George Washington

Presidents Who Served As US Ambassadors To Foreign Nations

This author and blogger has so far examined the history of Presidents serving as members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate, as State Governors, and as Cabinet Officers.

Now, let’s examine those 8 Presidents who served as US Ambassadors to foreign nations:

John Adams as Ambassador to Great Britain during the Continental Congress

Thomas Jefferson as Ambassador to France during the Continental Congress

James Monroe as Ambassador to France during the George Washington Presidency, and to Great Britain during the Thomas Jefferson Presidency

John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to the Netherlands during the George Washington and John Adams Presidencies; to Germany during the John Adams Presidency; to Russia and to Great Britain during the James Madison Presidency

Martin Van Buren as Ambassador to Great Britain during the Andrew Jackson Presidency

William Henry Harrison as Ambassador to Colombia during the John Quincy Adams Presidency

James Buchanan as Ambassador to Great Britain during the Franklin Pierce Presidency

George H. W. Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations during the Richard Nixon Presidency and as Chief of the US Liaison Office in China during the Gerald Ford Administration.

The most common Ambassadorship was to Great Britain, where five of the eight Presidents listed above served.

Cabinet Officers And The Presidency

Continuing our examination of the background of America’s Presidents, we will now look at the Presidency in relation to those who have held Cabinet positions under other Presidents.

So far, we have seen that there were 19 Presidents who served in the House of Representatives, 17 who served as Governors of their states, and 16 who served in the US Senate.

In regards to Cabinet officers a total of 8 Presidents served in a total of three different Cabinet positions.

Six of the 8 served as Secretary of State, including:

Thomas Jefferson under George Washington
James Madison under Thomas Jefferson
James Monroe under James Madison twice with a break of about a year when he served also as Secretary of War during the War of 1812, but then returned to the State Department.
John Quincy Adams under James Monroe
Martin Van Buren under Andrew Jackson
James Buchanan under James K. Polk

James Monroe served for about a year as Secretary of War under James Madison, as stated above, and William Howard Taft served in that position under Theodore Roosevelt..

Finally, Herbert Hoover served as Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge before running for President in 1928. Arguably, Hoover proved to be one of the best Cabinet officers in all of American history, and added great distinction to a Cabinet agency not much thought of as a major position otherwise.

Additionally, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt served as sub cabinet members under William McKinley and Woodrow Wilson respectively, both as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Also, William Howard Taft served as Solicitor General of the United States, the government’s lawyer before the Supreme Court, under President Benjamin Harrison.

229th Anniversary Of First Presidential Inauguration Of George Washington In 1789: A Moment To Reflect On The Dangers To The Presidency As An Institution

On this day, April 30, in 1789, George Washington was inaugurated, 57 days late, in lower Manhattan in New York City, as the first President of the United States, setting important standards for Presidential actions and behavior over the next two and more centuries.

Washington arrived late due to the need to plant the crops on his Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, and traveled by horse from Virginia to NYC, being wined and dined along the way.

So Washington was the only President to serve two terms, but less than eight years, due to the loss of those 57 days in his first term, but his second term ending on March 4, 1797.

Two hundred years later, President George H. W. Bush commemorated the bicentennial of that event in New York City.

Now we have a President who challenges the institution of the Presidency in dangerous ways, and wishes he could be President for life, rather than the constitutional limit of two terms or ten years if succeeding during the last half of the term, as set up in the 22nd Amendment, passed through Congress in 1947, and ratified and going into effect in 1951, affecting all future Presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower onward.

Any person with rationality and knowledge of the history of America well knows that the threat of Donald Trump is real, and that the news media, the Congress, and the Judiciary must coordinate their efforts to remove him from office, as he has already done great damage to the institution of the Presidency.

We have not survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and the danger of Richard Nixon, to allow ourselves to be undermined by the clear and present danger of Donald Trump!

March 4 In Presidential History

March 4 is part of Presidential history from 1789 through 1933, as the 20th Amendment, ratified later that year, changed Inauguration Day to January 20, starting in 1937.

