Portrait of a Man / Portrait d'homme

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

Joseph Allen, MD (1713-96): travelled round the world with Lord Anson; Warden of Dulwich College 1745-6, Master 1746-75. DPG44O was commissioned following a resolution of the Corporation of Dulwich College of 4 September 1775.Sittings are recorded in October-November 1778. The statue of Æsculapius refers to Allen's medical training.
Joseph Allen, MD (1713-96): travelled round the world with Lord Anson; Warden of Dulwich College 1745-6, Master 1746-75. DPG44O was commissioned following a resolution of the Corporation of Dulwich College of 4 September 1775.Sittings are recorded in October-November 1778. The statue of Æsculapius refers to Allen's medical training.
When Diego Rivera arrived to Europe in 1907, he entered the atelier of Eduardo Chicharro y Agüera, who was only thirteen years older than him.. Through Chicharro’s teachings Rivera became acquainted with Spanish modernismo. He spent long hours painting, a habit he would never abandon and one that earned him the praise of his mentor. Self-Portrait with Broad-Brimmed Hat depicts a young man who was trying to reflect the ambience in which he was immersed. His face shows certain nostalgia, characteristic of Spanish romanticism and fin-de-siècle bohemianism. The atmosphere is further accented by the bottle and glass of beer on the table. The painter is wearing a soft, broad-brimmed hat that gives its Spanish name (chambergo) to the painting. Leaning slightly to the right, the figure gives occasion for the brushwork and the rendering of light and shadow that Rivera studied at Chicharro’s atelier.
Diego Rivera’s cubist period came to an end in 1918. His name would remain linked to the legendary group of young artists that founded the school of Paris. In The Mathematician, a portrait of his friend Dr. Renato Parescat, Rivera abandons the decomposition of forms and returns to his old interest in the reflection of light and more naturalistic representation. Although this work is highly structured, with the proportions and disproportions in the lengthening of the figure rigorously calculated by the artist, it represents a condensation of everything he learned about form, light, color, and plasticity in painting during his European years. Executed in 1919, The Mathematician not only constitutes one of the centerpieces of the collection of the Dolores Olmedo Museum but was also considered by the artist himself one of his most important works, as attested in a letter he sent to Dolores Olmedo recommending the purchase of several of his paintings.
This Self-Portrait shows us the kind face of a man who is sixty-eight. Staring out of an aged face are the artist’s large, expressive eyes, the bulging eyes that earned him the nickname “Toad Painter” or “The Great Señor Frog-Toad.” Rivera himself sometimes made fun of them, accompanying his letters or documents with small drawings of the animal, which doubtless alluded to his own person. He would also include such drawings in love notes and affectionate messages. This is the case of the present work, which reads “For the Grasshopper from this ugly face, Diego Rivera, 1954,” addressed to his daughter Ruth. The year 1954 was marked by two important events in his life: the death of Frida Kahlo and a diagnosis of cancer, after which his health began to deteriorate.
The model is an elderly man whom the painter met in the small village of Pushkar, India, during his stay under an overseas training program offered by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. With a harmonious combination of India’s climate and people, this was completed as a large-scale work, not merely a figure painting.
James Smith-Stanley, Lord Strange (1716–1771) was commonly known by that title, though neither he nor his father had any claim to it. He was the eldest son of Edward Stanley, 11th Earl of Derby, whose predecessor's heirs had used that courtesy title, but the right to two successive baronies Lord Strange (being baronies by writ) had descended to daughters, when the earldom had passed to the heir male. James Stanley married Lucy daughter and coheir of Hugh Smith of Weald Hall, Essex, and took the additional surname Smith on his marriage. This marriage produced Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby and several other children, including Thomas Stanley (1753–1779).[1] He died before his father, so that the earldom passed straight to his son. He attended Westminster School where he was friends with the future soldier and politician John Burgoyne who later married his sister.
Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch: [ˈvɪnsɛnt ˈʋɪləɱ vɑŋ ˈɣɔχ] ( listen);[note 1] 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin whose work—notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty, and bold color—had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness,[1][2] he died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found).[3][note 2] His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still. Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches, and prints. His work included self portraits; landscapes; still lifes; portraits; and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields, and sunflowers. Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The Hague, London, and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England at Isleworth and Ramsgate. One of his early aspirations was to become a pastor, and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium, where he began to sketch people from the local community. In 1885, he painted his first major work, entitled The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later, he moved to the south of France and was influenced by the strong sunlight he found there. His work grew brighter in color, and he developed the unique and highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888. The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness. According to art critic Robert Hughes, Van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace".[
The Zouave is the subject of two paintings made by Vincent van Gogh in Arles. Van Gogh was excited to have a model for a portrait, and painted two of the Zouave soldier in June 1888. Van Gogh described him as a boy, though he is portrayed as older, with a small face, large neck and intense eyes. A half-length portrait, Le Zouave (half-figure), was made of the tanned man with bright colors he called a "savage combination of incongruous tones". The Zouave's uniform was blue with red-orange braids, a red cap and two yellow stars on his chest, all placed against the background of a green door and orange bricks.[1][2] Van Gogh was unsatisfied with the painting, he described it as "ugly and unsuccessful", but thought the challenge might expand his artistic range. He made a further drawing, with which he was not particularly pleased, and a painting Le Zouave of the soldier against a white wall
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Dutch: [ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)soːn vɑn ˈrɛin] ( listen); 15 July 1606[1] – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important in Dutch history.[2] His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres in painting. Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high,[3] and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters.[4] Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.[2] In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt's knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam's Jewish population.[5] Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization."[
Titus was the eldest son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome. During his father's reign, he accompanied his younger brother Aruns and his cousin Lucius Junius Brutus to consult the Oracle at Delphi to have interpreted an omen witnessed by the king.[1] In 509 BC, upon the overthrow of the monarchy, Titus went into exile at Caere with his father and his brother Aruns.[2] In around 496 BC he fought with his father and the Latins against Rome at the Battle of Lake Regillus. During the battle, Marcus Valerius Volusus, who had been the Roman consul in 505 BC, charged Titus in an attempt to slay him, but was himself killed by Titus' men.[
