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[Abridged] Presidential Histories

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From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes will be available the first day of each month.

From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes will be available the first day of each month.


United States


From Yorktown to the Civil War, Pearl Harbor to 9/11, discover the pivotal moments that defined each president's life and legacy and the lessons we can draw from them. New episodes will be available the first day of each month.




14.) Franklin Pierce 1853-1857

"We Polked you in 44, we're Pierce you in 52!" Franklin Pierce may have my favorite campaign slogan yet. But in terms of presidencies, wow, this guy is a total disaster. I mean, Millard Fillmore just nuked the only major opposition party into oblivion. Governing should be easy, right? Not when you're Pierce, who do his best to one-up Fillmore and wreck the Democratic party on the bloody shoal known as "Bleeding Kansas." Follow along as Pierce falls hilariously short in his pursuit of...


13.) Millard Fillmore 1850-1853

When Millard Fillmore became president, the country was on the verge of collapse. President Taylor had just died, the Compromise of 1850 appeared dead, and southern secessionist were organizing a convention to plot disunion. The nation looked to Fillmore to save it. And he totally whiffed. Follow along as Fillmore uses the scapegoating of minorities to rise to power, postpones Civil War for a decade with the Compromise of 1850, destroys the Whig party with his overzealous enforcement of...


12.) Zachary Taylor 1849-1850

"Ol' Rough n' Ready" hadn't even been sworn in yet when the discovery of California gold derailed whatever plans he'd held for his presidency. 100,000 Americans flooded west to California In 1849 and quickly began clamoring for statehood - statehood without slavery. The north loved the idea, the south threatened to secede over it, and Zachary Taylor had to bridge the gap or die trying. Follow Taylor as he participates in four wars and becomes a national hero for his generalship in the...


11.) James K. Polk 1845-1849

No president better captures the spirit of Manifest Destiny than James K. Polk. When he entered office, the United States had a disputed claim to Oregon, and that's about it. When he left office, the United States looked like the continent-spanning empire it is today.. Follow along as Polk revives his dead-end political career to shock everyone and win the White House, manipulates the United States into war with Mexico to steal the American Southwest, acquires the Oregon Territory from...


10.) John Tyler 1841-1845

President John Tyler was so hated, he was burned in effigy by his own party before being kicked out of the party and made into a political pariah. And that's BEFORE he committed treason. Follow along as John Tyler sneaks into the presidency in a fluke, vetoes his own party's agenda to incur their wrath, engages in some of the most ambitious backroom political plotting so far, and then annexes Texas during his final days in office - lighting a 16-year fuse to Civil War. Bibliography 1....


A.) Sam Houston, The Raven

Sam Houston was never president of the United States, but he was the first president of the Independent Republic of Texas, one of the first senators of the state of Texas, and was ejected from the governorship of Texas for refusing to swear loyalty to the confederacy on the eve of the Civil War. Follow Houston as he runs away from home to live with the Cherokee, joins the army to fight under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812, becomes Jackson's most likely heir as governor of Tennessee,...


09.) William Henry Harrison 1841-1841

When William Henry Harrison pledged to only serve one term as president, he probably didn't anticipate fulfilling that promise by dying after a month in office. But Harrison is far more than just the shortest-serving president of all time. He's also the reason England didn't capture the American midwest during the war of 1812, and his presidential campaign introduced the word "Booze" to American culture. So, rock on. Follow Harrison as he joins the army on the frontier, saves midwest from...


08.) Martin Van Buren 1837-1841

How does Martin Van Buren rise from being an impoverished child with no education to taking over New York State politics, forging the Democratic Party, and creating the modern two-party system? He does it by being sly. Sly as a fox. Follow Van Buren, the "Little Magician," as he outwits and manipulates every foe and ally alike to remake the American political landscape, only for it all to collapse on him just four days after reaching the White House when America's first great depression...


07.) Andrew Jackson 1829 - 1837

How does an uneducated man with a fiery temper, a treasonous past, and a propensity for murder become president? He does it by winning a famous military victory, of course! Andrew Jackson is the Hero of New Orleans, our seventh president, and a pretty terrible person beyond that. From his youth as a Revolutionary War orphan to his military victories, war crimes, cruelty toward Native Americans, disastrous economic policies, and that time he almost fought a civil war against his own former...


06.) John Quincy Adams 1825 - 1829

Full disclosure, John Quincy Adams is my favorite early president. Not for anything he did as president - he was a total failure there. But because of what he did after the presidency, when he returned to D.C. as a humble Congressman and became the loudest voice against slavery in Congress. John Quincy will roar so loud, the South will pass a series of unconstitutional gag rules to try and shut him up. They won't succeed. From his first diplomatic mission at the age of 14, to the Napoleonic...


05.) James Monroe 1817-1825

James Monroe has been called the Forrest Gump of Founding Fathers - he just keeps showing up everywhere! But that doesn't mean he isn't sharp. Monroe dropped out of college to fight in the revolution, and his life rarely slowed down after that. He'll dine with emperor's, oversee wars, and destroy his political opponents In a globe-trotting career that takes him from nearly being orphaned to the White House. From his service In Washington's army during the Revolutionary War, to Valley Forge,...


04.) James Madison 1809-1817

James Madison is known as the father of the Constitution. Unfortunately, he's also the father of the War of 1812 and the Embargo act of 1807. The first was a disastrous conflict that burned down the White House, the second was a well-intentioned policy that totally failed and plunged the American economy into depression. From his time helping create the modern American government to his year's building the Jeffersonian-Republican Party and his two terms in the (badly burnt) White House,...


03.) Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809

Thomas Jefferson was once regarded as the greatest of Founding Fathers, and It's easy to see why. He wrote the Declaration of Independents, founded the nation's first political party, and acquired the Louisiana Purchase. But in recent years, his standing has taken a hit. There's his embrace of partisan politics, his embargo policy that caused the nation's first economic depression, and his long-running affair with Sally Hemings, his dead wife's half-sister who was 30 years younger than him...


02.) John Adams 1797-1801

John Adams is the Devil's Advocate of the Founding Fathers. A revolutionary turned international diplomat turned President who was never afraid to stand alone if he was convinced that standing alone was the right thing to do. From the Boston Massacre to the Continental Congresses to the Treaty of Paris and the Quasi War with France, we'll follow Adams as he charts the unique path of a man who refused to be carried by the tides of history, and instead sought to control...


0.) Introduction

What can listeners expect from the [Abridged] Presidential Histories podcast? What was the inspiration? And who's hosting it? This brief introduction answers those basic questions. If you don't care about any of that and just want to get to the presidential history, skip ahead to episode 1 on George Washington! https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories)


01.) George Washington 1789-1797

Everyone knows George Washington was the first president of the United States. But that little phrase, "First president of the United States," hides a big story. Washington entered an office imbued with few clear powers or expectations and responsible for a young nation surrounded by potential enemies. Luckily for us, Washington had nerves of steel. From his youth as a frontier warrior to his campaigns as a revolutionary general and his two terms in the White House, we'll follow Washington...