For a decade straddling the turn of the twentieth century, Mark Hanna was one of the most famous men in America. Portrayed as the puppet master controlling the weak-willed William McKinley, Hanna was loved by most Republicans and reviled by Democrats, in large part because of the way he was portrayed by the media of the day. Newspapers and other media outlets that supported McKinley reported positively about Hanna, but those sympathetic to William Jennings Bryan, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 1896 and 1900, attacked Hanna far more aggressively than they attacked McKinley himself. Their portrayal of Hanna was wrong, but powerful, and this negative image of him survives to this day.
In this study of Mark Hanna’s career in presidential politics, William T. Horner demonstrates the flaws inherent in the ways the news media cover politics. He deconstructs the myths that surround Hanna and demonstrates the dangerous and long-lasting effect that inaccurate reporting can have on our understanding of politics. When Karl Rove emerged as the political adviser to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, the reporters quickly began to compare Rove to Hanna even a century after Hanna’s death. The two men played vastly different roles for the presidents they served, but modern reporters consistently described Rove as the second coming of Mark Hanna, another political Svengali.
Ohio’s Kingmaker is the story of a fascinating character in American politics and serves to remind us of the power of (mis)perceptions.
From the ratification of the Constitution to the outbreak of the Civil War, few persons played a greater role in American history than Daniel Webster. He was a spokesman of New England commercial interests in the War of 1812, approving the threat of state interposition by the Hartford Convention; later an apostle of the industrial system and advocate of protective tariffs; a brilliant expositor of the Constitution as an instrument for national economic growth and strong central government; the architect of a foreign policy that brought permanent peace between the United States and England; the Great Compromiser who, as much as any other public man, tried to reconcile the clashing interests of North and South.Despite his importance Webster has never been the subject of a full-scale, scholarly biography. Maurice G. Baxter’s One and Inseparable traces the interrelated evolution of the public career and the private life of this imposing and controversial Yankee. He portrays Webster as an unswerving patriot, an advocate of nationality, and a champion of peace and the Union—but also reveals him as a self-promoting politician who varied his positions to suit the interests of his constituents and was sometimes insensitive to the great moral issues of his day. This devoted family man, enterprising if not altogether successful farmer, and genial companion could he egotistical, immoderate in his drinking habits, and careless about personal finances. Reading Baxter’s lucid, moving biography it is possible to understand why Ralph Waldo Emerson so detested Daniel Webster but also called him “the completest man” produced by America, adding: “Nature had not in our days, or not since Napoleon, cut out such a masterpiece.”
On July 10, 1940, by a 570 to 80 margin, the representatives in the French parliament voted full powers to Philippe Pétain, ending the Third Republic and paving the way for the collaborationist Vichy regime. Olivier Wieviorka offers a nuanced portrait of the individuals who determined the fate of France at this critical moment.Pétain claimed to be saving France from ruin. The day of the vote has been described as a journée des dupes, the legislators so ignorant or fearful that they voted without a thought to the consequences. But Wieviorka shows that most of the deputies made a considered decision to vote for Pétain. He analyzes the factors, such as political culture and regional origins, that motivated the voting on both sides, and traces the men’s fates through the war.Recreating the tense atmosphere of summer 1940, Wieviorka shows how pressures brought on by defeat could affect even the most hardened republicans. He illuminates the complex moral issues inherent in accommodation and collaboration in a time of crisis.
Although Oscar W. Underwood was considered a titan of his age, few American political figures have suffered such neglect as he. Except for his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in 1924, his political career is largely forgotten even in Alabama. The one place in which Underwood is well remembered is in the folklore of Congress, where he is widely regarded as a great party leader who had mastered the rules perhaps as thoroughly as any member of Congress. This mastery, together with steady work, personal magnetism, and a willingness to compromise, made him effective as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in formulating a majority program after the Democrats seized control of the House in 1910. Pat Harrison, Underwood's lieutenant as minority leader, referred to Underwood as the "greatest natural parliamentarian, the greatest leader of a law-making body that I ever saw."
--from the Preface to Oscar W. Underwood: A Political Biography
This young adult biography introduces middle school readers to a remarkable woman who founded the Women’s Army Corps, served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and ran a media empire that included the Houston Post newspaper and radio and TV stations.
Winner, Gold Medal for Biography, Military Writers Society of America, 2015
Oveta Culp Hobby (1905–1995) had a lifetime of stellar achievement. During World War II, she was asked to build a women’s army from scratch—and did. Hobby became Director of the Women’s Army Corps and the first Army woman to earn the rank of colonel. President Eisenhower chose her as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, making her the second woman in history to be appointed to a president’s cabinet. When she wasn’t serving in the government, Hobby worked with her husband, former Texas governor William P. Hobby, to lead a media empire that included the Houston Post newspaper and radio and TV stations. She also supported the Houston community in many ways, from advocating for civil rights for African Americans to donating generously to the Houston Symphony and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Oveta Culp Hobby is the first biography of this important woman. Written for middle school readers, it traces her life from her childhood in Killeen to her remarkable achievements in Washington, DC, and Houston. Debra Winegarten provides the background to help young adult readers understand the times in which Hobby lived and the challenges she faced as a woman in nontraditional jobs. She shows how Hobby opened doors for women to serve in the military and in other professions that still benefit women today. Most of all, Oveta Culp Hobby will inspire young adults to follow their own dreams and turn them into tangible reality.
Owen Lovejoy and the Coalition for Equality examines how these three distinct groups merged their agendas into a single antislavery, religious, political campaign for equality with Lovejoy at the helm. Combining scholarly biography, historiography, and primary source material, Jane Ann Moore and William F. Moore demonstrate Lovejoy's crucial role in nineteenth-century politics, the rise of antislavery sentiment in religious spaces, and the emerging congressional commitment to end slavery. Their compelling account explores how the immorality of slavery became a touchstone of political and religious action in the United States through the efforts of a synergetic coalition led by an essential abolitionist figure.
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