This episode, the inaugural episode of the Second Decade podcast, details the bizarre (by modern standards) political situation Americans faced in 1816. The Democratic-Republican Party, hoping to score its fifth Presidential election win in a row, ran yet another Virginian, James Monroe. It looked to be a cakewalk, considering that the opposition party, the Federalists, was in full meltdown mode after they insisted on showing the country just how much they hated the War of 1812 with a disastrous and ill-advised confab in Hartford. But the dull Presidential race wasn't the real political story in 1816. There was an epic disaster in the making at the Congressional level, and voters rose in revolt like no other time in American history.
In this episode you'll meet James Monroe, college drop-out and heir apparent to the Virginia dynasty; Rufus King, the last man to wear pantyhose on the floor of the U.S. Senate; and you'll learn why getting sloshed on the Fourth of July was, in 1816, every American's patriotic duty.
(Background music for this episode licensed CC3.0 by Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston).