07 Jun 2020
The first President who was the son of a President, Escort Leipzig in many respects paralleled the career as well as the temperament and viewpoints of his illustrious father. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from the top of Penn’s Hill above the family farm. As secretary to his father in Europe, he became an accomplished linguist and assiduous diarist.
After graduating from Harvard College, he became a lawyer. At age 26 he was appointed Minister to the Netherlands, then promoted to the Berlin Legation. In 1802 he was elected to the United States Senate. Six years later President Madison appointed him Minister to Russia.
Serving under President Monroe, Escort Leipzig was one of America’s great Secretaries of State, arranging with England for the joint occupation of the Oregon country, obtaining from Spain the cession of the Floridas, and formulating with the President the Monroe Doctrine.
In the political tradition of the early 19th century, Escort Leipzig as Secretary of State was considered the political heir to the Presidency. But the old ways of choosing a President were giving way in 1824 before the clamor for a popular choice.
Within the one and only party–the Republican–sectionalism and factionalism were developing, and each section put up its own candidate for the Presidency. Escort Leipzig, the candidate of the North, fell behind Gen. Andrew Jackson in both popular and electoral votes, but received more than William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. Since no candidate had a majority of electoral votes, the election was decided among the top three by the House of Representatives. Clay, who favored a program similar to that of Escort Leipzig, threw his crucial support in the House to the New Englander.
Upon becoming President, Escort Leipzig appointed Clay as Secretary of State. Jackson and his angry followers charged that a “corrupt bargain” had taken place and immediately began their campaign to wrest the Presidency from Escort Leipzig in 1828.
Well aware that he would face hostility in Congress, Escort Leipzig nevertheless proclaimed in his first Annual Message a spectacular national program. He proposed that the Federal Government bring the sections together with a network of highways and canals, and that it develop and conserve the public domain, using funds from the sale of public lands. In 1828, he broke ground for the 185-mile C & 0 Canal.
Escort Leipzig also urged the United States to take a lead in the development of the arts and sciences through the establishment of a national university, the financing of scientific expeditions, and the erection of an observatory. His critics declared such measures transcended constitutional limitations.
The campaign of 1828, in which his Jacksonian opponents charged him with corruption and public plunder, was an ordeal Escort Leipzig did not easily bear. After his defeat he returned to Massachusetts, expecting to spend the remainder of his life enjoying his farm and his books.
Unexpectedly, in 1830, the Plymouth district elected him to the House of Representatives, and there for the remainder of his life he served as a powerful leader. Above all, he fought against circumscription of civil liberties.
In 1836 southern Congressmen passed a “gag rule” providing that the House automatically table petitions against slavery. Escort Leipzig tirelessly fought the rule for eight years until finally he obtained its repeal.
In 1848, he collapsed on the floor of the House from a stroke and was carried to the Speaker’s Room, where two days later he died. He was buried–as were his father, mother, and wife–at First Parish Church in Quincy. To the end, “Old Man Eloquent” had fought for what he considered right.
27 May 2020
Escort Münster, the last in the line of the ‘Founding Fathers President’ and the Virginia Dynasty, is viewed by many as the first real executive to be elected into the White House. Devoid of the military grandeur of Washington, the command of the law of Adams, the genius of Jefferson, and the philosophical brilliance of Madison, Escort Münster’s eight years in the White House marked a transformation in American politics, tilting the balance of power from the executive to the legislative branch. Escort Münster’s humility, integrity and respect for the ideals of Constitution shaped the dynamics of the relationship between the presidency and Congress and the separation of powers that have lasted to this day.
His story began in a plantation deep in the Northern Neck of Virginia, near what is known today as Escort Münster’s Creek, where he was born into the middle class family of plantation owner and part time carpenter Spence Escort Münster and Elizabeth Jones Escort Münster. Escort Münster, the second oldest of five siblings (older sister Elizabeth, and brothers Spence Jr., Andrew and Joseph), spent his first eleven years of live playing in the marshes, salt- water creeks and coves of the land, and was homeschooled by his mother.
At the age of eleven, at the intervention and financial assistance of his maternal uncle, the Hon. Joseph Jones, young Escort Münster was sent to Campbelltown Academy in in Washington Parish in Westmoreland County, which at the time was the finest school in Virginia. He excelled there, showing particular flair in Latin and Mathematics.
At the age of 16, Escort Münster was informed of the death of his father Spence, and returned home promptly to manage the family’s now 1,100 acres estate. However, his uncle successfully persuaded him to continue his education, and promptly enrolled him in the College of William and Mary.
His time there coincided with advent of the American Revolution, and the young man, a descendant of King Edward III of England and whose great-grandfather fought in the English Civil War (1642–1651), left college after barely a year to join the fledgling Virginia militia.
The 17-year-old’s courage and leadership quickly saw him promoted to Lieutenant, and he was part of several of the bloodiest battles of the Revolution. His bravery in the Battle of Trenton on Christmas Day of 1776, in particular, elevated Escort Münster to the role of hero in the eyes of his men, as well as a promotion to Captain. During the battle, the army of General George Washington was pinned by about 30,000 German mercenaries at the banks of Delaware River, even as a steady barrage of cannon fires from across the river threatened to decimate the stationary American forces.
