Mike Purdy’s Presidential History Blog

An Uneasy Peace

What happens when bitter political adversaries are thrust together in a moment of national mourning? That is the unfolding drama at the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush, who passed away on November 30, 2018 at age 94. With his passing, the ranks of former... read more

American First – The Life and Legacy of George H.W. Bush

With the passing of former president George H.W. Bush at age 94 on November 30, 2018, our nation lost not only the oldest former president in history, but a man of decency and honor. Sure, he could be a partisan politician, but he understood and valued relationships,... read more

Jimmy Carter’s Fatal Flaw

Jimmy Carter’s smile, confidence, intelligence, and determination paved his unlikely path to the Oval Office in 1976. But once in office, he was hampered by another core feature of his personality: his engineering mindset. He approached issues as technical... read more

Ohio’s Lost Presidential Birthplaces

Ohio boasts it is to home eight presidents. Seven were born in the Buckeye state and one adopted Ohio as his home. But starting with Ulysses S. Grant’s birth in 1822, all the presidential birthplaces have been lost to history in varying degrees, except for the... read more

Barely Avoiding Disaster

When Harry Truman assumed the presidency in 1945 upon Franklin D Roosevelt’s death, the White House was a dangerous place. The 145-year-old home of the president was ready to collapse and presented serious safety issues for those working and living in it. White... read more

The Shaping of Jimmy Carter

If you want to know what has shaped and made Jimmy Carter the man he is, you have to soak in the ambience of the small town of Plains, Georgia. It was here on October 1, 1924 that the future president was born. And it is in Plains that Carter has always returned, and... read more

The Hands and Halls of Power

I left the air-conditioned comfort of the elegant Willard Hotel – the long-established “Residence of the Presidents” – a little after 5:00 pm. I immediately felt like I had just been immersed into a hot and muggy sauna. Welcome to Washington, DC! It was a sweltering... read more

If I Meet President Trump, What Should I Say?

I’ll be in Washington, DC attending the Presidential Sites Summit during the last week of August. It’s a conference sponsored by the White House Historical Association and will bring together more than 200 presidential historians, archivists, museum/library managers... read more