Brave Leaders and How They Changed America
1789-1989 By Michael Beschloss     


Fun Stuff
Presidential Election
Discussion Questions


Part 1 Executive Summary 

GEORGE  WASHINGTON avoided war with England
JOHN ADAMS avoided a Quasi-War with France but went against party war hawks which cost him reelection.
 took on eastern bankers and vetoed the charter extension of the Second Bank of the United States because he felt it had excessive power over farmers.
  required freeing the slaves as a condition of saving the Union.

Editor's notes:
The author often summarizes events in only the first 
     of four chapters on a President. 
Presidents elected on even decades like 1990, 2000, off year elections of 1992, 2014...
Pictures are from Wikipedia and the Internet can often 
    be enlarged with a click.
4) Editorial comments are in red font.

Return to  
Political Economy Historical Summaries

Go to Part 2  and learn how 

Theodore Roosevelt took on corporate monopoly trusts that controlled railroad rates and routes and which destroyed small towns and farms and cost consumers with higher prices. 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt prepared for World War II by helping Britan while some favored Germany and many were still angry over our WWI participation and didn't want another war.
Harry S. Truman recognized the newly created state of Israel quickly despite  tremendous political pressures from both sides of the recognition question.
John F. Kennedy used Federal Troops to integrate the U. of Mississippi and sent civil rights legislation to Congress.
Ronald Reagan Accelerated the end of the Cold War with an aggressive anti-communism stance and the threat of a Star Wars missile defense system the Soviets couldn't afford.

History of the United States is very  
advance free audio book from LibriVox Search archives Charles A Beard Paper version is easily searchable by topic.

GEORGE WASHINGTON Summary of Events2 The Politics






















Washington had been unanimously elected by the Electoral College in 1788 and 1792.

Britain, at war with France, was seizing U.S. ships trading with France.

In addition, London was reneging on its pledge made as part of the treaty ending  the Revolutionary War to vacate forts in Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, and Michilmackinac.  She was also arming Indians and spurring them to attack American settlers.  These attacks were  killing helpless women and children.

Trying to avoid a war with Great Britain that might "strangle the infant nation in its cradle," Washington secretly sent  aristocratic Chief Justice John Jay to England to negotiate a peace treaty. Eventually word got out and  many found some treaty demands humiliating. Article 12 of the treaty stated America could trade with the West Indies with only small ships really aggrieved Southerners as it severely hurt their exports. Another article stated the U.S. could not export products native to the islands. To make matters worse, a Provision Order issued later by Britain  required U.S. ships carrying grain to France be stopped and the cargo confiscated. see  Jay Treaty.

Editors Note: Secretary of State Hamilton wanted to negotiate but his friendship with England ruled him out. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jay was sent. Soon to be a Republican, he was far from being a loyal cabinet member.








Fort Michilimackinac

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

U.S. National Historic Landmark
Michigan State Historic Site

Former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson hated the English, adored France, and demanded retaliation. In 1793, not happy with his job among Federalists and missing Virginia; he quit and began to organize the Republicans who  would opposed  Federalist leaders, Washington, Adams, and Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton, who was always arguing with Jefferson over foreign policy and economics. He also felt America could not win a war with Britain. See

See Leader of the Opposition: In Wait at Monticello from Thomas Jefferson The Art
of Power, 2012 by J. Meacham and 

United States History Hamilton vs. Jefferson 

2) Kick This Treaty To Hell





A Virginia  Republican ignored Washington's order to keep the contents of the treaty secrete and passed a copy to the French who saw that the contents were made public. When Hamilton defended the treaty in front of the New York City Hall he was stoned and left with a bloody face. In Boston, a British ship was set aflame. The net result was our First Party System.

Some wanted Washington impeached as cartoons depicted the President being chased out of town feeling the treaty's enactment was unconstitutional.

Washington's attempt to use Executive Privilege to keep Jay Treaty information from Congress was the first of many such Presidential attempts. Richard Nixon attempted used is perhaps the most notorious.

