‘45 Presidents’ Category

 

The President Takes Office

Posted from the capital city of Little Rock, Arkansas by Linda Lou Burton – Every four years, that’s the limit, and it’s been that way since George Washington’s day. It’s right there in the Constitution, Article. II, Section. 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector. The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

March 4, 1789 was set as the date “for commencing proceedings” of the new government; unfortunately bad weather delayed George Washington’s first inauguration until April 30. After that inaugurations took place on March 4 until the 20th Constitutional Amendment, ratified in 1933, moved Inauguration Day to January 20. Why so long between the November election of a new president and vice-president until they actually assume their duties?

Because back then things simply took longer to get organized – counting votes, assembling a new cabinet, and traveling to the capital. That in-between period, referred to as the lame-duck time of a presidency, has caused problems for our country, especially in times of crisis. After the 1860 election seven states left the Union; outgoing President Buchanan took no action; incoming President Lincoln had no power to act. After the election of 1932, when the country was in the throes of the Great Depression and shanty-towns dotted the landscape, outgoing President Hoover and incoming President Roosevelt met to discuss policy, but did not agree on a move forward; no action taken. And even with the switch to a shorter lame-duck period, the election of 2020 occurred during a worldwide pandemic. As our country floundered, plagued by a rapidly rising death count, a desperately sinking economy, and unparalleled business and school shutdowns, outgoing President Trump took no action; incoming President Biden had no power to act.

Until today. Inauguration 2021 may go down in history as one of the most unusual ever – masked faces and sparse crowds because of our deadly health crisis and the new norm: social distancing. Intense crowd control due to violent political activists who stormed the capitol January 6 with the alleged purpose of overturning the Congressional certification of votes.

The tried and true were there – members the of Biden and Harris families, members of Congress, former presidents – Bill Clinton with Hillary, George Bush with Laura, Barack Obama with Michelle. Outgoing Vice President Pence was there, but our outgoing president chose not to attend. How many times has that happened? Not many; here’s the list:

  • John Adams did not attend the 1801 inauguration of Thomas Jefferson.
  • John Quincy Adams did not attend the 1829 inauguration of Andrew Jackson.
  • Martin Van Buren did not attend the 1841 inauguration of William Henry Harrison.
  • Andrew Johnson did not attend the 1869 inauguration of Ulysses S Grant.
  • Donald Trump did not attend the 2021 inauguration of Joseph R Biden Jr.

But guess what. Though the crowd had to be limited, over 40 million people were able to participate in the inauguration of Joseph R Biden Jr as President and Kamala D Harris as Vice-President, thanks to extensive media coverage.

And I was one of them.

Tomorrow: Inauguration Details

 
 
 

A House Full

Posted from the capital city of Little Rock, Arkansas by Linda Lou Burton – Yesterday I talked about the US Census. Now you can see why the count of PEOPLE is so important in our united STATES! Each state gets two senators, but the Constitution provided for a House of Representatives based on population. Let’s go back to that original document, where Section 1 states: All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. Section 2 spells out the directives for the House – two-year term, at least 25 years old, a resident of the US at least seven years, and a resident of the state they represent.

The Logic

The Constitution intended to have two different groups each with a different method of representation: the Senate, always, to have TWO representatives from each state, no matter the land area of the state, or the number of people who live in that state. Meaning, today, Rhode Island, the smallest US state with 1,545 square miles, and Alaska, the largest state with 665,384 square miles, are entitled to the same number of senators: TWO.

But the House of Representatives, the Constitution writers figured, should be based on the number of people in each state – We The People, remember? So they rigged up a system to count people, and then allot a certain number of representatives based on population.

Today, the number of Representatives is fixed at 435 (a House full!), representing – got your calculator handy? – whatever a state’s population may be. Here’s a link to see, and track, who represents you, and how that divvies up state by state, and political party by party; it’s the website maintained by the House of Representatives. https://www.house.gov/

From That House Site: Also referred to as a congressman or congresswoman, each representative is elected to a two-year term serving the people of a specific congressional district. The number of voting representatives in the House is fixed by law at no more than 435, proportionally representing the population of the 50 states. Currently, there are five delegates representing the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A resident commissioner represents Puerto Rico. Learn more about representatives at The House Explained.

