Today’s conversation is a little different. Usually I talk to people who have already written a book. But today’s guest Lindsay Chervinsky is in the process of writing a book. I thought it was a good opportunity for listeners to see how the sausage gets made: how a historian puts together an argument, contextualizes, connects sources, and do all the other “moves” of historical thinking that this podcast is concerned with.
Lindsay is studying Washington’s “first cabinet.” The whole idea of the presidential cabinet is just touched on the Constitution. As with many things in his presidency, Washington has to make it up as he went along. It was further created by the extraordinary collection of personalities that he brought together literally in one room. Thinking about the intended and unintended consequences of Washington’s first cabinet seems to me a great way of celebrating America’s Independence Day.
[Note: the illustration is from a brand of cigars that emanated from, of all places, Grand Rapids, MI. That I suppose accounts for Henry Knox being rechristened Hendrick Knox. It doesn’t explain why they left out Attorney General Edmund Randolph, poor chap.]