Post revolution economic problems began the discussion of U.S. Income Inequality.

 " A speedy Death to General Washington!" 
was title of another cartoon. 


One reason for unhappiness was that the south was not compensated for slaves that fought for England to obtain freedom.  







To support the treaty powerful Federalist rolled into gear and stopped issuing ship insurance until the treaty was enacted.  In Philadelphia, debtors were pressured by banks to support the treaty. By 1796, Britain had  scrapped the Provision Order accepting Washington's version of the treaty excluding Article 12 so large ships could trade in West Indies. The tide had turned in favor of the treaty.















The Republican controlled house tried to withhold ninety thousand dollars needed to enact the Jay Treaty.  John Adams feared a war with Britain might result in a "civil war" between the Anglophile Northeast who wanted to protect their manufacturing and the Southern Francophiles more interested in exporting cotton. 

Frederick Muhlenberg.jpgThe funding vote tie of 49 to 49 was surprisingly broken by Republican Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania who was chairing a Committee of the Whole. He committed political suicide by voting  for the funding and against the wishes of his German American constituents who hated England. After the vote, Frederick was stabbed by his German-American brother-in-law.


Edward Livingston  of New York demanded Washington hand over all documents related to treaty bargaining. Limited access was granted and Washington said the only way to get unlimited access was to impeach him.

Edward Livingston of New York.jpgIn a letter to John Jay Washington stated he had survived "the Storm" and would never forget the "pernicious" people "disseminating the poison" against him. As Washington predicted, in 1812, America was powerful enough to get their way in a war with England. Click to enlarge both pictures.

Of the nine presidents who owned slaves only Washington freed them upon the death of Martha.

As was common for Southerners of his day; Washington was plagued by seven deadly diseases during his life. Upon leaving office he suffered from a bad back, painful false teeth and rheumatism. Washington was very unhappy with the verbal political war between people with presidential aspirations, especially Hamilton and Jefferson whose dislike for each other approached paranoia. Hamilton's was over a weak central government unable to fulfill his dreams of Manifest     Destiny. He feared French invasion after their
   revolution because it would have southern support.
   Jefferson's was that a central government that would
   end his Southern based rural world best described by
Gone With the Wind."

    George Washington's Farewell Address is very
The beginning and end is all Washington
    while the middle was all Hamilton. 
    See farewell transcript  

1  From the 2007 first edition
2. Table, column and row titles, and name abbreviations 
are by Walter Antoniotti
3. Editor's addition
4. Editor's Note: Washington's fears of political though logical were avoided as
US Undergoes the First Peaceful 1800Transfer of a Democratic System from Turning Points in American History Notes from A Great Course audio by E. O'Donnell

4. Help in keeping track of presidential elections, they happen on even numbered decades as Lincoln was elected in 1860, Kennedy, 1960. For more on Washington see Don't Know Much About History Chapter 3 on Growth of a Nation from the Creation of the Constitution to Manifest Destiny and Meacham's Thomas Jefferson. PART VII reviewing Jefferson as opposition to the Federalists of Hamilton and Adams.


10 Best and 10 Worst Presidents from Rant Political

John Adams

Summary of Events The Politics

More  Summaries  2-8 pages





















Federalist John Adams defeated Republican Thomas Jefferson by three electoral votes. Living in Washington's shadow was not easy and Adam's complained that "Old Muttonhead" could not write a sentence without a few misspellings. Adams had inherited the danger of a war with France's newest revolutionary regime called the "Directory." See  French Revolution 1 of 4 Videos. Because of the Jay Treaty, French privateers were ordered to seize and plunder U.S. ships.

Now Vice President  Francophile Jefferson was made minister to France. Twelve new frigates were built to fortify the Eastern coast. The ultra-Federalist unsuccessfully demanded a fifteen thousand man army and said concerning the horrible French tyrants, the Republicans want to "lick" their "feet."

Hamilton had back Thomas Pickering in the 1796 election because he could be more easily controlled.  