Unlike the Senate, where residents of the District of Columbia and US Territories have no voice, the House provides for delegates who have no vote, but do have floor privileges, can serve on committees, and can introduce legislation.

Can you guess which state has the most delegates in the House? You guessed California, of course, because California has the most people.

In 2021, California has 53 delegates in the House of Representatives. Seven states – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming – have 1 delegate each in the House of Representatives because these states have the fewest people. Does this change as population shifts? Yes, it does. “Reapportionment” is the word.

Seeing the People

Imagine the differences in needs and viewpoint scattered out there in our 50 states! To really get a handle on these variations, read the summaries I wrote during my Journey Across America as I experienced PERSONALLY what makes up our country. What a way to dispel pre-conceived notions and see what is really there. It took me two years and 31,710 miles to get around to all of you. But I can vouch for this: the United States is  full of great people.

Our 435 delegates in that crammed-full House have a tremendous task to do, representing not just their state, but working for the good of everybody. And us PEOPLE have a tremendous task too (besides getting along with each other), and that is to thoughtfully elect delegates – to both the Senate, and the House of Representatives, that work together for the highest good of all of us.

We The People is a pretty awesome concept, when you think about it.

‘Nuff said.

Tomorrow: The President Takes Office

 
 
 

#45. Trump, Donald J

Remember 2016?

Donald J Trump became the 45th United States president although his opponent received 2,868,686 more Popular Votes.

  • 62,984,828 Americans voted for Donald J Trump
  • 65,853,514 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 

 
 
 

#44. Obama, Barack

In 2008

Barack Obama became the 44th United States president receiving 9,522,083 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 69,456,897 Americans voted for Barack Obama
  • 59,934,814 Americans voted for his opponent

In 2012

Barack Obama remained the 44th United States president receiving 4,970,644 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 65,899,625 Americans voted for Barack Obama
  • 60,928,981 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 

 
 
 

#43. Bush, George W

In 2000

George W Bush became the 43rd United States president although his opponent received 543,895 more Popular Votes.

  • 50,456,002 Americans voted for George W Bush
  • 50,999,897 Americans voted for his opponent

In 2004

George W Bush remained the 42nd United States president receiving 3,012,668 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 62,040,003 Americans voted for George W Bush
  • 59,027,335 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 

 
 
 

#42. Clinton, Bill

In 1992

Bill Clinton became the 42nd United States president receiving 5,805,344 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 44,909,889 Americans voted for Bill Clinton
  • 39,104,545 Americans voted for his opponent

In 1996

Bill Clinton remained the 42nd United States president receiving 7,759,232 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 45,628,667 Americans voted for Bill Clinton
  • 37,869,435 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 
 
 

#41. Bush, George H W

In 1988

George H W Bush became the 41st United States president receiving 7,075,904 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 48,881,278 Americans voted for George H W Bush
  • 41,805,374 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 
 
 

#40. Reagan, Ronald

In 1980

Ronald Reagan became the 40th United States president receiving 8,302,906 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 43,267,489 Americans voted for Ronald Reagan
  • 34,964,583 Americans voted for his opponent

In 1984

Ronald Reagan remained the 40th United States president receiving 16,497,434 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 53,428,357 Americans voted for Ronald Reagan
  • 36,930,923 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 
 
 

#39. Carter, Jimmy

In 1976

Jimmy Carter became the 39th United States president receiving 1,681,417 more Popular Votes than his opponent.

  • 40,827,394 Americans voted for Jimmy Carter
  • 39,145,977 Americans voted for his opponent

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….

 
 
 

#38. Ford, Gerald R

Gerald R Ford became the 38th United States president after the resignation of Richard M Nixon, who was elected in 1972, so did not attain office by Popular Votes.

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – 

To be continued….