The Head of Christ is a painting created by Warner Sallman (1892-1968). This piece of Christian artwork was painted in 1940,[1] and by 1992, it had been printed over 500 million times.[2] Large size copies of the Head of Christ have been made for churches and small pocket or wallet-sized prayer cards, bearing the image, have been mass produced for private devotional use.[3][1] The painting is said to have "become the basis for [the] visualization of Jesus" for "hundreds of millions" of people
Fernando Botero Angulo (born 19 April 1932) is a figurative artist and sculptor from Medellín, Colombia. His signature style, also known as "Boterismo", depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volume, which can represent political criticism or humor, depending on the piece. He is considered the most recognized and quoted living artist from Latin America,[1][2][3] and his art can be found in highly visible places around the world, such as Park Avenue in New York City and the Champs Elysées in Paris.[4] Self-titled "the most Colombian of Colombian artists" early on, he came to national prominence when he won the first prize at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1958. Working most of the year in Paris, in the last three decades he has achieved international recognition for his paintings, drawings and sculpture, with exhibitions across the world.[5] His art is collected by many major international museums, corporations, and private collectors. In 2012, he received the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.
Edgar Degas (French: [ilɛʁ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ ɛdɡɑʁ dəɡɑ]; US /deɪˈɡɑː/ or UK /ˈdeɪɡɑː/); born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas; (19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917) was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist.[1] He was a superb draftsman, and particularly masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his renditions of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.[2] At the beginning of his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life.[
Paul Cézanne (US /seɪˈzæn/ or UK /sɨˈzæn/; French: [pɔl sezan]; 1839–1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne's often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all."
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French: [øʒɛn ɑ̃ʁi pol ɡoɡɛ̃]; 7 June 1848 – 8 May 1903) was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist who was not well appreciated until after his death. Gauguin was later recognized for his experimental use of colors and synthetist style that were distinguishably different from Impressionism. His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Gauguin’s art became popular after his death and many of his paintings were in the possession of Russian collector Sergei Shchukin.[1] He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer. His bold experimentation with coloring led directly to the Synthetist style of modern art, while his expression of the inherent meaning of the subjects in his paintings, under the influence of the cloisonnist style, paved the way to Primitivism and the return to the pastoral. He was also an influential proponent of wood engraving and woodcuts as art forms.[
George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959), was an American soldier and statesman famous for his leadership roles during World War II and after. He was Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. He was hailed as the "organizer of victory" by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II,[4] Marshall served as the United States Army Chief of Staff during the war and as the chief military adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Marshall's name was given to the Marshall Plan, subsequent to a commencement address he presented as Secretary of State at Harvard University in the June of 1947. The speech recommended that the Europeans collectively create their own plan for rebuilding Europe after World War II noting, "It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world." The State Department developed most of the plan, and Truman was shrewd enough to let Marshall's name be attached to it. Unlike Truman, Marshall was widely admired by members of both political parties. Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the plan, which was aimed at the economic recovery of Western Europe after World War II
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and prior to this, was the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. He was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, after Spiro Agnew resigned. When he became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, he became the first and to date only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the United States without being elected by the Electoral College. Before ascending to the Vice Presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as the Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader. As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente in the Cold War. With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure.[2] One of his more controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford's incumbency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President.[3] In 1976, Ford defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but narrowly lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter. Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems, Ford died in his home on December 26, 2006. Ford lived longer than any other U.S. president, living 93 years and 165 days, while his 895-day presidency remains the shortest of all presidents who did not die in office.
Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as Abraham Lincoln's vice president at the time of Lincoln's assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote. Johnson was born in poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina. Apprenticed as a tailor, he worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. He served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After brief service in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became Governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857. In his congressional service, he sought passage of the Homestead Bill, which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862. As Southern states, including Tennessee, seceded to form the Confederate States of America, Johnson remained firmly with the Union. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him as military governor of Tennessee after it had been retaken. In 1864, Johnson, as a War Democrat and Southern Unionist, was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign; their ticket easily won. Johnson was sworn in as vice president in March 1865, giving a rambling and possibly drunken speech, and he secluded himself to avoid public ridicule. Six weeks later, the assassination of Lincoln made him president. Johnson implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction – a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to re-form their civil governments. When Southern states returned many of their old leaders, and passed Black Codes to deprive the freedmen of many civil liberties, Congress refused to seat legislators from those states and advanced legislation to overrule the Southern actions. Johnson vetoed their bills, and Congress overrode him, setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency. Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to African-Americans. As the conflict between the branches of government grew, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, restricting Johnson in firing Cabinet officials. When he persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate and removal from office. Returning to Tennessee after his presidency, Johnson sought political vindication, and gained it in his eyes when he was elected to the Senate again in 1875 (the only former president to serve there), just months before his death. Although Johnson's ranking has fluctuated over time, he is generally considered among the worst American presidents for his opposition to federally guaranteed rights for African Americans.
