization of its benefits and burdens the advantage of individuals will be augmented at the expense of the community at large.”

“The national will is the supreme law of the Republic, and on all subjects within the limits of his constitutional powers should be faithfully obeyed by the public servant.”

“To avoid the necessity of a permanent debt and its inevitable consequences, I have advocated and endeavored to carry into effect the policy of confining the appropriations for the public service to such objects only as are clearly with the constitutional authority of the Federal Government.”

“I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men… in receiving from the people the sacred trust confided to my illustrious predecessor.”

“I cannot expect to perform the task with equal ability and success.”

“Is it possible to be anything in this country without being a politician?”

“With respect to the northeastern boundary of the United States, no official correspondence between this Government and that of Great Britain has passed since that communicated to Congress toward the close of their last session.”

“The condition of the tribes which occupy the country set apart for them in the West is highly prosperous, and encourages the hope of their early civilization. They have for the most part abandoned the hunter state and turned their attention to agricultural pursuits.”


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Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784, in Orange County, Virginia. He spent his youth in the frontier outpost of Louisville, Kentucky. For most of Zachary’s childhood, his Louisville home was a small cabin in the woods. As his family prospered, the cabin became a substantial brick house that he shared with seven brothers and sisters. By 1800, Zachary ‘s father owned 10,000 acres, town lots in Louisville, and twenty-six slaves.

Zachary’s family could trace their roots directly to the Mayflower and William Brewster. Brewster was a key separatist leader and preacher in the Plymouth Colony. Zachary ‘s father had served in the American Revolution.

He received only a rudimentary education but was well schooled in the frontier skills of farming, horsemanship and using a musket. Zachary was a poor student, his handwriting, spelling, and grammar were crude and unrefined throughout his life. Even as a boy, he wanted a career in the military, it was a respectable alternative to law and the ministry. In 1808 he left home after obtaining a commission as a first lieutenant in the army.

In 1810 he married Margaret Mackall Smith, a member of a prominent Maryland family and they eventually had six children. As Zachary moved from one wilderness outpost to another in the Mississippi Valley frontier, his family often accompanied him.

In the years leading up to the War of 1812, Zachary helped police the western frontier of the United States against the Native Americans. He went on to command troops in the Black Hawk War of 1832 and the Second Seminole War in Florida from 1837 to 1840. Taylor’s willingness to share the hardships of field duty with his men earned him the affectionate nickname “Old Rough and Ready.” Although he fought Native Americans in numerous engagements, much of his service was devoted to protecting their lands from invading white settlers.

In 1840, Margaret finally settled down in Louisiana when Zachary assumed command of the fort at Baton Rouge. Although a poorly paid career officer, Zachary had parlayed the 300 acres of land given to him by his father into holdings in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In 1850, his estate was valued at around $120,000, worth approximately $6 million today.

On numerous occasions, Zachary used family time to manage his lands and plantations. Seldom at home long enough to supervise slaves or crops, he relied on associates, relatives, and his daughters to assist his wife with daily finances and decisions. He understood the toll that his career took on his family, and he hoped that his daughters would never marry career soldiers. So adamant was he on this that Lieutenant Jefferson Davis actually resigned from the Army in order to wed Zachary’s daughter, Sarah in 1835, but she died three months later. Jefferson Davis would become the president of the Confederacy.

When the U.S. annexation of Texas sparked war with Mexico, Zachary served as brigadier general and commanding officer of the army’s First Department at Fort Jesup, Louisiana. Zachary’s men quickly won victories at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, garnering him a recommendation from President James K. Polk and a promotion to major general.

He led his men across the Rio Grande and advanced into Mexico, capturing the heavily fortified stronghold of Monterrey by late September. Zachary then granted the Mexicans an eight-week armistice against the wishes of President Polk, who was conscious of the general’s growing political clout within the opposition Whig Party. Polk canceled the peace agreement and ordered Zachary to remain in northern Mexico while he transferred the best of his troops to the army of General Winfield Scott.

Mexican General Santa Anna, intercepting a letter from Scott to Zachary, knew that “Old Zack” (another nickname) would be left with just 6,000 men. In February 1847, Santa Anna threw his nearly 20,000 soldiers into the Battle at Buena Vista, determined to annihilate “Old Rough and Ready.” The two armies clashed, and when it ended 1,800 Mexican soldiers lay dead or wounded, Zachary lost 672. Thoroughly defeated, the “Mexican Napoleon,” as Santa Anna called himself, left the field, and General Zachary Taylor became an American hero.

In 1848, the Whig Party nominated Zachary to be president without his knowledge or presence at the nominating convention. They sent him notification of the nomination without postage paid so he had to pay for the letter that told him that he was their nominee. He refused to pay the postage and did not find out about the nomination for weeks.

Zachary was compared in the popular press to American war heroes George Washington and Andrew Jackson. Stories were told about his informal dress, the tattered straw hat on his head, and the casual way he always sat atop his beloved horse, “Old Whitey,” while shots buzzed around his head. His military record would appeal to northerners and owning 100 slaves would bring in southern votes. The Whigs nominated him to run against the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass.

On November 7, 1848, the first time the entire nation voted on the same day, and the first time Zachary had voted stating that he didn’t want to vote against a potential commander in chief. He won the popular vote and the Electoral College vote came in at 163 to Cass’s 127.

James K. Polk’s term ended on Sunday, March 4, 1849. Although Zachary refused to take the constitutional oath until March 5, because he did not want to violate the Lord’s Day.

