Political Musings April 11, 2014: Obama honors Lyndon B. Johnson and Civil Rights Act at 50th anniversary summit

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama honors Lyndon B. Johnson and Civil Rights Act at 50th anniversary summit

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Fifty years ago on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the most sweeping civil rights legislation since the of the end of Civil War, and 101 years after Abraham Lincoln emancipated the African American slaves, Johnson…Continue
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History Buzz November 27, 2013: A History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP


History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

A History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

Source: NYT, 11-27-13

Until 1989, turkeys sent to the White House for Thanksgiving usually suffered a different fate.

History Buzz July 12, 2013: History Says President Barack Obama Has Time Yet to Make Impact in Second Term

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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History Says Obama, in Second Term, Has Time Yet to Make Impact

Source: NYT, 7-12-13

The recent history of two-term presidencies shows that things could be a lot better. Or much worse….READ MORE

History Buzz July 4, 2013: 10 fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

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History Buzz

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10 fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

Source: Philly.com, 7-4-13

John Trumbull´s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)

John Trumbull’s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)

John Trumbull´s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)

Gallery: 10 fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

1. Is Independence Day really July 2?

2. July 4 is when the Declaration was adopted

3. Six people signed the Declaration and also the Constitution

4. But they didn’t sign the Declaration on July 4th!

5. So what if I stumble upon a lost version of the Dunlap Broadside at a flea market?

6. OK – when was the Declaration actually signed?

7. The Declaration’s association with Independence Day came from a lapse of memory

8. The Declaration suffered from a lack of early respect

9. The Declaration and Constitution were hidden away during World War II

10. There really is a message written on the back of the Declaration of Independence….READ MORE

History Buzz January 21, 2012: Michael Beschloss: Barack Obama Joins Club of 16 Presidents Elected to Consecutive Terms: If You Thought Getting Elected the First Time Was Hard…

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History Buzz

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If You Thought Getting Elected the First Time Was Hard …

Source: PBS Newshour, 1-21-13

Meet the 16 men who have been elected to serve consecutive terms as president.

When he retakes the oath of office Monday, President Barack Obama will join an exclusive club. Obama becomes the 16th of the nation’s 44 presidents who’ve been re-elected to serve as commander-in-chief for two consecutive terms….

“Nowadays the problems are great and Americans are more inclined to blame presidents, especially for a bad economy, than they would a hundred years ago,” explains Michael Beschloss, presidential historian and NewsHour regular….

“[Richard] Nixon felt that the difference between a re-elected president in history and a one-term president in history was so great that he felt compelled to authorize the excesses that led to the Watergate scandal,” Beschloss says….

“Sometimes you wonder why presidents would like to have a second term when you realize from FDR on, [they] have almost consistently had some very horrible experiences after winning re-election,” Beschloss says.

History Buzz January 20, 2013: David McCullough: Leading the Way: Presidential Leadership & History

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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Leading the way: Presidential leadership

Source: CBS News, This Morning, 1-20-13

LEADING THE WAY is what we expect of our presidents. How successful any individual president has actually BEEN is a matter of debate historically, as is the entire question of what constitutes great leadership in the first place. 

We laugh with them, we cry with them . . . and with Hollywood’s help from movies like “The American President,” we heap on them our greatest expectations.

Presidential leadership is Colorado College professor Thomas Cronin’s specialty, and he is struck by America’s perhaps too-perfect wish list for a president.

“It seems like an amalgam of wanting Mother Teresa, Mandela, Rambo, the Terminator and Spider-Man all wrapped into one,” he said. “It’s a pretty outlandish job description.”

David McCullough has written extensively on our greatest presidents, among them, John Adams….READ MORE

History Buzz January 19, 2013: Doris Kearns Goodwin: 10 inaugural moments that mattered

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History Buzz

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10 inaugural moments that mattered

Source: CNN, 1-19-13

Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States on January 20, 2009. Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States on January 20, 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • 2009: “(It was) as if the whole history of our country was coming full circle”
    • FDR and Reagan disagreed on the role of government, but believed America could do great things
    • JFK’s address promised action and a new energy in Washington
    • Lincoln: “With malice toward none and charity toward all”

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin notes each inauguration is moving in its own way, but only a few produce moments that are truly memorable.

“It depends upon the person and the occasion to really produce a historic inaugural speech,” Goodwin said. “But the ceremony itself … is a real tribute to the country, that a person who was the president can go out and become a private citizen (while) a new private citizen is becoming the president.”

“It’s peaceful,” she says, and “that’s an extraordinary thing in the history of our world.”

Here are 10 inaugural moments that Goodwin says have stood the test of time:

  • 2009: Obama makes history
  • 1981: Reagan’s optimistic first inaugural speech
  • 1977: Carter’s long walk
  • 1961: JFK’s stirring address
  • 1945: FDR’s abbreviated wartime ceremony
  • 1933: FDR’s dramatic first inaugural speech
  • 1905: TR’s eclectic parade
  • 1865: Lincoln strives to unite North and South 
  • 1841: The tragedy of William Henry Harrison 
  • 1789: Washington sets the tone

READ MORE

George W. Bush stands next to his wife, Laura, and his two daughters at his second inauguration on January 20, 2005. George W. Bush stands next to his wife, Laura, and his two daughters at his second inauguration on January 20, 2005.
George W. Bush is sworn in for his first term on January 20, 2001. George W. Bush is sworn in for his first term on January 20, 2001.
Bill Clinton is sworn in for the second time on January 20, 1997. Bill Clinton is sworn in for the second time on January 20, 1997.
Bill Clinton takes his first inaugural oath on January 20, 1993. Bill Clinton takes his first inaugural oath on January 20, 1993.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist administers the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush on January 20, 1989.  Chief Justice William Rehnquist administers the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush on January 20, 1989.
Ronald Reagan is sworn in on January 21, 1985, at the U.S. Capitol for his second term by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. Ronald Reagan is sworn in on January 21, 1985, at the U.S. Capitol for his second term by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th president of the United States on January 20, 1981. Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th president of the United States on January 20, 1981.
Jimmy Carter is sworn in on January 20, 1977. Jimmy Carter is sworn in on January 20, 1977.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger swears in Gerald Ford on August 9, 1974, after the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger swears in Gerald Ford on August 9, 1974, after the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger administers the oath of office to Richard M. Nixon for his second term at the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1973. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger administers the oath of office to Richard M. Nixon for his second term at the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1973.
Richard Nixon takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 37th president of the United States on January 20, 1969. Richard Nixon takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 37th president of the United States on January 20, 1969.
Lyndon B. Johnson, left, is sworn in for his second term by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1965. Lyndon B. Johnson, left, is sworn in for his second term by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1965.
Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office on November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline, stands at Johnson's side. U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Johnson on Air Force One. Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office on November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline, stands at Johnson’s side. U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Johnson on Air Force One.
John F. Kennedy is sworn in on January 20, 1961. John F. Kennedy is sworn in on January 20, 1961.
A crowd gathers outside the U.S. Capitol for Dwight D. Eisenhower's second inauguration on January 20, 1957. A crowd gathers outside the U.S. Capitol for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second inauguration on January 20, 1957.
Dwight D. Eisenhower takes the oath of office on January 20, 1953. Dwight D. Eisenhower takes the oath of office on January 20, 1953.
President Harry S. Truman waves to the crowd from a car during a parade after his inauguration speech on January 20, 1949. President Harry S. Truman waves to the crowd from a car during a parade after his inauguration speech on January 20, 1949.
Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone administers the oath of office to Harry S. Truman in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 12, 1945, after death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone administers the oath of office to Harry S. Truman in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 12, 1945, after death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his fourth and final inauguration speech on January 20, 1945. He was the last president allowed to hold more than two terms. Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his fourth and final inauguration speech on January 20, 1945. He was the last president allowed to hold more than two terms.
Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his third inaugural address on January 20, 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his third inaugural address on January 20, 1941.
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes Sr. administers the oath of office to Franklin D. Roosevelt for his second term on January 20, 1937. This marked the first January event; before this, inaugurations were traditionally held in March. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes Sr. administers the oath of office to Franklin D. Roosevelt for his second term on January 20, 1937. This marked the first January event; before this, inaugurations were traditionally held in March.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1933.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1933.
Herbert Hoover's inauguration is held on March 4, 1929. Herbert Hoover’s inauguration is held on March 4, 1929.
Calvin Coolidge is sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1925. Calvin Coolidge is sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1925.
Calvin Coolidge is given the oath of office by his father, Col. John Coolidge, in Plymouth, Vermont, on August 3, 1923, after the death of President Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge is given the oath of office by his father, Col. John Coolidge, in Plymouth, Vermont, on August 3, 1923, after the death of President Warren G. Harding.
Warren G. Harding is sworn in on March 4, 1921. Warren G. Harding is sworn in on March 4, 1921.
Soldiers pass the viewing stand during the inaugural ceremony for Woodrow Wilson's second term on March 4, 1917. Soldiers pass the viewing stand during the inaugural ceremony for Woodrow Wilson’s second term on March 4, 1917.
Woodrow Wilson's first inauguration was held on March 4, 1913. Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration was held on March 4, 1913.
William Howard Taft was inaugurated on March 4, 1909. William Howard Taft was inaugurated on March 4, 1909.
Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office for his second term on March 4, 1905. Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office for his second term on March 4, 1905.
Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office in Buffalo, New York, on September 14, 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley. Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office in Buffalo, New York, on September 14, 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley.
Chief Justice Melville Fuller administers the oath of office to President William McKinley for his second term on March 4, 1901. Chief Justice Melville Fuller administers the oath of office to President William McKinley for his second term on March 4, 1901.
William McKinley takes his first the oath of office on March 4, 1897. William McKinley takes his first the oath of office on March 4, 1897.
Grover Cleveland's second inauguration is held on March 4, 1893. Grover Cleveland’s second inauguration is held on March 4, 1893.
Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller administers the oath of office to Benjamin Harrison on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1889. Harrison served between Cleveland's two terms. Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller administers the oath of office to Benjamin Harrison on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1889. Harrison served between Cleveland’s two terms.
Grover Cleveland delivers his first inaugural address to the crowd on the east portico of U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1885. Grover Cleveland delivers his first inaugural address to the crowd on the east portico of U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1885.
New York Supreme Court Justice John R. Brady administers the oath of office to Vice President Chester A. Arthur in a private ceremony in Arthur's residence in New York on September 20, 1881, after the assassination of President James A. Garfield. New York Supreme Court Justice John R. Brady administers the oath of office to Vice President Chester A. Arthur in a private ceremony in Arthur’s residence in New York on September 20, 1881, after the assassination of President James A. Garfield.
Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite administers the oath of office to James A. Garfield on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1881. Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite administers the oath of office to James A. Garfield on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1881.
Rutherford B. Hayes takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 1877. Rutherford B. Hayes takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 1877.
Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase administers the oath of office for Ulysses S. Grant's second term on March 4, 1873. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase administers the oath of office for Ulysses S. Grant’s second term on March 4, 1873.
Ulysses S. Grant takes his first oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 4, 1869. Ulysses S. Grant takes his first oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 4, 1869.
Andrew Johnson takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in Washington on April 15, 1865, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Andrew Johnson takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in Washington on April 15, 1865, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office for the second time on March 4, 1865. Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office for the second time on March 4, 1865.
The first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln takes place on March 4, 1861. The first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln takes place on March 4, 1861.
James Buchanan's inauguration is held at the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1857. James Buchanan’s inauguration is held at the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1857.
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administers the oath of office to Franklin Pierce on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1853. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administers the oath of office to Franklin Pierce on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1853.
Millard Fillmore was sworn in on July 10, 1850, after the death of President Zachary Taylor. Millard Fillmore was sworn in on July 10, 1850, after the death of President Zachary Taylor.
Zachary Taylor is sworn in on March 5, 1849. Zachary Taylor is sworn in on March 5, 1849.
James K. Polk was sworn in on March 4, 1845. James K. Polk was sworn in on March 4, 1845.
John Tyler took the oath of office on April 6, 1841, after the death of William Henry Harrison, who died after just 32 days in office. John Tyler took the oath of office on April 6, 1841, after the death of William Henry Harrison, who died after just 32 days in office.
William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on March 4, 1841. William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on March 4, 1841.
Martin Van Buren was inaugurated on March 4, 1837. Martin Van Buren was inaugurated on March 4, 1837.
Andrew Jackson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1833. Andrew Jackson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1833.
Andrew Jackson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1829, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol. Andrew Jackson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1829, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol.
John Quincy Adams was sworn into office on March 4, 1825. John Quincy Adams was sworn into office on March 4, 1825.
James Monroe was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1821. James Monroe was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1821.
James Monroe was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1817. James Monroe was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1817.
James Madison was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1813. James Madison was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1813.
James Madison was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1809. James Madison was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1809.
Thomas Jefferson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1805. Thomas Jefferson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1805.
Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1801. Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1801.
John Adams was inaugurated on March 4, 1797. John Adams was inaugurated on March 4, 1797.
George Washington stands outside his carriage at his second inauguration on March 4, 1793. George Washington stands outside his carriage at his second inauguration on March 4, 1793.
Sword by his side, George Washington takes his inaugural oath as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789. Sword by his side, George Washington takes his inaugural oath as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789.