James Buchanan, Jr. (/bjuːˈkænən/; April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th President of the United States (1857–1861), serving immediately prior to the American Civil War. He is, to date, the only president from Pennsylvania and the only president to remain a lifelong bachelor. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives and later the Senate and served as Minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson. He was also Secretary of State under President James K. Polk. After he turned down an offer for an appointment to the Supreme Court, President Franklin Pierce appointed him minister to the Court of St. James's, in which capacity he helped draft the Ostend Manifesto. Buchanan was nominated by the Democratic Party in the 1856 Presidential election. Throughout most of Pierce's term, he was stationed in London as a minister to the Court of St. James's and therefore was not caught up in the crossfire of sectional politics that dominated the country. His subsequent election victory took place in a three-man race with John C. Frémont and Millard Fillmore. As President, he was often called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies, who battled with Stephen A. Douglas for the control of the Democratic Party. Buchanan's efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides, and the Southern states declared their secession in the prologue to the American Civil War. Buchanan's view of record was that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Buchanan, an attorney, was noted for his mantra, "I acknowledge no master but the law."[1] By the time he left office, popular opinion was against him, and the Democratic Party had split. Buchanan had once aspired to a presidency that would rank in history with that of George Washington.[2] However, his inability to impose peace on sharply divided partisans on the brink of the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst presidents in American history. Historians in both 2006 and 2009 voted his failure to deal with secession the worst presidential mistake ever made.[
Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor best known for poetry. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln.[2] H. L. Mencken called Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat".
Abraham Lincoln Listeni/ˈeɪbrəhæm ˈlɪŋkən/ (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis.[2][3] In so doing he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader, state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the Congress during the 1840s. He promoted rapid modernization of the economy through banks, canals, railroads and tariffs to encourage the building of factories; he opposed the war with Mexico in 1846. After a series of highly publicized debates in 1858 during which he opposed the expansion of slavery, Lincoln lost the U.S. Senate race to his archrival, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln, a moderate from a swing state, secured the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1860. With almost no support in the South, Lincoln swept the North and was elected president in 1860. His election prompted seven southern slave states to form the Confederacy. No compromise or reconciliation was found regarding slavery. When the North enthusiastically rallied behind the national flag after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, Lincoln concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war effort. His goal was to reunite the nation. He suspended habeas corpus, arresting and temporarily detaining thousands of suspected secessionists in the border states without trial. Lincoln averted British intervention by defusing the Trent Affair in late 1861. His numerous complex moves toward ending slavery centered on the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, using the Army to protect escaped slaves, encouraging the border states to outlaw slavery, and helping push through Congress the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which permanently outlawed slavery. Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including commanding general Ulysses S. Grant. He made the major decisions on Union war strategy, Lincoln's Navy set up a naval blockade that shut down the South's normal trade, helped take control of Kentucky and Tennessee, and gained control of the Southern river system using gunboats. He tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally Grant succeeded in 1865. An exceptionally astute politician deeply involved with power issues in each state, Lincoln reached out to "War Democrats" (who supported the North against the South), and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln confronted Radical Republicans who demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats who called for more compromise, Copperheads who despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists who plotted his death. Politically, Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory.[4] His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to reunite the nation speedily through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a noted actor and Confederate sympathizer. Lincoln has been consistently ranked both by scholars[5] and the public[6] as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.
Talcott Williams, (1849–1928), was an American journalist and educator. Williams was born at Abeih, Ottoman Turkey, the son of Congregational missionaries. He graduated from Amherst in 1873. Afterwards. he was employed at the New York World, and as a correspondent for the New York Sun and the San Francisco Chronicle. He was an editorial writer for the Springfield (Mass.) Republican in 1879-81. He worked as an editor of the Philadelphia Press for 30 years, until 1912, when he became director of the new School of Journalism at Columbia University, built and endowed by Joseph Pulitzer. With F. M. Colby, he was editor of the New International Encyclopedia. In 1913, he served as president of the American Conference of Teachers of Journalism. Williams was a good friend of artist Thomas Eakins. Eakins included a depiction of Williams in The Swimming Hole.
William McKinley (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination in September 1901, six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals. McKinley was the last President to have served in the American Civil War, beginning as a private in the Union Army and ending as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton. In 1876, he was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party’s expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. His 1890 McKinley Tariff was highly controversial; which together with a Democratic redistricting aimed at gerrymandering him out of office, led to his defeat in the Democratic landslide of 1890. He was elected Ohio’s governor in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests. With the aid of his close adviser Mark Hanna, he secured the Republican nomination for president in 1896, amid a deep economic depression. He defeated his Democratic rival, William Jennings Bryan, after a front-porch campaign in which he advocated “sound money” (the gold standard unless altered by international agreement) and promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity. Rapid economic growth marked McKinley’s presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition, and in 1900, he secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed, he led the nation in the Spanish–American War of 1898; the U.S. victory was quick and decisive. As part of the peace settlement, Spain turned over to the United States its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; Cuba was promised independence, but at that time remained under the control of the U.S. Army. The United States annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898 and it became a U.S. territory. McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election, in a campaign focused on imperialism, prosperity, and free silver. President McKinley was assassinated by Leon Czolgosz, a second-generation Polish-American with anarchist leanings, in September 1901, and was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. Historians regard McKinley’s 1896 victory as a realigning election, in which the political stalemate of the post-Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. He is generally placed near the middle in rankings of American presidents.
Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) was the 12th President of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Prior to his presidency, Taylor was a career officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of major general. His status as a national hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican-American War won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress. Taylor was born to a prominent family of planters who migrated westward from Virginia to Kentucky in his youth. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in 1808 and made a name for himself as a captain in the War of 1812. He climbed the ranks establishing military forts along the Mississippi River and entered the Black Hawk War as a colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname "Old Rough and Ready". In 1845, as the annexation of Texas was underway, President James K. Polk dispatched Taylor to the Rio Grande area in anticipation of a potential battle with Mexico over the disputed Texas-Mexico border. The Mexican–American War broke out in May 1846, and Taylor led American troops to victory in a series of battles culminating in the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Monterrey. He became a national hero, and political clubs sprung up to draw him into the upcoming 1848 presidential election. The Whig Party convinced the reluctant Taylor to lead their ticket, despite his unclear platform and lack of interest in politics. He won the election alongside U.S. Representative Millard Fillmore of New York, defeating Democratic candidate Lewis Cass. As president, Taylor kept his distance from Congress and his cabinet, even as partisan tensions threatened to divide the Union. Debate over the slave status of the large territories claimed in the war led to threats of secession from Southerners. Despite being a Southerner and a slaveholder himself, Taylor did not push for the expansion of slavery. To avoid the question, he urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850. Taylor died suddenly of a stomach-related illness in July 1850, ensuring he would have little impact on the sectional divide that led to civil war a decade later.
Joseph Eggleston Johnston (February 3, 1807 – March 21, 1891) was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was unrelated to Albert Sidney Johnston, another high-ranking Confederate general. Johnston was trained as a civil engineer at the U.S. Military Academy. He served in Florida, Texas, and Kansas, and fought with distinction in the Mexican-American War and by 1860 achieved the rank of brigadier general as Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army. When his native state of Virginia seceded from the Union, Johnston resigned his commission, the highest-ranking officer to join the Confederacy. To his dismay, however, he was appointed only the fourth ranking full general in the Confederate Army. Johnston's effectiveness in the Civil War was undercut by tensions with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who often criticized him for a lack of aggressiveness, and victory eluded him in most campaigns he personally commanded. However, he was the senior Confederate commander at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, and his recognition of the important necessary actions, and prompt application of leadership in that victory is usually credited to his subordinate, P. G. T. Beauregard. He defended the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, withdrawing under the pressure of a superior force under Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. In his only offensive action during the campaign, he suffered a severe wound at the Battle of Seven Pines, after which he was replaced in command by his classmate at West Point, Robert E. Lee. In 1863, in command of the Department of the West, he was criticized for his actions and failures in the Vicksburg Campaign. In 1864, he fought against Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign, but was relieved of command after withdrawing from northwest Georgia to the outskirts of the city. In the final days of the war, he was returned to command of the small remaining forces in the Carolinas Campaign and surrendered his armies to Sherman at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865. Two of his major opponents, Grant and Sherman, made comments highly respectful of his actions in the war, and they became close friends with Johnston in subsequent years. After the war, Johnston was an executive in the railroad and insurance businesses. He served a term in Congress and was commissioner of railroads under Grover Cleveland. He died of pneumonia after serving in inclement weather as a pallbearer at the funeral of his former adversary, and later friend, William T. Sherman.
George Washington (February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731][Note 1][Note 2] – December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States (1789–1797), the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and remains the supreme law of the land. Washington was elected president as the unanimous choice of the electors in the elections of both 1788–1789 and 1792. He oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion, and won acceptance among Americans of all types.[3] His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address.[4] Further, his retirement after two terms and the peaceful transition from his presidency to that of John Adams established a tradition that continues today.[5] Washington was hailed as "father of his country" even during his lifetime.[6] Washington was born into the provincial gentry of Colonial Virginia; his wealthy planter family owned tobacco plantations and slaves. After both his father and older brother died when he was young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful William Fairfax, who promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War. Chosen by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, Washington managed to force the British out of Boston in 1776, but was defeated and almost captured later that year when he lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter, he defeated the British in two battles, retook New Jersey and restored momentum to the Patriot cause. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Historians laud Washington for his selection and supervision of his generals, encouragement of morale and ability to hold together the army, coordination with the state governors and state militia units, relations with Congress and attention to supplies, logistics, and training. In battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals with larger armies. After victory had been finalized in 1783, Washington resigned as Commander-in-chief rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to American republicanism. Dissatisfied with the weaknesses of the Continental Congress, in 1787 Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that devised a new Federal government of the United States. Elected unanimously as the first President of the United States in 1789, he attempted to bring rival factions together to unify the nation. He supported Alexander Hamilton's programs to pay off all state and national debt, to implement an effective tax system and to create a national bank (despite opposition from Thomas Jefferson). Washington proclaimed the United States neutral in the wars raging in Europe after 1793. He avoided war with Great Britain and guaranteed a decade of peace and profitable trade by securing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although he never officially joined the Federalist Party, he supported its programs. Washington's Farewell Address was an influential primer on republican virtue and a warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He retired from the presidency in 1797 and returned to his home, Mount Vernon, and his domestic life where he managed a variety of enterprises. He freed all his slaves by his final will. Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism.[7] At his death, Washington was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen" by Henry Lee.[8] The Federalists made him the symbol of their party but for many years, the Jeffersonians continued to distrust his influence and delayed building the Washington Monument. As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history, Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism, especially in France and Latin America.[9] He is consistently ranked among the top three presidents of the United States, according to polls of both scholars and the general public.
