Mike Purdy’s Presidential History Blog

Inside Thomas Jefferson’s Mind

Before Thomas Jefferson died – on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he gave instructions for what he wanted engraved on his tombstone.  Ever mindful of shaping his place in history, he hoped to be remembered by posterity for three... read more

Electrifying News From the White House!

Watch this “live” TV news report from September 28, 1891 about what President Benjamin Harrison required his staff to do after he had electric lights installed in the Executive Mansion. It’s part of a series of short videos I’ve done about what... read more

JFK: Famous Before His Time

If we want to understand what made John F. Kennedy an admired and glamorous president – his innate sense of ease with people, his ready smile, his wit, his razor sharp intellect, his comfort with the media, and even his proclivities for frequent sexual encounters – we... read more

The Secret Reason Washington Won the Revolutionary War

George Washington didn’t win the Revolutionary War because he had a superior fighting force.  It was a ragtag army that was always in danger of either being wiped out by an engagement with British forces, or evaporating when enlistments were up. He didn’t... read more

Inauguration Trivia

As the United States prepares for the transfer of power between presidents, it’s a good time to pause and remember some interesting facts about previous inaugurations. Prior to 1937, the president was inaugurated on March 4 following the November election.  That... read more

Scorched Earth: Making Sense of the 2016 Political Storm

The 2016 presidential campaign and election was unlike any in our nation’s history.  In so many ways, it broke all the rules and expectations.  It was unprecedented. In a lecture on November 14, 2016 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, Dr.... read more

Time Traveling With John Quincy Adams

I wrote the Foreword to a newly published biography of our 6th president, John Quincy Adams.  The book explores his life 250 years after his birth and how he changed the course of history.  “The Story of John Quincy Adams” by Edward Cody Huddleston, was... read more

Are Negative Campaign Ads Helpful to Voters?

On November 2, 2016, an op-ed article I wrote was published online at TheHill.com.  The topic they assigned to me (with less less than a day to prepare!) was “Are Negative Campaign Ads Helpful to Voters?”  The 2016 presidential campaign has been the most... read more