I’ve finished my first Presidential Biography…

George Washington:

He was our first President, served two consecutive terms from 1789-1797, and ran completely unopposed.

Nicknames: Old Man, Father of the Country

Quote:  “Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.”  – to his mother

The biography I read was “George Washington” by James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn.

Things I didn’t know about President Washington before reading this book:

  • he liked clothes and fashion a lot
  • the most important thing to him was character, and how people perceived him
  • he pushed for an almost monarchial executive office but was overruled by the constitutional convention
  • he was nearly impeached
  • he was very prejudiced towards first the British, then the French
  • he was paranoid of the Illuminati spreading dissension in the US during his second term
  • he never wanted to serve a second term
  • he had lost all of his teeth by the time he was President
  • John Adams was his VP – and the Vice President was voted in separately from the President
  • he was not a Christian, instead he was a deist, if anything
  • he wanted the US to become an agrarian country, but was thwarted by Hamiltonian politics
  • his best friends were Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom he felt betrayed by towards the end of his second term
  • he is the only President to have actually led troops into war while in office, during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 (against American citizens)
  • only married because he thought it was the right thing to do, he never had any children
  • died of pneumonia
  • had red hair and did not wear a wig but instead powdered his hair
  • supported a policy of independent isolation when it came to foreign affairs, i.e. we only form temporary treaties when it suits our best interest (sound familiar?)
  • was opposed to slavery but kept mum about it publicly b/c he knew it’d tear the union apart
  • supported the Sedition Act and did a complete 180 on allowing immigration (from supporting it to being suspicious about immigrants spreading dissension and undermining the new government)
  • hated the thought of a political party system, realizing that even if they were inevitable, they would eventually serve no purpose but to slow down the political system with petty individualistic battles
  • greatest dream was to found an enormous American university that taught about politics, farming, and freedom…still hasn’t happened
  • favorite foods (via The Awl) Madeira wine, hazelnuts, sliced tongue and toast for breakfast, hoe cakes, rice waffles, macaroons, gingerbread, cream trifle, lettuce tart, mutton, assorted wild game, and beer.

John Adams –>

Post Title taken from “The Presidents” by Jonathan Coulter