The tempers and the drama behind presidential precedents
Continuing a thread form last week’s look at potty-mouthed parrots, Jess and I kick off this episode by digging into the most famous story about George Washington and profanity.
Then, we welcome our very first guest to the podcast! Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky, author of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, joins me to talk about her book and so much more.
This was my very first time conducting a podcast interview, and it’s true what everyone says: it’s harder than you think. I blame nerves for making me forget who sang certain Cabinet-related lyrics in the Hamilton musical, and for inexplicably referencing Game of Thrones twice. Yet somehow, Chervinsky turned our conversation into what felt like a master class on the personalities and relationships of the early presidents. She shared insights about Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson that brought them to life, and she gave context to the early years of our republic and the events that caused Jefferson and Hamilton to see each other as mortal enemies who needed to be stopped.
Of course I saved some time at the end to talk about out mutual fascination with John Quincy Adams, and she put it in perspective so well that I think Jess finally understands my love for him, years after I wrote her an open letter on the subject.
An unedited video version of our conversation will be available next week for our Patreon supporters, along with outtakes of me and Jess discussing George Washington’s profanity and poltroons.
You can read more about our guest and her work and sign up for her newsletter at lindsaychervinsky.com.
And you can browse those newly transcribed diary pages of John Quincy Adams at the Massachusetts Historical Society’s John Quincy Adams Digital Diary site.
Recollections and Private Memories of George Washington by George Washington Parke Custis
“Charles Lee: A Damned Poltroon?” by J. L. Bell, Boston1775