During his stay in the region, Lincoln met with a former President, several political leaders and a German immigrant group. However, his story in WNY also included connections with several individuals. He met the lady who gave up her room at the hotel for him; a little girl who gave him flowers, and in quite possibly the most famous Lincoln story of all, another little girl who wrote him a letter suggesting he grow a beard. There was even a rare photograph taken of him on the rear platform of the train, which has yet to make its way into the public eye.
With a nearly out-of-control yet enthusiastic public, a pickpocket's heaven, and even the occasional snowball, the Lincoln visit to Buffalo was for many years afterwards a memorable moment in local history. The Best of the Bargain will take you back to a long neglected story of Western New York.
Nearly a century and a half later, in 2004, writer Christopher Buckley observed It is probably just as well that James Buchanan was our only bachelor president. There are no descendants bracing every morning on opening the paper to find another heading announcing: Buchanan Once Again Rated Worst President in History.
How to explain such remarkably consistent historical views of the man who turned over a divided and demoralized country to Abraham Lincoln, the same man regarded through the decades by presidential scholars as the worst president in U.S. history?
In this exploration of the presidency of James Buchanan, 1857-61, Garry Boulard revisits the 15th President and comes away with a stunning conclusion: Buchanans performance as the nations chief executive was even more deplorable and sordid than scholars generally know, making his status as the countrys worst president richly deserved.
Boulard documents Buchanans failure to stand up to the slaveholding interests of the South, his indecisiveness in dealing with the secession movement, and his inability to provide leadership during the nations gravest constitutional crisis.
Using the letters of Buchanan, as well as those of more than two dozen political leaders and thinkers of the time, Boulard presents a narrative of a timid and vacillating president whose drift and isolation opened the door to the Civil War.
The author of The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce: The Story of a President and the Civil War (iUniverse, 2006), Boulard has reported for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and is a business writer for the Albuquerque-based Construction Reporter.
In this provocative and revelatory assessment of the only president ever forced out of office, the legendary Washington journalist Elizabeth Drew explains how Richard M. Nixon's troubled inner life offers the key to understanding his presidency. She shows how Nixon was surprisingly indecisive on domestic issues and often wasn't interested in them. Turning to international affairs, she reveals the inner workings of Nixon's complex relationship with Henry Kissinger, and their mutual rivalry and distrust. The Watergate scandal that ended his presidency was at once an overreach of executive power and the inevitable result of his paranoia and passion for vengeance.
Even Nixon's post-presidential rehabilitation was motivated by a consuming desire for respectability, and he succeeded through his remarkable resilience. Through this book we finally understand this complicated man. While giving him credit for his achievements, Drew questions whether such a man—beleaguered, suspicious, and motivated by resentment and paranoia—was fit to hold America's highest office, and raises large doubts that he was.
Jackson provoked firestorms of political passions throughout his era. Far more people loved than hated him, but the fervor was just as pitched either way. Although the passions have subsided, the debate lingers. Historians are split over Jackson's legacy. Some extol him as among America's greatest presidents, citing his championing of the common man, holding the country together during the nullification crisis, and eliminating the national debt. Others excoriate him as a mean-spirited despot who shredded the Constitution and damaged the nation's development by destroying the Second Bank of the United States, defying the Supreme Court, and grossly worsening political corruption through his spoils system. Still others condemn his forcibly expelling more than forty thousand Native Americans from their homes and along the Trail of Tears, which led far west of the Mississippi River, with thousands perishing along the way.
In his clear-eyed assessment of one of the most divisive leaders in American history, Nester provides new insight into the age-old debate about the very nature of power itself.
Halliday takes readers deep into Jefferson's private life—exploring his childhood, his literary taste, and his unconventional religious thinking and moral philosophy. Here, too, are his adamant opinions on women, the evolution of his ideas on democracy and freedom of expression, and fresh insights into his relationship with Sally Hemings.
Politics was in Benjamin Harrison's blood. His great-grandfather signed the Declaration and his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was the ninth president of the United States. Harrison, a leading Indiana lawyer, became a Republican Party champion, even taking a leave from the Civil War to campaign for Lincoln. After a scandal-free term in the Senate-no small feat in the Gilded Age-the Republicans chose Harrison as their presidential candidate in 1888. Despite losing the popular vote, he trounced the incumbent, Grover Cleveland, in the electoral college.
In contrast to standard histories, which dismiss Harrison's presidency as corrupt and inactive, Charles W. Calhoun sweeps away the stereotypes of the age to reveal the accomplishments of our twenty-third president. With Congress under Republican control, he exemplified the activist president, working feverishly to put the Party's planks into law and approving the first billion-dollar peacetime budget. But the Democrats won Congress in 1890, stalling his legislative agenda, and with the First Lady ill, his race for reelection proceeded quietly. (She died just before the election.) In the end, Harrison could not beat Cleveland in their unprecedented rematch.