Adams kept Washington Cabinet fearing firing them would turn the world upside down.

Upon arriving in France, Jefferson advised the Directory to drag its feet on a treaty as Adams would be a one term President.

PhiladelphiaPresidentsHouse.jpgPresident's House, Philadelphia. The presidential mansion of George Washington before him, Adams occupied this Philadelphia mansion from March 1797 to May 1800. Click to enlarge.


Editor's Note: Adams had a very caustic person. He was a centrist President at a time partisan politics
was as high as it would ever be. He did not take control of the Federalist Party who he seldom agreed with the Federalists. Hamilton who despised Adams took control.  Republicans also despised his desire for a strong central  government and his desire for a return to Monarchy. To compensate Adams spent most of his time in Massachusetts. In four years he spent twice the time at home in Braintree, Massachusetts as Washington spent at his nearby Virginia home during his eight year presidency. Like Washington, Adams was sickly and disliked his time as President.  He also had problems with depression and Adams was cursed with an unstable personality. Think Richard Nixon. 

Personality descriptions from Hamilton's  biography by R. Chernow

See Turning Points in American History # 8 A Hesitant, Reluctant 1776 Nation Seeks Freedom  

Presidential Politics: Party Politics and Presidential Elections from 1788 to 2012

Presidential Politics
Party Politics and Presidential
Elections  from 1788 to 2012

Thomas Jefferson
The Art of Power, 2012,
by Jon Meacham

Second Chance Three Presidents and the Crisis of America Superpower, by Zbigniew Brzezinski

American Dynasty Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, by K. Phillips,
Don't Know Much About History  Everything You Need To Know About American History But Never Learned
 by Kenneth C. Davis

























See caption.


The French Foreign Minister tried to bribe an American envoy for what today would be about six million dollars and the reply was "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." Outrage followed, but Adams never shared the ultra-Federalist zeal to face down the French. He attempted to keep the bribe secret but the Federalist made the information public. It became known as the XYZ Affair

Many, like Quaker doctor George Logan,  told Adams that the French wanted to talk. When Logan told the secretary of State the same thing, he was thrown out and the High Federalists got the Logan Act passed. To this day it bans U.S. citizens without official sanction from bargaining with foreign governments.

By 1798, talk of war was rampant and John Adams became a war leader. He enjoyed it. Always jealous of Washington's battlefield reputation, Adams could not resist the opportunity to portray a dashing military figure including a sword hanging from his waist. He had proclaimed a "warlike" spirit and congress passed the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts giving Adams the power of deportation. A congressman was arrested for anti-government writing, fined one thousand dollars, and jailed.

A new property tax was passed to pay for a twenty thousand man army.

Eventually Adams announced a new peace mission and the Federalists were none too pleased. It caused Adams to fall into a deep depression.

New U.S. citizens would vote Republican so Federalist extended the waiting period for citizenship to fourteen years.

Very Quick Summaries

A Very Brief
U.S. History

Political Eras and
Important Events
1 pages

20th Century U.S.
Decade Ranking

Which Decade Was
Best, Worst?
1 pages

20th Century
Decade Evaluation

Interaction of Politics
and Economics 
4 pages

20th Century U.S.
 Political Economy
5 pages

Presidential Politics
Party Politics and Presidential Elections from 1788 to 2012

5 pages

A British political cartoon depicting the affair: America is represented by the woman, who is being plundered by five Frenchmen. The figures grouped off to the right are other European countries; John Bull, representing Great Britain, sits laughing on a hill.
Ultra-Federalist war hawks thought Adams  weak. Eventually he gave in and let them  exacerbate differences with France for  "electioneering purposes."  By backing the Federalist taxes and military spending, Adams felt he was helping America acquire "monstrous fortunes."























Hamilton asked Washington to denounce the peace mission but the Hero of Mount Vernon  was too tired to join the Federalist family feud. A month before his death in late 1799, Washington wrote that it was "anxious and painful"  for him to see his cherished country moving "by hasty strides to some awful crisis.

See Meacham's Thomas Jefferson. PART VII reviewing Jefferson as opposition to the Federalists of Hamilton and Adams.

By the 1800 even the most self-absorbed Hamilton understood that the country's politics was becoming a struggle "between the rich and the poor." 

In May the Republicans won in South Carolina and with it the votes needed to defeat Adams for reelection. The Three Fifths Compromise giving states more electoral votes based on their slave population resulted in Jefferson becoming the first of four early 18th  southern presidents

Adams tried to regroup by finally firing some of his pro Hamilton high Federalist cabinet. He also abolished the Provisional Army which he considered a "wildest extravagance" of that "knight-errant" though he approved and financed a Navy.

Adam's response to political attacks from Jefferson stated that the real problem wash that Hamilton suffered from "a super-abundance of secretions which he could not find whores
enough to draw off!" Editor's Note:
Such insinuations were common on both sides as no political decorum had yet developed. In over 200 years we have managed to  create some political civility.

The successful peace negotiations in France came too late for John Adams to be reelected and because of a tie, Thomas Jefferson beat not Adams but New York Republican Aaron Burr in a House of Reprehensive vote.  Voting procedures would be changed by the 12th Amendment.  


See Election of 1800 and Turning Points in American History # 12 US Undergoes the First Peaceful 1800 Transfer of a Democratic System.

The Aurora published in Philadelphia printed that God had thrown Adams out like "polluted water."


To his death, Adams never understood why his making peace with France never carried the esteem  brought by Washington's peace with Britain. He felt America must realize that "great is the guilt of an unjust war." 

Editor's Note: John Adam's was the first President to try and  muzzle the press with his Alien and Seditions Act. Many to follow would try to quiet the negative comments of free speech. This happened despite the 1735 Freedom of the Press Zenger Trial


"Adams lost reelection because the county was ready for a change. Federalist policies that bothered them included The Jay Treaty, The Alien and Sedition Acts, the truculent policies toward France, the vast army being formed under Hamilton and taxes levied to support it." Hamilton was to pessimistic about America. Think Jimmy Carter. The Republicans took over because of the  strong central pull of America's politics and her desire to reign in anything perceived as extreme. From Hamilton's  biography by R. Chernow




Hamilton-burr-duel.jpgHamilton fighting his fatal duel with Vice President Aaron Burr (the depiction is inaccurate: only the two "seconds" actually witnessed the duel) Wiki

Click to enlarge. See Famous Duels from American History

Editor's Note: The duel with Alexander Hamilton occurred because both men were grasping at straws to continue their political careers because the Federalists had lost control of government. Hamilton criticized Burr in hopes to end his political career. Hamilton especially didn't like Burr's attempt to succeed from the union with a Northeast confederacy. Succession talk would continue to pop up, usually over slavery, whenever a region was unhappy. Abe Lincoln ended such thoughts though at a terrible price.


See Thomas Jefferson
The Art of Power, 2012, by Jon Meacham an 8 page summary
 also covers the Washington and Adams Presidencies.


Andrew Jackson Summary of Events The Politics


Editor's Note: Alexander Hamilton experience the additional misery caused  Revolutionary War excess currency  Inflation. Jefferson  and  Madison who opposed the bank did not serve in the war. They felt the bank better served the industrial north.  The agricultural south wanted inflation to make "real" debt payments to northern banks less painful. Politics is often local.


Life got off to a difficult beginning as Andrew lost his parents and brothers by the age of 14 and he had to live on family charity. In 1796 as newly admitted Tennessee's first congressman lawyer Andrew Jackson arrived in Philadelphia with his pony tail wrapped in deer skin. His victories at New Orleans and in Florida over the English in the War of 1812 had made him the most idealized American since General Washington.

