Shapers of Modern America


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General John J. Pershing

General John J. Pershing


General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing was a senior United States Army officer. His most famous post was when he served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front in World War I, 1917-18.

Pershing rejected British and French demands that American forces be integrated with their armies, and insisted that the AEF would operate as a single unit under his command, although some American divisions fought under British command, and he also allowed all-black units to be integrated with the French army.

American forces first saw serious battle at Cantigny, Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Soissons. To speed up the arrival of the doughboys, they embarked for France leaving the heavy equipment behind, and used British and French tanks, artillery, airplanes and other munitions. In September 1918 at St. Mihiel, the First Army was directly under Pershing's command; it overwhelmed the salient – the encroachment into Allied territory – that the German Army had held for three years. For the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Pershing shifted roughly 600,000 American soldiers to the heavily defended forests of the Argonne, keeping his divisions engaged in hard fighting for 47 days, alongside the French. The Allied Hundred Days Offensive, which the Argonne fighting was part of, contributed to Germany calling for an armistice. Pershing was of the opinion that the war should continue and that all of Germany should be occupied in an effort to permanently destroy German militarism.

General John J. Pershing performance at 1:30 p.m.
on September 15, 2018

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman and writer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He also served as the 25th Vice President of the United States from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd Governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore, alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

After taking office as Vice President in March 1901, he became President at age 42 following McKinley's assassination that September, and remains the youngest person to become President of the United States. As a leader of the Progressive movement, he championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. Making conservation a top priority, he established many new national parks, forests, and monuments intended to preserve the nation's natural resources. In foreign policy, he focused on Central America, where he began construction of the Panama Canal. He expanded the Navy and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project the United States' naval power around the globe. His successful efforts to broker the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. He avoided controversial tariff and money issues. Elected in 1904 to a full term, Roosevelt continued to promote progressive policies, many of which were passed in Congress. Roosevelt successfully groomed his close friend, William Howard Taft, and Taft won the 1908 presidential election to succeed him. In polls of historians and political scientists, Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents.

Theodore Roosevelt performance at 6:30 p.m.
on September 15, 2018

About Chautauqua Scholar Doug Mishler

Since 1993 Doug has been nationally recognized for bringing "history to life." Doug has presented figures from Nikita Khrushchev to Theodore Roosevelt, and P.T. Barnum. He has made over 800 first person presentations of over 20 historical figures, including Stonewall Jackson, Henry Ford, Issac Parker, and now General Jack Pershing. The voices in his head keep him busy, but he also is the founder & Managing Artistic Director of Restless Artists' Theatre, as well as teaching history at the University of Nevada. Like his idol T. R., Doug believes there is still plenty of time to grow up and get a "real job" – but later!

Charlie Shaffer

About Pianist: CHARLIE SHAFFER - Charlie and his wife are long-time residents of Boulder City. But Charlie was born in Texas and grew up in a family of music lovers. He studied classical and popular music privately from the age of five. He relocated to Las Vegas as an adult and thus began a tremendous performance career, including 12 years at the Desert Inn. He wrote orchestral arrangements for several TV shows including Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin, and also the large Houston Symphony Pops Orchestra. In short, Charlie can do it all, performing live or arranging and writing music, and producing his own CD’s. For more information check his website: