The Great Historical Trivia Quiz


QUESTION: What was the most popular program in television history? How did it impact America’s popular culture?

ANSWER: In the book “TV’s Greatest Hits”, Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh rank Gunsmoke as America’s most popular show “by a wide margin.” In terms of yearly ranking, Gunsmoke is still the most successful weekly prime time drama.
The series was set in Dodge City, Kansas, during the 1870s when it was a wild frontier town of the Old West. The radio version of Gunsmoke ran from 1952 to 1961, and the TV program began in September of 1955.
It would remain on network television for 20 years with 640 episodes. Law and Order also lasted for 20 years but it lagged with 456 episodes.
Gunsmoke was the first of an avalanche of television westerns. At the peak, there were 30 prime time westerns on the air. Gunsmoke was the most successful while Bonanza had the number two slot.
As far as advertisers were concerned, Gunsmoke had terrible demographics. Most viewers were older and outside the age limit normally targeted by advertisers. Gunsmoke’s audience, however, was so large that according to “TV’s Greatest Hits,” “who cared if they all wore dentures?”
The series was off the air for 20 years when the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) brought it back. The TV code today is different from the 1960’s, and some of the violent scenes are now censored. In 1995, CBN aired some never-before-syndicated Gunsmoke episodes. Why had these episodes not been seen since their original network airings in 1962-65?
They were in black and white, and stations preferred hour long episodes in color.

Amanda Adkins: 2012 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Amanda Adkins

Amanda Adkins, 37, has been Chairman of the highly successful Kansas Republican Party for the past four years. She is now serving her second term.
The GOP has dominated Kansas since it achieved statehood in 1861. Kansas has had 33 US Senators: 28 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and 2 Populists. The last time they elected a Democrat to the Senate was in 1932.
The GOP also holds all four congressional seats and six of six statewide offices. In the State Senate, the GOP controls 32 of 40 seats. In the House, it’s 92 of 125.
The Gallup Survey classifies Kansas as one of only five “solidly Republican” states. It is also a no-income tax state.
Adkins is the former Executive Director of GOPAC, she managed Senator Sam Brownback’s 2004 re-election, and she served as Legislative Director for the Chairman of the House Rules Committee. She is a past Chairman of the Kansas City Republican Party.
Despite GOP dominance, Adkins does not have an easy job. Infighting between social and economic conservatives is a major problem, and Kansas was the last state to complete redistricting.
Santorum defeated Romney in the Kansas primary by a 51% to 21% margin. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “One big obstacle that may face Kansas Republicans: Kansas Republicans. . . GOP infighting in recent years helped elect Democrat Kathleen Sebelius to two terms as Kansas governor. It also prompted Mark Parkinson, former chairman of the state Republican Party, to cross the aisle. He succeeded Ms. Sebelius as governor when she joined the Obama Administration.”
Adkins took over in 2009 when the party had a $100,000 debt that she erased. She also had the party go on record in opposition to Obamacare and established an excellent working relationship with the Tea Party.
Adkins urged adoption of a party mission statement to unify the various factions, and she is highly praised for her ability as a peacemaker. Her diplomatic skills are often noted, and they are frequently needed.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Welcome Aboard Walker, We Are Pleased to Have You

The election was over two months ago but the change continues. Since November 2nd, 22 state legislators have switched parties. Probably the most important was State Rep. Walker Hines of New Orleans. He is only 26, but has been a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for the past three years.
He represents an urban district which is home to rapper Lil Wayne. Continue reading

The Republican Senator Who Saved America's Constitutional Government

Senator Edmund Ross (R-KS) served from 1866 to 1871. He cast the decisive vote which acquitted Andrew Johnson during the 1868 Presidential Impeachment trial.