William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth" policies that he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.[1] Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman's subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865. When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army (1869–83). As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army's engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years, in the western United States. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. British military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".[
Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) was the 21st President of the United States (1881–85); he succeeded James Garfield upon the latter's assassination. At the outset, Arthur struggled to overcome his reputation, stemming from his beginnings in politics as a politician from the New York City Republican political machine. He succeeded by embracing the cause of civil service reform. His advocacy for, and subsequent enforcement of, the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was the centerpiece of his administration. Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont, but he grew up in upstate New York and practiced law in New York City. He served as quartermaster general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Following the Civil War, he devoted more time to Republican politics and quickly rose in the political machine run by New York Senator Roscoe Conkling. Appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the lucrative and politically powerful post of Collector of the Port of New York in 1871, Arthur was an important supporter of Conkling and the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party. In 1878 the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, fired Arthur as part of a plan to reform the federal patronage system in New York. When James Garfield won the Republican nomination for president in 1880, Arthur, an eastern Stalwart, was nominated for vice president to balance the ticket. After just half a year as vice president, Arthur found himself in the executive mansion due to the assassination of his predecessor. To the surprise of reformers, Arthur took up the cause of reform, though it had once led to his expulsion from office. He signed the Pendleton Act into law and strongly enforced its provisions. He gained praise for his veto of a Rivers and Harbors Act that would have appropriated federal funds in a manner he thought excessive. He presided over the rebirth of the United States Navy but was criticized for failing to alleviate the federal budget surplus that had been accumulating since the end of the Civil War. Suffering from poor health, Arthur made only a limited effort to secure renomination in 1884; he retired at the close of his term. Journalist Alexander McClure later wrote, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired ... more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe."[1] Although his failing health and political temperament combined to make his administration less active than a modern presidency, he earned praise among contemporaries for his solid performance in office. The New York World summed up Arthur's presidency at his death in 1886: "No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation."[2] Mark Twain wrote of him, "[I]t would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration."[
Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father of the United States,[1] chief of staff to General Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the Constitution, the founder of the nation's financial system, and the founder of the first American political party. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views, and was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Hamilton served in the American Revolutionary War. At the start of the war, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior[2] aide-de-camp and confidant to General George Washington, the American commander-in-chief. He served again under Washington in the army raised to defeat the Whiskey Rebellion, a tax revolt of western farmers in 1794. In 1798, Hamilton called for mobilization against France after the XYZ Affair and secured an appointment as commander of a new army, which he trained for a war.[3] However, the Quasi-War, although hard-fought at sea, was never officially declared. In the end, President John Adams found a diplomatic solution that avoided war. Born out of wedlock and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton was effectively orphaned at about the age of 11. Recognized for his abilities and talent, he was sponsored by people from his community to go to the North American mainland for his education. He attended King's College (now Columbia University), in New York City. After the American Revolutionary War, Hamilton was appointed to the Congress of the Confederation from New York. He resigned to practice law and found the Bank of New York. Hamilton was among those dissatisfied with the Articles of Confederation—the first attempt at a national governing document—because it lacked an executive, courts, and taxing powers. He led the Annapolis Convention, which successfully influenced Congress to issue a call for the Philadelphia Convention in order to create a new constitution. He was an active participant at Philadelphia and helped achieve ratification by writing 51 of the 85 installments of the Federalist Papers, which supported the new constitution and to this day is the single most important source for Constitutional interpretation.[4] In the new government under President George Washington, Hamilton was appointed the Secretary of the Treasury. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports and later also by a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey. Embarrassed when an extra-marital affair from his past became public, Hamilton resigned from office in 1795 and returned to the practice of law in New York. He kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the cabinet of President Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton's opposition to Adams' re-election helped cause his defeat in the 1800 election. When in the same contest Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college, Hamilton helped defeat Burr, whom he found unprincipled, and elect Jefferson despite philosophical differences. After failing to support Adams, the Federalist candidate, Hamilton lost some national prominence within the party. Vice President Burr later ran for governor in New York State, but Hamilton's influence in his home state was strong enough to again prevent a Burr victory. Taking offense at some of Hamilton's comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died the next day.
Daniel Boone (November 2, 1734 [O.S. October 22] – September 26, 1820) was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now Kentucky, which was then part of Virginia but on the other side of the mountains from the settled areas. Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.[2] Boone was a militia officer during the Revolutionary War (1775–83), which in Kentucky was fought primarily between the American settlers and the British-aided Native Americans. Boone was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1778, who after a while adopted him into their tribe. Later, he left the Indians and returned to Boonesborough to help defend the European settlements in Kentucky/Virginia. Boone was elected to the first of his three terms in the Virginia General Assembly during the Revolutionary War, and fought in the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782. Blue Licks was one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War, coming after the main fighting ended in October 1781. Following the war, Boone worked as a surveyor and merchant, but fell deeply into debt through failed Kentucky land speculation. Frustrated with the legal problems resulting from his land claims, in 1799 Boone emigrated to eastern Missouri, where he spent most of the last two decades of his life (1800–20). Boone remains an iconic figure in American history. He was a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in America and Europe. After his death, he was frequently the subject of heroic tall tales and works of fiction. His adventures—real and legendary—were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore. In American popular culture, he is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen. The epic Daniel Boone mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.
Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705][Note 1] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and in many ways was "the First American".[1] A world-renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.[2] He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university. Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity; as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies, then as the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation.[3] Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat."[4] To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."[5] Franklin, always proud of his working class roots, became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies.[6] With two partners he published the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the British policies. He became wealthy publishing Poor Richard's Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was also the printer of books for the Moravians of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1742 on). Franklin's printed Moravian books (printed in German) are preserved, and can be viewed, at the Moravian Archives located in Bethlehem. Franklin visited Bethlehem many times and stayed at the Moravian Sun Inn . He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when as agent for several colonies he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament in London repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts to secure support for the American Revolution by shipments of crucial munitions proved vital for the American war effort. For many years he was the British postmaster for the colonies, which enabled him to set up the first national communications network. He was active in community affairs, colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. Toward the end of his life, he freed his own slaves and became one of the most prominent abolitionists. His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored on coinage and the $100 bill; warships, the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, namesakes, and companies, and, more than two centuries after his death, countless cultural references.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872)[1] was an American painter who turned inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code, and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.
John Brown (8 December 1826 – 27 March 1883) was a Scottish personal servant and favourite of Queen Victoria for many years. He was appreciated by many (including the Queen) for his competence and companionship, and resented by others for his influence and informal manner. The exact nature of his relationship with Victoria was the subject of great speculation by contemporaries, and continues to be controversial today.
Charles Willson Peale (April 15, 1741 – February 22, 1827) was an American painter, soldier and naturalist. He is best remembered for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution, as well as for establishing one of the first museums.
George Berkeley (/ˈbɑrkleɪ/;[1] 12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley (Bishop of Cloyne), was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism" (later referred to as "subjective idealism" by others). This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers, and as a result cannot exist without being perceived. Berkeley is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism. In 1709, Berkeley published his first major work, An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, in which he discussed the limitations of human vision and advanced the theory that the proper objects of sight are not material objects, but light and colour. This foreshadowed his chief philosophical work A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in 1710 which, after its poor reception, he rewrote in dialogue form and published under the title Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous in 1713.[2] In this book, Berkeley's views were represented by Philonous (Greek: 'lover of mind'), while Hylas (Greek: 'matter') embodies the Irish thinker’s opponents, in particular John Locke. Berkeley argued against Sir Isaac Newton's doctrine of absolute space, time and motion in De Motu[3] (On Motion), published 1721. His arguments were a precursor to the views of Mach and Einstein.[4] In 1732, he published Alciphron, a Christian apologetic against the free-thinkers, and in 1734, he published The Analyst, a critique of the foundations of calculus, which was influential in the development of mathematics. His last major philosophical work, Siris (1744), begins by advocating the medicinal use of tar water, and then continues to discuss a wide range of topics including science, philosophy, and theology. Interest in Berkeley's work increased after World War II, because he tackled many of the issues of paramount interest to philosophy in the 20th century such as the problems of perception, the difference between primary and secondary qualities, and the importance of language.
James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, political theorist and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights.[2] He served as a politician much of his adult life. After the constitution had been drafted, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify it. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced the Federalist Papers (1788). Circulated only in New York at the time, they would later be considered among the most important polemics in support of the Constitution. He was also a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention, and was instrumental to the successful ratification effort in Virginia. Like most of his contemporaries, Madison changed his political views during his life. During the drafting and ratification of the constitution, he favored a strong national government, though later he grew to favor stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes late in his life. In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many basic laws. He is notable for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights".[3] Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and what became the Federalist Party in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called by historians the Democratic-Republican Party). As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation's size. After his election to the presidency, he presided over renewed prosperity for several years. As president (1809–17), after the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against Great Britain, he led the nation into the War of 1812. He was responding to British encroachments on American honor and rights; in addition, he wanted to end the influence of the British among their Indian allies, whose resistance blocked United States settlement in the Midwest around the Great Lakes. Madison found the war to be an administrative nightmare, as the United States had neither a strong army nor financial system; as a result, he afterward supported a stronger national government and a strong military, as well as the national bank, which he had long opposed. Like other Virginia statesmen in the slave society,[4] he was a slaveholder who inherited his plantation known as Montpelier, and owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime to cultivate tobacco and other crops. Madison supported the three-fifths compromise that allowed three-fifths of the enumerated population of slaves to be counted for representation.[
James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, political theorist and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights.[2] He served as a politician much of his adult life. After the constitution had been drafted, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify it. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced the Federalist Papers (1788). Circulated only in New York at the time, they would later be considered among the most important polemics in support of the Constitution. He was also a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention, and was instrumental to the successful ratification effort in Virginia. Like most of his contemporaries, Madison changed his political views during his life. During the drafting and ratification of the constitution, he favored a strong national government, though later he grew to favor stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes late in his life. In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many basic laws. He is notable for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights".[3] Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and what became the Federalist Party in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called by historians the Democratic-Republican Party). As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation's size. After his election to the presidency, he presided over renewed prosperity for several years. As president (1809–17), after the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against Great Britain, he led the nation into the War of 1812. He was responding to British encroachments on American honor and rights; in addition, he wanted to end the influence of the British among their Indian allies, whose resistance blocked United States settlement in the Midwest around the Great Lakes. Madison found the war to be an administrative nightmare, as the United States had neither a strong army nor financial system; as a result, he afterward supported a stronger national government and a strong military, as well as the national bank, which he had long opposed. Like other Virginia statesmen in the slave society,[4] he was a slaveholder who inherited his plantation known as Montpelier, and owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime to cultivate tobacco and other crops. Madison supported the three-fifths compromise that allowed three-fifths of the enumerated population of slaves to be counted for representation.[
John Jacob Astor (July 17, 1763 – March 29, 1848), born Johann Jakob Astor,[4] was a German-born American businessman, merchant, fur trader, and investor who was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first multi-millionaire in the United States. He was the creator of the first trust in America. He moved to England as a teenager, where he worked as a musical instrument manufacturer. Astor later went to the United States after the American Revolutionary War and built a fur-trading empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. In the early 19th century, he diversified into New York City real estate and later became a famed patron of the arts.
James Monroe (April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was the fifth President of the United States (1817–1825). Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, the third of them to die on Independence Day, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation.[1] He was of French and Scottish descent. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Monroe was of the planter class and fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was wounded in the Battle of Trenton with a musket ball to his shoulder. After studying law under Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783, he served as a delegate in the Continental Congress. As an anti-federalist delegate to the Virginia convention that considered ratification of the United States Constitution, Monroe opposed ratification, claiming it gave too much power to the central government. He took an active part in the new government, and in 1790 he was elected to the Senate of the first United States Congress, where he joined the Jeffersonians. He gained experience as an executive as the Governor of Virginia and rose to national prominence as a diplomat in France, when he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. During the War of 1812, Monroe held the critical roles of Secretary of State and the Secretary of War under President James Madison.[2] Facing little opposition from the fractured Federalist Party, Monroe was easily elected president in 1816, winning over 80 percent of the electoral vote and becoming the last president during the First Party System era of American politics. As president, he bought Florida from Spain and sought to ease partisan tensions, embarking on a tour of the country that was generally well received. With the ratification of the Treaty of 1818, under the successful diplomacy of his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the United States extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific, giving America harbor and fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest. The United States and Britain jointly occupied the Oregon Country. In addition to the acquisition of Florida, the landmark Treaty of 1819 secured the border of the United States along the 42nd Parallel to the Pacific Ocean and represented America's first determined attempt at creating an "American global empire".[3] As nationalism surged, partisan fury subsided and the "Era of Good Feelings" ensued until the Panic of 1819 struck and dispute over the admission of Missouri embroiled the country in 1820. Nonetheless, Monroe won near-unanimous reelection. Monroe supported the founding of colonies in Africa for free African Americans that would eventually form the nation of Liberia, whose capital, Monrovia, is named in his honor. In 1823, he announced the United States' opposition to any European intervention in the recently independent countries of the Americas with the Monroe Doctrine, which became a landmark in American foreign policy. His presidency concluded the first period of American presidential history before the beginning of Jacksonian democracy and the Second Party System era. Following his retirement in 1825, Monroe was plagued by financial difficulties. He died in New York City on July 4, 1831.
John Randolph (June 2, 1773 – May 24, 1833), known as John Randolph of Roanoke,[note 1] was a planter, and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives at various times between 1799 and 1833, the Senate (1825–1827), and also as Minister to Russia (1830). After serving as President Thomas Jefferson's spokesman in the House, he broke with Jefferson in 1803 and became the leader of the "Old Republican" or "Quids", an extreme states' rights vanguard of the Democratic-Republican Party[1] who wanted to restrict the role of the federal government. Specifically, Randolph promoted the Principles of '98, which said that individual states could judge the constitutionality of central government laws and decrees, and could refuse to enforce laws deemed unconstitutional. A quick thinking orator with a wicked wit, he was committed to republicanism and advocated a commercial agrarian society throughout his three decades in Congress. Randolph's conservative stance, displayed in his arguments against debt and for the rights of the landed gentry, have been attributed to his ties to his family estate and the elitist values of his native Southside Virginia[citation needed]. Randolph vehemently opposed the War of 1812 and the Missouri Compromise of 1820; he was active in debates about tariffs, manufacturing, and currency. With mixed feelings about slavery, he was one of the founders of the American Colonization Society in 1816, to send free blacks to a colony in Africa. All his life Randolph was opposed to slavery. Even though he was a state representative of the state he still believed that African Americans deserved to be free. Contrary to his beliefs, Randolph remained dependent on hundreds of slaves to work his tobacco plantation. He provided for their manumission and resettlement in Ohio in his will. Randolph was admired by the community and his supporters for his fiery character and was known as a man that was passionate about education and equality for all and the application of his electioneering methods which he also enjoyed as a hobby. Randolph appealed directly to yeomen, using entertaining and enlightening oratory, sociability, and community of interest, particularly in agriculture, that led to an enduring voter attachment to him regardless of his personal deficiencies. His defense of limited government appeals to modern and contemporary conservatives, most notably Russell Kirk (1918–1994).
Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. February 1818[3] – February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory[4] and incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.[5][6] Many Northerners also found it hard to believe that such a great orator had been a slave.[7] Douglass wrote several autobiographies. He eloquently described his experiences as a slave in his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which became a bestseller and influential in supporting abolition, as did the second, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855). After the Civil War, Douglass remained an active campaigner against slavery and wrote his last autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. First published in 1881 and revised in 1892, it covered events through and after the Civil War. Douglass also actively supported women's suffrage, and held several public offices. Without his approval, Douglass became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the impracticable and small Equal Rights Party ticket.[8] A firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant, Douglass famously said, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."[
DeWitt Clinton (March 2, 1769 – February 11, 1828) was an early American politician and naturalist who served as an United States Senator and was the sixth Governor of New York. In this last capacity, he was largely responsible for the construction of the Erie Canal.[1] Clinton was the leader of New York's People’s Party and was a major rival of Martin Van Buren, who was the Attorney General of New York during Clinton's governorship. Clinton believed that infrastructure improvements could transform American life, drive economic growth, and encourage political participation, and he heavily influenced the development of the New York State and the United States
Leonard Bernstein (/ˈbɜrnstaɪn/;[1] August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."[2] His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story, as well as Peter Pan,[3] Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town and his own Mass. Bernstein was also the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death. He was a skilled pianist,[4] often conducting piano concertos from the keyboard. As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and commercial success of West Side Story. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century.
