This week on This American President we interview author, public speaker, and former executive assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Peggy Grande. Peggy recently wrote a book titled The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan’s Final Years. It’s a wonderful book about her time serving President and Mrs. Reagan and how she and her family became very close with them. To find out more, please visit peggygrande.com and order her book.
Historians have often noted that our Founding Fathers didn’t like democracy. Our second president, John Adams, once said, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Our fourth president, James Madison, wrote, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
The election of 1876 would prove to be one of the greatest tests of American democracy. Learn about this pivotal moment in American history in this episode of This American President.
We all know that George Washington was our first president, that he “could not tell a lie,” and that he supposedly had wooden teeth (he didn’t). However, to us, he seems to be a distant figure; more monument than man. He is as familiar as the one dollar bill, but even there he looks old and grumpy. Is this the real George Washington? You might be surprised to find out that his contemporaries saw him very differently… They knew him as a warrior of the highest order. This episode takes a closer look at the real George Washington; you may be surprised to find that he consistently plunged himself headlong into battle, making him the first American action hero.
If you want to learn more about today’s episode, check out the books:
The song played during the outro is “How Could Washington Be A Married Man and Never Tell a Lie?” by M.J. O’Connell.
The scene from Ben-Hur:
The comparable clip with George Washington, played at the end, is from the 1959 film John Paul Jones, scene begins at 54:18: