Tag Archives: presidents

Some TN congressmen unhappy with Jackson on back of $20 bill

Many Tennesseans — including congressmen — saw the decision to move Andrew Jackson’s portrait to the back of the $20 bill and put Harriett Tubman’s likeness on front as an attack on the historical contributions of the nation’s seventh president, reports Michael Collins.

“Dismayed and disappointed would be two words we would use to describe the decision,” said Howard J. Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation in Nashville.

Kittell and other Tennesseans say it’s unfair to judge Jackson’s actions on slavery and Indian removal in the early 1800s through the lens of the 21st century.

Although it’s hard for us to imagine today, Jackson’s positions on those issues and others “fell within the mainstream of American thinking” at the time, Kittell said, and it’s important to evaluate him in that context.

…”Andrew Jackson was a great Tennessean and American, and I am extremely disappointed that this announcement appears to be as much an attack on his legacy as it is a celebration of Harriet Tubman,” said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City.

Jackson and Tubman should both be celebrated for their historical significance, Roe said.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, called Jackson “a patriot” and said the decision to move him to the back of the bill “unnecessary”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga, said he supports finding new ways to pay tribute “to the many deserving women throughout American history.”

But, “I would hope we could do so without diminishing the legacy of others,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburgh, also criticized the decision. Tubman was an American heroine who deserves the highest recognition, DesJarlais said, but not at the expense of distorting Jackson’s place in history.

“Jackson was a Tennessean through and through — a colorful character, a military hero, and most importantly, a man who believed in paying off our debts,” DesJarlais said. “In fact, he was the last president to pay off our national debt in 1835. Rather than push him off the face of the $20, Washington should rededicate itself to adhering to his financial policies.”

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville, said while he respects and admires Tubman, “Andrew Jackson was a more significant figure in the history of this country.”

Duncan suggested he might have a solution to the Jackson vs. Tubman quandary.

“When the next administration comes in,” he said, “I hope we can convince the next treasurer to print an equal number of $20 bills with both Jackson and Tubman.”

Jeb Bush admires James K. Polk — ‘Ever read about him?’

Jeb Bush’s recent profession of admiration for President James K. Polk has prompted a Politico piece pondering the historical impact of one of three Tennesseans to serve as the nation’s chief executive. It starts like this:

“One of the presidents that I really admire, and he’s not—I think people rank him pretty good, the historians who look at this—is James K. Polk,” noted Jeb Bush at a town hall event in Sioux City, Iowa, two weeks ago. “Ever read about him?”

Presumably, if Bush has read his history, he knows that James Polk may have wielded the powers of high office with uncommon focus and force, but his actions often wrought dark consequences. And for that, he continues to confound historians, who aren’t quite sure whether the 11th president belongs in a category with failed antebellum chief executives like Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, who aided and abetted the extension of slavery; with the likes of a long string of presidents in the late 19th century, who left little mark; or with Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, who greatly expanded the powers of the presidency in the pursuit of sharp ideological agendas.

“Polk did something pretty extraordinary,” Bush explained. “He said, I’m going to run, I’m going to deal with a tariff, that he turned it into an economic tariff … it was a big issue at the time, I don’t remember which way, it was reversing a non-economic tariff, or a tariff; … [he also said] I’m going to bring Texas into the Union, which turned out to be a brilliant idea; and I’m going to solve the problem in the Pacific Northwest between Britain and the United States. And he did it, and then he said, I’m only going to serve one term. … And, amazingly, he did those things, he served his one term, and he left.”

Set aside for the moment Bush’s confusion over tariffs (they are all “economic,” and in ramming the Walker Tariff of 1846 through Congress, Polk sharply reduced tax rates on imported goods). In claiming kinship with this controversial president, what precisely does Bush mean to intimate? That he is a proponent of free trade? That he intends to reduce tax rates? That he intends to wield American military power more forcefully? That he intends to invade Mexico? (He wouldn’t be the only 2016 GOP presidential contender to issue that threat.) Or that he aims to set goals and achieve them—only to have them unravel less than two decades later?

A former Tennessee governor and speaker of the United States House of Representatives, James K. Polk emerged as the Democratic Party’s unlikely, compromise candidate in 1844. His victory over Henry Clay that fall placed a hardline Jacksonian Democrat back in the White House and set the stage for one of the most tumultuous period in American history.

Jimmy Carter sides with Kerry in clash with Corker

Former President Jimmy Carter believes it was “improper and a mistake” for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker to tell U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry he was “fleeced” by Iran in negotiations over the controversial new nuclear agreement with the country, reports The Tennessean.

