The U.S. Capitol Historical Society will present three lunchtime programs in October and November, with topics that range from Representative and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall to President Andrew Jackson to artist Emanuel Leutze. On October 3, Scott Einberger will present With Distance in His Eyes: The Environmental Life and Legacy of Stewart Udall. On October 24, David and Jeanne Heidler will present How Corrupt was the “Corrupt Bargain”: The Anatomy of a Smear. John Laurence Busch will present Steam Diplomacy: Sending a Subtle Message in Leutze’s Westward Ho! on November 14.
All three events will be from noon-1:00 in Ketchum Hall (VFW Building, 200 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002). Each event is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, October 3
Scott Einberger, an independent environmental historian, is the author of The History of Rock Creek Park: Wilderness and Washington, DC, which he is updating and expanding into a new edition. He will speak about one of the most significant players of the modern environmental movement, Stewart Udall, who served as the U.S. secretary of the interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. During these eight years, the progressive Mormon from rural Arizona ushered in unprecedented conservation and outdoor recreation legislation. Learn about some of these achievements during this author talk with Einberger. Book signing and sales will directly follow the presentation.
Wednesday, October 24
David and Jeanne Heidler offer a talk drawn from their latest book, The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics, which Basic Books will publish on October 23. Andrew Jackson’s improbable ascent to the White House occurred because of the activities of handlers and propagandists. One of their most effective tactics was to attack President John Quincy Adams, who had defeated Jackson in the election of 1824. None of the four candidates in that race won a majority in the Electoral College, sending the election to the House of Representatives. When Speaker of the House Henry Clay threw his support to Adams, the Jackson men cried “corruption,” giving birth to the “corrupt bargain” charge which would be one of the primary issues for the 1828 campaign and help sweep Andrew Jackson to victory.
After teaching history at the university level for many years, the Heidlers retired from the classroom, Jeanne most recently as Professor Emerita of History at the United States Air Force Academy. Their collaborations on research, writing, and editing have resulted in numerous books and articles about the early American Republic, Jacksonian America, and the American Civil War. Their most recent work includes the critically acclaimed Henry Clay: The Essential American and the award-winning Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President.
Wednesday, November 14
John Laurence Busch will illustrate, through a combination of contextual and circumstantial evidence, why the artist Emanuel Leutze (of Washington Crossing the Delaware fame) painted a steamship in the Capitol’s Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way (or, in shorthand, Westward Ho!), when no such vessel had been shown in either of Leutze’s prior two studies. Busch will conclude by suggesting that the final work, located at the southwestern steps to the House Gallery, may be seen as an excellent artistic example of “steam diplomacy.”
John Laurence Busch is an independent historian who focuses upon the interaction between humanity and technology, with a specialization in first- and early second-generation steam-powered vessels. His book, Steam Coffin: Captain Moses Rogers and The Steamship Savannah Break the Barrier (2010), has been widely reviewed by magazines and academic journals on three continents. He regularly speaks to both public and professional audiences.