The Presidents of the United States of America (Volume 2)

by Electric Needle Room

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about

By day, Matt Beat is a middle school social studies 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 songs are about Presidents 15-31, from Abraham Lincoln (I'm sure you've heard of him and like him) to Herbert Hoover (I'm sure you've heard of him and don't like him). Didn’t know anything about Chester Arthur? Now you do. These songs are educational and catchy.

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released February 20, 2012

All songs written, recorded, and produced by Matt Beat.

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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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Track Name: Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Preserved the Union
Led the country when
It beat itself up
Emancipation Proclamation
He helped free the slaves
During the war
The Civil War
By far the deadliest
Well was it worth it?
Some do not think so
The Gettysburg Address
Helped boost morale
During the bleakest
Time in the war

They say that he's the greatest
Leader, yeah he sure passed the test
Came through when he was needed
The one who we never seem to forget
And we name most things after him
We learned all about him when we were kids
Others can't help but get compared to him
Can I have 5 dollars? I just have pennies

Was 6 foot 4 and
Wore a big tophat
Wherever he went
You knew where he was at
Did not approve of
The CSA
Honest Abe wanted
One USA
Suspended the writ
of habeas corpus
Detained suspsects
accused of conspiracy
He may have lost when he ran for Senate
Had the last laugh, though, as President

They say that he's the greatest
Leader, yeah he sure passed the test
Came through when he was needed
The one who we never seem to forget
And we name most things after him
We learned all about him when we were kids
Others can't help but get compared to him
Can I have 5 dollars? I just have pennies

He was the first one
Assassinated
Beloved now but
Back then was hated
Ahead of his time and
idealistic
Change is scary but
Often needed

They say that he's the greatest
Leader, yeah he sure passed the test
Came through when he was needed
The one who we never seem to forget
Track Name: Andrew Johnson
His future wife taught him how to write and read
But this was not until he was 17
Began selling clothes in the Carolinas
Eventually was governor of Tennessee
Grew up
In poverty
No trust
For those with money
Lincoln was impressed and he joined his team
After Lincoln died he was next to lead
He would then take over Reconstruction
Then angered most Republicans
But stayed true
To the Union
During
The Civil War

The Radical Republicans
They hate you
The Radical Republicans
They hate you

Congressmen wanted the South to pay
But he would constantly get in their way
Slaves were now free but they faced Black Codes
and he rarely seemed to show much sympathy
In fact, he vetoed the first Civil Rights Bill
Republicans said "ok, that's enough"
They said he broke the Tenure of Office Act
He was the first President impeached

They tried
To kick him out
Sorry
It did not work
Fought for
The poor people
But not
The former slaves

Guess who? Andrew Johnson
Track Name: Ulysses Grant
He said "Let us have peace"
Unlikely rise he had
Although he hated war
He could not escape it
Earned stripes in Mexico
Did well in the army
But he just wanted out
He drank to ease that pain

Led the North as general
In the Civil War
He would prove to everyone
That he was a great fighter

His friends and family
Made up his Cabinet
This led to corruption
And much incompetence
Under his leadership the country built the Transcontinental Railroad
But underneath the accomplishments there lingered some scandal
Justice was hard to find down South with Reconstruction
He was blamed for a bad economy and a major recession

Fifth war hero to assume
The highest office
But once he got to the top
He did not have a clue

A lot of things gone wrong
were really out of his hands
After he served two terms
He thought that was enough
Stayed busy after that
But not in public office
He smoked and drank too much
Throat cancer would get him

Led the North as general
In the Civil War
He would prove to everyone
That he was a great fighter
Fifth war hero to assume
The highest office
But once he got to the top
He did not have a clue

Ulysses Grant
Track Name: Rutherford Hayes
Ohio governor
And representative
Whig then Republican that's fact
Wounded in combat while he
Fought in the Civil War
not once or twice
He was five times

He barely won the election
In fact he lost the popular vote

He defeated
Samuel J. Tilden
by one electoral vote
This would cause, well, quite a controversy
He lost the popular vote
He would sneak in thanks to the Compromise of 1877

Stopped a big railroad strike
Ended Reconstruction
He sent the federal troops home
It was soon after that
That Jim Crow laws would pass
And they would spread throughout the South

He became a hero in
Paraguay
No, I'm not joking

Many African Americans
would sort of feel betrayed by him
Rutherford was a big a proponent
of using only hard money
Rutherford was a family man
devoted to his wife Lucy

Rutherford B. Hayes
Track Name: James Garfield
It is certainly
Sad when your legacy
Is marked by one act
By someone crazy
Assassinated
Less than four months in office
Minister and preacher
Latin and Greek teacher
Master
of communication
Another veteran
of the Civil War
Ambidextrious
Abolitionist
Did not
Get to accomplish much
He would have

James, James Garfield
Track Name: Chester Arthur
Chester
You fought hard
Arthur
Against odds

From New York he then headed west to Kansas
Lawyer bothered by what he witnessed out there
Represented those who couldn’t defend themselves
Big supporter of John Fremont, Lincoln, Grant

Chester
A stalwart
Arthur
Hated at first
Chester
Later respected

Surprised to be a nominee for Vice President
Suspected of being involved with Garfield’s death
Today we know he had nothing to do with it
He later turned on Conkling and on patronage

He prided himself on style
Redecorated the White House
Lost his party’s nomination
Despite working so hard for them


Arthur
But changed his mind
Track Name: Grover Cleveland
Seems like he's only known for thing and that's serving two nonconsecutive terms
Only Democrat elected to office between 1860 to 1912
Turned his back on the spoils system
Believed government should be limited

Non-interventionist foreign policy
Strongly was against imperialism

Vetoed almost everything that came across his desk it seemed
Fought for sound money, the gold standard
Not cheap money pay up
this would cause him the next election
But four years later he's back and
Boom the country's in a depression
It's not your fault poor Cleveland
It's not your fault poor Cleveland
Grover
Grover Cleveland

Ma, ma, where's my pa? Gone to the White House ha ha ha

The second term was rough and he did his best
But things still got worse, yeah they still got worse
Stood firm on his foreign policy
Kept the country out of Cuba and Hawaii
First married in the White House
First to have a child born there also

Had integrity
And had virtue
Unfortunate events
Hurt his legacy

Vetoed almost everything that came across his desk it seemed
Fought for sound money, the gold standard
Not cheap money pay up
this would cause him the next election
But four years later he's back and
Boom the country's in a depression
It's not your fault poor Cleveland
It's not your fault poor Cleveland
Grover
Grover Cleveland
Track Name: Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
Grandson of William Henry
Rose in Indianapolis
Great campaigner
Fought for Civil War veterans
And he was himself
Gave 140 speeches
Six states into the Union
He raised the tariff higher than it'd ever been before
Helped fight monopolies with Sherman Antitrust Act

But he left, but he left, but he left, but he left
The Panic of 1893
Was it caused, was it caused, was it caused, was it caused
By the Sherman Silver Purchase Act?
Some say yeah, some say yeah, some say yeah, some say yeah
But Harrison was never for it
And Harrison, Harrison, Harrison, Harrison
approved of annexation of Hawaii

But he left, But he left
Track Name: William McKinley
Religious man from Ohio
Last President to fight in the Civil War
Loved the gold standard
Raised tariffs higher than they'd ever been before
Took care of sick wife Ida
Said destiny was in God's hands (oh yeah)
Twice he defeated the charismatic speaker William Jennings Bryan
Believed in Manifest Destiny
But didn't want to be labeled an expansionist
Unknowingly sparked the beginning of U.S. imperialism
The Spanish American War
Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, The Philippines
Were taken and soon it would seem the U.S. empire achieved its dream

William McKinley striked gold
Didn't know bad things would unfold
William McKinley was bold
Influenced by lies they told

First not expansionist
Later imperialist
Hawaii, Philippines, Panama Canal
Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Boxer Rebellion
Justify it, by saying it's "God's will"

He freed the colonies from Spain
Then ordered them under U.S. control
He never wanted wars of conquest but public pressure would change his mind

Helped the country gain power
But assassinated in his second term
And his vice TR would soon do much more than was ever done before
Track Name: Theodore Roosevelt
Larger than life
Charismatic
Fought corruption
Wasn't enough
Don't mess with him
He'll kick your butt
Speaking softly
with a big stick

Born wealthy and privileged
Aristocratic family
In bustling New York City
Mind was strong but body weak
With his chronic asthma
Picked on by big bullies
But grew into a fighter
And excelled at Harvard

Theodore Roosevelt

Entered politics at 23
Lost his first wife, parents, way too early
Then a rancher in Dakota territory
Wrote many books on biology

Led the Rough Riders in Cuba
His bravery helped him win the medal of honor
Fame there helped him to Vice President
When McKinley died he was the youngest President ever

Theodore Roosevelt

He was a warrior for the underdog
Against big business
Wanted the U.S. top dog
Spread their influence
A conservationist who fought for national parks
Traveled around the world, always exploring something
Drank a gallon of coffee a day
A leading Progressive, the Bull Moose Party
Spared the life of a bear, he's Teddy
Lived life to the fullest, every day

First to travel overseas in office
First to call home the White House
First to hold press conferences there
First? Well, first of a lot of things.

