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, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE offers 37 hours of streaming documentaries on 10 American presidents. Also, read biographies of every U.S. President, and browse more than 750 original interviews, articles, photo galleries, timelines and extensive teacher guides.


Films in this Collection


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.


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

A biography of the 41st U.S. president, from his service in WWII to his days in the Oval Office. Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.


Reagan

The life of the president who saw himself as the heroic defender of the "shining city on a hill." Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.


Jimmy Carter

A peanut farmer who rose to become America's 39th president. Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.


Nixon

Richard Nixon faced impeachment but also ended the Vietnam War. Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.


LBJ

Lyndon Johnson pushed progressive programs before the Vietnam War eroded his support. Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.


JFK

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


Eisenhower

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


Truman

Harry Truman was responsible for finding America's place at the start of the Cold War. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.


FDR

Franklin Roosevelt restored hope after the Great Depression and led the nation during World War II. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.


Woodrow Wilson

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


TR, The Story of Theodore Roosevelt

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


U.S. Grant: Warrior

A revealing portrait of one of America's most paradoxical leaders.


Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided

The six-part story of a frontiersman farmer and a wealthy Confederate slave-owner's daughter.


John and Abigail Adams

From letters of the second U.S. president, John Adams, and his wife, Abigail, this film explores their tumultuous times.


Special Features




My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

Share your story on any or all of the three questions in The Presidents collection!


Series Blog

National Presidential Joke Day: 100 Years of Presidential Jokes

August 11, 2016

August 11 is a day to recognize and enjoy the wit of our nation’s commander-in-chiefs. Though presidents are usually the butt of jokes and mockery, they occasionally make some wisecracks of their own. National Presidential Joke Day began 32 years ago in 1984 during a sound check for Ronald Reagan’s Saturday evening radio broadcast. Unaware that he was live, Reagan jokingly said, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Though most Americans found the situation hilarious, Soviet officials temporarily put the military on high alert. To celebrate National Presidential Joke Day, we bring you 100 years of presidential jokes, quips and humor.


  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH