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The Presidents

American presidents hold the most powerful office on earth and occupy a unique place at the center of national and world events. At once chief executive, head of state, commander-in-chief, and leader of a political party, the President of the United States is also a prominent cultural figure, and a bellwether of the society he governs.

In this award-winning collection, explore documentaries, biographies, interviews, articles, image galleries and more for an in-depth look at the history of the American presidency.

Films

  • Murder of a President poster image Murder of a President

    Murder of a President

    The story of James Garfield, one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president, and his assassination by a deluded madman.

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    Clinton

    A president who rose from a broken childhood to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage.

  • George H.W. Bush poster image George H.W. Bush

    George H.W. Bush

    The life and career of our 41st president, from his service in World War II to the Oval Office, and his role as the patriarch of a political family whose influence is unequaled in modern American life.

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    Reagan

    A passionate ideologue who preached a simple gospel of lower taxes, less government, and anti-communism, Ronald Reagan left the White House one of the most popular presidents of the 20th century — and one of the most controversial.

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    Jimmy Carter

    One of the greatest dramas in American politics, President Jimmy Carter was overwhelmingly voted out of office in a humiliating defeat in 1980, only to become one of the most admired statesmen and humanitarians in America and the world.

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    Nixon

    The enigmatic nature of the Nixon presidency combined comparatively progressive legislative initiatives with a flagrant abuse of presidential power and the public trust.

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    LBJ

    LBJ exploited his mastery of the legislative process to shepherd a collection of progressive programs through Congress with astounding success, but his visions of a Great Society were swallowed up in the quagmire of Vietnam.

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    JFK

    Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin's bullet, Kennedy's presidency long defied objective appraisal. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.

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    Eisenhower

    Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of America's least understood presidents. Part of the award-winning collection The Presidents.

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    Truman

    An unknown politician from Missouri who suddenly found himself president, Harry Truman was the least prepared of all the men who had held the highest office, but he would prove to be a surprise — the unlikely rise of a gritty American original.

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    FDR

    Engendering both admiration and scorn, FDR exerted unflinching leadership during the most tumultuous period in U.S. history since the Civil War and was the most vital figure in the nation during his 13 years in the White House.

  • Woodrow Wilson poster image Woodrow Wilson

    Woodrow Wilson

    President Woodrow Wilson led America during World War I, created the Federal Reserve, and helped create the League of Nations. Part of the award-winning collection  The Presidents.

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    TR

    Author, soldier, scientist, outdoorsman and caring father, he was the youngest man to become president. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.

  • Ulysses S. Grant poster image Ulysses S. Grant

    Ulysses S. Grant

    As a general, he had fought to preserve the Union. As president, he helped to oversee the transformation from union to nation.

  • John and Abigail Adams poster image John and Abigail Adams

    John and Abigail Adams

    A chronical of an inspiring political marriage, and the birth of a nation.

Features

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    Article

    Andrew Jackson

    Andrew Jackson embodied the ideal of the self-made American man, and his populist appeal lay in his message of inclusion against what he characterized as entrenched establishment interests.

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    Article

    Calvin Coolidge

    Calvin Coolidge's 1923 State of the Union address to Congress was the first ever to be broadcast via radio. He would continue to use the medium effectively, giving at least one radio address per month. 

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    Martin Van Buren

    Martin Van Buren allied himself with President Andrew Jackson, who in turn rewarded Van Buren with cabinet positions and the vice presidency.

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    Warren G. Harding

    Warren Harding was the first United States senator to be elected president.

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    Herbert Hoover

    Hoover's presidency began amidst grand optimism as the prosperity of the 1920s carried him into office. 

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    Grover Cleveland

    The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, Grover Cleveland's second term coincided with a financial depression, the Panic of 1893.

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    James Knox Polk

    Billed as the "Manifest Destiny" candidate, Polk negotiated the Oregon territory to the north. 

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    Biography: James Buchanan

    Buchanan's faith that the legal system would resolve the slavery issue locked him into inaction.

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    Biography: James Monroe

    Upon his inauguration, Monroe chose to make a presidential tour of the states, the first such tour since Washington's. 

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    John Tyler

    Following the sudden death of William Henry Harrison, Vice President John Tyler assumed the presidency.

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    Murder of a President | Article

    Protecting the President

    The U.S. President has not always had a protective detail. Only after the murder of President McKinley in 1901 did Congress assign the task of presidental protection to the Secret Service.

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    Article

    James Madison

    James Madison, the fourth president,  the "Father of the Constitution," co-authored The Federalist Papers, helped to establish a system of checks and balances for the federal government.

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    Mount Rushmore | Article

    Benjamin Harrison

    Grandson of William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison managed to unseat Grover Cleveland in the 1888 election.

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    The President’s New Clothes

    On the eve of the nation’s first presidential inauguration, President-elect George Washington was preoccupied by an urgent and troublesome matter: What would he wear to his swearing-in ceremony in New York City?

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    Shifting Political Landscapes during Lincoln's Presidency

    As the nation expanded westward, the dispute over slavery intensified. Would the new territories extend it or prohibit it?

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    The Great War | Article

    Suffragist Alice Paul Clashed with Woodrow Wilson

    A combative and outspoken leader in the women's suffrage movement, Alice Paul broke away from the National American Woman Suffrage Association to form the more radical National Woman's Party.

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    Grant, Reconstruction and the KKK

    At the time of Ulysses S. Grant's election to the presidency, white supremacists were conducting a reign of terror throughout the South.

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    Article

    The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

    On February 24, 1868, something extraordinary happened in the United States Congress.

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    Reagan | Article

    The Iran-Contra Affair

    Ronald Reagan's efforts to eradicate Communism spanned the globe, but the insurgent Contras' cause in Nicaragua was particularly dear to him.

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    Running for President

    Since our country's first presidential election in 1788, the strategies of those campaigning have changed dramatically.

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