Carter, at the Nashville Public Library on Thursday to sign copies of his new book, said he supports Kerry and the deal between Iran, the United States and several U.S. allies.

“I think Corker’s comments were improper and a mistake. I think he’s wrong about the Iran nuclear deal, I think it’s a very good one,” Carter said.

“I think that anybody that has served in the Senate with John Kerry, or has known him since then as I have … knows that he’s a very astute and wonderful and dedicated person. And If he signs and agreement, I don’t have any doubt that it will be carried out.”

…Carter, who turns 91 on Oct. 1, agreed (with President Obama and Democrats).

“I think it’s good for Iran, it’s good for America, it’s good for Israel and it’s good for the world,” Carter said. “And I hope and I believe that it will be carried out, or either the sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran. I hope the House and Senate will not veto the agreement that has been negotiated.”

…Hundreds of people waited in line Thursday afternoon for Carter to sign copies of his latest book, “A Full Life: Reflections at 90.” Carter said the book, his 31st, is a memoir that takes a new look back on his childhood, his presidency and his 69 years of marriage with his wife, Rosalynn.

Note: Post on the Kerry-Corker clash, etc., is HERE.

UT Library gets Andrew Jackson’s Bible

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Tennessee says a Bible in which President Andrew Jackson’s family recorded household births, marriages and deaths for more than a half-century now belongs to its libraries.

The libraries recently acquired the Bible with money from endowments and donations from members of UT Library Society.

It will be preserved and housed in the John C. Hodges Library and will be on display in the special collections reading room later this month.

Jackson was a hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 and he later became the seventh U.S. president. His family estate in Nashville, the Hermitage, is a historic site.

Steven Smith, dean of UT Libraries, calls the Bible a treasure of national significance.

Trivia Question: Name 5 Tennesseans who became president

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name five Tennesseans who became president?
If you’re a good student of the state’s history, you probably won’t have any trouble naming former U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson or James K. Polk. But a fourth or fifth?
It’s a trick question, because there were also Tennesseans who later became presidents of foreign countries, such as Sam Houston, who led the briefly-independent Republic of Texas, and William Walker, who was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua on this date in 1856.
Walker’s life is highlighted in one of the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ online exhibits. The exhibit can be found at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/walker/index.htm.
Walker isn’t as famous as some Tennesseans chronicled at the State Library and Archives, but in his day, he was quite infamous for his efforts to colonize Central America.
Three years before he became president of Nicaragua, the Nashvillian led a group of 45 men who landed in Baja California, Mexico. Walker declared the land to be the Republic of Lower California and proclaimed himself to be the new country’s president. Mexican forces soon threw him and his troops out of the country and he was tried (but acquitted) for violating U.S. neutrality laws when he returned.
Walker then led a group of 57 soldiers into Nicaragua. After fighting a number of battles and eventually becoming president, he launched a plan to “Americanize” the country by declaring English the official language and encouraging U.S. residents to immigrate there. He was later ousted by the combined forces of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain the presidency of Nicaragua, he was eventually captured and turned over to the Honduran government, which executed him for piracy.
“The story of William Walker is one of thousands that can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Because his life is chronicled in one of our online exhibits, it is accessible to Tennesseans free of charge, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I encourage people to visit our web site and learn more about the resources that are just a few mouse clicks away.”

House Signs Off on Secrecy in Selecting Higher Ed Presidents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The House has approved a bill to make the names of applicants to lead public colleges and universities confidential.
The chamber voted 79-12 on Thursday in favor of the measure that the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga, said he introduced on behalf of the University of Tennessee’s board of trustees.
McCormick said the bill would encourage more candidates to apply for the jobs without fear of hurting their current employment. The names of the three finalists would become public at least 15 days before a decision is made about who gets the job, up from seven days in the original version.
The Senate would have to agree to that change before the measure can head for the governor’s consideration.

Applicants for Top University Jobs to Become Confidential

The names of those applying for the top jobs in Tennessee’s colleges and universities could be kept confidential unless they become a finalist under legislation poised for final passage today.
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, who is sponsoring the bill (SB3751) at the behest of officials with the University of Tennessee and Board of Regents systems, said that confidentiality could lead more highly-qualified people to seek jobs as university presidents and college campus chancellors.
But House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said the present laws making the names of applicants public has worked well, as evidenced by the administrators now in place at state campuses.

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