The potus_geeks library has grown to nearly 1000 volumes. We've followed three presidential elections, as we begin the third Presidency of our existence, all the while avoiding taking sides, focusing on history and not politics, so that this can be a welcoming community regardless of your politics. This is a haven for open minded and inquisitive amateur historians, and not an echo chamber.
Here's a recap of some of the things potus_geeks has done this past eleven years:
YEAR ONE: In our first year 416 journal entries were posted. Among the reports were visits to the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, the Eisenhower Museum and Library in Abilene, Kansas, and Benjamin Harrison's home in Indianapolis, Indiana.
YEAR TWO: In our second year we looked at the civil rights record of every President, and direcorrector posted biographies of all of the oval office occupants as well. It was also the first year we began our look at Christmas in the White House and as the calendar clicked over to 2012, we began our journey on the road to the 2012 Presidential Election.
YEAR THREE: In year three we followed the first presidential election in this community's history (preceded by primaries and conventions). We also visited the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, and reviewed two movies about Abraham Lincoln (one award winning, another vampire hunting). In an ambitious undertaking, potus_geeks conducted its own ranking of the Presidents (with a top three of Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt, but not the Roosevelt some expected). We reviewed more terrific new books, looked at past elections, the potus_geeks library continued to expand, saw the completion of direcorrector's wonderful biographies of the presidents, the first potus_geeks election day poetry slam, another annual reading list, the first presidential inauguration in this community's history, and profiles of the first ladies.
YEAR FOUR: Our fourth year was a year of many interesting themes, including Presidents portrayed in Movies and TV (April, 2013), Runners-up and Also Rans (May, 2013), Presidential Libraries and Museums (July, 2013), and Vice Presidents (September, 2013). We also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy and his final month in office (November, 2013) with a look at JFK's last days. We continued our look at the Presidents at Christmas (December 2013) and began the New Year with themes of Presidents and their Advisers (January, 2014), First Lovebirds (February, 2014) and Presidents at War (March, 2014). Year Four saw visits to the William Henry Harrison monument in West Bend, Ohio and the William Howard Taft Presidential Historic Site in Cincinnati. (An intended visit to the Nixon Library was foiled by the government shutdown!)
YEAR FIVE: Year five began with a conclusion to our series on Presidents at War, and this transitioned into a series on Presidents at Peace (April 2014). Other themes for the year included the Civil War Presidents (May 2014), Presidents and the Economy (June 2014), Presidential Places (i.e. good spots for potus_geeks to check out on summer vacation) and potus_geeks summer reruns with repeat posts of some of our best articles of the past, which allowed me to be lazy in August. We also visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois in August, and the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson and Polk House, the James K. Polk Museum, both in October. While in Nashville, we also looked in on the resting place of James K. Polk. We resumed our look at various themes with Presidents and the Law (September 2014), the Presidential Diarists (October 2014), we completed our series on Presidents and their Advisors (October 2014) and Christmas at the White House (December 2014). The New Year began with a look at each President's road to the White House in our "Paths to the Presidency" series, and the year concluded with the beginning of our series on Abraham Lincoln's Last Days, as we approach the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Assassination.
YEAR SIX: Year six began by marking the sesquicentennial of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. We marked Lincoln's last days with a day-by-day account as we traced the 16th President's final steps. Next, in May, we profiled some of the more famous children of Presidents and in June we looked at some of the more notorious presidential controversies. We also dissected the US Supreme Court's majority and minority opinions in the year's leading decision of Obergefell v. Hodges (making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states).July featured a visit to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta as well as reviews of some terrific new books. We also profiled the places that Presidents went to escape the summer heat, entitled Presidents' Summer White Houses. In August our Presidents in Parody series looked at books, movies, television shows, songs, musicals and other media that portrayed Presidents in fiction or in humor. August was a time of personal sadness, with the passing of my furry four-legged editor and best pal Abby on August 20th. We miss her so much.
It was on to more serious subjects in September as we profiled 21 candidates for president seeking the nomination for the two major political parties. We also remembered the 14th anniversary of 911 and began a series on major health issues faced by past presidents. In October we looked at the President's Veto Power and a series of historic uses of the veto by Presidents. The theme for November was Presidents and Faith, as we looked at the religious beliefs of many of the Presidents, and we ended off 2015 with a look at how some of the Presidents celebrated Christmas in our Presidents and Christmas series. We also looked at some great Christmas gifts for potus_geeks. 2016 is an election year, so we began it with a profile of all previous presidential elections without an incumbent. In February we profiled eleven "obscure" presidents in detail and in March our theme is "Presidents Behaving Badly."
