6 Things To Know About Air Force One

I grew up with brothers who were crazy about airplanes. I was (still am) crazy about history, so by default, I’ve learned to love aspects of aviation history. This month we’re talking about Presidential Trivia, and I thought it might be fun to round up some facts about the planes that have transported U.S. Presidents – aircraft commonly called “Air Force One.”

From Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency and onward, U.S. Presidents have used aircraft to travel domestically and internationally. Here are six historical things to know about presidents and aviation history: Continue reading

“I Like Ike”

Long before Facebook introduced the trend of “Liking” people and things, a presidential candidate’s campaign planners distributed pins reading “I Like Ike.” Ike was actually the nickname of former U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was liked and was voted in as the 34th President of the United States (1953-1961).

President Eisenhower is MY FAVORITE historical U.S. President!


"I Like Ike button, 1952" by Tyrol5 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“I Like Ike button, 1952” by Tyrol5 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons








Highlights of Eisenhower’s Presidency

Strong Foreign Policy: decisive stand against Communism, introduces the “domino theory” (says if one nation in a region falls to Communism others will quickly follow), 1953 Iranian coup, end of the Korean War, increases U.S. nuclear weapon power, ends Suez Canal crisis of 1956, the U-2 incident, the beginning of the space race.

Strengthening America’s Foundations: introduces the interstate highway system, encourages the founding of NASA, strongly supports civil rights, oversees the desegregation of American public schools, opposes the McCarthy hearings, encourages American patriotism.

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Legacy

Eisenhower was president during one of America’s strongest periods. Fully recovered from the Great Depression and with a sense of national pride still running strong from the victory of World War II, America was prospering at home and expanding global influence.

With military training and service in both world wars, ending World War II as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, Eisenhower understand military power. He also understood the Soviets. While taking a strong stand against Communism and its spread, Eisenhower played a careful chess-game of diplomacy, both building and expanding the American military power and attempting to reach out to the Soviet Union to break through the Iron Curtain. Eisenhower’s views and actions in these early years of the Cold War set important precedent for American policies with the Soviet Union.

Eisenhower understood the importance of America’s founding dreams. He valued a high-moral standard and acknowledge a religious/moral code as essential to the well-being of a nation. His domestic policies were sometimes controversial at the time, but he supported the belief that people’s freedoms must be safeguarded and citizens have a patriotic duty to see that their freedoms are upheld.

In a more “concrete” example of Eisenhower strengthening the infrastructure of our nation, he began the interstate highway system…so every time you drive on a nicely paved highway here in the U.S. remember Eisenhower!

Inspiration Quotes by Eisenhower

“The hand of the aggressor is stayed by strength – and strength alone.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1951)

“Neither a wise man or a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952)

“The true purpose of education is to prepare young men and women for effective citizenship in a free form of government.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953)

“I believe the only way to protect my own rights is to protect the rights of others.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953)

“Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

“We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid… A people that values its privileges about its principles soon loses both…” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address, 1953)

Why Eisenhower Is My Favorite President

Dwight D. Eisenhower was first and foremost a military commander. That is not to say he was “military dictator.” No, he held his elected office and responsibility to the American people very seriously. The man who defended liberty through landings in Normandy and battles in France was the same man who defended freedom in the schoolrooms of America.

He showed us what a “peaceful” presidency looks like. With a strong foreign policy backed by military power, he kept the peace and kept America safe. He encouraged education, showed support for the beginnings of the civil rights movement, expanded America’s transportation system, and paved the way American space exploration.

His military background brought strength and influence to his views on America’s role in the world and justice at home. The American hero of World War II led the nation through policy-forming years and constantly reminded the American people that they defended their own freedoms. They were the patriotic men, women, and children. They were America.

Happy Very Belated Presidents’ Day to my favorite president, Dwight D. Eisenhower!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Did you have a favorite of the 4 U.S. presidents discussed this month? (James Monroe, William H. Taft, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Leave a comment!



Harry S. Truman: The “Neighborly” President

Once upon a time I was studying U.S. History in high school, and I was reading a biography about President Harry S. Truman. While I came to the conclusion that I didn’t agree with everything he did, I decided that if I could’ve picked a historical president to be my next-door neighbor it would’ve been Mr. Truman. (After-all, Andrew Jackson would’ve been fighting duels at all hours, Teddy Roosevelt had a zoo of pets, and George Washington might chop down my cherry tree…)

My favorite story about Truman took place after his presidency. He’d moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and every day he would walk to his presidential library and volunteer! One morning he arrived especially early and answered the telephone saying, “Good morning, this is the old man himself.”

So meet our U.S. President of the week: Harry Truman!


Highlights of Truman’s Presidency

There’s a lot we could discuss here. I’m just going to mention the highlights, and if any readers want to add more in the comments, please go ahead.

