By Ralphine Major

The professor’s timing is perfect!  In the midst of a presidential election, the release of his book entitled “Presidential Character” is sure to spark enthusiasm for our nation’s highest office.  Timothy D. Holder, Knoxville resident and Professor of History at Walters State, talks about the first six presidents of the United States who helped to shape our country.  From George Washington to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, Holder delves into their stance on slavery.  He also explores an issue of great concern here in the Bible Belt—the faith of the presidents.

“Originally, I planned on writing only about the faith of the early presidents, but as I did my research on their beliefs and actions, I became intrigued by how their personal morality impacted the way they dealt with the slavery issue,” Holder said.  “And since I was studying leaders, it was interesting to note the differences in how they led.”

Dr. Holder says that figuring out the faith of the early presidents is complicated by at least two things.  “One, many of those who study the issue have a strong bias one way or the other that sometimes influences how they see the evidence,” he said.  “Two, the men studied were all politicians, and sometimes that impacted how they acted and wanted to be perceived.  Thus, the research was challenging, but it was also interesting,” the author added.

Regarding slavery, Holder said, “This issue in particular seems a lot less complicated today than it actually was.  A modern reader might be tempted to think that if a president didn’t own slaves he was good on this issue, but if he did own slaves, he was bad.  Several of the early presidents owned slaves, but all six of the men I wrote about fought the institution in one way or another.  That said, none of them are faultless when it comes to this issue.”

For Focus readers who would like a copy of Dr. Holder’s latest book, “Presidential Character” is available through Amazon and for Kindle.

Dr. Holder is interested in speaking to groups about the subjects covered in his book, and he can be contacted at  I have heard Dr. Holder speak many times over the years.  His presentation style and insight into the lives of America’s first six presidents should be informative and educational for readers and audiences alike.