Franklin D. Roosevelt

March 4 Presidential Inauguration History Significant So Many Times In American History

Today is the original Presidential Inauguration Day through 1933 every fourth year.

Some March 4ths stand out.

1801–Thomas Jefferson is inaugurated, the first time an opposition party takes over the Presidency, and without any bloodshed or violence.

1829–Andrew Jackson is inaugurated, and a mob descends on the White House to celebrate, and windows, glasses, and China are broken.

1841–William Henry Harrison is inaugurated, gives the longest inaugural address in history, and takes sick with pneumonia that evening, and dies after one month in office.

1861–Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated at a time when Southern states have broken away from the Union and declared their independence.

1865–Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated for his second term, and gives the greatest Inaugural Address in American history, calling for peace and reconciliation when the Civil War ends, and his future assassin, John Wilkes Booth is in the crowd and moving toward the inaugural stand as Lincoln speaks.

1913–Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated as the Democrats, after a half century of Republican dominance of national government.

1933–Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated at the worst moments of the Great Depression, and FDR talks of a New Deal for the American people, the second greatest Inaugural Address, and the Congress pushes through the 20th Amendment, setting up future inauguration dates to be on January 20, starting in 1937.

Trump: “Socialism Is Corruption, Exploitation, Decay”. And What Is Unregulated Capitalism And A Trump Presidency?

Donald Trump is being a demagogue when he said recently that the Democratic Party opposition is promoting socialism, which he defines as “corruption, exploitation, and decay”.

The question is what is unregulated capitalism in the Trump Presidency, if it is not “corruption, exploitation, and decay”? Trump has no desire to regulate the worst evils and sins of capitalism.

If Trump is left to his motivations, he wishes to enrich only himself and the top one percent billionaires, and to hell with the quality of life of the rest of the nation.

If Trump were to have free reign, we would have the wiping out of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, the accomplishments of Barack Obama, and the environmental accomplishments of Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt.

If Trump could do just what he wanted, the alliances with Western Europe and Asia would be destroyed, in favor of allegiance to authoritarian dictators such Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Mohammed bin Salman.

If what FDR, LBJ, Obama, TR and so many others have done to make life better in the nation and in the world is to be considered “socialism”, then ok, we are a “socialist” nation, and need to keep on that track, as that brings out the best of American ingenuity and compassion and basic moral and ethical values.

The “Achilles Heel” Of Ten Presidents: What Harms Their Historical Reputation

When one studies the Presidency, it always comes down to one issue that can undermine their historical reputation.

So for John Adams, for example, it is the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

For James Madison, it is the burning of the White House and Capitol Hill in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812.

For Andrew Jackson, it is the forced removal of five Indian tribes to Oklahoma in the 1830s, the so called “Trail of Tears”.

For Franklin Pierce, it is the signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, bringing the nation closer to the Civil War of the future.

For Woodrow Wilson, it is the violation of civil liberties during the First World War, and immediately after, during the Red Scare of 1919-1920.

For Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

For Lyndon B. Johnson, it is the escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s.

For Richard Nixon, it is the engagement in the Watergate Scandal in the early 1970s.

For George W. Bush, it is the provoking of the Iraq War in 2003 and after.

And for Donald Trump, it is the collusion with the Russian government Vladimir Putin, which is going to bring down his Presidency.

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

America Will Never Be A “Socialist” Country, But We Have “Socialist” Ideas Americans Want To Keep: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental, Labor, Consumer, Health Care, Education, And Civil Rights Laws, All Which Make Capitalism Work Better!

Donald Trump attacked “Socialism” in the State of the Union address, knowing full well that is simply a code word to attack progressive reforms that have become part of the American tradition and system of social justice.

“Socialism” in America is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Environmental Laws, Federal Labor Laws, Federal Consumer Laws, Federal Health Care, Education and Civil Rights Laws.

These laws are the hard, years fought for, efforts of primarily Democrats and some moderate Republicans over the century since Theodore Roosevelt, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even contributions of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen and state governors who saw these laws as essential for American advancement.

We are a nation of capitalism but with “socialism” mixed in, due to the promotion of such legislation by the Socialist Party of the 20th century, and its leaders, including Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and most Americans support and see the need for the laws we have.

We are not going to go back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the 1960s, and the Obama era have made our nation better, and the right wing attack on all these reforms will be fought bitterly and defeated!

