Thursday, March 25, 2010

19th Century Favorite

There's an old Italian proverb that says "When the game is over, the King and Pawn go into the same box."

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on politics.
Every single person in this country wants the same thing - a better life - but because we all have our own minds, backgrounds, preferences and beliefs, we all have different views on how that can be achieved. The bottom line is - after all the arguments, we all have the same motivations for a better life, we're all coming from the same 'box'.

The next and final topic that Eric has assigned me for our Blog Challenge is: "Who is your favorite 19th Century President besides Lincoln?"

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Obviously, I wasn't around in the 19th Century, and I didn't learn American History in my school back in Australia - BUT I do like this topic because it forces me to look at the humanity of these past Presidents. These guys were humans, just like us - and aside from having one of the most stressful jobs possible, they had dreams, hobbies, bad habits, bad hair days, annoying neighbors - all that everyday stuff ON TOP of their responsibilities to their country.

I am basing my answer on the HUMAN side of these presidents. Not their bills passed, their parties, or their scandals.

My answer is James Buchanan. The only president that remained a bachelor.

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Not that everyone HAS to get married. I just admire him for leading a country on his own. Nobody to go home to and talk about how stressed he was about his decisions and their effects. No one to tell him when he had spinach in his teeth before a speech. You've gotta feel for the guy.

Apparently he was engaged before his presidency, but rumors went around that he was only engaged to the girl for her family's money, and she ended up breaking it off. Shortly afterwards, she died, and he vowed that he would never get married. He said that his "affections were buried in the grave." Then on top of that heartbreak, her parents wouldn't allow him to come to her funeral. When Buchanan finally died in 1868, it was discovered that he had kept every single letter that his fiancee had ever written him, and his request was for those letters to be burned when he died. Doesn't that just break your heart?

I am not saying Buchanan was perfect, I am sure he made lots of wrong decisions (that's part of being human) - but keeping in mind that Italian proverb that we all come from and end up in the same box - he's my choice because he did it on his own.

(PS. I know nothing about his political stance. With so many 19th Century presidents to choose from, I deliberately stayed away from the politics and looked at their lives - i would be researching forever if I read about every single President's political stance and career highlights)

(PPS. Check out Eric's latest topic here, and then let us know who wins this final round.)

17 comments:

MaryBeth Hughes said...

wow, i must say i am impressed with your history knowledge. i never knew that james buchanan was a bachelor, you learn something new everyday.

passport in my pocket said...

I love that you associated a lone seagull image with James Buchanan - Brills! :)

Great post, Dionne.... so sweet and sad about the letters. Ahh, true love.

And I really like your drawing of a quill.

Dionne said...

That seagull photo is one of my favorites that I have ever taken, so I have been wanting to include it for a while, and this seemed sort of appropriate, hahaha.

VivatRegina said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your pics, but I think I have to give this one to Eric. Not sure why, just cause. Or maybe a tie-breaker?? lol

BlueGrassandGreenTomatoes said...

How interesting...

...I never knew that about James.

What a romantic, heart-breaking story! I guess the most powerful men in the world can't avoid the raw feelings of love and grief!

Maki said...

I didn't know about this story.. Sad story, but it also warms my heart knowing he lived for his true love until the end...

It's funny how you talked about breakup because I was going to write about breakup in my next post.. I love this post, Dionne!

xoxo

Meghan said...

OOOOHHH! Excellent answer, Dionne! A very important yet less obvious president.

Sarah Esther said...

wowo! you really do learn something new! thanks for introducing us to fun history :)

caroline @ patagonia gifts said...

wow such a great post, darling! very instructive and most of all 'human'. thanks for sharing! xo

Melanie's Randomness said...

So there was no First Lady with Buchannan? I didn't know that! Pretty Cool! I like the guy that got stuck in the tub! Taft! I think he was still the 19th century! hehe.

Mechelle Harrison said...

Wow Dionne, I don't believe I have ever heard that story before. Thanks!

Phoenix said...

Poor guy...life is too short not to clear up misunderstandings with the people you love, eh?

And so right-on about politics. Even though I have strong opinions on it I certainly never make it personal because we're in the same boat...there's no sense in attacking our neighbors, friends, or relatives over beliefs that differ from ours.

AMKreations said...

WE did a tour of his house in PA! It was very interesting to walk through and learn more about him. Thanks for sharing!

xoxoKrysten said...

Oh. My. God. I love that you mentioned James Buchanan. He was my president in 4th grade when we did president reports and that's why I've always known he was a bachelor! I even won a prize once for knowing that. Crazy!

photojoy said...

I love a picture of seagulls. And thank you for sharing a sotry of President James Buchanan.

Tender Branson said...

Only president born in PA too. We used to play a school named after him in soccer, they weren't very good.

Rainy Daisy said...

Well played, madam. I like your views on politics. I think people get so caught up in what their party wants, the shameless politics of government, that they lose sight of the overarching point - we all want a better life. I like the Italian proverb too - but when does the game end?

Cheers!
Daisy