History Buzz January 18, 2013: From Carter to Obama: Covering Inaugural Addresses

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

From Carter to Obama: Covering Inaugural Addresses With the NewsHour

Source: PBS Newshour, 1-18-13

When it comes to inaugurals, the circumstances often outweigh the event. The weather is cold, the incoming presidents and their families all seem to have mastered the same genteel wave — famously employed by international royalty and pageant queens — and the speeches tend to be, well, less than exciting.

Of course, there are exceptions.

Looking back over the years, we can recall some of the better parades, the fashion and the balls (who can forget George H.W. Bush breaking it down with Lee Atwater in 1989?). But for us, it’s all about the speeches. And not all speeches are created, or delivered, equal. We look back at those speeches we covered and our reactions to them….READ MORE

History Buzz January 17, 2013: Inauguration 2013: The stormy history of Inauguration Day weather

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

The stormy history of Inauguration Day weather

Source: USA Today, 1-17-13

Temperatures in the 30s are likely for President Obama’s inauguration.

inauguration 00003
William Howard Taft, center, watches the parade after his inauguration as the 27th president March 4, 1909.(Photo: AP)

Story Highlights

  • In 1985, the coldest Inauguration Day in history forced President Reagan’s ceremony inside
  • President William Harrison died a month after an outdoor Inauguration Day in miserable weather in 1841
  • Heavy snow fell for President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961

So what does the weather have in store for President Obama’s second inauguration Monday, which will occur at noon on the steps of the U.S. Capitol? Most likely, chilly, windy conditions, thanks to a cold front barreling through the eastern U.S. that should put an end to the relatively mild weekend weather….READ MORE

Here are the records for inaugural weather since 1937, the first January Inauguration Day, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Warmest: 1981. President Reagan’s first inauguration. Noon temperature: 55 degrees.
  • Coldest: 1985: Reagan’s second inauguration. Noon temperature: 7 degrees. The inauguration was moved indoors.
  • Rainiest: 1937. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inauguration, when 1.77 inches of rain fell.
  • Snowiest: 1961. Eight inches of snow fell the night before John F. Kennedy was sworn in.
  • Warmest non-traditional date: (Aug. 9, 1974) – Gerald Ford; 89 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and hazy conditions.

History Buzz January 17, 2013: Michael Kazin: A Short History of Meaningless Inauguration Speeches

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

A Short History of Meaningless Inauguration Speeches

Source: TNR, 1-17-13 

Here’s a bit of advice when considering Barack Obama second inaugural address on January 21: Don’t take anything he says very seriously.

For all the hype they receive, inaugural addresses rarely foretell what a president will accomplish in office. In fact, the men who utter grand principles and make big promises every four years often contradict them, willingly or not, soon after they begin their terms. Take a few of the more celebrated quotations:

We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” — Thomas Jefferson

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” – Abraham Lincoln

First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy

READ MORE

History Buzz October 16, 2012: Michael Beschloss: How to Debate: Lessons From History

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

How to Debate: Lessons From History

Source: NYT, 10-16-12

The historian Michael Beschloss, in interviews, commented on debate tactics of President Obama and Mitt Romney, noting how they were inherited from earlier candidates. Choices can be pivotal: “For most Americans, a debate is only one or two moments,” he said….Related Article »

History Buzz May 15, 2012: T. Mills Kelly: How the History Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit

T. Mills Kelly encourages his students to deceive thousands of people on the Web. This has angered many, but the experiment helps reveal the shifting nature of the truth on the Internet. 

Source: Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic, 5-15-12

whokilledalice.jpglisaquinn565.wordpress

…These stories have two things in common. They are all tailor-made for viral success on the internet. And they are all lies.

Each tale was carefully fabricated by undergraduates at George Mason University who were enrolled in T. Mills Kelly’s course, Lying About the Past. Their escapades not only went unpunished, they were actually encouraged by their professor. Four years ago, students created a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of Edward Owens, successfully fooling Wikipedia’s community of editors. This year, though, one group of students made the mistake of launching their hoax on Reddit. What they learned in the process provides a valuable lesson for anyone who turns to the Internet for information.

The first time Kelly taught the course, in 2008, his students confected the life of Edward Owens, mixing together actual lives and events with brazen fabrications. They created YouTube videos, interviewed experts, scanned and transcribed primary documents, and built a Wikipedia page to honor Owens’ memory. The romantic tale of a pirate plying his trade in the Chesapeake struck a chord, and quickly landed on USA Today’s pop culture blog. When Kelly announced the hoax at the end of the semester, some were amused, applauding his pedagogical innovations. Many others were livid….

Last January, as he prepared to offer the class again, Kelly put the Internet on notice. He posted his syllabus and announced that his new, larger class was likely to create two separate hoaxes. He told members of the public to “consider yourself warned–twice.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Quiz: How well do you know our chief executives?

 

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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Presidents’ Day: How well do you know our chief executives?

Source: LAT, Chicago Tribune, 2-20-12

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan,  Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford.

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Happy Presidents’ Day. This holiday, which dates to 1971, originally was meant to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) but it’s also meant to honor all presidents. In the spirit, we offer you this quiz. How well do you know our chief executives? You’ll learn lots from visiting the 13 presidential libraries. Forty-four presidents have been installed in office, but there are only 43 people who have been president. Why? Take the quiz below and find out:

1. Barack Obama was the first sitting senator to win election to the presidency since what man?

2. Who was the first president to be impeached?

3. To what party did John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, belong?  Extra credit: Who was his father and when was he president?

4. Name another father-son presidential pair.

5. Who were the vice presidents of that father-son presidential pair in Question 4?

6. Who was the first president to die in office?

7. Who was the last president born under British rule?8. Whose grandson became president of the United States four dozen years after he was president?

9. What president was born in Iowa but orphaned at age 9 and sent to live in Oregon?

10. What president and his wife were Stanford graduates?

11. Which president graduated in 1809 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania?

12. What president refused renomination in 1880 and thus served only one term?

13. Who was elected president after Rutherford Hayes?

14. How long did James Garfield remain in office?

15. Who served as James Garfield’s secretary of War?

16. Who succeeded James Garfield and how many terms did he serve?

17. What president suffered what was then called Bright’s disease?

18. Who is the only president to serve two terms that weren’t consecutive?

19. Who was the last Civil War general to serve as president?

20. William McKinley was shot and killed in September 1901. He was succeeded by a man his campaign manager called “that damned cowboy.” Who was that?

21. What president frequently declared, “Politics makes me sick”?

22. What president died in 1923 in San Francisco?

23. What president died 10 months after his wife died of lung cancer? (He was out of office when he died.)

24. This president graduated from West Point in the class that was called “the class the stars fell on” because it produced 59 generals. Who was that and what year?

