The Presidents of the United States of America (Volume 1)

by Electric Needle Room

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Jake Joyce
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Jake Joyce Best band to ever come out of the Midwest. You're fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Favorite track: George Washington.
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1.
George Washington The First President Revolutionary Hero Father of the country The continental army You held the new country Together He made his mark in the militia in the Seven Years War He lived an aristocratic lifestyle, like many British before But when the British acted up, he became commander in chief In the war he proved to everyone that he was born to lead Despite some major setbacks in Brandywine and Valley Forge He always reminded his troops what they were fighting for He never liked politics, never liked to play that game But the new country needed a President, so they just forced him in He remains the only President to receive 100% of the electoral votes George Washington The First President Revolutionary Hero Founder of the state You are known as great You set precedent For everyone He didn't belong to a political party, he hoped that no one would He warned about foreign influence, said it was no good He listened to dissenters, he gave every voice a chance But if it clashed with the Constitution, he would have to pass He helped design Jay's Treaty, stopped the Whiskey Rebellion He warned against permanent alliances with any of the foreign world We named our capital after him and a whole state He never wanted to be President, but I guess that was his fate He was unable to have biological children because of contracting smallpox when he was younger
2.
John Adams 03:58
Who helped write the Declaration of Independence? Who negotiated a peace treaty with Britain? Who spent 8 years behind Washington to learn the ropes? Who would someday get his own HBO TV show? John Adams Who led the Revolution out of Massachusetts? Who wrote the important pamphlet "Thoughts on Government?" Who kept his country out of the British and French War? Who used diplomacy to end the Quasi War? John Adams The Alien and Sedition Act was his only great mistake Ultimately it determined his re-election fate Who built up the military for the strong defense? Along with Jefferson he passed away on the Day of Independence
3.
Democratic Republican He won the election thanks to slaves He was a big idealist At the same time a big realist He was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson He was Virginia's governor Built a mansion called Monticello He was a Renaissance man There wasn't much he could not do His vice Aaron Burr was crazy and shot Alexander Hamilton He repealed federal taxes and fiercely opposed a central bank You were ahead of your time You were ahead of your time He bought Louisiana Which doubled the size of the state It was a really good deal, but maybe not constitutional He sent Lewis and Clark to explore the vast territory He never vetoed a single bill Rarely spoke out in public Thought we should be agrarian And our rights inalienable Had faith in democracy and had faith in morality He favored states' rights over a strong federal government But he ignored the rights of slaves and Native Americans He was a hypocrite Talked the talk but didn't walk the walk He had a slave mistress Pushed for Indian removal Yes he ended the slavery trade But failed with the Embargo Act He was a hypocrite Talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk
4.
He was a small, shy man from Virginia Ended up writing most of the Constitution Wrote the Federalist Papers to convince the rest We need this Constitution! It's for the best! He was later Jefferson's Secretary of State Rode his coattails to President in 1808 He wanted small government and no central bank But with the War of 1812 he needed that bank When Britain was a bully, he pushed for this war But many debated it on the House floor Both sides lost the war, the White House burned down That's ok the country's now truly independent James Madison He constantly defended his Constitution When a growing number of people seemed to attack it But everybody seemed to love his wife Dolley They even loved him after kicking butt in the war Yes a pragmatist he changed his mind on some things like a central bank and less taxes on industries After he left office he still fought for states' rights He was the last Founding Father to survive
5.
James Monroe 03:42
It's the era, era of good feelings That mark the Presidency of James Monroe James Monroe James Monroe The Federalists are all gone The War of 1812 is over He just went with the flow Tried to make everyone happy Uh-oh the Panic of 1819 And the Missouri Compromise Better enjoy this while it lasts Because the country will divide but until then, it's the Era of good feelings, that mark the Presidency of James Monroe He said that Europe should not interfere With any of the Americas And if they do The U.S. will kick their butt He forced the Seminoles out of Florida Ran for re-election unopposed Made balanced Cabinet choices Also died on July 4th One of our most popular Presidents (in the) Era of good feelings, that mark the Presidency of James Monroe
6.
Here's a little bit about John Quincy Adams Was a smart man, oldest song of John Adams Career politician, he loved to debate Diplomat, Senator, Secretary of State And 17 years as Representative Oh yeah! Did I mention that he was President? Drafted whole portions of the Monroe Doctrine Swam naked everyday in the Potomac Pushed for new technology in infrastructure The Erie Canal and the Cumberland Road He was a strong voice against slavery He sent troops to protect the Cherokee He was a fierce fighter
7.
His nickname was "Old Hickory" Spent most his time in Tennessee Grew up poor out on the frontier Became a prominent lawyer Had role of spokesman for the West As Congressman and Senator Knew how to kick butt in a fight Killed a man who insulted his wife A military hero of the War of 1812 Defied the odds in the Battle of New Orleans Invaded Spanish Florida, captured Pensacola Was the first "common man" to win the Presidency But he supported slavery (Yes he did, Yes he did) And he supported Indian removal (The Trail of Tears) Got rid of the national debt The only one to accomplish this Helped get rid of the central bank Then gave the money to the states Believed in true democracy Which really did not exist Forced Indians to Oklahoma Said it was in their best interest Had a bullet stuck next to his heart for most of his life Wanted to abolish the electoral college Used his power to veto unlike Presidents before Was not aristocratic unlike Presidents before But he supported slavery (Yes he did, Yes he did) And he supported Indian removal (The Trail of Tears) Andrew Jackson
8.
He was the first President born an American citizen His ancestors came from the Netherlands Martin Van Buren He took the traditional path to some fame and power in law and politics in New York Started the Democratic and Free Soil parties When the Whigs took over they kicked him out The Fox of Kinderhook Played things by the book Opportunities he took And yes he had the look Became President easily Thanks to Jackson's popularity Inherited the Panic of 1837 Held middle ground on slavery Refused to annex Texas Did his best to avoid war Not for long The Fox of Kinderhook Played things by the book Opportunities he took And yes he had the look
9.
Here's Old Tippecanoe Had friends in high places Became leader of Northwest Territory Was responsible for buying millions of acres of land from the Native Americans William Henry Harrison The Shawnee chief Tecumseh led an uprising in Indiana but Harrison stopped him He served in Congress then he took a long break but the Whigs brought him back to run for President and he did Was 68 when he was elected but soon caught a cold which would turn into pneumonia The first President to die in office did so 32 days in was the shortest tenure Sad to say it was his legacy Sad to say it was his legacy
10.
John Tyler 03:18
Another one from Virginia with connections In charge when Harrison died It's Tyler too Always defended states' rights and slavery After making the Whigs mad lost his party John Tyler His entire Cabinet quit except Webster No joke he had fifteen kids and remarried Strengthened presidential powers Annexed Texas Resolved the Maine boundary It wasn't enough John Tyler John Tyler Became an outsider Number 10 Tyler Became an outsider
11.
James Polk 03:43
From Tennessee and a lawyer he smelled just like Jackson Speaker of the House and Governor he hated taxes A dark horse candidate his campaign stood for expansion He wanted Texas, Oregon, California, yeah all of it! He would push and shove To get what he wanted James Polk reduce the tariff James Polk free the Treasury James Polk acquire new land James Polk he got his way! The U.S.-Mexican War no doubt marked his legacy Sent troops to land that Mexico claimed was their territory Easily won the war that he aggressively started Gained land with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo James Polk reduce the tariff James Polk free the Treasury James Polk acquire new land James Polk he got his way! Avoided another war with Britain over Oregon Even tried to purchase Cuba from Spain, they wouldn't let him He was decisive, didn't care what others said about him In four years he accomplished more than many did in eight He had his manifest destiny He had his manifest destiny James Polk reduce the tariff James Polk free the Treasury James Polk acquire new land James Polk he got his way!
12.
He had no formal education Spent 40 years in the military Independent Mystery man Independent Mystery man Zachary Taylor Fought so many wars Gained fame as a general in the U.S.-Mexican War A hero after the Battle of Buena Vista Never shared his politics Before he ran for office Independent Mystery man Independent Mystery man Old Rough and Ready joined the Whig party From the South The last President To own slaves To preserve the Union he said he would hang rebels He made southerners mad when he took a moderate stance He died his second year in office Of not poison but stomach flu He was too non-political Hey isn't that a good thing? Independent Mystery man Independent Mystery man
13.
Should slavery be in western territories? This debate raged on as he took over after Taylor died Was the last Whig later Know-Nothing Wanted compromise He'd do anything to save the Union He thought a civil war, would be, uh, stupid Self-educated in Finger Lakes country Was a schoolteacher later a lawyer before the politics In 1848 They would nominate The moderate would moderate He'd do anything to save the Union He thought a civil war, would be, uh, stupid Millard (Compromise of 1850) Fillmore (Avoid war over slavery) Went from rags to riches His rise was unlikely In his three years he took a lot of heat but he proved competent Peacefully resolved many disputes with so many countries Millard (Compromise of 1850) Fillmore (Avoid war over slavery)
14.
Mid 1850s the North and South couldn't get along and there he stood Tried to make everyone happy but instead had the reverse effect Baby Pierce supported the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act Led to Bleeding Kansas, the law proved to be not the best idea The tragic life of a dough face Franklin Pierce you had promise, but you got no love, even to this day Only President from New Hampshire a Democrat from the North Social bug in the spotlight tried to hide his personal struggles at home Got the Gadsden Purchase but the Ostend Manifesto hurt his reputation and the Democrats completely abandoned him
15.
Number 15 James Buchanan was from Pennsylvania Another dough face only President to never marry Elected five times to the House of Representatives Minister to Russia, a decade in the Senate and Secretary of State in politics too long In fact, he did much more but I couldn't fit it in this song He worried that the country would divide and go to war And so he did nothing, and it divided more Don't take action Keep the status quo Okay he didn't do nothing, he did something with Kansas He wanted it a slave state, with the capitol Lecompton He sent troops to Utah to take over their government Which maybe wasn't necessary, and there was no conflict He thought it was ok for people to own slaves After the Panic of 1857, he was, of course, blamed He wrote a memoir later on to preserve his legacy Did it do the job? I don't know. Let's wait and see. Take little action Keep the status quo

about

By day, Matt Beat is a high school history teacher. By night, the multi-instrumentalist writes and records songs about dead Presidents. Actual dead Presidents. Not the rap duo. He is recording them chronologically, and these are the first 15. Didn’t know anything about Martin Van Buren? Now you do. These songs are educational and catchy.

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released February 21, 2011

All songs by Matt Beat
Produced by Matt Beat
Artwork by Matt Beat
Photos by Shannon Beat and Matt H. Wade

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Electric Needle Room Lawrence, Kansas

Electric Needle Room are an indie pop band based in Lawrence, Kansas. It is mostly a solo project for Matt Beat, but his brother, Steven Beat, also helps with percussion. Emcee DL, Bryan Poole, Dave Thomas, and Chris Huggard have all helped the band with live performances throughout its history. ... more

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