President John Quincy Adams1 easily lost his reelection bid to Andrew Jackson, who was dead set against extending  the Second Bank of the United States charter and its condescending President, Nicholas Biddle. Jackson  felt the bank had  excessive power over farmers, mechanics, and others unconnected to the eastern ' " moneyed aristocracy" '  Land speculation losses in Tennessee made Jackson feel that "debt, bankers, and paper money --' "ragg money" '-- were all the devil's work." He felt the bank had used its ' "golden favors " ' to help Adams be elected.  Largely owned by foreigners autocracy, he felt the bank was corrupt.

Biddle's First Bank of the United States had political problems  from the beginning as Jefferson battled with Hamilton over the need for a central bank. Now Jeffersonian anxiety about its power and lack of accountability caused Congress not to renew its charter. In 1816 a Second Bank of the United States with a twenty year charter was established. It was the federal government's fiscal agent. Loans to House and Senate members by the bank gave Biddle a valuable weapon against Jackson. A confrontation between Jackson and Biddle during which the President made it clear that he thought the bank unconstitutional occurred early in Jackson's second term. See The Panic of 1825 and the Most Fantastic Financial Swindle-of-All-Time

The First Bank of the United States had been instituted by Hamilton during Washington's presidency. When asked about constitutionality, Hamilton told Washington it was an implied powers, that needed to accomplish a specific power granted by the constitution. Jefferson was furious as he wanted a narrow interpretation but as President,  he used said power for the Louisiana Purchase . Once purchased, he got Congress to approve the purchase. Source Meacham's Thomas Jefferson Part III

 Jackson lost the1824 presidential election which  went to the House because Jackson lacked an electoral college majority.  Jackson insisted there was a electoral college  ' " corrupt bargain" '-- between John Quincy Adams, who became President and Henry Clay, who became Secretary of State.

President Jackson blamed his wife Rachel's death  a month after he won the 1928 election on election politics. Handbills had suggesting she was an  "adulteress and whore" for not having been  properly divorce when they married. As his father before him, John Adams became only the second President not to attend his success inaugural.
See Famous Duels from American History

A promissory note issued by the Second Bank of the United States, December 15, 1840, for the amount of $1,000. Wiki






In his first annual message in December of 1829 Jackson denounced the bank as unable to keep a sound currency and unconstitutional even though the Supreme court 1819 ruled in favor of the bank. To fight Jackson, Biddle enlisted the friendly congressman to make a report countering Jackson's complaints about the bank and then used Bank funds to publish the report  throughout the country. Senator Henry Clay a friend of the Bank was chosen to oppose Jackson's 1832 reelection. "While a member of the House, Clay had been a well-paid director and council for the Bank  He now claimed ' "no connection " 'with the Bank for a decade, but in fact, Biddle had just given him a quit five-thousand dollars."  Before the election and thinking Jackson's  reelection was to much to risk a veto, Biddle ask Congress for an early charter renewal.








"Before Independence Day, 1832, the Senate and House voted to renew the charter the Second Bank of the "United State."  Most of Jackson's cabinet was against a clash with Biddle so he got help from his wordsmith-tactician Amos Kendall to help. Amos became a member of what became known as the President's  "Kitchen Cabinet  drafted most of Jackson's hellfire message that vetoed the Bank's renewal. 
Jackson's veto was sustained.
Few Presidents before him vetoed bills and he was the first to do so simply because he did not like it. Neither the Senate the House got the two-thirds votes necessary to overturn Jackson's veto of there charter renewal. Biddle "flung open the cash draws" to stop the President's reelection in 1932, but Jackson and Van Buren with 55% of the vote easily beat Clay. As Jackson predicted Clay would not do well west of the mountains and south of the Potomac. Clay only won Kentucky. 




























Biddle had not given up on charter renewal of the bank and called for a run on moneyed institution to cause a shortage of funds and an outcry for a new charter. Jackson countered with a plan to move all federal funds from the Bank to "pet banks". But William Duane at Treasury refused because Biddle would crush the use of pet banks. Jackson's Cabinet sided with Duane and when Duane refused to resign, Jackson fired him. When no one seriously objected, the power of the President was again enhanced.

