A new episode of the Madison presidency series is now available!

Episodes

October 29, 2017

1.20 – Go West, Young Men

Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1794 Washington and his administration adjusts to the shake-up following Jefferson’s departure from the Cabinet. Meanwhile, attention is turned west due to General Wayne making steps to take his Legion of the United States into action as an attempt at negotiation with native forces fails in part because of British interference. The federal government must also decide how to approach an increased uproar coming from western Pennsylvania over the whiskey excise tax. Though Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton has to devote a good portion of his time in the first part of 1794 to defending his record, this doesn’t stop him from meddling in affairs with other parts of the government.

01 - George Washington

October 15, 2017

1.19 – Rebellion

Year(s) Discussed: 1791-1794 As Washington sets wheels in motion for some rather radical changes to his personal way of life, others at home and abroad start working towards some changes of their own. In western Pennsylvania, small-scale distillers and farmers begin to organize against a new federal tax that would impact them more detrimentally than it would larger operations. In France, as the new French Republic faces food shortages and military setbacks, crowds start agitating for new, more effective leadership. Back in Philadelphia, Secretary of State Jefferson begins packing his bags and wrapping up his work as he counts down to the day set for his departure from the Washington administration. The old status quo seems forever gone as the year 1794 comes roaring in like a lion.

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October 01, 2017

1.18 – Pestilence

Year(s) Discussed: 1786-1793 Washington, his household, and his administration struggle to deal with an epidemic of yellow fever as it makes its way through the city of Philadelphia, indiscriminately infecting people from all walks of life including a resident at the President’s House. In addition to the loss of life, the epidemic brings up questions about how best to utilize medical knowledge to the public good, the role of the press, the relationship of individuals to their environment, and the ability and role of the government in a crisis management situation.

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September 17, 2017

1.17 – Genet Must Go

Year(s) Discussed: 1793 Washington returns to Philadelphia to deal with the continued agitations of French Minister Genêt. Meanwhile, Attorney General Randolph goes south on a fact-finding mission, Philip Freneau continues his attacks against Washington and his administration in the pages of the National Gazette, and events continue to unfold in Europe which have ramifications across the pond. Through all of this, the President has to decide what to do with his partisan Cabinet and how to preserve neutrality without offending either Britain or France.

01 - George Washington

September 03, 2017

1.16 – Don’t Mess With Washington

Year(s) Discussed: 1793 The new French Minister to the US arrives in Philadelphia and begins causing a stir both within the Washington administration and out in the streets. Meanwhile, Washington has another bout of ill health but recovers just in time to have to rush back to Mount Vernon despite being in the midst of diplomatic tensions. Party politics are taken to the next level with partisans beginning to organize their efforts just as both Jefferson and Hamilton contemplate their respective exits from the Cabinet to be free to pursue their own aims.

01 - George Washington

August 20, 2017

1.15 – It’s Not Easy Being Neutral

Year(s) Discussed: 1791-1793 The British and French are at war, and the Washington administration is caught in the middle. Though the US government had established a Treaty of Alliance with the French back in the Revolutionary War, the administration had to question whether the new French republican government was in fact valid and whether the US was still bound by the treaty made with the government of the recently executed Louis XVI. However, they are given little time to consider the situation as French ships start capturing British vessels off the coast of North America and bringing them into Philadelphia harbor. Washington wants to stay out of it, but will the European powers force his hand?

01 - George Washington

August 06, 2017

1.14 – The Second Inaugural

Year(s) Discussed: 1791-1793 The lead up to Washington’s second inaugural ended up being much more dramatic than anyone could have imagined as personal conflicts threatened the construction of the Federal City, Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds threatened to be made public knowledge, and Representative William Branch Giles filed resolutions against Hamilton accusing him of official misconduct and calling for his dismissal. In the middle of all this, a reluctant president turns to his family for support as he prepares himself for what already appears will be a more turbulent four years ahead than his first term had been.

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July 25, 2017

1.13 – Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Year(s) Discussed: 1792 Washington has an important decision to make as the Election of 1792 looms. Should he accede to the wishes of many and stand for reelection or should he take his weary bones back to Mount Vernon for the remainder of his days? The growing factional agitations that were exacerbated by Hamilton’s submitting his Report on Manufactures as well as a financial panic in 1792 do little to make the situation better. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds gets ever more complicated. And did the Attorney General just say something about a potential civil war? Washington’s action-packed first term hits some bumpy roads in this episode.

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July 16, 2017

One Year Anniversary Special Episode

In honor of my one year anniversary of podcasting, I did this special episode to run simultaneously on the Harrison Podcast to share a little bit about how I got started podcasting, some information about our audience,

July 10, 2017

1.12 – Slavery in America

Content Note: Though not going into graphic detail, I did want to let everyone know upfront that this episode, in discussing slavery, does touch upon the violence associated with slavery including that perpetrated against female enslaved people. Year(s) Discussed: 1490s-1792 European settlers in the Western Hemisphere began practicing slavery in the lands that they found on the other side of the Atlantic in the late 15th century. In this episode, we examine the institution of slavery in what would become the United States as it developed up to the end of Washington’s first term in office. From its beginnings to its codification, we also look at some of the living conditions of enslaved peoples and early efforts to end the practice of slavery. The episode finishes off with bringing the focus back to Washington and how he approached slavery as he participated in the Constitutional Convention and then took office as president.

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June 25, 2017

1.11 – Mad Anthony and His Legion

Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1793 Washington hopes that third time will be the charm as he taps Anthony Wayne, a general who had served under him in the Revolutionary War, to take command of the Army following St. Clair’s defeat and to prosecute military action against native forces in the old Northwest. Wayne, who earned the nickname of “Mad Anthony” during the war, is not necessarily what one would call a conventional officer, however. Will Washington’s gamble pay off? Meanwhile, unknown to everyone, a spy lurks in the midst of the military forces in the West and threatens the future westward expansion of the United States.

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June 18, 2017

1.10 – Agitations 2: Foreign Intrigues

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1792 Numerous foreign relations issues faced Washington’s first administration. In this episode, we examine how the administration dealt with the Anglo-American trade imbalance, the impact of the French Revolution, Spanish attempts to break the lands west of the Appalachians away from the US, and what would prove to be the only successful major large scale slave insurrection that occurred in the French colony of Saint-Domingue at the beginning of what we now know of as the Haitian Revolution. Hope you have your seatbelts fastened, listeners, cause early 1790s diplomacy can be a bumpy ride!

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May 28, 2017

1.09 – Agitations

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1791 Increasingly during the Washington administration, tensions were beginning to build between pro-administration and anti-administration factions which would ultimately culminate in the development of the First Party System. This episode looks at some of the structural and cultural reasons for these divisions as well as some of the early leaders of the two factions including, of course Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.

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May 14, 2017

1.08 – Banking and Drinking

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1791 The government is on the move! As the federal government transitions to its new temporary capitol while Washington selects a site for the permanent capitol along the Potomac, it is also forced to deal with the most controversial proposal put forward to date: the creation of a National Bank. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s proposal of an excise tax on whiskey sails through and a new state is added to the Union.

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April 30, 2017

1.07 – Arthur St Clair: Worst. General. Ever.

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1792 While Congress deliberates on the course of the nation in New York, settlers in the frontier were forging ahead with their own future beyond the Appalachian mountains. In this episode, we look at the development of territories in the west and discuss how the Washington administration prioritized affairs in the region. The military’s role in the area is discussed at some length including the not-so-stellar outcomes of two campaigns against native peoples in the Northwest Territory and what impact this would have on the administration and the nation.