March 4, 1789 was the day that the newly ratified Constitution went into effect, but George Washington was not in New York City on that day to be inaugurated the first President, only arriving 57 days late and being inaugurated at Federal Hall in lower Manhattan on April 30, 1789, so therefore did not serve a full eight years, as his second term ended on March 4, 1797.

March 4, 1801 saw the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, and the world witnessed the first peaceful transition of power from one political party to another, and the losing party and candidate gracefully exiting.

March 4, 1829 saw the inauguration of Andrew Jackson, “the people’s President”, first born as NOT part of the aristocracy, and seen as representing the “common man”.

March 4, 1841, saw the inauguration of the first Whig President, William Henry Harrison, who gave the longest inauguration speech without a topcoat in cold, rainy conditions in Washington, DC, and proceeded to fall into illness, believed to be pneumonia, confined to bed and at times in a coma, until he died exactly one month later, April 4, 1841.

March 4, 1857, President James Buchanan was so sick that he considered bypassing a public ceremony of inauguration, but went through the motions, and then was in bed recovering for two weeks, before being able to lead the nation.

March 4, 1861, after a dangerous trek from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, DC, and surviving a potential plot on his life (Baltimore Plot), Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as the first Republican President, in the midst of seven states having declared their secession from the Union, and only six weeks to the outbreak of the Civil War.

March 4, 1865, the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, and the giving of the most famous Inaugural Address, “With Malice toward none, with Charity for all”, Lincoln did not know that his future assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was in the inauguration crowd, and was moving toward the Inauguration stand as Lincoln spoke.

March 4, 1885, Grover Cleveland was sworn in as the first Democratic President since before the Civil War.

March 4, 1913, Woodrow Wilson was sworn in as the first Democratic President in a generation, and only the second since the Civil War.

March 4, 1933, the last such inauguration date, Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as the nation was in the worst moments of the Great Depression, and he gave the second most remembered Inauguration speech, “Let me assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, and rallied the nation around what came to be known as the New Deal.

Donald Trump, The Laziest And Least Knowledgeable President Since 1900, If Not Before

It is difficult to know for certain how hard working our Presidents from George Washington to William McKinley were, as available sources cannot often pinpoint the work habits of the 24 Presidents before 1900.

It is much easier to pinpoint the work habits of the 20 Presidents since 1901, from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump.

It is also clear that being President is a tough, challenging job, and one does not have to be President to understand that reality.

But then, we have Donald Trump, who has expressed surprise at how difficult and complex and time consuming the Presidency is.

After all, Donald Trump has never truly worked that hard in his life, and always has had an advantage over others by his wealth and connections.

It is now clear that despite the burdens of the Presidency, that Donald Trump is the laziest and least knowledgeable President since 1900, if not before, but also likely.

Historians make clear how hard working and time consuming most Presidents have found their job and its duties.

William Howard Taft, being the heaviest President, took long naps daily, which makes it seem as if he was lazy to some, but clearly, Taft had a good mind, and a history of legal experience. He later became the only President to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as well, and no one has ever accused Taft in his nine years on the Court as not taking his job seriously.

Warren G. Harding was poorly qualified for the Presidency, and did not really like the job, and that he spent a lot of time engaging in love affairs and drinking alcohol in a time of Prohibition. But despite his generally disastrous Presidency, he comes across as still less lazy and far more knowledgeable than Donald Trump, and certainly more goodhearted and considerate of others who worked with him, and with the general public.

Calvin Coolidge, who was not at all overweight, also took a lot of naps, but despite that, he seems to have asserted himself, and his work load seems activist. His napping maybe was a way to cope with the loss of his younger son, Calvin, Jr at age 16 in 1924, just as he was running for a full term, after succeeding to the Presidency upon the death of Harding in 1923.

Dwight D. Eisenhower liked to delegate authority, and avoid dealing with many issues in detail, and was far less interested in dealing personally with every issue. But no one could accuse him of being lazy and lacking in knowledge, although many criticized his love of golf as a hobby during the White House years. But we must remember his military brilliance in World War II at D Day, and realize he was very capable of being President.

