Presidencies of the United States

Presidencies of the United States

This podcast is devoted to exploring presidential history from the founding of the office in 1789 on through the present day. I plan to take a systematic approach to both the people and the events that have shaped and reshaped each administration and the office in general.

Episodes

May 22, 2022 110 min
Tenure of Office: June 18, 1798 - March 31, 1801 A merchant and land speculator by trade, Benjamin Stoddert's path to becoming the first Secretary of the Navy was an unconventional one. However, did this unique background contribute to success while in office? With my special guest, Stacey Roberts of the History's Trainwrecks podcast, we explore the life and legacy of this Marylander to better understand his role in preside...
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Year(s) Discussed: 1808-1809 The arrival of the new British Minister to the US, Francis James Jackson, was not necessarily seen as a good omen by the Madison administration for the prospect of healing the rift between the United States and Great Britain, and the negotiations once they started proved to be quite contentious. Meanwhile, in Europe, US Minister to France John Armstrong grew ever more frustrated with the Napoleonic gove...
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April 24, 2022 31 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1809 When the British government learned of the Erskine Agreement, it was not best pleased. In the summer of 1809, the Madison administration scrambled to deal with the ramifications of the British response while at the same time, two members of the Cabinet found themselves in opposition due to political infighting. Meanwhile, a similar row in the British ministry threatened to throw that government into turmoil....
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April 18, 2022 99 min
Tenure of Office: January 27, 1796 – June 2, 1800 James McHenry was the last individual appointed to the Cabinet of George Washington, but would being tapped to head the War Department by the esteemed first President lead to his tenure being viewed favorably by his contemporaries and by the annals of history? With my special guest, Kyle Väth of the Just Cincinnati podcast, we explore McHenry’s entire life and career along with the ...
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April 10, 2022 35 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1808-1809 A new congressional session provided an opportunity for the President and his wife to make their mark on the Washington political and social scene as they invited guests into the refurbished President’s House. Meanwhile, General James Wilkinson continued with his intrigues down in New Orleans, but rather than establishing a pseudo-dictatorship again, his affairs were more of a personal nature. Over in E...
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March 27, 2022 31 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1808-1809 In the first couple of months of his presidency, Madison not only dealt with a domestic political dispute but also managed to negotiate an agreement with the British Minister to the US to resolve issues with Great Britain. Unbeknownst to him, however, the continued instability in Europe would keep peace and prosperity just out of reach for his administration. Sources used for this episode can be found a...
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March 20, 2022 69 min
Tenure of Office: December 10, 1795 – March 4, 1801 Charles Lee served as legal counsel during some of the most notable trials of the Early Republic, but does that mean that his tenure as Attorney General is equally remarkable? With my special guest, Kenny from [Abridged] Presidential Histories, we explore his life and career to determine what he contributed to the Washington and Adams administrations as well as to American history...
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March 13, 2022 35 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1809 Though James Madison was seen as being Thomas Jefferson’s successor, it became clear starting with his inauguration that his presidency would be different from his predecessor’s, for better or worse. While the public got to see a more festive social tone as set by Dolley Madison, behind the scenes, the president struggled to get political support for a key Cabinet nomination. Sources used for this episode ca...
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February 27, 2022 63 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1785-1809 After scoring some key political victories in Virginia, Madison decided to lead an effort to reform the government of the United States. However, he would find that getting the Constitutional Convention to agree on a new federal structure was only half the battle, and he would soon acquire some powerful enemies in the ratification campaign. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidenci...
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February 20, 2022 113 min
Tenure of Office: February 3, 1795 – December 31, 1800 Oliver Wolcott, Jr had big shoes to fill when he assumed office as the second Secretary of the Treasury. With my special guests, Lucy and Michelle from Tudoriferous, we explore his life and career to determine whether this member of the Washington and Adams administrations was truly up to the task of running the largest Cabinet department in the early republic. Featured Image: ...
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February 6, 2022 54 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1653-1785 As part of a family that had been on a steady rise in society since its earliest days in the Virginia colony, James Madison, Jr. was expected to do great things from the time of his birth, but his family could scarcely have imagined the heights to which he would rise. After an accelerated collegiate career and a few initial stumbles as a young man, Madison gradually worked his way into becoming a force ...
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January 30, 2022 118 min
Tenure of Office: January 2, 1795 – December 10, 1795 (as Secretary of War); December 10, 1795 – May 12, 1800 (as Secretary of State) Timothy Pickering’s tenure in the Washington and Adams administrations is arguably one of the most notorious in the early republic. Thus, I had to call on Eric and Matt from the Ranking ’76: The American West podcast to join me in exploring the life of this infamous historical figure and determine wh...
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January 23, 2022 37 min
You asked, and I answered! As we wrap up our series on Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, listeners submitted questions ranging from Franco-American relations during Jefferson’s tenure to what pets he kept to how would I go about explaining Jefferson’s complex legacy to him. Listen in as I answer your final questions about the man from Monticello and his impact on American history. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://p...
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January 9, 2022 64 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1809-1826 After leaving the presidency, Thomas Jefferson found himself kept quite busy with both public business and personal matters. While striving to be a doting grandfather and fretting over his family’s life struggles, the former president worked in vain to escape the vicious cycle of debt in which he had become trapped. Meanwhile, he used his retirement to take on the task of improving public education in V...
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December 14, 2021 60 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1807-1809 As the end of Jefferson’s second term neared, the Embargo Act came under increasing criticism at home, Napoleon’s plans for conquest continued apace in Europe, and the nation chose the man who would become the fourth President of the United States. Though the clock had not struck on his presidency, his last months in office would find the man who had been a leader for decades take a step back as his tho...
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December 5, 2021 69 min
Tenure of Office: January 27, 1794 – August 23, 1795 Though William Bradford wasn’t Attorney General for long, he did have an impact on some key events in the Washington administration. With my special guest for this episode, we examine his life and career to understand what sort of a legacy Bradford left. Thanks so much to my special guest for this episode, Jacob from the Podcast on Germany, and special thanks to Alex Van Rose for...
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November 21, 2021 49 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1806-1808 As the 1808 presidential election neared, the infighting in the Democratic-Republican faction was exacerbated by not one but two challengers to Secretary of State James Madison’s candidacy – Vice President George Clinton and former US Minister to Britain James Monroe. Meanwhile, Napoleon’s constant wars in Europe continued to impact US foreign policy, and the Jefferson administration began a new round o...
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November 7, 2021 141 min
Tenure of Office: March 22, 1790 – December 31, 1793 We’ve spent a good amount of time in the narrative talking about Jefferson as the third US president, but in this episode, while also exploring his life and career as a whole, we focus in a bit on Jefferson’s tenure as Secretary of State in the Washington administration. Thanks so much to my special guests for this episode, Howard and Jess from Plodding Through the Presidents! Fe...
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October 24, 2021 54 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1806-1808 With a diplomatic resolution to the Chesapeake/Leopard affair looking increasingly unlikely and the threat of war looming, President Jefferson and his administration worked in late 1807 to devise an alternative to war while also preparing for the nation’s defense. Meanwhile, James Monroe’s frustrations continued in London while there was a shift in power in Congress. Sources used for this episode can be...
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October 3, 2021 68 min
Year(s) Discussed: 1806-1807 Little did the Jefferson administration, while preparing to prosecute the former Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, for treason, that they would be faced at the same time with an external challenge that threatened to plunge the nation into war. In mid-1807, the President, his Cabinet, and the nation were all anxious for the latest information from the Burr trial in Richmond as well as whet...
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