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Walter Mondale 91 Years Old, And Adds To Record Of Longest Surviving Retired Vice President, With Longest Surviving Retired President, Jimmy Carter

Today is former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 91st birthday, and he adds to the record daily as the longest surviving retired Vice President, sharing that with the longest surviving retired President, Jimmy Carter. Both will have been out of office for 38 years on January 20.

Mondale is at this point the 5th oldest Vice President in American history, with John Nance Garner (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) having reached the age of 98; Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) dying on his 96th birthday; George H. W. Bush (under Ronald Reagan) reaching the age of 94; and Gerald Ford (under Richard Nixon) reaching the age of 93. Only John Adams (under George Washington) otherwise reached the age of 90, surpassed by Mondale a few months ago.

Mondale also goes down as, in many ways, the most active, involved, and engaged Vice President we have ever had, although it does seem as if Joe Biden may have been as intimately involved with Barack Obama during their two terms of office, with more information on that involvement to follow with future research.

Happy 91st Birthday, Vice President Mondale, and many more, and the same for President Jimmy Carter, who will become the longest lived President on March 22 of this year; will reach 95 on October 1; and will have the longest Presidential marriage on October 17, with his beloved wife, Rosalynn.

Two Profiles In Courage, Harry Truman And Gerald Ford, Died On This Day

Today, December 26, marks the anniversary of the death of President Harry Truman in 1972, and of Gerald Ford in 2006.

Both Truman and Ford were rare, Presidents who succeeded to the office during the term of others elected, and both facing major challenges and being “Profiles in Courage”.

Both never actively sought the Presidency, did not have the driving ambition and motivation to run for President, and both were thrust into crises—Truman with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt before the end of World War II, and Ford with the resignation of Richard Nixon in the Watergate Crisis—that required firm determination to keep the nation united in difficult times.

Many may have wondered if either Truman nor Ford would meet the challenges they faced, but they both did, at a time now when we have the greatest crisis since at least the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and yet we have the most incompetent, amoral, unstable, and unprincipled President in all of American history, when what we need is a Harry Truman or Gerald Ford.

Sadly, it does not seem as if Mike Pence has the guts or commitment to do what needs to be done, to take action to assert the need for the 25th Amendment Section 4 to take away power for mental reasons from Donald Trump, or to push for his resignation, or for his Republican Party to take action in league with the Democratic Party, as the two parties did in 1974, pressuring Nixon to resign for the good of the nation.

Let us stop for a moment, however, to honor both Harry Truman and Gerald Ford as men who deserve our respect and approval for what they did to advance America in difficult times.

The Struggle Of Donald Trump With Chief Justice John Roberts More Dangerous Than Earlier Challenges Of Presidents To Supreme Court Chief Justices

Donald Trump has challenged Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court, just as he has challenged every other institution of government, but Chief Justice John Roberts seems well prepared to deal with Trump, if and when he gets out of hand.

It is certainly a dangerous struggle, as Donald Trump has an authoritarian bent unlike any earlier President, but it seems clear that Roberts is ready to do what must be done to keep the President within the Constitution.

Earlier in history, there were major confrontations of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson with Chief Justice John Marshall; Abraham Lincoln with Chief Justice Roger Taney; Franklin D. Roosevelt with Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes; Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon with Chief Justice Earl Warren; Richard Nixon with Chief Justice Warren Burger; and Barack Obama with Chief Justice John Roberts.

But Trump has demanded that the court system favor him in all of his executive orders, and other executive actions, but the Court has refused to back him on a regular basis, leading Trump to say that there are Clinton Judges, Obama Judges, and Bush Judges, but Roberts responding that there are no such descriptions, as all are dedicated to the rule of law, a true rebuke of the President.

On a recent executive order to deny asylum automatically to those who seek it, the Court ruled 5-4 against it, with Roberts joining the four Democratic appointments on the Court, and he has earlier upheld ObamaCare in 2012, and at other times, has sided against conservatives.

It is clear that Roberts sees the Supreme Court as “his Court”, and is concerned about the reputation of the Court long term, so one can be assured that if a case comes up against Trump trying to grab too much power, that he will, likely vote against him, as the entire Court, including three Nixon appointees, voted against him in US V. Nixon of 1974, and when the Court, including two Clinton appointees unanimously voted against Clinton in the Clinton V. Jones Case of 1997.