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist.[1][2] Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935). Gershwin studied piano under Charles Hambitzer and composition with Rubin Goldmark and Henry Cowell. He began his career as a song plugger, but soon started composing Broadway theatre works with his brother Ira Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva. He moved to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, where he began to compose An American in Paris. After returning to New York City, he wrote Porgy and Bess with Ira and the author DuBose Heyward. Initially a commercial failure, Porgy and Bess is now considered one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century. Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous film scores until his death in 1937 from a brain tumor. Gershwin's compositions have been adapted for use in many films and for television, and several became jazz standards recorded in many variations. Countless celebrated singers and musicians have covered his songs.
James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the negro was in vogue" which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue".
Elvis Aaron Presley[a] (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer, musician, and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "the King". Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, when he started to work with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who was to manage the singer for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", released in January 1956, was a number-one hit in the US. He became the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial. In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service: He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special, Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley was featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Several years of prescription drug abuse severely deteriorated his health, and he died in 1977 at the age of 42. Presley is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music,[5][6][7][8] with estimated album sales of around 600 million units worldwide.[9] He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.
Pedro Jaime Martínez (born October 25, 1971) is a Dominican Republic-born former Major League Baseball pitcher. He is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and 2004 World Series champion. At the time of his 200th win in April 2006, Martínez had the highest winning percentage of any 200-game winner in modern baseball history (he eventually slipped .003 behind Whitey Ford). His WHIP is the lowest of any live-ball era starting pitcher in MLB history, and his ERA+ is the best of any starting pitcher in MLB history.[1] Officially listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) and 195 pounds (88 kg), Martínez was unusually small for a modern-day power pitcher, and he is believed to be somewhat smaller than his officially listed height and weight
John F. Kennedy On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President; he was the youngest to die. Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety. Back from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President, and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President. His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty. Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society. He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained. Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a band of Cuban exiles, already armed and trained, to invade their homeland. The attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro was a failure. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union renewed its campaign against West Berlin. Kennedy replied by reinforcing the Berlin garrison and increasing the Nation's military strength, including new efforts in outer space. Confronted by this reaction, Moscow, after the erection of the Berlin Wall, relaxed its pressure in central Europe. Instead, the Russians now sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. When this was discovered by air reconnaissance in October 1962, Kennedy imposed a quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. While the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians backed down and agreed to take the missiles away. The American response to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail. Kennedy now contended that both sides had a vital interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and slowing the arms race--a contention which led to the test ban treaty of 1963. The months after the Cuban crisis showed significant progress toward his goal of "a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion." His administration thus saw the beginning of new hope for both the equal rights of Americans and the peace of the world. The Presidential biographies on WhiteHouse.gov are from “The Presidents of the United States of America,” by Frank Freidel and Hugh Sidey. Copyright 2006 by the White House Historical Association.
MERCE CUNNINGHAM (1919-2009) was a leader of the American avant-garde throughout his seventy year career and is considered one of the most important choreographers of our time. Through much of his life, he was also one of the greatest American dancers. With an artistic career distinguished by constant innovation, Cunningham expanded the frontiers not only of dance, but also of contemporary visual and performing arts. His collaborations with artistic innovators from every creative discipline have yielded an unparalleled body of American dance, music, and visual art.
Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was one of the twentieth century’s most important and critically acclaimed sculptors. Through a lifetime of artistic experimentation, he created sculptures, gardens, furniture and lighting designs, ceramics, architecture, and set designs. His work, at once subtle and bold, traditional and modern, set a new standard for the reintegration of the arts.
Writer and educator Alain LeRoy Locke was the editor of 1925's The New Negro, and he is sometimes called "the father of the Harlem Renaissance" for his influence on African-American art and literature in the early part of the 20th century. He was the son of professionals, a lawyer and teacher, and he excelled at academics -- after getting his degree at Harvard in 1907, he studied literature at Oxford University (1910) as the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. Locke studied philosophy at the University of Berlin during 1910 and 1911, then returned to the U.S. At that time most universities wouldn't hire a black man, even a scholar as impressive as Alain Locke. He joined the faculty of Howard University in Washington, D.C., and spent most of his career there, teaching philosophy from 1912 until 1953 (he had a year off in 1918, when he earned his doctorate from Harvard). His anthology of African-American literature, The New Negro, celebrated the unique experience of black Americans, and his subsequent works, The Negro and His Music (1936) and The Negro in Art (1941), established the idea that black Americans' artistic expression was rooted in their African heritage.
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), a former actor and California governor, served as the 40th U.S. president from 1981 to 1989. Raised in small-town Illinois, he became a Hollywood actor in his 20s and later served as the Republican governor of California from 1967 to 1975. Dubbed the Great Communicator, the affable Reagan became a popular two-term president. He cut taxes, increased defense spending, negotiated a nuclear arms reduction agreement with the Soviets and is credited with helping to bring a quicker end to the Cold War. Reagan, who survived a 1981 assassination attempt, died at age 93 after battling Alzheimer’s disease.
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