25. Which former president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002?Answers:

1. John Kennedy

2. Andrew Johnson

3. National Republican. John Q. was the oldest son of the second president, John Adams, 1797-1801.

4. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush

5. Dan Quayle for George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney for George W. Bush.

6. William Henry Harrison, who died just a month after taking office.

7. William Henry Harrison.

8. William Henry Harrison.

9. Herbert Hoover.

10. Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou.

11. James Buchanan

12. Rutherford Hayes

13. James Garfield

14. Four months. He was shot July 2 and died Sept. 19, 1881.

15. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.

16. Chester Arthur. One term.

17. Chester Arthur. He lost the nomination for a second term, even though he knew he had Bright’s, a kidney disease. He died a year after leaving office.

18. Grover Cleveland

19. Benjamin Harrison

20. Theodore Roosevelt

21. William Howard Taft

22. Warren G. Harding

23. Richard Nixon

24. Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1915.

25. Jimmy Carter

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day: Take the presidential history quiz!

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day: The quiz

It’s Presidents’ Day Monday, but whom the holiday is meant to honor depends on whom you ask. Even the placement of the apostrophe is open to question!…

The most recent results of students’ performance on civics exams on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation’s report card, revealed a continuing lack of knowledge about the nation’s past: On the 2010 test, only 2 percent of fourth-graders, 1 percent of eighth-graders and 4 percent of 12th-graders performed at the advanced level, which represents superior performance.

See how well you can do on the Washington Post’s Presidents’ Day quiz. If you don’t do well, it’s time to hit the history books! Here are some Web sites that can help….TAKE THE QUIZ!

History Buzz February 15, 2012: Carla L. Peterson: Answers About Black History in 19th-Century New York, Part 1

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Answers About Black History in 19th-Century New York, Part 1

Taking Questions

Source: NYT, 2-15-12
Carla L. Peterson, the author of "Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City."

The author of “Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City,” answers readers’ questions.

Here are the first set of answers to readers’ questions about black life in 19th-century New York City from Carla L. Peterson. Dr. Peterson is an English professor at the University of Maryland and the author of “Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City.” a book now out in paperback from Yale University Press.

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Q.

What educational opportunities were available to children of the black members of the 19th-century middle class? Did members of this group work to secure education opportunities for blacks who were not of the same socioeconomic standing?—Sketco, Cleveland, OH

Q.

The article mentions black doctors and pharmacists in New York in the 1800s. Where did they receive their educations? Were there any schools open to them or did they simply work in hospitals and watch what others were doing?—Ed Schwab, Alexandria, VA

A.

In the 1790s the New York Manumission Society established several schools for black children. Its members maintained that education was a necessary component of freedom (despite the fact that several of them were themselves slave owners). These schools were known as African Free Schools, the most famous of which was African Free School No. 2 located on Mulberry Street. This was the school that my great-great-grandfather attended along with several boys who later became prominent leaders of the city’s black community and also worked nationally with men like Frederick Douglass. Until the 1830s, when the city took over their management, these schools offered as good an education as that of other charity schools of the time, probably even better.

Throughout this period, however, New York’s black leaders refused to stay on the sidelines when it came to educating their young. Since poor school attendance was a real problem (how can you send your kids to school in the winter when they have no shoes or overcoats?), black leaders visited homes to see how they could help out. They also established an educational society that set up its own schools, but few of them lasted due to lack of funds.

Getting a higher education was equally difficult. James McCune Smith was denied entrance to U.S. medical schools, so he went to the University of Glasgow medical school (graduating first in his class!). My great-grandfather Philip Augustus White attended the College of Pharmacy of the City of New York, graduating in 1844, even though professional certification in pharmacy was not required at the time. In the 1850s, Peter Williams Ray gained admission to an American medical school, Castleton medical college in Vermont. But when he tried to become a member of the Kings County Medical Society, he was rejected, the argument being that “by science that this was a white man’s Society. … Therefore a colored man could not be admitted.” Yet these black men surmounted the odds and went on to establish successful pharmacy and medical practices….READ MORE

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