James K. Polk explained by They Might Be Giants
from This Might Be A Wiki
The lyrics are as factual as we could make them with the reference books handy. James Knox Polk, the 11th President of the U.S., was a dark horse candidate who unexpectedly won the Democratic nomination and the election based on his popularity in the South with his stated goal of annexing Texas, the Southwest, and the Oregon Territories. Once in office he fanned the flames of dispute between the U.S. and Mexico to achieve part of this aim. (The Mexican War is still commemorated in the expression ‘Remember the Alamo!’) Personally, we find his expansionist policies ruthless and unscrupulous, but the existence of the Western U.S. is largely due to him.
Panorama of the inauguration of President Herbert Hoover and Vice President Charles Curtis, Washington, D.C., March 4, 1929.
From the Library of Congress
The illustration is by Udo J. Keppler, son of renowned satirical cartoonist Joseph Ferdinand Keppler. Udo was cartoonist and editor for Puck Magazine, co-founded by his father. The work originally appeared as a centerfold in Puck on July 24, 1912.
John Green breaks down the presidency of Andrew Jackson in the latest Crash Course US History: Age of Jackson.
“T.A.F.T.” = “Take Advice from Teddy”
William Howard Taft was Teddy Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor in 1908, and Taft, no fan of campaigning, was happy to let Roosevelt stump for him. Taft’s reliance on Roosevelt for help did not go unnoticed by journalists, who joked that “T.A.F.T.” stood for “Take Advice from Teddy.” Americans were convinced that Taft could deliver a continuation of the Roosevelt administration, handing William Jennings Bryan his third defeat.
Button from Heritage Auctions (HA.com)
While president, William Howard Taft tipped the scales at 340 pounds, which meant special accommodations sometimes needed to be made.
In January 1909, shortly after being elected, Taft was set to sail the USS North Carolina and check out the Panama Canal construction zone. To ensure that his very special passenger was comfortable, Captain W.A. Marshall wrote the Navy to request a few additional items “necessary to fit up quarters to be occupied by the President-elect,” including:
1 brass double bedstead, of extra length.
1 superior spring mattress, extra strong.
1 bath tub, 5 feet 5 inches in length, over rolled rim, and of extra width.
Photo via the National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts (Navy). Background info via the National Archives’ Digital Vaults.
On May 12, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited San Francisco, a parade captured by cameraman H. J. Miles and later released as The President’s Carriage. In the filmed footage, Roosevelt passes on Market Street.
From the William J. Clinton Library/photograph by Ralph Alswang via the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (With video frames added from the broadcast.)