Harry S. Truman

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

Harry S. Truman was an American statesman who served as the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), taking the office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A World War I veteran, he assumed the presidency during the waning months of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. He is known for implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, the establishment of the Truman Doctrine and NATO against Soviet and Chinese communism, and for intervening in the Korean War.

After serving as a United States Senator from Missouri (1935–45) and briefly as Vice President (1945), he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Germany surrendered on Truman’s 61st birthday, just a few weeks after he assumed the presidency, but the war with Imperial Japan raged on and was expected to last at least another year.

Truman presided over an unexpected surge in economic prosperity as America sought readjustment after long years of depression and war. His presidency was a turning point in foreign affairs, as the United States engaged in an internationalist foreign policy and renounced isolationism. Truman helped found the United Nations in 1945.

Swift Rewards, Slow Punishments

While not a traditional leader per-se, Ovid’s contribution to thought and literature are still felt today all the way back from ancient Greece. His insights into human nature are revealed through his poetry, which often took up the subject of kings and gods.

Of leadership Ovid had to say: a ruler should be slow to punish and quick to reward.

Ovid was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature. The Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. He enjoyed enormous popularity, but, in one of the mysteries of literary history, was sent by Augustus into exile in a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, “a poem and a mistake”, but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars.

The first major Roman poet to begin his career during the reign of Augustus, Ovid is today best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for works in elegiac couplets such as Ars Amatoria (“The Art of Love”) and Fasti. His poetry was much imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and greatly influenced Western art and literature. The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology.

Electoral College

When we talk about leaders, the most popular one at the moment to us is our own president. Recently there was an election and then a big push by the losing team for the Electoral College votes to overturn the votes. So the Victor crew wanted to know a little more about what the Electoral College is all about. For this we turn to CGP Grey on YouTube to see how he explains it.

Here is his first video on How the Electoral College Works:

Here is the second part video called The Trouble with the Electoral College

He has an updated video of the second part that was uploaded just last month:

Here is some further reading: http://history.house.gov/Institution/Electoral-College/Electoral-College/

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is known for his many novels. Whether or not you have read them all, you most likely have come across or heard some of his many writings. Some of his more popular writings were The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities.

He lived from February 1812 to June 1870. He left school young to work in a factory when his father went to debtor’s prison. His first writing was The Pickwick Papers which was serialized, a common practice at one time. This also allowed him to evaluate his audience’s reaction and modify based on feedback. Some of his life experiences were used in his stories – people and places. His most autobiographical novel was David Copperfield.

He visited the United States and Canada. In his second visit, delayed by the Civil War, he met with such giants as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He died in 1870 after a stroke.

No matter how you have heard of Charles Dickens, almost everyone has seen or heard A Christmas Carol in some form. There have been many renditions of this story in plays and movies.

You can see a more comprehensive outline of his life here.

Davy Crockett

The Victor crew wanted to learn more about Davy Crockett. Here is what we found:

Born David de Crocketagne, born in 1786 in Kentucky, Davy Crockett is best known for fighting at the Alamo.

He grew up in Tennessee and had a reputation for hunting and story-telling. He married Polly Finley in 1806. They had three children together: John Wesley Crockett who became a US Congressman, William Finley Crockett, and Margaret Finley Crockett. Polly died in 1815. He married the widow Elizabeth Patton who had her own children: Margaret Ann and George. Together they had Robert Patton, Rebecca Elvira, and Matilda.

He became a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, TN in 1818, and elected to state legislature in 1821. In 1825 he was elected to U.S. Congress. He opposed President Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act.

In 1835, Crockett moved his family to Little Rock, Arkansas. He went to Texas in early 1836. He enrolled as a volunteer and set out for the Rio Grande under the Provisional Government of Texas. He went to the Alamo in San Antonio and found the Mexican soldiers had initiated a siege. The siege went from February 23 to March 6. When Crockett paused briefly in the chapel to pray, Mexican soldiers breached the walls of the Alamo complex. This Battle of the Alamo lasted less than 90 minutes. Davy Crockett was 49 years old when he died.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett

You might remember this theme song:

Benjamin Franklin: scientist, author, inventor, statesman

Above are just a few of Benjamin Franklin’s job descriptions/titles found by the Victor crew.

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston in 1706, then known as Massachusetts Bay Colony. His father, Josiah, was English-born and had seven children with his first wife and ten children with his second wife. Ben was his fifteenth child. He went to school until he was 10 and then went to work in his father’s candle and soap shop. When he was 12, Ben apprenticed at his brother James’ print shop.

Ben learned about newspaper publishing while putting up with his brother beating him. Tired of being bullied, Ben fled Boston in 1723 and escaped to New York before heading to Philadelphia. He published the Pennsylvania Gazette by age 23. He also published Poor Richard’s Almanack under the name Richard Saunders. He later became associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle known for criticisms against British policies. He was first president of The Academy and College of Philadelphia later known as the University of Pennsylvania. After the American Revolution, he became the first US Postmaster General, having been a Philadelphia postmaster previously. From 1776-1785 he served as Ambassador to France. Ben Franklin served as governor of Pennsylvania from 1785 to 1788.

Benjamin Franklin had a common law marriage to Deborah Read as she was not free to marry. She was previously married and her husband took off with her dowry. He had 2 children with her – Francis Folger Franklin born in 1732 who died of smallpox in 1736, and Sarah Franklin born in 1743. He also previously had an illegitimate son whom he acknowledged as his when he was 24.

Franklin was known for some of his inventions as well. Some of his creations were the lightning rod, Franklin stove, bifocal glasses, and urinary catheters. He played the violin, harp, and guitar. He enjoyed playing chess.

Franklin died in 1790 at age 84. About 20,000 people attended his funeral in Philadelphia.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Ben Franklin

You can read more about his life here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin