Though never personal, throughout the course of the early 19th century, Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison found their lives intertwined for decades, through war and peace. Though they often found themselves in competition, there were also some rare instances where they could be found on the same side, and the story of their relationship over time provides much insight about the antebellum period of American history. Source information for this episode can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.
John Tyler’s unexpected ascendancy to the presidency causes both Whigs and Democrats to think and rethink their strategies for the 1844 presidential election. Presumptive candidates Henry Clay and Martin Van Buren prepare to lead their respective parties into the general campaign, but for both, complications arise that threaten their political futures as the ambitious new president makes a priority of bringing Texas into the Union. Dissension in the ranks, rivals for power, and increased sectional tensions all threaten to make 1844 a year that Clay and Van Buren may wish to forget. Source information for this episode can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com
He may have lost in 1832, but that didn’t mean that Henry Clay lost his desire for the presidency. As 1836 and 1840 neared, each time, the gentleman from Kentucky had to decide whether to go for the gold once more. However, he would find the way in both contests littered with other Whig contenders in addition to old Sweet Sandy Whiskers (aka: Martin Van Buren) on the Democratic side. Nevertheless, the Senator persevered through the late 1830s and would take on presidents, generals, senators, pro-slavery southerners, and abolitionists in his quest to make it to the White House. Source information for this episode can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.
After four years of the Adams administration, the voters go to the polls once more in 1828 as Andrew Jackson once more challenges the man from Massachusetts. However, the President’s supporters, including his Secretary of State Henry Clay, soon learn that the nature of politics has greatly changed since 1824, and if they hope to have any chance moving forward, they’ll have to change with the times. The battle royale that is Jackson versus Adams is on, and when the dust settles, Henry Clay will be left trying to figure out where his future might lead. Source information for this episode can be found on http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.
Ron Shafer, author of The Carnival Campaign, shares his insight into the 1840 presidential campaign, some of the prominent figures and circumstances of the time, and how he feels that William Henry Harrison is the figure from the 1840 campaign that people should know more about. During the course of the interview, Ron brings in his experience as a former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor, in particular his writing the page one column The Washington Wire, to share with listeners how the 1840 campaign in particular and early American politics in particular compares with our own time.
We step out of the narrative for this episode and examine what evidence is in the historical record about what other presidents thought of William Henry Harrison. From the first president to the forty-third, Old Tippecanoe elicited much comment from both contemporaries and future generations. Some presidents campaigned for him. Others fought to keep him out of the White House. Some admired him. Others ridiculed him. Some pronounced him “first-rate” while others called him a “stuffed shirt.” Some proclaimed him to be “the stern and unflinching advocate of popular rights” while others felt that his election would lead to the nation’s “end like that of ancient republics.” Find out who said what about the General in this episode. Source information can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.
Though the presidency of William Henry Harrison was short, the emotions of those thirty days ran the gamut. The jubilation and mirth of the inauguration quickly gave way to the frustration of trying to appease supporters with patronage. The stress got to Harrison so much that Andrew and I had to censor him on his own show (this is supposed to be a family-friendly show, General – control yourself!). Between the office seekers, Henry Clay’s impetuousness, and the looming fiscal crisis, Harrison did not have an easy go of it in the first few weeks but did still manage to keep up a lively social calendar before a doctor was called in on March 26th. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.
In this episode, we dive into the presidential campaigns of 1836 and 1840 and explore some of the more interesting facets of the election season. From the mode of campaigning to the organization (or lack thereof at times) of the political parties of the time, these two elections are filled with interesting characters and social changes. The role of women in the campaign, the first anti-slavery political party, and Van Buren’s controversial running mate, Richard Mentor Johnson, are all considered in this episode. Source information for this episode can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.
We explore the life and legacy of Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States. From his beginnings in Kinderhook, NY to his rise to the highest office in the land and later pursuit to return to the presidency, Van Buren’s is a story that spans the antebellum period and leaves us much to ponder about whether the ends do truly justify the means. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://whhpodcast.blubrry.com.