 "When the deposits were pulled, the "Boston Post said Jackson was like Jesus expelling the money-changers from the temple."  Biddle tightened credit hoping to excite the public. This caused distress among New York merchants who went to the White House and complained.  At one point Jackson said ' "Go to the monster!... Go to Nicholas Biddle! We have no money here..,. Biddle has all the money." ' Biddle's efforts resulted in a Senate censure of President Jackson on March 28, 1834. Lead by Clay, the Whigs began blocking all Jackson governing efforts. When Biddle refused to let Jackson withdrew pension funds, Jackson stopped paying pensions and told veterans to blame Biddle's bank and the Whigs who defend it. In November the voters turned the Whigs out.

Biddle opened a new bank but that didn't go well and when sued by bank shareholders, he escaped to his home in the country with an immense fortune.  He beat criminal indictment but was dead by fifty-eight.

The man on the twenty-dollar bill and the panic of 1837

 For a Political Economy Approach Read History of the United States audio book from LibriVox. Search archives for 
Charles A Beard.

Paper version from Gutenberg is easily searchable by topic.

"Jackson's audacity [in firing Duane] gave later Presidents more power. Had he not redefined the veto and broadened expectations of what Presidents owed the people, the American future would have been very different."











This democratic cartoon from 1833 shows Jackson destroying the bank with the approval of an Uncle Sam like figure to the far right and annoyance of the bank's President shown as the Devil. WIKIPEDIA Click to enlarge.










Democratic cartoon shows Jackson fighting the monster Bank. "The Bank," Jackson told Martin Van Buren, "is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!" from Wiki



ABRAHAM LINCOLN Summary of Events The Politics


















In August of 1864 near the end of his first term as President Lincoln road his horse home from the Whitehouse an attempted assassination failed as the bullet creased his stovepipe hat. Since the election he had been entering Washington at night in a disguise. 

"....a Lincoln admirer sent  the President a copy of Old Hickory's letter  warning that the Southern states might succeed over the ' "pretext" ' of slavery. In it Jackson sputtered that ' "ambitious men who would involve their country in civil wars, ' " should be sent to ' "Haman's gallows." '

"Querulous editorials he [Lincoln] dismissed by saying ' " I know more about that than any of them." (editors note. President Obama mad a similar statement about his ability compared to those around him) "... Lincoln resembled Jackson most of all in the strength of his personal will." 

Abraham Lincoln was more melancholy than usual that summer in Washington where in faced both the insects that plagued the city and the stench of dismal canal and the nearby swamps. Reelection was not assured "... his political advisors told him that his Emancipation Proclamation was dragging him down:"  as Northerners were willing to fight to preserve the union but not to free the slaves.

Abe was a Democrat who became a Whig.  Andrew Jackson had followed the same path to the White House.  "For Lincoln,  Whigs like John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay embodied the rational intellect, -- Jackson the ' "burning appetite" ' of the mob--people like his father, who thought reading was loafing."  In 1860, wanting to be a down-to-earth electable candidate like Jackson, Lincoln was not presented as the ...' "well-to-do lawyer he had become, but instead as ' "Honest Abe the Rail Splitter. " '

Andrew and Abe almost had something else in common.

See Famous Duels from American History and American Duels






















Lincoln ran for President in 1860 on a platform to leave slavery in tact where it was already in force. When Congress freed slaves that had escaped to the North in 1862 Lincoln was rebuffed in an attempt to pay the South for slowly phasing out slavery. 

Lincoln being carried by two men on a long board.

"The Rail Candidate"—Lincoln's 1860 candidacy is held up by the slavery issue (slave on left) and party organization. (New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley  on right) Click, see

Other Stuff

Origins of the Civil War

Why we fought the Civil War

If we never fought a Civil War

Emancipation Proclamation Changed the Course of Civil

Jay Cooke Helped Finance the War 

Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves on New Year's day of 1863 was a "...military measure..." to stop slaves from helping the South. It was a political worry and he stated that could he save the Union without freeing the slaves, "... I would do so." The proclamation freed those states fighting the Union. Boarder states still in the Union were  too valuable to anger.

Despite such efforts, his party was killed in the 1862 midterm elections. Radicals passed the Wade-Davis bill to vanquish Lincolns plans not to punish the South but Lincoln let it die without signature. When Wade and Davis tried to ditch Lincoln for General Grant, Grant supported Lincoln.

More political trouble came the summer of 1863 when Lincoln asked for five hundred thousands men and General Sherman said one less soldier would lose Lincoln votes among those already serving. A new draft disallowed men from avoiding service with a  $300 substitute, though conscious objectors were allowed. Many thought this new draft would kill his reelection but Lincoln thought what good is an election without a country.

The war was not going well in the summer of 1864 as Grant was stalled in his move toward Atlanta. Grant had lost 6,000 men in Virginia and the South prepared to raid Washington. The expected raid put Pressure on Lincoln to peruse peace. New York Times Publisher Horace Greeley published an open letter t the President:  "  Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country... shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions...and of new rivers of human blood." The attack ailed due to Union reinforcements and tactical mistakes by the South.



















After his party lost the 1862 midterm election Lincoln fired General McClellan. Now he was Lincoln's likely Democratic opponent favored by wealthy Democrats who  favored the general because he would not fight the South over slavery. 

Party leaders provided McClellan with a furnished townhouse in New York and railroad equities in hopes he could unite the Copperheads, who wanted immediate peace and with the War Democrats who were willing to wait. Lincoln was in political trouble because he had made known his belief  that peace with slavery was not possible and he would not change his mind because  slavery must be finished. About 200,000 slaves had fled the South after the Emancipation Proclamation.
By 1864, much of the country was tired of the war and against Lincoln concerning the slavery issue. After McClellan's nomination, political bosses thought Lincoln would win only three  states and asked him to consider not running.

A "moist-eyed and despondent"  Lincoln told General Carl Schurz ...' "God knows I have tried very hard... And now to have it said by men who have been my friends ... that I have been seduced by ... power, and that I have been doing this and that unscrupulous thing... only to keep myself in office!" '  Lincoln would not step down!

"Running the 'Machine'": An 1864 political cartoon featuring Lincoln; William Fessenden, Edwin Stanton, William Seward, and Gideon Welles take a swing at the Lincoln administration.















Before the Lincolns came to Washington, wife Mary had fired Abe's ambitions. But the lose of their son Willie in 1862 and the war had gotten to her. Dressed in permanent black, she feared critics would force her son Robert to be drafted and he would be captured and killed. She was obsessed that her husband would be assassinated.


Mary Todd Lincoln
wife of Abraham Lincoln
age 28




Lincoln spent much time that summer hoping for help from the Bible . "Suddenly Lincoln regained his political balance." He may have been helped by the Democratic platform designed by Copperheads who wanted the war over. The South could do what they want. This enraged many McClellan backers. Lincoln won easily.




1864 presidential election results

More Summaries from Quick Notes

Very Quick Summaries

A Very Brief
U.S. History

Political Eras and
Important Events
1 pages

20th Century U.S.
Decade Ranking

Which Decade Was
Best, Worst?
1 pages

20th Century
Decade Evaluation

Interaction of Politics
and Economics 
4 pages

20th Century U.S.
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5 pages

Presidential Politics
Party Politics and Presidential Elections from 1788 to 2012

5 pages

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40 Maps Ex
plain the Middle East

History of the Middle East Conflict in 11 Minutes

Brief Sunni-Shiite Conflict History



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A Concise History of Christianity

Iran,20th Century History of

Iraq,20th Century History of

Islamic Fundamentalism

Sunnis and Shiites at War 

US, 20th Century History of

Military Decisions by US Presidents

Wars to Forge

A Look Back at the War in Afghanistan

The Rise and Fall
of the Great Powers’ 





