Zachary thought the presidency should stand above party politics, and he appointed cabinet members who represented all sections of the nation, none of them were prominent Washington politicians.

Although Zachary had subscribed to Whig principles of legislative leadership, he was not inclined to be a puppet of Whig leaders in Congress and at times acted as though he were above parties and politics. As disheveled as always, Zachary tried to run his administration in the same way he had fought Indians, he even brought his horse with him to Washington and allowed Whitey to graze on the lawn of the White House.

The challenge facing Zachary when he took office in 1849 was the debate over slavery and its expansion into the country’s new western territories. Zachary was a slaveholder himself but was primarily driven by a strong nationalism born from years in the army, and by 1848 he had come to oppose the creation of new slave states. In February 1850, after some incensed southern leaders threatened secession, Zachary angrily told them that he personally would lead the army if it became necessary in order to enforce federal laws and preserve the Union.

On July 4, 1850, Zachary attended a ceremony at the unfinished Washington Monument with blistering temperatures. Taylor ate a variety of raw vegetables, cucumbers, cabbage, and corn, and then treated himself to a jug of iced milk and an enormous bowl of cherries.

An hour later Zachary became violently ill and had diarrhea and started vomiting. By the following morning he developed a fever and doctors offered various cure-alls, he was force fed calomel (a mercury chloride solution to induce vomiting), quinine, and opium. Five days later, just 17 months into his Presidency, the 65-year-old Zachary uttered his last words to his wife, “I have always done my duty, I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me.”

His funeral took place on July 13 and an estimated 100,000 people lined the funeral route to pay their respects. The presidential hearse was drawn by eight white horses and followed by Washington dignitaries, military units, the President’s beloved horse “Old Whitey,” and his family. Behind them a line of military units, officials, and common citizens stretched for over two miles. His final resting place is in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery and Monument today.

Zachary became the second president to die while in office with William Henry Harrison being the first, making the more moderate Millard Fillmore President. With Fillmore’s support, Congress adopted the Compromise of 1850 that September which paved the way for future discord in Kansas and ultimately the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Zachary’s only son, Richard, would serve as a general in the Confederate Army during that conflict.

Peggy Taylor lived a more comfortable life as a widow than she had for her four decades on the frontier, her husband leaving an ample estate, including five slaves for her. She lived with her son Dick and her only known public appearance as a widow was at his wedding in 1851 to Myrthé Bringierde Lacadière.

During a visit to her daughter Betty in East Pascagoula, Mississippi, the former First Lady died suddenly on 14 August, 1852 at 63 years old.

All of the Taylor family’s personal correspondence was stored at her last home which was burned by Union troops during the Civil War.

It was later suggested that Zachary may have been poisoned because he showed the same symptoms of arsenic poisoning. His remains were exhumed in 1991 but samples showed that his arsenic levels where not higher than the average person in those days.

Zachary was a distant relative of many other presidents including James Madison, Robert E. Lee and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Zachary Taylor Quotes

“I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me.”

“The Bible is the best of books, and I wish it were in the hands of every one. It is indispensable to the safety and permanence of our institutions. A free government can not exist without religion and morals, and there cannot be morals without religion. Especially should the Bible be placed in the hands of the young. It is the best school book in the world. I would that all our people were brought up under the influence of that holy book.”

“I have no private purpose to accomplish, no party objectives to build up, no enemies to punish-nothing to serve but my country.”

“A strong reputation is like a good bonfire. When you have one kindled it’s easy to keep the flame burning, even if someone comes along and tries to piss on it. But if you fall asleep and neglect it…You’ll wake up with ashes.”

“I am not a party candidate, and if elected cannot be President of a party, but the President of the whole people.”

“My life has been devoted to arms, yet I look upon war at all times, and under all circumstances, as a national calamity to be avoided if compatible with national honor.”

“I would not be the mere President of a Party. I feel bound to administer the government untrammeled by party schemes.”

“Stop your nonsense and drink your whiskey!”

“May the boldest fear and the wisest tremble when incurring responsibilities on which may depend our country’s peace and prosperity, and in some degree the hopes and happiness of the whole human family.”

“I shall pursue a straight forward course deviating neither to the right or left so that comes what may I hope my real friends will never have to blush for me, so far as truth, honesty & fair dealings are concerned.”

“In the discharge of duties my guide will be the Constitution, which I this day swear to preserve, protect, and defend.”

“I regret nothing, but I am sorry that I am about to leave my friends.”

“The idea that I should become President seems to me too visionary to require a serious answer. It has never entered my head, nor is it likely to enter the head of any other person.”

“For more than half a century… this Union has stood unshaken. Whatever dangers may threaten it, I shall stand by it and maintain it in its integrity to the full extent of the obligations imposed and the powers conferred upon me by the Constitution.”

“The power given by the Constitution to the Executive to interpose his veto is a high conservative power; but in my opinion it should never be exercised except in cases of clear violation of the Constitution, or manifest haste and want of due consideration by Congress.”

“For more than half a century, during which kingdoms and empires have fallen, this Union has stood unshaken. The patriots who formed it have long since descended to the grave; yet still it remains, the proudest monument to their memory. . .”

“In conclusion I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country. Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy.”

“The only ground of hope for the continuance of our free institutions is in the proper moral and religious training of the children, that they may be prepared to discharge aright the duties of men and citizens.”

“Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy.”


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