With dazzling attention to this president's life and the social tapestry of his times, Calhoun compellingly reconsiders Harrison's legacy.
James K. Polk was a shrewd and decisive commander in chief, the youngest president elected to guide the still-young nation, who served as Speaker of the House and governor of Tennessee before taking office in 1845. Considered a natural successor to Andrew Jackson, "Young Hickory" miraculously revived his floundering political career by riding a wave of public sentiment in favor of annexing the Republic of Texas to the Union.
Shortly after his inauguration, he settled the disputed Oregon boundary and by 1846 had declared war on Mexico in hopes of annexing California. The considerably smaller American army never lost a battle. At home, however, Polk suffered a political firestorm of antiwar attacks from many fronts. Despite his tremendous accomplishments, he left office an extremely unpopular man, on whom stress had taken such a physical toll that he died within three months of departing Washington. Fellow Tennessean John Seigenthaler traces the life of this president who, as Truman noted, "said what he intended to do and did it."
In the fall of 1864, an exhausted president pursued the seemingly intractable end of the Civil War. After four years at the helm, Lincoln was struggling to save his presidency in an election that he almost lost because of military stalemate and his commitment to restore the Union without slavery. Lincoln's victory in the election not only ensured the success of his agenda but led to his transformation from a cautious, often hesitant president into a distinguished statesman. He moved quickly to defuse destructive partisan divisions and to secure the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment. And he skillfully advanced peace terms that did not involve the unconditional surrender of Confederate armies. Throughout this period of great trials, he managed to resist political pressure from Democrats and radical Republicans and from those seeking patronage and profit. By expanding the context of Lincoln's last months beyond the battlefield, Harris shows how the events of 1864-65 tested the president's life and leadership and how he ultimately emerged victorious, and became Father Abraham to a nation.
2. Careworn and Haggard
3. The Burden of Patronage
4. The Search for Peace
5. The Humble Instrument of God
6. Beyond the Battlefield
7. At the Front
Few figures in American history are as compelling and complex as Lyndon Baines Johnson, who established himself as the master of the U.S. Senate in the 1950s and succeeded John F. Kennedy in the White House after Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963.
Charles Peters, a keen observer of Washington politics for more than five decades, tells the story of Johnson's presidency as the tale of an immensely talented politician driven by ambition and desire. As part of the Kennedy-Johnson administration from 1961 to 1968, Peters knew key players, including Johnson's aides, giving him inside knowledge of the legislative wizardry that led to historic triumphs like the Voting Rights Act and the personal insecurities that led to the tragedy of Vietnam.
Peters's experiences have given him unique insight into the poisonous rivalry between Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy, showing how their misunderstanding of each other exacerbated Johnson's self-doubt and led him into the morass of Vietnam, which crippled his presidency and finally drove this larger-than-life man from the office that was his lifelong ambition.
In the summer of 1850, America was at a terrible crossroads. Congress was in an uproar over slavery, and it was not clear if a compromise could be found. In the midst of the debate, President Zachary Taylor suddenly took ill and died. The presidency, and the crisis, now fell to the little-known vice president from upstate New York.
In this eye-opening biography, the legal scholar and historian Paul Finkelman reveals how Millard Fillmore's response to the crisis he inherited set the country on a dangerous path that led to the Civil War. He shows how Fillmore stubbornly catered to the South, alienating his fellow Northerners and creating a fatal rift in the Whig Party, which would soon disappear from American politics—as would Fillmore himself, after failing to regain the White House under the banner of the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic "Know Nothing" Party.
Though Fillmore did have an eye toward the future, dispatching Commodore Matthew Perry on the famous voyage that opened Japan to the West and on the central issues of the age—immigration, religious toleration, and most of all slavery—his myopic vision led to the destruction of his presidency, his party, and ultimately, the Union itself.
He was known as "Silent Cal." Buttoned up and tight-lipped, Calvin Coolidge seemed out of place as the leader of a nation plunging headlong into the modern era. His six years in office were a time of flappers, speakeasies, and a stock market boom, but his focus was on cutting taxes, balancing the federal budget, and promoting corporate productivity. "The chief business of the American people is business," he famously said.
But there is more to Coolidge than the stern capitalist scold. He was the progenitor of a conservatism that would flourish later in the century and a true innovator in the use of public relations and media. Coolidge worked with the top PR men of his day and seized on the rising technologies of newsreels and radio to bring the presidency into the lives of ordinary Americans—a path that led directly to FDR's "fireside chats" and the expert use of television by Kennedy and Reagan. At a time of great upheaval, Coolidge embodied the ambivalence that many of his countrymen felt. America kept "cool with Coolidge," and he returned the favor.
