Today is Presidents Day, and in just a few days, my state will be holding a primary to choose a presidential candidate for 2016. In honor of all this presidential hoopla, here are some awesome campaign cockades to drool over from past American presidents!
Teddy RooseveltIt's tough to put Teddy Roosevelt's life - or even his presidency - into a paragraph. Roosevelt was an amazing, larger-than-life American hero. A sickly child, he took his father's advice to "make his body" into a tough-as-leather naturalist and sportsman. But his interests became far more wide and varied than that.
While still in college, he wrote a definitive history of the War of 1812. Other accomplishments include running a ranch in North Dakota, cleaning up corruption in both the NY City police and the US Civil Service Commission, serving as assistant Secretary of the Navy and Vice President to President William McKinley.
He formed the "Rough Riders" during the Spanish American war and led them in a glorious charge up San Juan hill. He is distinguished in being one of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore.
After McKinley's assassination, he finished the term as President and was reelected for his own term in 1904. That's the campaign this cockade is from.
Jimmy CarterI bet you didn't know that campaign cockades were still being used in the 1970s! This one is from Jimmy Carter's campaign in 1977.
Carter had served as both Senator and Governor from Georgia before his presidential run. His single-term presidency was plagued with issues like economic recession, the Cold War, an energy crisis and the Iran hostage crisis.
People who admire Carter's legacy generally point to his social work around the world after his presidency. President Carter is still alive and reportedly in good health at the age of 91. And his campaign cockade looks like it's in good shape too!
U.S. GrantNearly everyone is familiar with Ulysses S. Grant's role as general in the Civil War. Not as many people know much about other facets of Grant's life.
That's probably just as well, as Grant wasn't nearly as good at the rest of life as he was at being a general! Grant's military valor was unquestioned, both in the Mexican American War and the Civil War. But he apparently had no head for business and failed repeatedly in professional ventures.
He also struggled with the role of President, being dogged by charges of mismanagement and corruption. A national recession didn't help his reputation either. This is one of his campaign cockades.
Altogether, Grant led a difficult life, but his rank in American history is undisputed - for his generalship, not his presidency!
Abraham LincolnLincoln, one of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore, had a major impact on American history. Love him or hate him, he oversaw a tremendous shift in American government and politics.
Born on the frontier and largely self-educated, Lincoln went on to have a career in law and later, politics. He helped to create the Republican Party, and was the first candidate from that party to win the presidency.
Lincoln's two terms as president spanned the entire Civil War. Just days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Lincoln was assassinated. His funeral provoked a huge outpouring of mourning in the Northern states. Because of his historical importance, many people saved their Lincoln campaign and mourning badges. This gorgeous piece is one of them.
Richard NixonI received a fun Christmas gift this year - cockades from Richard Nixon's 1960 campaign!
Many people immediately think of the Watergate scandal in connection with Nixon. But there's a lot more to his career than that. In addition to serving as a representative, senator and vice president, he also served a meritorious career in the Naval Reserve during World War II.
His presidency oversaw the end of the Vietnam War, opening of relations with China and warming relations with the Soviet Union. On the domestic front he was plagued with economic problems and shortages, but also dealt with desegregation of public schools and the first landing on the moon in Apollo 11. The Watergate scandal brought an untimely end to his second term of presidency.
Ronald ReaganAnother cockade from modern times! This striking beauty is from Reagan's first inauguration in 1981.
Reagan's career, like many presidents before him, include much besides politics. In addition to roles as radio announcer and movie actor, he also served in the Officers Reserve Corps during World War II. Reagan served two terms as California's governor before being elected as president in 1980. Reagan is one of only two presidents to be wounded in, and survive, an assassination attempt (Teddy Roosevelt was the other).
Introducing a series of economic reforms that became named after him, Reagan saw an improvement over the troubled economies of the 60s and 70s. His policies with the Soviet Union also led the end of the Cold War. Many Republicans today still refer to him as one of the best spokesman for Republican ideals.
George WashingtonSo let's wind up with the man in whose honor this day was started - George Washington, the Father of the Country. This cockade was created with the black and white color scheme that Washington himself wore during the Revolutionary War.
Much has been said about Washington in the 200+ years since his death. Interestingly, a look at his military and political careers show dogged determination but not particular brilliance. Unlike other Founders, he didn't contribute amazing inventions, spectacular generalship, great works of philosophy or definitive books on history. At first glance, it seems that his claim to fame is merely in being "first."
Until you look closer and realize why he was first - and what that meant for our country and for democratic ideals around the world. Washington was chosen as army commander and as first president because of his character.
He was a man of deep integrity, self-control even in the face of disaster, and unselfishness even to the point of personal loss. He was determined and persevering, refusing to be either bought or discouraged. After America's victory, Washington could have become king or military dictator of America - it was literally his for the asking. He refused and insisted the country stick to ideals of limited, constitutional, law-abiding government.
You could say his greatness consists in him being an ordinary man with an extraordinary commitment to principle. As such, he became an example for every subsequent president to live up to.
Got Presidents?If you need a "presidential" cockade, or any patriotic cockade, I have many options in my shops!
Or hit me up for a custom design. I'm always happy to create a cockade just for you, and there's no extra fee for custom work.
And if you haven't done it already... go vote!