History of Presidential Transitions: Has It Always Been Like Now?
HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITIONS: WAS IT ALWAYS LIKE NOW? We think that our most current change in Presidential administration is contentious. But our national history has seen worse. And it goes back over 200 years to the third Presidential election, and several since then. Presidential Transition: from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson Perhaps the most…Read More
History of Presidential Inaugurations: Why on January 20?
HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATIONS: WHY ON JANUARY 20? In 1933 it seemed that a four-month transition between an outgoing “lame-duck” president who was voted out in November and a new administration starting in March was too long. Indeed, during the winter of 1932-1933, there was a horrific battle between the incumbent Herbert Hoover and president-elect…Read More
History of the Fourth Estate: The Press
HISTORY OF THE FOURTH ESTATE: THE PRESS When you hear about The Fourth Estate, it usually means The Press. Where did the term Fourth Estate come from? What do we mean by The Press, and how has it changed in modern times? I conclude with a cautionary tale from early U.S. history. Origin of…Read More
History of Erasing Unpopular Leaders: Damnatio Memoriae
HISTORY OF ERASING UNPOPULAR LEADERS: DAMNATIO MEMORIAE During the early Roman Empire two millennia ago, an emperor might be deified after he died if he was popular and good. (Think: the Divine Augustus.) Alternatively, if he was unpopular and wicked, he was “erased” from society’s memory. The Latin term Damnatio Memoriae means the condemnation of…Read More
History of the Midnight Justices: Who Appoints the Supreme Court?
HISTORY OF THE MIDNIGHT JUSTICES: WHO APPOINTS THE SUPREME COURT In the news, you’ve seen the topic of “court-packing” related to the U.S. Supreme Court. But is this a new thing, and what does it mean? Court-packing involves one branch of the government proposing to change the courts’ structure by either expanding or decreasing the…Read More
History of the American Experiment: A Democracy or A Republic?
HISTORY OF THE UNIQUE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT: A DEMOCRACY OR A REPUBLIC? Since 1776, our 246-year experiment with non-monarchical government is rather unique in history. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 officially ended the War of the American Revolution against the colonial power that had previously ruled us, Great Britain. King George III of Great Britain…Read More
History of Election Day: Why we Vote on a Tuesday in November
History of Woman Suffrage Procession: March 3, 1913
History of Women’s Suffrage: March 3, 1913 On March 3, 1913, the day before Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as President of the United States, thousands of women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. as part of the Woman Suffrage Procession. This was done: “in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of…Read More