Portraits - Government leaders

Portraits of government leaders are among the most requested pictures of people. Historical images of US Presidents are of interest, especially those who guided the nation during critical times, for instance, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Some presidents were known for other exploits rather than their time in office, including John Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Ulysses S. Grant. Among the most notable First Ladies are Martha Washington and Abigail Adams. US Vice Presidents shown in historical pictures include Elbridge Gerry whose name was incorporated in "gerrymander," Aaron Burr who was suspected of treason, and the southern statesman John C. Calhoun. The most well-known Vice Presidents are those who subsequently became President, such as Andrew Johnson and Chester A. Arthur.

Other historically important heads of state are queens and kings. An outstanding ruler was the great Queen of England Elizabeth I. Also popular are historical images of her rival, Mary, Queen of Scots. Other important female monarchs include Marie Antoinette of France and Catherine the Great of Russia. Historical images of notable rulers in the ancient world show Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great, and the Hebrew King Solomon, among others. Prominent European kings in historical pictures are William the Conqueror, Henry VIII, George III, and other kings of England, as well as Louis XIV and other kings of France. Russian tsars are represented most often by Peter the Great in historical pictures. Many regions were ruled by emperors, for example, Charlemagne and other Holy Roman emperors. Another important group is Roman emperors and caesars. Other titles of heads of state shown in historical pictures are emirs and sultans, pharaohs, prime ministers, and presidents of other countries than the US, such as Tomas Estrada Palma, first president of Cuba, and Mexican president Porfirio Diaz.

Legislators' portraits show those who framed or opposed laws, including significant US Senators and US Representatives. Among these are historical pictures of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, two lions of the Senate in the mid-1800s. Historical pictures of the signers of the Declaration of Independence remain in demand, especially Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams, along with so-called founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton and Patrick Henry. Other politicians seen in historical pictures include defeated candidates for US President, for instance, John Tilden who won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College during the contested Tilden-Hayes election, as well as Horace Greeley and William Jennings Bryan. Another American policitican of note was Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America duriing the US Civil War.

As seen in historical pictures, US Supreme Court Justices are among the most significant people in the judicial arena. Particularly prominent are two early Chief Justices, John Jay, the first holding that office, and John Marshall, who shaped the appeals process in the US. Other historically important persons involved in legal actions include the plaintiff Dred Scott, a black slave whose failure to obtain freedom under the courts led to later passage of constitutional amendments abolishing slavery. As seen in vintage pictures, attorneys and judges have played important roles in judicial history, notably Andrew Hamilton who successfully defended John Peter Zenger in a case that established freedom of the press in America.

As seen in historical pictures, diplomats and other world statesmen have often been at the forefront of history-making events, for instance, Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck who through juggling the balance of power kept Europe at peace in the 1870s and 1880s. The US Secretary of State has sometimes played an important role, for example, William Seward, who crafted the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1869, at a price considered so expensive it was called "Seward's Folly" at the time. Other Cabinet members have shaped US policies in many areas or have become notorious, such as Postmaster-General Brady, involved in the Star Route scandal. Sometimes state governors or colonial administrators have become people whose historical portraits are important, for example, Royal Governor Edmund Andros, or Robert Dinwiddie who led colonial Virginia during the French and Indian War. Outside the US, notable British colonial administrators include Cecil Rhodes of South Africa, and Governor-General Jeffrey Amherst of Canada. Occasionally a local official becomes historically significant, as is the case with Mayor of New York William Marcy Tweed, called "Boss Tweed," whose notoriety so scandalized the country that the very name of New York's city hall, Tammany Hall, became a synonym for corruption in the 1870s.

Native American chiefs constitute another group of influential leaders whose portraits are important. Some native leaders during colonial times were Massasoit, who negotiated a treaty with the Plymouth colonists; Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas who interacted with Jamestown colonists; and Chief Pontiac whose confederacy in the Great Lakes region rebelled against the British. Some 19th-century Native Americans who fought displacement of their people were Chief Black Hawk, Chief Joseph, Geronimo, and Sitting Bull. Throughout history, in other areas of the world, indigenous leaders spearheaded native actions in tribal alliances, relocations, conquests, or resistance to conquest. Among these are rulers of Eurasian tribes such as Clovis, as well as Inca and Aztec leaders, for example, Montezuma II who greeted Cortes.


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