Pre-Civil War Era SotUs

Noted presidential historian Nigel Holmes shares some of his views and information regarding some historic State of the Union addresses. Nigel has also researched the early history of gambling in the US and once the technology was available for what we now call slots, the progress of this form of gambling and some of the presidents who partook of it. Early slots were cumbersome and mechanical so they broke down frequently compared to modern online versions which are entirely virtual. But today’s online slots do bear a close relationship to the historic versions in that both were games of chance. We’d like to post about the presidents who gambled, but that’s another topic for another day…

Van Buren was no less concerned about the growing divisiveness of the slave issue, though his sympathies lay squarely with slave-owners such as himself. He was willing to refer to the African slave trade as an “inhuman purpose” in his final address, but vehemently refused to even consider abolition or ‘interference’.

Alas, William Henry Harrison didn’t even get to make a State of the Union address; the poor Whig died after only a month in office.  Aside from his poor general health, his teeth were in even worst condition. Perhaps if he had had the services of a orthodontist in Las Vegas, if Las Vegas had existed at the time, he would have had at least a mouth full of decent choppers when he died. Of course, the field of dentistry and particularly of Orthodontistry was still in a very rudimentary development during this time until today where there are plenty of options such as metal braces, ceramic braces, clear braces, lingual braces and various “systems” like the Invisalign® System. However, William Henry Harrison’s inaugural address was long enough to make up for this lack (the longest in history, in fact), and he was well-known to favor the expansion of slavery into the new Western territories.

His successor, John Tyler, left no confusion about his sympathies; firmly backing the “state’s rights’ side of the debate, he even became a member of the Confederate Congress during the war. However, he assiduously avoided dealing head-on with the growing issue of abolition in his SotUs, even as the controversy was coming to a head. The appointment of pro-slavery John C. Calhoun to the position of Secretary of State may have been the single act that doomed Tyler to a single term, due to obstruction by abolitionists and a vengeful Martin Van Buren.

Expansionist James K. Polk accomplished many things during his promised single term in office, but one of the unintended accomplishments was enraging both sides of the debate by maintaining a position directly in the center. He fully intended to extend the Missouri compromise all the way to the West Coast, beginning with his admission of Texas as a slave state and Oregon as a free state.

“No enactment of Congress could restrain the people of any of the sovereign States of the Union, old or new, North or South, slaveholding or nonslaveholding, from determining the character of their own domestic institutions as they may deem wise and proper. Any and all the States possess this right, and Congress can not deprive them of it. The people of Georgia might if they chose so alter their constitution as to abolish slavery within its limits, and the people of Vermont might so alter their constitution as to admit slavery within its limits. Both States would possess the right, though, as all know, it is not probable that either would exert it.” – James Polk, in his final (1848) State of the Union address

How far American has come! Now we are connected not only to each state by all different kinds of transportation, but we are also connected to countries all over the world. Many people travel to other countries for vacation as well as medical vacation. Often getting medical tourism insurance is a really good idea when making this kind of venture.

Author Jane Whiley has written authoritatively on the Civil War and its aftermath for many publications and websites. Her current treatise is now available on this website & involves a focus on advances in medical technology as seen in over the counter products, specifically in detecting sexually transmitted disease. Inexpensive std test kits are now available both online and in pharmacies throughout the US that permit private initial screening for several types of stds. The availability of new products – these test kits screen for std – is a major advance that can have a huge impact on the society in general because it removes the expense and the need to involve a medical professional as a first line of defense. Many young people currently resist traditional tests due to embarrassment (and cost) but would be eager to perform the test themselves in the privacy of their homes. These home std test kits are quick to perform, and are very reliable as an initial screening effort. The kits are intended only to detect the presence of stds, but do not treat or provide protection. Positive test results should be followed up by a doctor’s examination in order to ensure any disease is quickly and effectively treated.

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