Chips from the White House
A collection of letters, conversations, diaries, addresses and speeches from the first 20 Presidents of the United States of America.
This audiobook is an abridged version of the full text.
The following audio contains outdated references about race. In the interest of historical authenticity, we have decided to keep these in to continue to examine the most uncomfortable moments of history, rather than claiming these prejudices never existed.
The themes and ideas discussed by the US Presidents nearly 200 years ago, still feel important and contemporary today. The emancipation of man, sovereignty, autonomy and self-determination are some of the subjects that were occupying the minds of the great fathers back then and have been proven prescient, today, in our modern day and age. The freedom of former slaves, the fight for equal rights for all American citizens, and the need for universal education were central not only in the structure of the US State but also chart the development of thought about what it meant to be an American citizen; living under a republican system, one that gives every man the chance to be the head of the state or to decide who will be one, with no hereditary succession. A new system free of the shackles of European monarchy.
The book was published in 1881, and almost all the Presidents till the last, Garfield, were addressing similar issues and thorny subjects which sadly haven't been resolved fully to our day. For this alone we think this is a remarkable book, worth a listen in order to offer a sense and a perspective of the struggle that still continues to this day. On the streets across the USA, but also in the corridors of The White House too, and in reality throughout much of our modern world.
From the Preface of the book:
"The present volume is not intended to be so much a contribution to political science, as to exhibit an interesting phase in American history, as it appears in the opinions, upon a variety of subjects of general interest, political and otherwise, of the men who, during the period of nearly a century, have successively reached the highest position in the Republic. It is an
occasion for just pride for ourselves, and cheering anticipations for mankind, that, beyond all precedent in ancient and modern times, in the regular succession of rulers, the chief magistrates of the United States have all been men of fair reputation and abilities, and many of them men of superior intellectual capacity and singular devotion to the interests of humanity and freedom. This fact speaks loudly in favour of popular self-government, as opposed to hereditary rule. In this important respect, as in other ways, the people have never failed to show their capacity to manage their own affairs. And the history of the past furnishes a guarantee, that no man of feeble ability or questionable morality can hereafter gain the suffrages of the free citizens of America, to represent and execute their will in the highest office in their gift".