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.


June 4, 2023 58 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1939-1994 As we've seen in the podcast, certain circumstances coming together at just the right time can change the course of history for good or ill. In this episode, I am joined by author, historian, and White House correspondent Paul Brandus to discuss his new book, Countdown to Dallas: The Incredible Coincidences, Routines, and Blind "Luck" That Brought John F Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald Together on Novembe...
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Year(s) Discussed: 1812 In the aftermath of the surrender of Detroit, the Madison administration had to consider whether its strategy against Britain had already gone awry in the early days of the War of 1812. Meanwhile, in East Florida, the arrival of a new colonial governor boded ill for the Patriot cause. Sources used for this episode can be found at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
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May 14, 2023 99 mins
Tenure of Office: May 15, 1809 - January 1, 1813 Rising through the political ranks in South Carolina, Paul Hamilton was called to national service for the first time by President Madison to serve as his Secretary of the Navy. In this episode, I am joined by my husband Alex to explore the life and career of this lesser-known Cabinet member to determine what legacy he left behind and whether it makes him worthy of a seat at the tabl...
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April 30, 2023 55 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1812 With the path to war set, the Madison administration had to develop a strategy to prosecute warfare against Great Britain. On top of logistical difficulties, having a Secretary of War and a Secretary of the Navy with little to no military experience didn't help matters, and Congress hoped to force Madison's hand at changing up his Cabinet. Meanwhile, agents spurred on by the American government launched atta...
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April 16, 2023 97 mins
Tenure of Office: March 7, 1809 - January 13, 1813 After his service as a surgeon on the battlefields of the Revolutionary War, William Eustis of Massachusetts began a political career which would bring him to serve as the 6th US Secretary of War in the Madison administration. Joined by Craig Baird of Canadian History Ehx, in this episode we explore Eustis's life and legacy in order to decide whether he should be offered a seat at ...
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April 9, 2023 70 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1810-1812 Tensions had been building for years between Britain and the United States. By June 1812, the American government was ready to take action. The circumstances by which they would declare war, however, were far from ideal, and it was only due to a series of events on both sides of the Atlantic that a war was entered into that potentially could have been avoided. Meanwhile, the first half of 1812 would bea...
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March 26, 2023 124 mins
Tenure of Office: January 20, 1807 - December 5, 1811 A member of the politically prominent Rodney family of Delaware, Caesar A Rodney was recruited to service in the US House of Representatives by none other than Thomas Jefferson and a few years later was invited to join his Cabinet as Attorney General. With Åsa and Chris of A Flatpack History of Sweden, I explore Rodney's life and career in this episode to determine what legacy h...
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March 12, 2023 48 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1811-1812 In 1811, President Madison brought in a new US Minister who he felt might actually be able to navigate the complicated diplomatic intrigues of the Napoleonic French government to bring about a resolution to long-standing issues with that government as he and his administration worked with Congress to set the nation on a path of war with Great Britain. Meanwhile, on the border with East Florida, American...
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February 26, 2023 65 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1807-1812 With changes happening in the nation's capital and abroad, the Madison administration worked as 1811 gave way to 1812 to navigate through new circumstances. In the House of Representatives, new leadership came to the forefront with an expansionist agenda. Around the same time, the nascent independence movements in Spanish America continued apace and Tecumseh traveled to the Gulf South to recruit nations...
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February 19, 2023 101 mins
Tenure of Office: August 7, 1805 - December 14, 1806 After a few initial fits and starts, John Breckinridge propelled himself to become a prominent leader in the state of Kentucky before moving on to the national scene and ultimately into the Cabinet of Thomas Jefferson as the 5th US Attorney General. Join me and my special guest, Nick from the 10ish Podcast, as we explore his life and career and determine whether Breckinridge earn...
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February 5, 2023 58 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1810-1811 As a new British Minister made his way to the US, a naval engagement off the Eastern Seaboard further complicated relations between the United States and United Kingdom. In Washington, President Madison had to figure out how to approach the situation with the French as he and his administration began to plot on how to foment rebellion in East Florida as they had successfully done in Baton Rouge. Meanwhi...
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January 22, 2023 112 mins
Tenure of Office: July 27, 1801-March 4, 1809 (as Secretary of the Navy); March 6, 1809-April 1, 1811 (as Secretary of State) Propelled to national office by circumstance, Robert Smith's time in the Cabinet would be a tale of two presidencies. While achieving much success as Jefferson's Secretary of the Navy, he would become embroiled in political controversy as Madison's first Secretary of State. Together with my special guest, Za...
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January 15, 2023 54 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1810-1811 As President Madison struggled to fill various vacant positions in both the executive and judicial branches, the administration's enemies in Congress gathered their forces to take on an institution that had been in the cross hairs of some Democratic-Republican leaders for the twenty years since its original inception - the Bank of the United States. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin forced M...
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January 1, 2023 51 mins
Tenure of Office: May 14, 1801 - February 8, 1814 After being forced out of his post as Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin spent the next few decades serving in numerous diplomatic postings abroad, writing essays on various topics, being nominated as Vice-President, and even challenging the policies of Andrew Jackson. With my special guest, Andy of the History of Africa podcast, we explore the remainder of Gallatin's life before d...
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December 25, 2022 90 mins
Tenure of Office: May 14, 1801 - February 8, 1814 A descendant of a leading Genevese family, Albert Gallatin made his way across the Atlantic and rose to prominence as a Democratic-Republican leader before being recruited by Thomas Jefferson to serve as his Secretary of the Treasury. With my special guest, Andy of the History of Africa podcast, we explore his early career and his tenure of office in the Jefferson and Madison admini...
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December 11, 2022 55 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1809-1811 As news of Macon's Bill No. 2 reached Europe, US Minister John Armstrong worked to take advantage of the increasingly precarious situation for the French in order to secure a deal with the government of Emperor Napoleon that would restore open trade with that nation. Back in the US, President Madison struggled to address the worsening relations with Great Britain while administration officials in the Or...
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November 28, 2022 99 mins
Tenure of Office: May 2, 1801 - March 3, 1809 Picking up where we left off in Part One, join me and my special guest, Kenny Ryan from [Abridged] Presidential Histories, as we examine the remainder of James Madison's tenure as Secretary of State as well as touch on the highlights of his post-Cabinet career (Spoiler alert: He made it to an office even higher than Secretary of State) before bringing it all together with a discussion ...
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November 21, 2022 58 mins
How better to celebrate the upcoming holiday season than by getting together with some podcasting friends! I hope you'll take some time to check out this conversation that I had with Alycia from Civics & Coffee, Howard from Plodding Through the Presidents, and Kenny from [Abridged] Presidential Histories. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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November 13, 2022 104 mins
Tenure of Office: May 2, 1801 - March 3, 1809 Regular listeners of the podcast may have heard of this guy a time or two thus far, but there's still so much more to know about the career of James Madison leading up to his becoming the fifth Secretary of State. In this episode, I and my special guest, Kenny Ryan of [Abridged] Presidential Histories, explore his life up to his taking charge of the State Department then examine how he ...
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October 30, 2022 47 mins
Year(s) Discussed: 1810-1811 With the Spanish government on the Iberian peninsula in disarray, people in their colonial holdings in the Americas had to figure out what to do in the meantime. Some decided to stay the course with current leadership while others used the opportunity to try to bring about political change on the ground. While also feeling the impact of decisions being made in other parts of Spanish America, the Madison...
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