President Andrew Johnson died 135 years ago this month, and is best known for surviving in office by just one vote. He was impeached by the House of Representatives for violating the Tenure of Office Act when he tried to replace his Secretary of War. This politically motivated legislation was approved over Johnson’s veto.
It denied the President the power to remove anyone who had been appointed by a past President with the approval of the Senate. The Tenure of Office Act was specifically aimed at Johnson and it was designed to make sure he did not replace Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet.
Johnson, a Democrat, wanted to get rid of the Republican Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, because they disagreed on reconstruction. The Tenure Act prevented him from doing so, and the legislation was repealed in 1887. It was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1926.
Johnson was the first President to be impeached and a trial to remove him from office was held in the U.S. Senate. Opponents of the President needed the support of two-thirds of the membership in the upper body to oust Johnson.
Who Was Edmund Ross?
The Senate in 1868 had 54 members, and 42 of them were Republicans. The Senator who saved Johnson was Edmund Ross of Kansas, and the lawmaker who made him a hero a century later was John F. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy (D-MA) said Ross’ statesmanship inspired him to write his 1955 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage.
Ross supported Secretary Stanton and strongly disagreed with Johnson’s legislative agenda. In fact, he had never once voted with the administration. Ross did not announce his decision during the Senate trial, and was under intense pressure to vote against the President.
Johnson had served as a Tennessee Governor and Senator, and was a former slave owner. He wanted a more lenient path for reconstruction after the Civil War. The President was also obstinate, stubborn, and unwilling to compromise.
Senator Ross was one of the Radical Republicans who wanted to make sure the South paid a high price for the war, and that civil rights would be guaranteed. Ross ended up saving Johnson because he saw Constitutional dangers in partisanship, and believed a President had the right to replace cabinet members. This power is taken for granted today.
In the years before the Civil War, Ross had established himself as a vigorous opponent of slavery, and was one of the first to join the Republican Party when it was formed in 1854. He campaigned vigorously against that year’s Kansas-Nebraska Act which was seen as a vehicle to spread slavery to the territories.
The legislation prompted Ross to move to Kansas and start an abolitionist newspaper to keep slavery out of the territory. Ross later served on the committee which drafted a constitution admitting Kansas to the union as a free state, and enlisted when the war broke out and rose to the rank of major.
At the age of 39, Ross was appointed to the Senate by the Governor of Kansas who had been his commanding officer during the war. The Governor said Ross would be a firm supporter of the Radical Republicans. Voting to convict President Johnson would have been politically popular, and would certainly have kept Ross in office.
In Profiles in Courage, Kennedy began his chapter about Senator Ross by saying:

In a lonely grave, forgotten and unknown, lies the man who saved a President, and who as a result may well have preserved for ourselves and our posterity constitutional government in the United States. By the firmness and courage of Senator Ross the country was saved from calamity greater than war, while it consigned him to a political martyrdom, the most cruel in our history…
Ross was the victim of a wild flame of intolerance which swept everything before it. He did his duty knowing that it meant his political death.
It was a brave thing for Ross to do, but Ross did it. He acted for his conscience and with a lofty patriotism, regardless of what he knew must be the ruinous consequences to himself. He acted right.

In Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, David Dewitt described the final day of the proceedings. Dewitt was in the Senate gallery and said national attention was solely focused on Ross, who was the ultimate decision maker. No one had a clue how the Kansas Senator would vote:

‘Mr. Senator Ross, how say you?’ the voice of Chief Justice Salmon Chase rings out over the solemn silence. ‘Is the respondent, Andrew Johnson, guilty or not guilty of a high misdemeanor as charged in this article?’
The Chief Justice bends forward, intense anxiety furrowing his brow. The seated associates of the senator on his feet fix upon him their united gaze. The representatives of the people of the United States watch every movement of his features. The whole audience listens for the coming answer as it would have listened for the crack of doom.
And the answer comes, full, distinct, definite, unhesitating and unmistakable. The words ‘Not Guilty’ sweep over the assembly, and, as one man, the hearers fling themselves back into their seats; the strain snaps; the contest ends; impeachment is blown into the air.

Andrew Johnson is now regarded as one of America’s worst Presidents, but he never should have been impeached. Johnson made foolish decisions but they were not “high crimes.”
Respect for the Constitution, Not Partisan Politics
The President’s opponents were trying to drive him from office for purely political reasons, but fortunately for the nation, a few statesmen had the courage to do the right thing. If Johnson had been forced out because of political considerations, the presidency could have always been under control of the Congressional majority.
Neither Ross nor the other six Republicans who voted “Not Guilty” were returned to the Senate. The impeachment vote ended their political careers. They saved America’s Constitutional government and John Kennedy was correct in describing Senator Edmund Ross as a profile in courage.