Tag: President George Washington

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Illuminating the Republic: Maritime Safety and the Federalist Vision of Empire

The national government under the Federal Constitution effectively began its reign on April 6, 1789, as an invisible and unremarkable presence in the lives of most ordinary Americans.[1] The army boasted about 750 men stationed mainly on the western frontier, there were no national buildings, roads or even construction sites, while few federal bureaucrats and […]

by Shawn David McGhee
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A Few Constitutional Blunders

History is frequently more complicated than it initially appears, and accordingly, it may be surprising to discover that when George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States, he was constitutionally ineligible for office. Similarly, when John Adams became the first Vice President nine days earlier, he too was constitutionally ineligible for […]

by David Otersen
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“The Modern American Wallace:” Relics, Revolutions, and Revolutionaries

On Friday morning, December 30, 1792, Archibald Robertson, an ambitious painter from Aberdeen, Scotland, arrived at the doorstep of the executive mansion at Philadelphia.[1] David Steuart Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan, entrusted him to deliver a wooden box to President George Washington.[2] Yet this was no ordinary box and Robertson’s call no ordinary visit. For […]

by Shawn David McGhee
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“Characters Pre-eminent for Virtue and Ability”: The First Partisan Application of the Electoral College

Scholars typically cast the outcome of the second presidential election as either a forgone conclusion or a non-event.[1] After all, George Washington ran unchallenged and once again received unanimous support from the Electoral College.[2] Shifting academic focus from the first magistrate to the second, however, reframes the 1792 contest as a struggle for the soul […]

by Shawn David McGhee
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Charles Thomson and the Delaware

There are many, many founding fathers in the story of America’s Revolution and unfortunately only a few are really known to the general public. Yet without those who are less known, there would have been no revolution. One of those men was the official secretary of the Continental Congress, Charles Thomson. He was the sole […]

by James M. Smith
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Johnson Cook: Patriot Warrior

In the fall of 1796, just months before George Washington’s presidency ended, thirty-six-year-old Revolutionary War veteran Johnson Cook (1760-1848), a Connecticut native, petitioned the president for financial assistance and entreated him to spare Cook from living out his final days “neglected.” In his two-page manuscript letter to Washington, written on October 1, 1796, from Marietta […]

by Adrina Garbooshian-Huggins
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Ill-Fated Frontier

BOOK REVIEW: Ill-Fated Frontier: Peril and Possibilities in the Early American West by Samuel A. Forman (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2021) Samuel A. Forman, author of Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty, was asked if he was related to Samuel S. Forman, who chronicled a trek to the western […]

by Timothy Symington
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Review: Political Thought and the Origins of the American Presidency

Political Thought and the Origins of the American Presidency edited by Ben Lowe (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2021) In Political Thought and the Origins of the American Presidency, historian Ben Lowe of Florida Atlantic University has assembled an attractive collection of scholarly essays that began as presentations to the university’s 2019 Alan B. and […]

by Jeff Broadwater
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The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution by Lindsay M. Chervinsky (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2020) In his slim volume on George Washington’s presidency, Forrest McDonald concluded that Washington had actually “done little in his own right, had often opposed the best measures of his subordinates, and had taken […]

by Alec D. Rogers