01 - George Washington

April 16, 2017

1.06 – Assumption, Presumption, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Year(s) Discussed: 1790 The new government of the United States comes grinding to a halt in the spring and summer of 1790 as Congress reaches an impasse on both Hamilton’s proposed public credit scheme and the decision of where the new government should be permanently located. Ultimately, a decision is reached on both, but how it came about is rather complicated. If you’ve ever heard of the Compromise of 1790, then you’ll want to listen to this episode as there’s more to the story than has been told over the years. Meanwhile, health concerns plague a couple of major American figures, bringing even more uncertainty to an already unstable time. All the big players are in this one – Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Knox, and, of course, Mr. President.

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April 02, 2017

1.05 – Take This Report and File It

Year(s) Discussed: 1790 Hamilton’s Report on the Public Credit is sent to Congress in January 1790 and immediately causes an uproar. As congressmen divide into pro and anti-administration factions on this issue, I take a closer look in this episode at the report and Hamilton’s proposals on how to deal with the public credit in order to ensure “the honor and prosperity of the United States” as well as what James Madison thought of Hamilton’s ideas.

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March 19, 2017

1.04 – The Dream Team

Year(s) Discussed: 1789 After a debate over how much authority Washington would exert over its officers, the executive branch begins to take shape. I examine both the original Cabinet members and the departments as they were at the beginning of the constitutional government. Then, as Washington leaves town to take a tour of the New England states, a personal scandal becomes the talk of the town in New York City. Romantic liaisons, conflicts of interest, and strong opinions over postal routes are all to be found in this episode.

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March 05, 2017

1.03 – Year One

Year(s) Discussed: 1789 Washington’s inauguration, while starting up the wheels of the executive branch, leaves many questions to be answered by the first chief executive and the new government. What titles will be used to address the president? How will he make himself available to the public and to the other branches of government? What does seeking “the Advice and Consent of the Senate” really mean anyway? So much of what we take for granted with the presidency nowadays is established in Washington’s first few months on the job, and these precedents that he established in the early part of his administration are the focus of this episode.

01 - George Washington

March 01, 2017

0.02 – Presidential Address

To mark the occasion of the 45th president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, I present to you this special episode on how presidents have communicated with other politicians and government officials as well as with the general public and h...

February 20, 2017

1.025 – Hamilton

Year(s) Discussed: c. 1755-1787 In honor of Presidents’ Day, I am releasing this special mini-episode on the life of Alexander Hamilton leading up to the Constitutional Convention. As I am not Lin-Manuel Miranda and would likely drive listeners off if I attempted to sing, this is a spoken summation of Hamilton’s life including the challenges of his childhood, his early involvement in politics, his tenure in the Army during the Revolutionary War, and his career progression following the war.

01 - George Washington

February 19, 2017

1.02 – Washington Pre-Presidency Part Two

Year(s) Discussed: 1764-1789 The colonies along the Atlantic seaboard declare independence and go to war with Great Britain, and George Washington is in the middle of all of the action. The lead up and the prosecution of the revolution would lift Washington from being just another Virginia planter to become “the Father of His Country” as he had to develop his skills as a politician, a military commander, a spymaster, and an administrator in order to ensure success for him and the colonial cause. In the midst of the social and political turmoil, personal tragedy struck the Washingtons at the beginning and the end of the Revolution, and the conclusion of the war would find Washington handing back all of the power that had been entrusted to him. His retirement would be short-lived as the new nation would soon find itself at a crisis point that only Washington could save them from.

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February 05, 2017

1.01 – Washington Pre-Presidency Part One

Year(s) Discussed: 1732-1764 Our examination of George Washington begins with his early life in Virginia. Washington has to cope with personal loss and self-improvement as he works to make his way in the world. The coming of the French and Indian War takes his life in a new direction and sets the stage for the Revolution to come. We also look at his marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis and his establishment of industries based on slavery at Mount Vernon.

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January 20, 2017

0.01 – Introduction – What is the Presidency?

In the inaugural episode of this podcast, we examine the nature of the presidency – what qualifies someone for the presidency, what powers and limitations does the president have, how was the office developed in the first place,