Ronald Reagan also liked to delegate authority, and liked longer vacations, but still could not be accused of lacking knowledge, or being overly lazy. His staff and his wife, Nancy Reagan, promoted an activist Presidency, and Reagan comes across as an activist President. He knew how to communicate in a positive way with the American people.

George W. Bush took many long vacations on his ranch in Texas, and seemed often poorly informed. He leaned too much on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, in his first term, but in the second term, his attention to issues and his commitment to his job grew, even though the results in his Presidency were often disastrous.

Once one goes beyond these six Presidents named above, there is no question that the other Presidents were committed to the work ethic, and had broad knowledge of the major issues of their times.

This is particularly true of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, who all governed in complex times with challenging issues to deal with on a daily basis.

But equally true is the competence and commitment of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Particularly “workaholic” Presidents would include TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, and Obama.

On the other hand, Donald Trump has spent more time on “vacation” than any President, and has shown ignorance and lack of interest in the details of his job. He spends more time playing golf; is constantly on attack against his critics on Twitter; and he eats unhealthy foods and drinks twelve Diet Cokes daily.

The man loves the title and the pomp and circumstance of the Presidency, but is extremely disinterested in the details of the issues he must deal with in domestic and foreign policy, and clearly is the laziest President in modern times, if not the entire history of the Presidency. He has undermined both domestic and foreign policy in dangerous ways.

The conclusion is that Donald Trump is ill equipped to be President, and disgraces the reputation of the office every day. If earlier Presidents were able to come back from the next world, they would be shocked at what harm he has done to the Presidency in just one short year! Heads would be shaking, and eyes rolling, without any doubt!

Trump Declares His Ten Month Presidency Best In American History–Is He For Real?

Donald Trump has, in recent days, declared that his ten month Presidency is the best in American history, that no President has accomplished more than he has!

Is Donald Trump for real?

Is he totally delusional, or just a great massive liar?

He demonstrates his total ignorance of American history, as he forgets the first ten months of many other Presidencies.

Woodrow Wilson in 1913; Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933; Harry Truman in 1945; John F. Kennedy in 1961; Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964; Ronald Reagan in 1981; Barack Obama in 2009—all accomplished much more.

So did Abraham Lincoln in 1861; James K. Polk in 1845; Andrew Jackson in 1829; Thomas Jefferson in 1801; and George Washington in 1789.

Even far less significant Presidents accomplished more in their first ten months to a year.

And beyond the first nine to ten months or year, many other Presidents accomplished a great deal, with no sign that Donald Trump, were he to survive, would be able to do so.

After all, NO legislation has been passed, absolutely NONE!

His one accomplishment is Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, accomplished only by changing the filibuster rules of the US Senate.

Trump has done great damage to the judiciary; to the diplomatic community; to many government agencies through destructive appointments and actions by the executive branch.

NOTHING that has been done can be seen in a positive light, and all he cares about is his own self image.

Trump is out to destroy, rather than construct, and is uninterested in facts, and prefers conspiracy theories.

Donald Trump is a very sick man, a danger to the nation, and yet the Republican controlled Congress stands by, and refuses to take action against the menace that Donald Trump represents.

We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis, and it might not work out well.

Presidents Who Were Most Prolific Authors In Life Or After Their Deaths

The issue of the intellectual prowess of Presidents is a significant one, in a time of a President who does not display much intellectual interest or talents.

Of course, ability to write and communicate in diaries or in books is not the only area of competence for a President, but we are fortunate that so many Presidents contributed to our nation in their writings.

First, however, is which Presidents did NOT contribute any significant writings in print or in diaries, although many left behind a massive amount of manuscripts, which historians have utilized in their published books on Presidents.

The list would include, chronologically, the following 20 Presidents.

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Chester Alan Arthur
William McKinley
William Howard Taft
Warren G. Harding
Franklin D. Roosevelt

A long list of Presidents (24) wrote diaries, Memoirs, or autobiographies, or other published works in their lifetime, or after their deaths, including, chronologically:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
James K. Polk
James Buchanan
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Theodore Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump

Of all of these 24 who contributed published works, only a few, however, were voluminous, substantial, and could be described as prolific.

