These longer articles are going to serve as the starting point for the eventual Presidents Who Lie (In State) book, and after that, the Presidents Who Lie (In State) cable series, and after that, the Presidents Who Lie (In State) ride at Six Flags.
The father of our country died in 1799. The national monument to him was not finished until a century later - in between, a guy tried to steal Washington's body, an artist's sculpture of Washington in a toga was laughed out of the Capitol Rotunda and another president died while trying to raise funds to build the monument. Now that it's finally done, Americans spend an inordinate amount of time taking randy pictures of themselves near the obelisk. Find out why this long and often disturbing tale is a metaphor for the country itself. Read more...
A number of presidents are considered failures; Franklin Pierce is one
of them. But he had a pretty good excuse: everyone in his life was dying
around him, including his sole remaining child and his own vice
president, and his understandably inconsolable wife allegedly started
holding seances. Pierce himself nearly bought the farm before taking
office, which would have dumped a constitutional crisis on top of a
family tragedy. We explore all this, plus why his native state
decided to hold off on giving him a statue for nearly half a century
after his death. Read more...