Using archival footage and photographs, this series documents the life, accomplishments, struggles, and scandal of some of our most interesting U.S. Presidents.
Grade Level: 6-12. Approximately 30 minutes per episode.
Abraham Lincoln worked his way up from humble beginnings to become the 16th President of the United States. He served in the White House in the midst of a national crisis. Though ill-prepared for the trauma of a civil war, he adapted himself to the circumstances to become an extraordinary leader.
Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. He used the Presidency as a “bully pulpit” from which he preached to the American people, publicized corporate misdeeds and insisted that the interests of the entire nation be served. He broke up big business monopolies and was a strong advocate for conversation. Upon leaving office in 1909, he had expanded the powers of the Presidency and advanced the prestige of the United States as a world power.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the only man elected four times as President of the United States. His legs paralyzed by polio, he led a crippled nation through the dark days of the Great Depression and World War II with eternal optimism and lifted the spirits of millions of Americans. Offering a New Deal to the American people, he forever changed the role of the Federal government and left a profound mark on the 20th century.
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. He grew from a sickly child to a respected soldier, author and politician. His heroics during World War II set the stage for his future political career. As President, he rallied for civil rights and inspired a nation to land a man on the moon. In the midst of the Cold War, he provided strong leadership through the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis and averted a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. His untimely death by an assassin's bullet on November 22, 1963 left a nation stunned and grieving for the man it had come to love and admire.
Richard Nixon was the first President to resign from office. Twice elected vice-president under Eisenhower, he lost the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy. Out of office for eight years, Nixon re-emerged and won the presidency in 1968 and again in 1972. His administration ended the war in Vietnam and opened relations with communist China. However, his many accomplishments in office were overshadowed by a scandal known as Watergate. This scandal would consume the final years of his presidency and force Richard Nixon from office.
Ronald Reagan was the oldest person ever elected president. After a career in Hollywood as a film actor, Reagan went into politics and was elected Governor of California. Running on a conservative platform, he was twice elected President of the United States. Known as the “Great Communicator,” Reagan is widely considered responsible for winning the cold war against the Soviet Union. Although the Iran-Contra scandal plagued the final years of his administration, Reagan left office in 1989 a highly popular president. The life of Ronald Reagan is the epitome of the American Dream.
William Jefferson Clinton
Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States in 1993, and the first Democratic President to serve two terms since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Born in Hope, Arkansas, he grew up in a turbulent and troubled home. Rising from poverty to graduate from Georgetown University, he attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship and received a law degree from Yale. After serving as Attorney General of Arkansas, he became the youngest governor in the nation, only to be defeated and elected again, this time for four terms. These experiences led him to the presidency, where his new generation of government brought economic recovery and improved international relations. He made more minority appointments then any other President, bringing diversity to the White House.