YEAR SEVEN: We began our seventh year in an election season and with a series on "The Making of the President 2016", a series we continued throughout the election season. We also looked at the Presidents as Athletes, and in May we complemented our earlier series on "Presidents Behaving Badly" with a month long series of "Presidents Behaving Goodly". As convention series approached, we looked back on past campaigns and conventions. In July our series on Summer Reading for potus_geeks looked at some of the more prolific authors of presidential subjects and selections of books about the subjects themselves. In the fall we looked at "Persons of Interest", those who never became president, but were still DC movers and shakers. As election day approached we looked at "October Surprises" and then profiled many of the swing states in the upcoming election. We analyzed the election results and looked at Presidential transitions, and inaugural addresses. In looking at the new President and some of the issues he raised, we looked back in history at Presidents' relationships with the media, presidents and immigration and a history of Populism in American Presidential Politics.
YEAR EIGHT: As the Trump administration reached its first 100 days, we looked at the first 100 days of other Presidencies. We contrasted President Trump's world travel with a series on previous "Global Presidents". Speculation of President Obama's retirement plans led to a series on Presidents in Retirement. We also looked at past Presidents' relationships with the labor movement, and as rhetoric between the current president and North Korea ramped up, we looked at past examples of Presidents dealing with crisis. I visited Washington DC in the spring and finally got to see Mount Vernon, along with the James Monroe Presidential Museum too. In September I paid a visit on the James Garfield Presidential Library and in October I enjoyed a visit at the Harry Truman Presidential Library. Later we looked at past Secretaries of State. We also looked at the high points and low points of presidencies and presidential approval ratings, and in February we commemorated Black History Month 2018 and followed up with our current series, a look at Presidents and their Cabinets.
YEAR NINE: Since our last birthday we paid a visit to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, at the historic Lorraine Motel. We also visited the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock and the Ulysses Grant Home just outside of St. Louis. Our themes included the fascinating year of 1968, Presidents in Movies and Television, Congressional Investigations of Presidents, did a series called "Islands of Civility" (when Presidents and presidential candidates did the right thing), looked at Controversies in Presidential History, reviewed the history of the interaction between the executive and judicial branches, and looked at 30 problems on the President's desk. In 2019 we looked at scandals in presidential history, whether there is a "second term curse" and began our series on Presidents' legacies.
YEAR TEN: We began our tenth year concluding our series on Presidents' legacies and profiled the candidates for President in 2020. In May we looked at some previous elections with incumbents, and in June looked back on some White House weddings. Our July theme was "Presidential shenanigans" as we looked at some of the stranger stories from presidential history. After some summer reruns in August, September and October we polled our followers on Twitter to rank each of the Presidents after profiling each of them, leading to our second ever Presidential Rankings. As the team from the Nation's capitol captured the World Series trophy, we looked back on the connections between Presidents and Baseball. In November as the third impeachment proceedings involving a President proceeded, we looked at the history of impeachment, and concluded 2019 with a look at some White House Christmases past. In 2020, we examined the history of polarization in Presidential Politics, and marked primary season with a look at some past presidential primaries.
YEAR ELEVEN: This was the year of the Pandemic, as well as an election year. During the past year we looked at past campaigns, as well as Past Pandemics. (No, Covid-19 was not the first time a President led a nation in its fight against a deadly disease. That problem is as old as George Washington and Smallpox.) We also looked at some of the more obscure Presidents, Presidents in their Youth, and considered where the so-called "unprecedented presidency" of Donald Trump really was without precedent, or if history was in fact repeating itself. We also looked at past Third Party candidates in presidential elections, considered whether debates in presidential elections really matter, and looked at the history of presidential transitions. We also looked at past inaugural addresses and considered the history of an apparent characteristic of the new Biden Presidency: executive orders. Finally, as the new President made plans to spend almost two trillion dollars at the start of his presidency to address the challenges of a pandemic economy, we looked at how other Presidents had dealt with the economic challenges of their time.
It is the goal of this community to make it a welcoming place for geeks of all political stripes, with a solid foundation of civility and respect. The next year will also provide more interesting new Presidential biographies to review and a new administration with a septuagenarian chief executive who has already met with leading historians to attempt to learn from the past.
Thank you for reading the dorky offerings of this magnificent obsession. Here's to another happy year of Potus Geekery!