As World War II was drawing to a close, Truman became president in 1945, after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Weeks into his presidency, Truman made the hard and controversial decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan.

After the end of World War II, Truman was instrumental in establishing the United Nations. For better or for worse, America would now take an extremely active and leading role in international affairs. He also oversaw the enforcement of the GI Bills as the American servicemen came home and re-entered civilian life.

The Soviet Union refused to give up the European Territory it had captured in the last weeks of World War II. Communism became America’s new enemy, and the Cold War began. Truman introduced the Truman Doctrine, which basically stated that the United States would use resources (economic and military) to prevent the overthrow of democracy in free nations threatened by Communism. The Truman Doctrine was an important precedent during the Cold War.

Truman was president during the Korean War (1950-1953).

Harry Truman’s Legacy

I believe the Truman Doctrine is one of the most lasting precedents from his presidency. It firmly established the American stand against communism and a willingness to combat it economically and militarily. While its interpretation may have caused trouble farther down the road, the precedent and decisive action was good.

Two of Truman’s best character qualities were decisiveness and humility. He could make a decision, follow through with action, and defend his choice. On Truman’s desk in the Oval Office was a sign which read “The Buck Stops Here.” He was the president; he could and would make decisions. He was humble. He wasn’t looking for glory. He could make fun of himself and had a pretty good sense of humor.

The Buck Stops Here Sign, Harry Truman

Inspirational (& Humorous) Quotes by Truman

“Some of my best friends never agree with me politically.” (Harry S. Truman, 1947)

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” (Harry S. Truman, 1947 – part of the Truman Doctrine)

Regarding the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution which limited the terms of a president: “They couldn’t include me in it because I was the President, and I can be elected as often as I want to be. I’m going to run again when I’m ninety. I’ve announced that a time or two, and you know, some —- fool looked the situation over and said, “When you’re ninety, it’s an off year,” so I can’t even run then. I didn’t know I was going to stir up all that trouble . . . “ (Harry S. Truman, 1958)

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” (Harry S. Truman)

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry S. Truman)

Why I Like Harry Truman

He was a president who could make hard decisions and get things accomplished. He took responsibility. He was humble. He was “down-to-earth.” He loved his family. He liked to play the piano while his daughter sang.

I like Harry Truman because of his humility and his “common American” attitude. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Harry Truman seems like a person who you’d want as your next-door neighbor.

“Good Afternoon, Mr. Truman. I just baked some oatmeal cookies. Are you and Mrs. Truman at home? Could I bring some over? Could we discuss current politics and foreign affairs? I know, we kind of got into an argument last time, but I still respect your opinion.  Sure, I’d be happy to play the piano too. Okay, I’ll be over in a second. Bye…”

Well, Mr. Truman is not alive any longer, so I will never have him as my “presidential next door neighbor.” But it does make me consider: what type of person (neighbor) do I want to be? I’d say we Americans have a pretty good example in the unpretentious, patriotic, humble, and humorous character of Harry Truman.

Happy Belated Presidents’ Day, Harry S. Truman!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Which U.S. President would you want as a next-door neighbor?






The Texas President

You’re probably making a list that has names like Johnson and Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. on it? Well, they were United States presidents from Texas. But tonight (today) we’re talking about an actual presidents of Texas – the Republic of Texas to be precise.

The Republic of Texas existed between 1836 and 1846, and they had presidents and vice presidents.

Last week we discussed Jefferson Davis, president of the American states which had seceded during the American Civil War. Now, we’ll talk about another American who was president of a separate nation which later became part of the United States. The most influential president of Texas was Samuel Houston.

Samuel Houston  (Portrait from Public Domain)

Samuel Houston
(Portrait from Public Domain)

We’re going to do this “fast-facts” style tonight, so here’s your 12 facts on Sam Houston, a president of the Republic of Texas:

  1. Sam Houston was born in Virginia in 1793 and moved to the Tennessee frontier when he was 13.
  2. He ran away from home, lived with a band of Cherokee, and was formally adopted into the tribe.
  3. Sam Houston fought under Andrew Jackson (later the 7th U.S. President) during the war with the Creek Indians.
  4. After studying law and serving as district attorney for Nashville, he was elected to Congress in 1823.
  5. In 1827, Houston became governor of Tennessee.
  6. When his social and family life took a turn for the worse, Sam Houston headed west, settling the Texas area.
  7. The American settlers in the Texas area had some major conflicts with the Mexican army and government. Sam Houston became the military commander for the American side.
  8. He won several military victories against the Mexican army. The capture of the Mexican commander led to the formal recognition of the Republic of Texas.
  9. Houston was president of the Republic of Texas from 1836-1838 and again from 1841-1844. He was the first elected president of the republic.
  10. He worked to have Texas admitted as a state into the United States of America and, after this success in 1845, Houston served as state senator from 1846-1859.
  11. Sam Houston did not support Southern secession. He was actually governor of Texas in 1861, but because he refused to take Texas out of the Union, Confederate supporters removed him from office.
  12. Disagreeing with the new political movement, Sam Houston retired from public life. He died in 1863.