The essays in this book explore how individual biographers have shaped history—as well as how the interests and preoccupations of the times in which they wrote helped to shape their portrayals of Jefferson. In different eras biographers presented the third president variously as a proponent of individual rights or of majority rule, as a unifier or a fierce partisan, and as a champion of either American nationalism or cosmopolitanism. Conscripted to serve Whigs and Democrats, abolitionists and slaveholders, unionists and secessionists, Populists and Progressives, and seemingly every side of almost every subsequent struggle, the only constant was that Jefferson’s image remained a mirror of Americans’ self-conscious conceptions of their nation’s virtues, values, and vices. Thomas Jefferson’s Lives brings together leading scholars of Jefferson and his era, all of whom embrace the challenge to assess some of the most important and enduring accounts of Jefferson’s life.
Contributors:Jon Meacham, presidential historian * Barbara Oberg, Princeton University * J. Jefferson Looney, Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello * Christine Coalwell McDonald, Westchester Community College * Robert M.S. McDonald, United States Military Academy * Andrew Burstein, Louisiana State University * Jan Ellen Lewis, Rutgers University * Richard Samuelson, California State University, San Bernardino * Nancy Isenberg, Louisiana State University * Joanne B. Freeman, Yale University * Brian Steele, University of Alabama at Birmingham * Herbert Sloan, Barnard College * R. B. Bernstein, City College of New York * Francis D. Cogliano, University of Edinburgh * Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University * Gordon S. Wood, Brown University
Andrew Johnson never expected to be president. But just six weeks after becoming Abraham Lincoln's vice president, the events at Ford's Theatre thrust him into the nation's highest office.
Johnson faced a nearly impossible task—to succeed America's greatest chief executive, to bind the nation's wounds after the Civil War, and to work with a Congress controlled by the so-called Radical Republicans. Annette Gordon-Reed, one of America's leading historians of slavery, shows how ill-suited Johnson was for this daunting task. His vision of reconciliation abandoned the millions of former slaves (for whom he felt undisguised contempt) and antagonized congressional leaders, who tried to limit his powers and eventually impeached him.
The climax of Johnson's presidency was his trial in the Senate and his acquittal by a single vote, which Gordon-Reed recounts with drama and palpable tension. Despite his victory, Johnson's term in office was a crucial missed opportunity; he failed the country at a pivotal moment, leaving America with problems that we are still trying to solve.
<ul><li>A foreword by Ken Burns, director of the PBS film The Roosevelts: An Intimate History</li>
<li>Doris Kearns Goodwin tells TIME how FDR became the leader we needed during the 20th century’s greatest crisis</li>
<li>Lavish and enlightening visuals illustrate the historical journey of one of America’s most celebrated families</li><ul>"
Catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after World War I, Herbert Hoover—an engineer by training—exemplified the economic optimism of the 1920s. As president, however, Hoover was sorely tested by America's first crisis of the twentieth century: the Great Depression.
Renowned New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg demonstrates how Hoover was blinkered by his distrust of government and his belief that volunteerism would solve all social ills. As Leuchtenburg shows, Hoover's attempts to enlist the aid of private- sector leaders did little to mitigate the Depression, and he was routed from office by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. From his retirement at Stanford University, Hoover remained a vocal critic of the New Deal and big government until the end of his long life.
Leuchtenburg offers a frank, thoughtful portrait of this lifelong public servant, and shrewdly assesses Hoover's policies and legacy in the face of one of the darkest periods of American history.
In Reagan's Disciple, two widely respected reporter/ historians provide an authoritative and concise investigation into these issues. They describe the essence of the 40th and the 43rd presidencies, and compare them to shed new light on the history of the past three decades. They show both how extraordinary a leader Reagan was, and how preposterous the expectations for Bush were from the beginning. As Americans look toward choosing a new leader in 2008, Reagan's Disciple will serve as an instructive tale for Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike.
Reagan’s greatest virtue wasn’t allegiance to country, but allegiance to God.
With warmth and insight, this best-selling book by Mary Beth Brown delves into the spiritual journey of America’s 40th president and offers profound stories of the provisions God made in Ronald Reagan’s life– from first making it as an actor to winning the presidency, from surviving an assassination attempt to eventually changing the face of politics and the world.
Supported by Ronald Reagan’s own words and writings plus firsthand interviews with his family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificent story that inspires as it informs. Reagan’s strong devotion to God will encourage believers to enter public service, allowing their faith to motivate their actions, and will draw focus to Christ’s matchless sacrifice–forever near and dear to President Reagan’s heart.