A Tradition of Cigar Smoking Among America’s Political Leaders – Part 1 of 2

by Kirby Amber on October 17, 2012

Cigar Smoking in Early AmericaDating back as early as the 10th century with the Mayans puffing on tobacco leaves bound up with string to Columbus’ first visit to the Americas in 1492 and discovering the natives smoking cylindrical bundles of twisted tobacco leaves wrapped in dried palm or corn husks, cigar smoking has been a beloved tradition by many through the years. And of the many, that would include notable people of American politics.

Since 2012 is a political year, what better time to blog about cigars and politics. For the first part of this two-part blog, I’m going to focus on cigar’s early history with political figures up until President Calvin Coolidge. In the early days of the White House, James Madison, the fourth U.S. president, was the first noted president to smoke cigars followed by Tennessean Andrew Jackson, the seventh president and his wife Rachel, who both loved smoking cigars. General Ulysses S. Grant was one of the most notable political figures of that time who had the biggest love affair with the mighty cigar. In fact, his consumption of cigars dramatically increased during the Civil War and continued later when he became the eighteenth U.S. president.

Then there was U.S. President Chester Arthur, the twenty-first president, who enjoyed his cigars after lavish midnight suppers in the White House and would smoke expensive imported cigars with a glass or two of Champagne. One-term president Benjamin Harrison smoked moderately and since he was a tobacconist from his hometown of Indianapolis, he would generously supply free cigars to the White House. President Herbert Hoover became a bit of a cigar chain smoker due to the stress and pressure of the Great Depression and the bigger and the stronger the cigar was, the better for him.

Lastly, during the 19th century, probably the most celebrated cigar smoker in politics was Calvin Coolidge, who used his cigar often as a prop and always to his advantage. After the dishes were cleared at early White House breakfasts, President Coolidge was known to pass around a box of quality cigars to each legislator. While it may have seemed a bit early for a smoke, no one dare turned a cigar down, and then legislation was presented and discussed and compromise was often reached by those in the room.

Now you can see that as a cigar smoker, you are in good company with some of our nation’s former political leaders. So enjoy your stogie and when your supply is low, don’t forget to replenish your stash from a reputable online retailer like BnB Tobacco that offers everything you would need in quality premium cigars, accessories–all at the best prices around.

Until next time…

About Kirby Amber

Kirby Amber has written 5 posts in this blog.

Kirby is a woman full of surprises. She has fond memories of her grandfather's after dinner cigars, and is on a quest to continue his tradition. She writes freelance for BNB Tobacco.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rev. Cynthia Pape November 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

Dear Kirby: What a great article on famous political puffers! Let’s have more. In my town of Boston, it was traditional to pass around boxes, and boxes, and BOXES of cigars at wakes. Mayor James Curley, the notorious and beloved mayor used show up at wakes and console the mourners. I will make your website a favorite now. Love the information. Rev. Cynth
PS: I am a cigar and pipe smoker. I’m a Rocky Patel fan.

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