Sam Houston is another example of leader who knew what he believed. He worked for the good of his country/state and served in many offices: general, president, senator, governor. He was willing to work hard, learn, and lead.

I admire his understanding that for the good of his republic (Texas) it had to join the United States as a state. He could have selfishly kept Texas on its own and played “president or king” for the rest of his life, but, rather, he advocated strongly for Texas to join the United States.

He was an ideal American, valuing the principles of self-government.

So, Happy Belated Presidents’ Day to Sam Houston, an American president of the Republic of Texas!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Your thoughts on this president of Texas?

And don’t forget…we’re posting about “Presidents’ Pets” on Gazette665 Facebook. Come join the fun and learn about some of the unique animals that have lived in the White House!

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Presidents Day Gazette665

Remembering and honoring all our presidents who “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1).

If you missed some of our presidential blog posts and discussions here’s a few links:

James Monroe & American Foreign Policy

William Howard Taft: The President Who Wanted To Be A Judge

The “Other” President: 1861-1865

(More presidential blog posts coming in the next two weeks and lots of “fun facts” available on Gazette665 Facebook Page).

And there’s the Lincoln cabin craft and Washington card game available on the February Holiday History and Craft page.

Have a great day! (Holidays on Mondays are awesome…)

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Who is your favorite president? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments.


William H. Taft: The President Who Wanted To Be A Judge

Usually if someone spends time campaigning and wins the election, we assume they want to hold office as president. However, there was at least one American president who wasn’t very excited about his new job. He wanted to be a judge. He served wholeheartedly during his presidential term, though his administration is often over-shadowed by his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt. Meet our favorite president of the week: William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States (1909-1913).

William Howard Taft

Highlights of Taft’s Presidency

Having previously served as governor-general of American controlled Philippines, a judge, solicitor general of the United States, and secretary of war, Taft was well-prepared for the executive office. He was known for level-headed decision making.

During his presidency, Taft worked on trust-busting, civil service reform, organizing the Interstate Commerce Commission, and increasing the efficiency of the postal service. He worked on the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which allowed income tax; the amendment was passed in 1913, a month before Taft left office.

On the international scene, Taft showed genuine kindness toward developing nations. This policy may have been influenced by his time in the Philippines as governor-general. Taft actively encouraged “Dollar Diplomacy” which guaranteed loans to foreign countries in Latin American and Asia.

William H. Taft’s Legacy

Taft is considered by most historians be an “over-all good” president, but he’s often overlooked since nothing earth shattering happened during his time in office.

He didn’t “tow the political party line” very well, often making decisions based on his sense of right and wrong, rather than the overall consensus. This attitude, coming in an era when the large political party system was being developed, caused more than a few loyal party members to raise eyebrows.

Before his presidency, Taft had served as a judge in a superior court and in a court of appeals. His sense of fairness and impartiality were well-suited to the judicial system.

Taft is best remembered for being the only man in American history to serve first as president and later as Chief Justice in the Supreme Court. He liked being a judge; that’s what he wanted to do; how he wanted to serve. As the 10th Chief Justice of the United States, Taft served for nine years (1921-1930).

William Howard Taft as Chief Justice

William Howard Taft as Chief Justice

Inspirational Quotes by William H. Taft

“I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God.” (William H. Taft, 1911)

“Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race.” (William H. Taft, 1913)

“Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that to-day is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.” (William H. Taft, 1913)

“The world is not going to be saved by legislation.” (William H. Taft, 1916)

“The President cannot make clouds to rain and cannot make the corn to grow, he cannot make business good; although when these things occur, political parties do claim some credit for the good things that have happened in this way.” (William H. Taft, 1916)

Why I Like William H. Taft

Taft was a man who understood the importance and power of the executive office. He served wisely during his presidency, but really wanted to do what he liked best: preside as judge over a court. I like that he gave his best effort in all the political positions he held, but he never lost sight of what was important to him and what he enjoyed doing.

Taft was a “quiet” president. He had a practical personality, good judgment, and temperate character. His life and leadership reminds me of the proverb “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

What I find most interesting about Taft is his willingness to stick to his opinion or goal. As previously mentioned, he didn’t always follow the political party policy if he believed a different course would be better for the country. And…he had that goal to serve in the Supreme Court.

Sometimes when you serve faithful, work hard, and believe in your goals, you get what you want…like William H. Taft: the only American to serve our country as president and chief justice.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Taft is buried in Arlington Cemetery. Have you seen his grave? What do you think about his determination to act/vote/judge according to the law and what he believed was right?

Check Gazette665’s Facebook page where I’ll be adding some additional facts about President Taft. (Will also be posting about presidents’ pets on Facebook throughout next week!)