National Archives

National Archives Office Of Presidential Libraries Excellent Site For All Presidential Museums From Herbert Hoover To Barack Obama

At a time when this blogger and author is adding to his list of Presidential Libraries and Museums that he has visited in person, this is a good time to make clear to my readers that an excellent site to explore, which is listed on the right side of my blog, is the National Archives Office of Presidential Libraries, which includes information on the libraries and museums of all President since Herbert Hoover through to Barack Obama, so a total of 14 such institutions.

The Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum is being planned to open in 2021 in Chicago, and it will add to the long list of reasons for tourists, as well as scholars, to visit Chicago.

This author has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the libraries of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, so a total of 10 of the 13 museums that are open.

The problem with the Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George H. W. Bush Libraries and Museums are their relative inaccessibility, particularly the case of the first two Presidents having their museums in Iowa and Kansas, quite far from major aviation hubs.

But hopefully, at some point, there will be an opportunity to visit the Houston, Texas metropolitan area, and travel the distance to the first Bush Library in College Station, Texas, at the campus of Texas A & M University.

Gerald Ford Presidency And Reputation Saved By Losing Election In 1976 To Jimmy Carter!

Just as we are commemorating the 90th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter, we have news from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and the National Archives, that Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was plotting to have the US mount a full scale invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, due to that nation’s military intervention in Angola, which infuriated Kissinger.

Appparently, the plan was to wait for the Presidential Election Of 1976 to be resolved, with the belief that Ford would defeat the former Georgia Governor, but that did not happen!

Carter’s victory led to a decision not to intervene in Cuba, and Henry Kissinger was retired as Secretary of State when Gerald Ford left the Presidency on January 20, 1977.

This was a lucky development for Ford, who apparently was preparing to support Kissinger’s invasion idea.

While some would have applauded the overthrow of Fidel Castro, the idea that this nation, unprovoked directly by Cuba, would have used military action, show recklessness, as there was no certainty how the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev would have reacted, is startling. The Soviet Union in 1976 was a lot stronger militarily than it was in 1962!

We could have had another Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought us closer to World War III, again in 1976 or 1977!

Ford’s judgment was wrong on this, and the fact that Jimmy Carter, has saved Gerald Ford’s historical reputation by his defeat of Ford, is an amazing story!

Gerald Ford’s reputation in his brief Presidency has risen lately, but the revelation of this plot against Cuba, unprovoked, MIGHT bring down his reputation long term, which is regrettable.

But, literally, Jimmy Carter saved Gerald Ford from a massive mistake, by defeating him!

Celebration Of Knowledge: The 214th Anniversary Of The Library Of Congress In Washington, DC!

This weekend, the nation commemorates the 214th anniversary of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the national library of the United States!

Anyone who has done scholarly research, as this author has, or anyone who has read any book published in the US or worldwide that has been available in the United States, owes a lot to the Library of Congress, as it catalogues all books, prints, photographs, manuscripts, periodicals, newspapers, and every other kind of venue for knowledge that exists!

Spending many months in the Manuscript Division, as this author did in the early 1970s for his dissertation/ book which was published in 1981, made one fall in love with the institution, and realize how fortunate this nation is for this institution, and its three magnificent buildings in the nation’s capitol, along with research facilities and repositories all over the country.

In league with the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress gives the nation and the world unprecedented access to the “hospital of the mind,” the knowledge that expands human aspirations and activity, and makes the world a better place!

A Day To Celebrate Promotion Of Human Rights: 150th Anniversary Of Emancipation Proclamation!

Today marks the most momentous day in all of American history, regarding the promotion of human rights! It is the 150th anniversary of the issuance by President Abraham Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation!

Lincoln had issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, five days after the bloody Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the Civil War. His entire cabinet was opposed to what he did, and had doubts about the final issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation 100 days later.

But Abraham Lincoln had the guts, the courage, the conviction that ending slavery was an essential part of the advancement of American democracy, and would help promote the victory of the Union forces over the Confederacy.

Lincoln knew that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a pledge to end slavery, and that the only true way to bring it about was military victory, and the passage two years later of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, an event excellently portrayed in the movie LINCOLN, with Daniel Day-Lewis portraying the events leading to the passage of that amendment by the House of Representatives.

Slavery’s end did not mean an easy time or adjustment for African Americans or the nation, as racial violence and discrimination would be a sad part of the future, but it was a necessary step forward on the march of human rights, including later passage of the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, the 26th Amendment, the various Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968), and significant Supreme Court decisions on civil rights of women, minorities, labor, young people, and gays and lesbians.

The march of time has been toward the granting of greater human rights, but it all began with Lincoln’s courageous gamble, 150 years ago today, and for that, as so much else, all Americans should salute him today!

And it is inspiring to see massive lines at the National Archives in Washington, DC, as the Emancipation Proclamation is on view for a limited time to celebrate the event, but with the need to preserve a document which is in fragile condition after a century and a half of existence.

What Lincoln did in 1863 is connected to the whole long range story of American history, the expansion of human rights for all, and this is what draws foreigners to wish to come to America, the land of liberty and opportunity!

Richard Nixon After 37 Years: What It Tells Us About The GOP Race For President!

Richard Nixon’s grand jury testimony, given in 1975 after he resigned as a result of the Watergate Scandal, and was given a pardon by Gerald Ford in 1974, shows the same Richard Nixon we know–manipulative as always, feeling sorry for himself, and avoiding responsibility for ANYTHING! The National Archives and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library released new evidence a few days ago.

He is a master of the filibuster, as his party has been conducting in recent years in the Senate!

He claims to have no recollection of lots of details, even though he was the master detail man in the Presidency!

Nixon tries to explain away the famous 18 and a half minute gap as maybe a blank spot never erased!

Nixon spent a lot of time in the 298 pages of grand jury testimony talking about his love of foreign affairs, and in complaints about the brutal nature of politics, which he, of course, heavily contributed to!

Imagine if he was around in the age of the internet and blogs and the 24 hour news cycle, when he complained at the time about constant assault from the electronic news media for 30 minutes per evening!

Nixon portrays himself as the victim , a favored tactic of Sarah Palin and other Republicans today who love to attack the media for exposing their fallacies and shortcomings!

He also talks about his fragile health, emphasizing that he could die any minute because of his trouble in the fall of 1974 with leg phlebitis.

So he wants pity, and to be given a pass, and is insulted that he was not given one!

Reading Nixon should make us aware of the dangers of selecting for presidential nominations or elections ANY candidate who makes himself out to be a victim, who has demonstrated lack of ethics, who has obvious mental problems, who is ill informed, who says inappropriate things in debates, who acts strangely in ways that we can see–in other words, ALL of the GOP candidates except Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul! And this includes a much rumored candidate, who thankfully, did not run–Sarah Palin!

In Times Of Disillusionment About Government, Something To Be Proud Of!

In this time, when disillusionment about our national government is at its peak, it is nice to stop and reflect about something government does that we can all be proud of!

One might ask: What can that possibly be? The answer is today is the 211th anniversary of the creation of the Library of Congress, our national library in Washington, DC, which holds our most significant national treasures, along with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives!

Approved under John Adams for its first appropriation, the Thomas Jefferson personal library became the basis of much of the early library holdings.

Despite two major fires in the War of 1812 by the British and in the 1850s by pure coincidence, the library continued to grow, and is considered the largest library in the world, as well as the national library of the United States, containing the manuscript collections of most of the Presidents through Calvin Coolidge, as well as thousands of other famous Americans in all fields of endeavor.

Additionally, more than 17 million books are contained within the Library, which has three major buildings, and includes all published monographs in the nation, as well as many from overseas, with all published books having a Library of Congress number.

Also, there are millions of maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, prints, and drawings within the various departments of the Library of Congress, and the Congressional Research Service does heavy duty work for all members of the legislative branch.

Some of the best days of the author’s life were spent years ago doing research in the Library of Congress, spending many months researching for eight hours a day for the book he published, with the hours going by very quickly, often forgetting lunch, being fascinated by the documents and manuscripts one was holding in his own hand!

