Presidents

The Not So "Silent Cal," Discovering the Real Calvin Coolidge

Feb 16, 2015
Cliff / Flickr

What can you say about a man known for saying very little?

Our guest, New York Times bestselling author and journalist Amity Shlaes has quite a bit to say. She joins us for a look at the nation’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge.

Shlaes argues that “Silent Cal” had more of a legacy than being a man of little words.

“People think that because Coolidge said little ---"Silent Cal"--- that he was worth little. And we at The Coolidge Foundation (and I do my research) have discovered that Coolidge is a wonderful president, a model for modern American.”

Shlaes goes on to comment on the idea that Calvin Coolidge was a “quaint” president.

“This way of making him quaint, depicting him as a throwback, something out of a Victorian story... is a way of reducing him. He played to type for fun in the media (he’s not unsophisticated and he was a type: a New Englander). [But] He also was extremely sophisticated in the way he operated to achieve his end, which was to reduce government and honor the office of the presidency.”

Forty years ago tomorrow, President Gerald Ford appeared on national television declaring he had granted former President Richard Nixon a full pardon for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

While the infamous investigation has been extensively publicized and analyzed, Ford’s reasoning behind the pardon mostly remains an untold story.

That’s according to Ken Gormley, Duquesne University’s Dean of Law, who is coordinating Monday’s event along with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, at which major players in Ford’s decision recount their involvement.

Can The House Sue President Obama?

Aug 6, 2014

As Speaker of the House John Boehner moves forward with an unprecedented lawsuit against President Obama, we checked in with University of Pittsburgh Professor of Law David Harris to explain what’s going on.

“This is the first time ... that the House of the Senate has actively moved to sue the president," Harris said. "There’s been nothing like that before.”

He added that although anybody in the United States can sue anybody else, he does not believe this to be a legitimate legal action.

“The major impediment to this suit going forward is what we call ‘standing to sue,’" Harris said. "In federal court, which is where the suit will be, the Constitution requires what they call a ‘case or controversy.’ What that provision has been interpreted to mean over the many years and decades is that the person suing actually has to have a personal stake in the outcome, in the sense that they will be harmed, they will be personally affected."

(Rebroadcast) Presidential Walking Tours in Washington, PA

Feb 17, 2014
Doug Kerr / Flickr

Washington & Jefferson College has a unique way to celebrate and honor past American Presidents that have spoken, stayed, or visited Washington, PA.

Professors Jennifer Harding and Thomas Mainwaring developed a walking presidential tour which offers a historical look at the connection between fifteen Presidents and the City of Washington.

(Rebroadcast) President Taft at Rodef Shalom

Feb 17, 2014
Wikimedia

In May of 1909, a Shabbat, President William Howard Taft became the first American President to speak  from the Bimah of a Jewish Congregation while in office.

The Rodef Shalom Congregation, in Pittsburgh played host to the touring President. Archivist Martha Berg talked with us last year about Taft's visit to Pittsburgh and the importance of his speech.

(Rebroadcast) On the Trail of George Washington in Western PA

Feb 17, 2014
Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

260 years ago, a 21-year old George Washington had two brushes with death in the Pittsburgh area that could have dramatically altered the course of American History.

He was on a dangerous diplomatic mission in the Western Pennsylvania wilderness. We explored this little known chapter of Washington's life last December, with retired Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Martin J. O'Brien.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

While the White House is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, only one Pennsylvanian has ever occupied the executive office; Lancaster area native James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the United States.

Patrick Clarke, Director of President James Buchanan’s home Wheatland, believes that Buchanan’s childhood in the Keystone State helped him develop into the leader he would become.

“There are some historians that believe growing up so close to the border of Virginia, today of course the border belongs to West Virginia, but some believe it kind of shaped him and his thinking.”

Buchanan's presidency was at a time when the nation was in growing turmoil.

Part 2 of the New Girl's Presidential Homes Tour

Feb 13, 2014
http://www.flickr.com/photos/awj68/8538842288/

Last week travel contributor Elaine Labalme recommended some presidential homes worth visiting. However, with forty-four U.S. presidents to choose from, there are more residences worth visiting.

Here are a few more presidential homes to add to your list of trips to take!

Take a Road Trip and Tour of Presidential Homes

Feb 6, 2014
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_taylor/5287916645/

Ohio and Virginia are both nicknamed the home of presidents. From Mount Vernon to Monticello presidential homes are great places to visit and learn about history. 

With President’s Day a little over a week away, travel contributor Elaine Labalme gives some suggestions of presidential residences you might like to visit.