John Quincy Adams, with his 69 year diary in 48 volumes, would be one such case.

James K. Polk. with his 4 volume diary, would be another.

Theodore Roosevelt was extremely active as an author, and Woodrow Wilson was an active academic, which explains his large amount of publishing.

Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, all with long retirements, were prolific, and Carter has continued to be so.

Barack Obama is expected to join this group of prolific authors, and had two books before his Presidency, similar to John F. Kennedy, who clearly would have contributed more, had he not been assassinated.

So this is a summary of the literary intellectual life of our 44 Presidents!

The Issue Of Confederate Statues And Monuments In Public Places Outside Of Museums

The controversy that erupted over the Charlottesville tragedy has led to a call to remove Confederate atatues and monuments in public places outside of museums.

The descendants of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis have called for the statues of their forebears to be taken down.

A call has gone out for Confederate statues in the US Capitol Rotunda to be taken down. Bills are being introduced to accomplish this goal.

We are talking here about people who were ultimately traitors to the United States.

To compare Lee to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson as slave owners is preposterous, as we are talking about TREASON, and nothing else.

It is time to stop commemorating and honoring people who wished to destroy the American nation.

We are not expecting everyone to be perfect, but treason is something unique, and realize these and other Confederate leaders ultimately caused the death of 360,000 Union soldiers and 250,00 Confederate soldiers.

Also, realize that Jefferson Davis worked to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

So the time has come to say atatues and monuments belong in museums, but not in parks or in government buildings.

So, for example, the excellent Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia is an appropriate location for such statues and monuments, and this blogger has visited that museum and has no issue with them having such statues and memorials. I learned a lot at that museum, and appreciate that it is there, and is such a good museum in context.

Also, state history museums can have these statues and monuments, and record the history of the state, including the Civil War.

But in public government buildings, other than museums, and in parks, it is inappropriate and time to end the “worship” of people who committed treason.

Germany does not honor Nazi Germany in public places, and neither should we honor people who worked to undermine the American nation, and wished to keep slavery alive for the long term!

Donald Trump Totally Delusional, Comparing Himself To Lincoln, And Suggesting Mount Rushmore For Himself!

Donald Trump is totally delusional, and he is becoming more embarrassing by the day.

He is telling us now that he is more “Presidential” than any President except the “great” Abraham Lincoln, who would not give him the time of day if he were to have met him, as he would see that Trump is simply an egotist, a narcissist, a braggart, a bully, a BS artist, a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe, a nativist, a liar, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, an obnoxious personality, and innumerable other adjectives, all which would cause Lincoln to reject him, as he was a man of character.

Trump has no historical knowledge, so he thinks he has accomplished more in six months than anyone ever has, when he has accomplished less than any President ever in American history!

He seems not to know about Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, or Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society, or Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom, or others who had a dramatic and positive effect on the nation and very rapidly.

And Trump imagines himself, as he said in a speech two days ago, that he might be a future candidate for Mount Rushmore, because he is on the level of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt in his own delusional mind!

One can imagine the rolling eyes and shaking heads of these Presidents in the afterlife as they look at Donald Trump, and the total embarrassment he is to the institution of the American Presidency!

The “Middle” President: From Washington-Adams-Jefferson To Bush II-Obama-Trump

Now we can say that five times in our history, we have had three Presidents in a row, where the “middle” President of the set of three stands out as dramatically worse or better than the President before and after him.

First, we have George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, with Adams being seen historically as less in reputation than the other two Presidents.

Second, we have James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Johnson, with Lincoln being the success between two total failures in the Presidency.

Then, we have Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, with Taft seen historically as less in reputation than the other two Presidents.

The fourth example is Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, with Bush seen historically as less in reputation than the other two Presidents.

And now, we have the fifth example, of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, but this time, as with the second case, it is the “middle” President, Barack Obama, who far outshines the other two Presidents!