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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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    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.

Features

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    Video Gallery

    How to End a War?

    Diplomacy or force? Presidents face monumental decisions when it comes to ending wars. Watch a series of short videos exploring the topic.

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    Article

    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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    Video Gallery

    When is it OK to Lie?

    Whether it's a personal matter or a matter of international security, presidents are often selective in what information they share with the public. Explore the topic of presidential honesty in this collection of short videos. 

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    Video Gallery

    How Important is Military Service?

    For a large part of American history, military service was considered almost a prerequisite to serving as president. In recent decades, that has changed. Explore the topic in this series of short videos. 

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    Video Gallery

    How Can a Party Unite?

    From passing a budget to selecting a presidential candidate, party unity is essential to getting work done. Explore the topic in this collection of short videos. 

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    Video Gallery

    How to Handle a Crisis?

    Presidents are often judged by how they handle crisis. It is sometimes those moments that define their presidencies. Explore the topic in this series of short videos.

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    Video Gallery

    Does Age Matter?

    Age and maturity have long been talking points in American presidential elections. But does age really matter? Explore the topic in this series of short videos. 

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    Video Gallery

    Should the U.S. Police the World?

    What level of involvement should the United States have in foreign and international conflicts? It's a debate that has raged for decades. Explore the topic in this series of short videos.

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    Video Gallery

    Can the President Abuse Power?

    What are the limits to presidential power? And what constitutes abuse of power? Explore the topic in this collections of short videos. 

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    Video Gallery

    How Influential is a First Lady?

    First ladies have chosen different approaches to their position. From Bess Truman to Jacqueline Kennedy to Nancy Reagan, watch a series of short videos exploring the role of the first lady.

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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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    Video Gallery

    Who is the Enemy?

    Presidents and presidential candidates have long sought to identify threats at home and abroad. Explore a series of short videos exploring the enemies that have been identified by presidents past. 

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    Video Gallery

    What About the Economy?

    While there are many defining factors of a president's campaign, administration, and legacy, the economy often looms the largest. Watch a series of short videos exploring the topic.

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    Article

    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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    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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    Article

    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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    Article

    Running for President

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

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