Over the Memorial Day weekend I am going on road trip that only a history teacher could love. Ohio has given the country eight presidents. Most of them were undistinguished to say the least. That won't deter me. I am visiting the national historical sights of three presidents in two days.
First on the agenda is Rutherford B. Hayes. He was a Civil War veteran who became president as a result of the most disputed election in U.S. history. Not 2000, but 1876. He lost the popular vote, but won the presidency in the House of Representatives. His term as president was actually quite successful. Look it up.
Next on the agenda is William McKinley another Civil War veteran. McKinley had a distinguished career including two terms as Ohio Governor. His presidency began in 1897 and ended in 1901 when he was assassinated. Bonus points: Who took over as president upon his death? He was in office during the annexation of Hawaii and the Spanish-American War. He set out to be a domestic president and ended up being a successful foreign policy president.
Last on the list is Warren G. Harding. And well he should be. He was a president who just tried not screw up. He didn't. Nearly everyone around him did. He died in office and was succeeded in office by Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge was interesting in that he was not loquacious to say the least. His reputation was such that a story has him sitting next to a lady who said to him "I have a bet that I can make you say five words." Coolidge replied by note "You lose."
A scintillating trip for me must be cowritten by my wife who indulges my love of history with a fairly good love of it herself. I'm lucky to have her. I look forward to it!