Campaigns and Hurricanes
A History of Presidential Visits to Mississippi
The definitive guide to presidential visits to Mississippi
When William McKinley traveled to Mississippi in 1901, he became the first US president to visit the state while in office. Though twenty-four men served as president prior to McKinley, none of them included Mississippi in their travel plans. Presidents in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have a better record of visiting Mississippi. There were forty-five presidential trips to the state between 1901 and 2016. Thirty-three communities hosted one or more of the sixty-nine stops the presidents made during those visits. George W. Bush is the unrivaled champion when it comes to the number and frequency of presidential visits. During eight years in office, he visited Mississippi nineteen times, fourteen of those during the state's recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
Campaigns and Hurricanes: A History of Presidential Visits to Mississippi traces the presidential visits from William McKinley to Barack Obama and sets each visit into its historical context. Readers will learn that of the forty-five visits made to Mississippi by sitting presidents, eighteen were for disaster recovery, eleven were to campaign, eight were in support of policy proposals, three were purely recreational, and five had singular purposes--for example, university commencement ceremonies or military inspections. Mixed in the history of these visits are anecdotes and discussions of issues, trends, politics, and the people shaping the moments that brought US presidents to Mississippi.
"John and Zachary Hilpert have dished up lots of fun and informative Mississippi history while using the presidential trips to highlight how a state's politics oftentimes influence when presidents come and where in Mississippi they visit. Highly recommended."- Jere Nash, coauthor of Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2008, Second Edition; Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall Tales from the Back Room; and America's Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina
"In their engaging and completely readable new book, Campaigns and Hurricanes: A History of Presidential Visits to Mississippi, father-and-son scholars John and Zachary Hilpert have done us all a great favor. Historians will appreciate the tracing of over a century of presidential politics through a time-lapse series of stops in a single southern state. Analysts and journalists will find plenty of fodder for comparing significant policy debates with local political strategies. Trivia buffs get the bonus of an appendix listing additional visits to Mississippi locations by presidents before or after their terms of office. And Mississippians of any stripe will just have fun reading and reminiscing about small towns all over the state basking in the glow of presidential visits in good times and bad."- Andy Taggart, attorney and coauthor of Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2008, Second Edition and Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall Tales from the Back Rooms