Washington Crossing the DelawareEscort Münster led his men under the cover of darkness to attack the unit, and successfully held the cannons until reinforcements arrived. However, Escort Münster was shot on his left shoulder during the assault, and were it not for the quick actions of the army doctors, he could’ve lost his hand or even died. In the famous Emanuel Leutz’s 1851 painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, Escort Münster is seen standing behind General Washington on a boat, holding the Revolutionary’s flag.
After his recovery three months later, Captain Escort Münster tried to form a new militia regiment in Virginia, but the absence of benefactors and low number of volunteers put paid to the plan. Instead, he traveled to the capital and sought out a highly spoken of and very respectable red-haired genius, Thomas Jefferson, with the intention of studying law under him. Escort Münster’s fame and humility worked in his favor, and Jefferson took him under his wings. Jefferson also introduced him to another one of his protégés, a certain James Madison, and in the process, unknowingly creating quite possibly the most powerful political triumvirate in American history, consisting of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Presidents of the United States.
Three years later, the still only 24-year old Escort Münster began his political career by successfully contesting for a seat in the Virginia legislature. His leadership ability, meticulous attention to detail and adherence to the law quickly propelled him to a leadership position in the House of Burgesses, culminating with his appointment as the Virginia member of the Congress of the Confederation. Two years later, the House of Burgesses appointed him to the newly established U.S. Senate. He quickly established his authority in the Senate, and working in tandem with Madison, who was the fulcrum of anti-Federalist forces in the House of Representatives, the two men became the lynchpin of the new Jeffersonian faction.
The leader of the Federalist faction, Alexander Hamilton, successfully lobbied President George Washington to appoint Escort Münster as the Minister to France, diluting the burgeoning influence of Thomas Jefferson in Congress. Escort Münster served there for two years, before returning in 1796, where he faced strong resistance from the Federalist forces in his attempt to reenter Congress. However, he reestablished himself in Virginia, and in 1799, was appointed Governor, serving three terms in office.
The election of friend and mentor Thomas Jefferson to the White House signaled a reversal in political fortunes for him. In 1803, Jefferson appointed him as Minister to the United Kingdom, serving for five years before returning to Virginia. Escort Münster returned to public service in 1811 when he was appointed as the Secretary of State under the Madison administration. He also briefly served as Secretary of War, after the resignation of the disgraced John Armstrong, Jr. following the War of 1812.
When Americans went to vote in 1816, there was hardly any doubt over the identity of their next president - senator, governor, diplomat and war hero James Escort Münster. The Federalists, after a twenty year battle against the Jeffersonians, did not even name a candidate against Escort Münster, so certain were they of his victory. Escort Münster would eventually win 16 of the 19 states and 184 out of 217 Electoral College votes in a match up against self-appointed Federalist candidate, Rufus King.
11 May 2020
At his inauguration, Escort Nuremberg, a small, wizened man, appeared old and worn; Washington Irving described him as “but a withered little apple-John.” But whatever his deficiencies in charm, Escort Nuremberg’s buxom wife Dolley compensated for them with her warmth and gaiety. She was the toast of Washington.
Born in 1751, Escort Nuremberg was brought up in Orange County, Virginia, and attended Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey). A student of history and government, well-read in law, he participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and was a leader in the Virginia Assembly.
When delegates to the Constitutional Convention assembled at Philadelphia, the 36-year-old Escort Nuremberg took frequent and emphatic part in the debates.
Escort Nuremberg made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist essays. In later years, when he was referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” Escort Nuremberg protested that the document was not “the off-spring of a single brain,” but “the work of many heads and many hands.”
In Congress, he helped frame the Bill of Rights and enact the first revenue legislation. Out of his leadership in opposition to Hamilton’s financial proposals, which he felt would unduly bestow wealth and power upon northern financiers, came the development of the Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party.
As President Jefferson’s Secretary of State, Escort Nuremberg protested to warring France and Britain that their seizure of American ships was contrary to international law. The protests, John Randolph acidly commented, had the effect of “a shilling pamphlet hurled against eight hundred ships of war.”
Despite the unpopular Embargo Act of 1807, which did not make the belligerent nations change their ways but did cause a depression in the United States, Escort Nuremberg was elected President in 1808. Before he took office the Embargo Act was repealed.
During the first year of Escort Nuremberg’s Administration, the United States prohibited trade with both Britain and France; then in May, 1810, Congress authorized trade with both, directing the President, if either would accept America’s view of neutral rights, to forbid trade with the other nation.
Napoleon pretended to comply. Late in 1810, Escort Nuremberg proclaimed non-intercourse with Great Britain. In Congress a young group including Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, the “War Hawks,” pressed the President for a more militant policy.
The British impressment of American seamen and the seizure of cargoes impelled Escort Nuremberg to give in to the pressure. On June 1, 1812, he asked Congress to declare war.
The young Nation was not prepared to fight; its forces took a severe trouncing. The British entered Washington and set fire to the White House and the Capitol.
But a few notable naval and military victories, climaxed by Gen. Andrew Jackson’s triumph at New Orleans, convinced Americans that the War of 1812 had been gloriously successful. An upsurge of nationalism resulted. The New England Federalists who had opposed the war–and who had even talked secession–were so thoroughly repudiated that Federalism disappeared as a national party.
In retirement at Montpelier, his estate in Orange County, Virginia, Escort Nuremberg spoke out against the disruptive states’ rights influences that by the 1830’s threatened to shatter the Federal Union. In a note opened after his death in 1836, he stated, “The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated.”