Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Trivia fact: did you know that most presidents were lawyers? (27 out of 44)

Of the 10 presidents I have seen since high school, five were Republican, five were Democrats. I will review five now and five in my next blog item.

When I was in high school, Democrat John F. Kennedy was president. Kennedy was born in Massachusetts, of Irish descent, a Harvard graduate, a Navy veteran, and the first Roman Catholic president. He took strong action on equal rights for all Americans and his economic programs launched sustained expansion of growth.

I remember where I was on the day the news broke of Kennedy's assassination in Dallas. I have since visited Dealy Plaza to see some history for myself.

Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was then sworn in as president. Johnson, born in Texas, of the Disciples of Christ Church, had compassion for the poverty of others, a Navy veteran, promoted aid to education, and an attack on disease. He fought against poverty and the removal of obstacles to the right to vote. In 1965, his administration passed the Medicare Amendment to the Social Security Act.

After Johnson was Republican Richard M. Nixon. Nixon, a Quaker, born in California, faced a divided nation and set his goal of reconciliation. A Navy veteran, he ended the military draft, ended the Viet Nam war, and had a broad environmental program. Watergate was his downfall, which led to the resignation of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, and congressional approval of Gerald R. Ford as VP. Nixon was the first president ever to resign in office.

Republican Gerald R. Ford, born in Nebraska, raised in Michigan, an Episcopalian, was dealt a hand of inflation, depressed economy, and energy shortages. He was a Yale graduate and Navy veteran. During severe inflation, he tried to stimulate the economy and was vigorous in foreign affairs.

Democrat James E. “Jimmy” Carter, a Southern Baptist, Navy veteran, born in Georgia, took office during the era of rising energy costs and growing inflation. He advocated for ecology and the removal of racial barriers. Carter decreased the national debt and eight million jobs were created during his term. He created the Department of Education, bolstered the social security system, and expanded the national park system.

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