In his 60 years of living
He did more than most do in 100

Theodore Roosevelt

Go Teddy!
Track Name: William Taft
From a wealthy, powerful
family in the Cincinnati
Goal to be Supreme Court justice
In his mind all along
Sad he's remembered for getting
Stuck in the White House bath tub
When he really quite was
Special for his humility

William Howard Taft (Taft Taft Taft)

Doesn't get all the credit
For being one of the smartest
Presidents we ever had
His wife Nellie was quite smart too
Was great at finding balance
between the crazy right and left
Supported anti-trust measures
and "Dollar Diplomacy"

Couldn't escape the shadow of T.R.
Good friends but later enemies
Hated the role of politician
Always wanted to be just judge

William Howard Taft (Taft Taft Taft)

Split the Republican Party
Glad not to be re-elected

Influential as the chief justice for nine years
Only one to serve in both offices
In his later years he fought so hard for world peace
He was kind of like a Founding Father

William Howard Taft (Taft Taft Taft)
Track Name: Woodrow Wilson
His father was a Presbyterian minister
They moved around a lot
He hit the books really hard
Played sports, excelled at Princeton University

He hated being a lawyer so he changed careers to college professor
He published some books, gave some memorable lectures
His students loved his courses

Soon he was in charge at Princeton
and politics seemed the next logical step
After four years as governor of New Jersey
the timing was right to be President

Elected because TR and Taft divided
His progressive ideas on top
Promptly expanded the size of government to try to even the playing field

(Today) Hated by some
Loved by others

Only one to have a PHD
After World War fought hard for world peace

Helped Congress create the Federal Reserve and Federal Trade Commission
Pushed for stricter laws on trusts and the beginning of the income tax (Boo!)

Tried to keep the U.S. out of World War I
At least in his first term
But that changed in his second term after the Lusitania sinking and Zimmerman note

Things got nasty when they entered the war with the Espionage and Sedition Acts
People began to fear the government
and they wanted their freedoms back

The U.S. helped the Allied Powers win
and he had his 14 Points
He traveled far and wide to promote them
So much that he had a stroke

For a year he recovered
Meanwhile racist riots broke out all over the country
And Edith Wilson
Essentially became the first female President

Today hated by some
Loved by others
Hated by some
Loved by others
Track Name: Warren Harding
Flip flopper as a Senator
Missed votes 40 percent of the time
Did his best not to offend everyone
Let colleagues make his mind up for him

Rose in politics as a newspaperman
He probably thought "make as many friends as you can."

Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding

Compromiser, Mediator
Where's the Love? Don't be a hater!
He was nonconfrontational
He wanted all to get along along along

Had extramarital affairs
The occassional nervous breakdown
Presidential Campaign from his front porch
Republicans thought he might say something dumb

The Ohio Gang got him in much trouble
The Teapot Dome Scandal, he did not know about

To escape the controversy
He took a Western journey
But that ended badly

Compromiser, Mediator
Where's the Love? Don't be a hater!
He was nonconfrontational
He wanted all to get along along along
Track Name: Calvin Coolidge
Roaring twenties, laissez faire
Booming times and he was there
He limited the government
Like he limited himself
Never said much, but when he did
Chose his words so carefully
Frugal he lived modestly
Sense of humor, dry as can be

He said "If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it."

Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace
Opposites in every way
Was born and raised in Vermont
But rose in Massachusetts
Did well as mayor, governor
Ended the Boston Police Strike
Asked by Harding to be his Vice
Not polite if he declined

Harding died and he was in
Shocked everyone, and re-elected
Restricted immigration
Went against farm subsidies
Focused internally first
Except the Kellogg-Briand Pact

Silent Cal rarely spoke more
than he had too
Hey did you know that
he had a pet raccoon?
Track Name: Herbert Hoover
Born poor and orphaned young
Hated school, rough childhood
From Iowa, he went across the country
Made his way to Stanford
He studied geology
There he was known for his integrity
After college, was still broke
He went into mining
Rose the corporate ladder
He then made lots of money
Traveled the world, worked in five continents
He even spoke Chinese

After success, he wanted to give back
He felt the best way was to get into politics

Herbert Hoover
You got a bad rap
but the Great Depression
was kind of your fault
Herbert Hoover
You did some great things
Tragically history forgets that

The stock market crashed, crashed, crashed
And he was blamed, blamed, blamed, blamed
You probably did not know that he was a great reformer
Created the RFC
As a bailout stimulus
But it did not work
and things kept getting worse

Of course not re-elected
But was still behind the scenes