The quest for knowledge goes on, and it is the best part of what American government does, and as one thinks about the problems and crises of the past, it gives one hope that somehow we will deal with the future as we coped with the past!

In any case, knowledge is power, and one must NEVER forget that!

The Tragedy Of Revolutions And Wars: Destruction Of Historical Artifacts! :(

We are now discovering that one of the great tragedies of the Egyptian Revolution, overall seen as positive in tone, is the unfortunate destruction or stealing of historical artifacts.

This happened in Iraq after the US invasion in 2003, a real tragedy, as Iraq, of course, is the site of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization.

Now, apparently at least 17 artifacts have been found missing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, including a statue of King Tut, and that is a tremendous loss that cannot be measured.

The problem with revolutions and wars is that it leads to lack of respect and reverence for our historical past on this earth, due to the total breakdown of law and order.

Just imagine the horror if America’s national treasures were to be destroyed or stolen, and realize the upset historians have right now that a researcher in the National Archives damaged a manuscript of President Abraham Lincoln, a pardon of a soldier with his signature, dated April 14, 1864, and changed to make it appear as if it was signed on the day of Lincoln’s death in 1865! 🙁

If all of us, both in this country and elsewhere, do not respect and revere historical documents, artifacts, and buildings in a proper way, then we have destroyed our heritage as much as damage to the environment affects the long run of civilization!

Hopefully, the stolen artifacts from the Egyptian Museum, including the statue of King Tut, will be recovered and still be in good shape to be put back in the museum to educate and enlighten future generations of both Egyptians and tourists from all over the world!

The Ghost Of Richard Nixon Returns To Haunt Us! Ethnic Slurs On Newly Released Watergate Tapes! :(

Sixteen years after the death of President Richard Nixon, and 36 years after he resigned the Presidency in disgrace, the evil side of the 37th President again arises to haunt us.

With the transcription and release of more of the Watergate tapes that has continued as a project of the National Archives for many years now, the voice and thoughts of Richard Nixon and those around him keep on coming back to remind us of the tragedy of this man.

A really brilliant person, Nixon had his demons, which includes insecurity, paranoia tendencies, and the belief that his critics were enemies that had to be investigated and destroyed. But he also had disgraceful attitudes toward different ethnic groups in America, and it shows in great detail on the latest revelations of the White House tapes.

His rants against Jews, African Americans, Italian Americans and Irish Americans are despicable, and contribute to a lowering of his historical image, even with the effort of many scholars to try to show the major contributions he made to foreign and domestic policy.

It is clear that Richard Nixon in many ways had an admirable record as President, but his use of foul language, his ethnic hatreds, his mental instability that led to his authorization of illegal and unethical acts in office, and the fact that his top staff people knew that they could engage in reprehensible behavior and that Nixon would approve of such actions, continues to weigh down on the 37th President, and prevent a full rehabilitation of his character and record.

This is a sad set of circumstances, and in a way, Nixon continues to haunt us and mystify us at the same time! 🙁

Controversy Over Watergate At Nixon Library At 36th Anniversary Of Resignation!

This coming Monday will mark 36 years since the resignation of President Richard Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal!

Watergate was controversial at the time, and it has remained a divisive matter for all of these years! It is constantly reviving as an issue as more Nixon tapes are transcribed and released to the public and to scholars!

The Nixon Library was organized as a private institution, but now has come under the National Archives, and the debate is raging how to treat the Watergate scandal and the impeachment inquiry in Congress for visitors to the library!

At the moment, there is an empty area of the library as there is no agreement over how the scandal and constitutional controversy should be presented to library patrons!

The exhibition has become one of the biggest controversies around, adding to Nixon’s image as possibly the most controversial modern President!

Much of the library showcases Nixon’s foreign policy accomplishments, and his outstanding domestic achievements as well, but Nixon sadly will always be the center of turmoil because of the illegal and unethical actions he took or supported, which led to the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War!

Will Richard Nixon ever “lie in peace” historically, or even at his Presidential library? Don’t count on it! 🙁