Summaries of Published Books

Presidential Courage Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989
by Michael Beschloss 8 page summary

Turning Points in American History cove 400 years Five 2-page parts

Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power 2012 Jon Meacham 8 page summary

American Dynasty Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the
House of Bush
by Kevin Phillips
, 6 page summary 

See Welcome
the Hackocracy
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Second Chance Three Presidents and the Crisis of America Superpower
 by Zbigniew Brzezinski, 6 page summary,

Generations and The Fourth Turning William Strauss and Neil Howe
read an 2 page summary

Don't Know Much About History Everything You Need To Know About
American History But Never Learned, by Kenneth C. Davis
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1 page review and  8 Minute Video

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Generations and The Fourth Turning

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explores the genius behind these Free Internet Libraries.

E-mail antonw@ix.netcom with suggestions.




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Seven Bad Ideas How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World by Jeff Madrick Reviewed by Peter Richardson 2014

"This Time Is Different" is a history of financial collapse from 1300 to the present.

"The Shock Doctrine: The evil of “Disaster Capitalism, a book report video was posted to the Crooks and Liars  blog on December 1, 2007

"Nickel and Dimed" On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from the perspective of the undercover journalist, ...

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism is critical and a good source of the twenty-three items 

Videos by the author Ha-Joon Chang
    Part I     Part II     Part III   

A Brief History of US Banking is a brief chronology.

The Center Holds Obama and His Enemies is "the thrilling story of one of the most momentous contests in American history, the Battle Royale between Obama and his enemies from the 2010 midterms through the 2013 inauguration." Video by Jonathan Alter, 2013

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century. By Christian Caryl. Basic; 400 pages
argues that 1979 belongs to the select club of real turning-points: "years in which one era ended and another was born. 1917 proved to be a bloody dead end and 1848 proved to be, in A.J.P. Taylor’s phrase, “a turning-point in history when history failed to turn”. But others, such as 1789 (when France’s ancient régime collapsed) and 1517 (when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door), resound down the ages." Editors note: Was the liberalism of the 20th century coming to an end?

Free Trade Doesn't  Work by Ian Fletcher, adjunct fellow at the United States Business and Industry Council, and CPA' In his effective 267 pages of text, Ian Fletcher dissects and often demolishes fundamental teachings about the benefits and risks of trade and replaces them with evidence based updates.  He then recommends a practical alternative based on clear objectives.

Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson from Stephen Lendman of counter currents "Our democracy and way of life are now threatened because of our single-minded pursuit of empire with a well-entrenched militarism driving it that's become so powerful and pervasive it's now an uncontrollable state within the state."

How You Can Kill Al-Qaeda in Three Easy Steps review from  Boing Boing  
I just got done reading Howard Clark's new book "How You Can Kill Al-Qaeda (in Three Easy Steps). He's an ex-Marine and former Homeland Security adviser who says the way to win the war on terrorism is to help empower the mainstream Muslim community, who in recent years has been overshadowed in the public spotlight by fringe Al-Qaeda extremists. The whole idea of fighting terrorism with ideas and not weapons is definitely nothing new, but Clark's populist tone and foreign policy street cred was a refreshing perspective to have in the discussion. "Click on the link below in the next 30 minutes and I'll throw in this egg slicer absolutely free! Here's how to order!" Book's official site...  
One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy
In this CSPAN2 book interview,  Allison Stanger talks of her book which looks at the increasing use of private contractors by the U.S. government and argues that with proper oversight contractors can be valuable tools for carrying out our foreign policy.  Includes audience Q&A. 

Guns, Germs, and Steel -  the fates of human societies '...attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations, as a whole, have survived and conquered others, while attempting to refute the belief that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral, or inherent genetic superiority." 

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism,
Bill Moyers sits down with history and international relations expert and former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich who identifies three major problems facing our democracy: the crises of economy, government and militarism, and calls for a redefinition of the American way of life

The Limits of Power Democracy Now interviews Andrew Bacevich, a conservative historian who spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army.