Thinking Citizen Blog — Political Dynasties II: Adams, Roosevelt, Bush
Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day
Today’s Topic: Political Dynasties II: Adams, Roosevelt, Bush
Last time the Kennedy, Clinton, and Cuomo dynasties. Today three more. Again, the notes on each are few and somewhat random. The more research I do, the more I realize how little I know and the more conscious I am of the randomness of what I remember. What facts about these or any other political dynasties stand out most in your memory? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE ADAMS FAMILY — from John (1735–1826) to John Quincey (1767–1848)
1. John Adams “was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which influenced the US Constitution as did his essay, Thought on Government.”
2. He served two terms as Vice President under Washington and one term as President (1795–1800). He and his son John Quincey were “the only presidents of the first twelve who did not own slaves.”
3. John Quincey (above) was the only ex-President to serve in the House of Representatives. He did so for 17 years — from 1831 until his death in 1848, He is perhaps most famous for his abolitionism and his opposition to the annexation of Texas and the Mexican-American War.
NB: “Historians generally concur that (John Quincey) Adams was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history; they typically rank him as an average president, as he had an ambitious agenda but could not get it passed by Congress.”
THE ROOSEVELTS — Theodore (1858–1919), Franklin (1882–1945), Eleanor (1884–1962)
1. “Teddy” is generally ranked by historians as one of the top five greatest presidents. His likeness is on Mt. Rushmore up there with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. He is the only President to have received a “Medal of Honor” (awarded posthumously by President Clinton on January 16, 2001). That was for his charge on San Juan Hill. The youngest President ever he was not only a man of action — he published over 30 books! He was the guy behind the Panama Canal and won the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering the end to the Russo-Japanese War. He was also an explorer who has a river in Brazil named after him. Enough for now.
2. Franklin was the only President to be elected more than twice — 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. This led to the 22nd Amendment setting the limit at two. The amendment passed Congress in 1947 and was ratified by 1951. Repeal has been proposed by many since from the Left as well as the Right — from Representative Barney Frank to Senator Mitch McConnell.
3. Eleanor was Teddy’s niece and Franklin’s wife. She was “the longest serving First Lady of the United States.” She then was the US Delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 to 1952. “She was the first presidential spouse to hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column, write a monthly magazine column, host a weekly radio show, and speak at a national party convention.” President Truman would call her “First Lady of the World.”
THE BUSHES — George H.W. Bush (1924–2018), George W. Bush (1946 — ), Jeb Bush (1953 — )
1. George H.W. Bush — Vice President under Ronald Reagan (1981–1989), President (1989–1993), Director of the CIA (1976–7), US Ambassador to the UN (1971–3), US House of Representatives (1971–1973). One of the youngest aviators in the US Navy during World War II, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. His restraint with respect to the Soviet Union may have facilitated its peaceful collapse in 1989. On the other hand his unwillingness to oust Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War may have had less favorable consequences.
2. George W. Bush “was among the most popular, as well as unpopular, US presidents in history; he received the highest recorded approval ratings in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, but one of the lowest ratings during the 2008 financial crisis.”
3. GWB is the most respected US President in Africa because of his AIDS initiative — PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) which has saved an estimated 13 million lives (mostly in Africa) through the provision of antiretroviral drugs. The lives of 2.2 million children were saved through the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
NB: John Ellis “Jeb” Bush was Governor of Florida from 1999–2007 and ran an unsuccessful campaign for the US Presidency from June 2015 to February 2016. He was Florida’s first two term Republican governor. Perhaps most famous for Trump’s diss: “low energy Jeb” (up there with “crooked Hilary,” “Lyin Ted,” and “Pocahontas.”)
For the last three years of posts, organized thematically:
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