Archive for George Washington

Presidents Day…a little history!

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , on February 15, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

I like today!

Being a real proud American  and a student of American History, Presidents day is just great. The office of the President of The United States has such a rich history and today we remember and appreciate THE Founding Father.

I have read quite a bit about the technical definition of Presidents Day and the perceived notion of what the holiday actually is commemorating.

By definition the birthday of George Washington is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. It is also commonly known as PRESIDENTS DAY. Many Americans, myself included were actually under the impression it was  actually called PRESIDENTS’ Day and also acknowledged Lincolns birthday.

The holiday was always celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday (Feb 22) until the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in february following the passage of the UNIFORM MONDAY HOLIDAY ACT of 1971. In 1968 a draft of the Uniform Holiday Bill attempted to rename the holiday Presidents’ Day (honoring both Washington and Lincoln) the bill ultimately failed in committee.

But George Washington was the man plain and simple, when he finished his second term in office the country at large practically begged him to stay on for a third. With the young country only a decade removed from a monarchy, one might think GW would have jumped at the chance to stay in power. But Washington set the tone for the office and did not run for a third term, a legacy that continued until FDR. A smooth , easy and most importantly non violent transfer of power had taken place and we as a country have never looked back.

So even though technically we are only celebrating the birthday of George Washington, I like to think its a great time to investigate the history of the 43 men who have held our lands highest office. If you want some serious presidential history check out my girl Doris Kearns Goodwin, she might be the most astute living presidential historian out there.

Shouts to George Washington University.

State Of The Union Address

Posted in Politics with tags , on January 27, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

President Obama will deliver his first State Of The Union Address this evening, and with the Democratic party still reeling from the loss of Teddy Kennedy’s long-held Mass Senate Seat, The President will attempt to put the fears of all Americans at ease and set the tone for the year to come.

Historically , State of The Union speeches have run the gamut from long-winded and tedious to very brief. Some Presidents us the speech to speak on the progress the country is making, others use it a starting point for a change in direction. I am guessing President Obama will do a bit of both..

Now for some history…Most Presidents initially did not give the speech in person, but rather delivered a written statement to Congress.

George Washington and John Adams delivered their messages to Congress in person. Washington kept his first speech quite expedient at just 833 words, probably taking about five minutes to deliver. (Imagine all the time left over for post-speech commentary had there only been cable television!) But Thomas Jefferson thought the practice reeked of British monarchy and sent his in writing.

That was the custom for the next century until Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of appearing in person, and even then it was not until Franklin D. Roosevelt that presidents made that the default practice. Calvin Coolidge was the first to have his broadcast on radio in 1923 and Harry Truman the first to have his shown on television in 1947.

But the modern practice most Americans are familiar with began in 1965 when Lyndon B. Johnson moved the address to the evening, at which point it became watched by a broader audience that, in that era at least, had few other options.