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Today in American History 🇺🇸

Today in American history…the colorful and exuberant Dolley Madison was born on May 20, 1768 in New Garden (renamed Greensboro), North Carolina. She is often credited with being the ultimate Washington hostess and before she was even First Lady – she assisted with hosting functions during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. One of the best things she is known for (besides her fun hair decorations, colorful clothing and fun parties!) was her heroic actions in saving George Washington’s portrait from The White House.

In a letter to her sister on August 23, 1814, she wrote:

“…Our kind friend Mr. Carroll has come to hasten my departure, and in a very bad humor with me, because I insist on waiting until the large picture of General Washington is secured, and it requires to be unscrewed from the wall. The process was found too tedious for these perilous moments; I have ordered the frame to be broken and the canvas taken out …”

The British attacked and burned The White House in 1814 but because of her bravery, we still can view this infamous painting today at The White House.

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Today in American History 🇺🇸

Today in American history…Andrew Johnson married Eliza McCardle on May 17, 1827. He was 18 and she was 16 years old when they were married in the small town of Warrenton, Tennessee.

Andrew and Eliza were wed by a local justice of the peace, Mordecai Lincoln. How ironic in that Mordecai was a relative of Abraham Lincoln – which some years later, would have such a huge impact on their lives.

Eliza Johnson was known to have had a calming effect on her husband – especially during the trying times of his troubled presidency.

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(Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Today in American History 🇺🇸

Today in American History…Madeleine Albright was born on May 15, 1937 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was the first woman in US history to serve as Secretary of State and served under the Clinton administration as the 64th Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001.

“If you look at my life, generally, I’ve been put in situations that were difficult and which I conquered.” – Madeleine Albright

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National Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. Here is a delicious recipe from former First Lady Laura Bush’s own personal recipe collection.

Beginning in 1992, Family Circle magazine has organized a political bake-off during every presidential election year. It was already a popular thing for the presidential candidates wives to release their family recipes during the campaign to help them become more relatable to the voters. Family Circle magazine then decided to “up the ante” by publishing cookie recipes from the wives of each presidential candidate and asked their readers to try baking both and then vote on their favorite cookie.

It’s interesting that the results of the bake-off have almost always predicted the winner of the presidential election – except for a minor few.

Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie was in competition with Tipper Gore’s Ginger Snap cookie during the 2000 presidential election and won!

and well…the rest is history 🍪

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Happy Birthday, George Washington 🇺🇸

Today in American history…George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He once reflected on his mother by saying, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

George Washington served two terms as the first President of the United States from April 30, 1789 until March 4, 1797 and has been famously referred to as the “Father of our Nation” for his distinguished leadership in the formative days of our new country.

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” — George Washington

(Paintings by Gilbert Stuart)

Today in American History…Susan B. Anthony was Born

Today in American history…Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was one of our Nation’s greatest social reform and women’s rights activists and was one of the most prominent leaders in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Her hard work and determination ultimately led to the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which allowed women the right the vote.

Remembering Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born in 1818 during the month of February. Since he was born into slavery, there weren’t accurate records of the excact day of his birth. He chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14th remembering that his mother called him her “little Valentine.” In later years while reminiscing about his mother, he wrote:

“…My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant. … It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. … I do not recollect of ever seeing my mother by the light of day. She was with me in the night. She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.”

After escaping from slavery, he became a famous speaker, writer and a national leader of the abolotionionist movement. In later years, he remembered his first taste of freedom when arriving in New York City:

“I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the “quick round of blood,” I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe.”

During his lifetime, he wrote three autobiographies. In his first published book in 1845, he described his life as a slave in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. In 1855, My Bondage and My Freedom was published. His autobiography, LIfe and Times of Frederick Douglass was published in 1881 and revised in 1892.