The U.S. Presidency

Expand/Collapse The U.S. Presidency


Explore the rich history and the institution of the U.S. Presidency—from George Washington to Barack Obama. Understand the duties and powers of the President of the United States and the First Lady, gather important background information with our Presidential biographies, and engage with videos and primary sources that place you back in time at some of the most pivotal turning points in American history.

  • George Washington | 60-Second Presidents

    As far as Presidents go, none set more precedents than George Washington. From his leadership of the Continental Army, to his bold commitment to founding a strong nation, take a quick look back at the legacy of our very first leader. If you think you know everything about GW, think again!

    Explore more 60-Second President videos at the collection here!

    Grades: 4-12
  • John Adams | 60-Second Presidents

    John Adams had his hands full when he took over the presidency from George Washington. Find out how he dealt with the feuding political parties and attacks on U.S. merchants from France and Britain. Being the leader of a young nation isn?t as easy as you might think.

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    Grades: 4-12
  • Thomas Jefferson | 60-Second Presidents

    Thomas Jefferson influenced the landscape of America, both politically and geographically. Discover more about the third president of the U.S. and why he?s such a big deal. After all, you don't get your face printed on the two-dollar bill for nothing!

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    Grades: 4-12
  • James Madison | 60-Second Presidents

    James Madison's legacy includes political triumphs such as introducing the Bill of Rights. It also includes failures such as the War of 1812 and Washington D.C. getting burned to the ground. Find out more about the roller coaster ride that was Madison's presidency.

    Explore more 60-Second President videos at the collection here!

    Grades: 4-12
  • James Monroe | 60-Second Presidents

    With the War of 1812 in the rearview, America ushered in the Era of Good Feelings with James Monroe's presidency. Let's take a look at what he did to make these good times so sunny. Could it have anything to do with the Sunshine State?

    Explore more 60-Second President videos at the collection here!

    Grades: 4-12
  • John Quincy Adams | 60-Second Presidents

    John Quincy Adams spent his entire life serving his country, but only managed to become President through a corrupt bargain. Find out the juicy details and how his rivals responded.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Andrew Jackson | 60-Second Presidents

    Andrew Jackson was one of the more colorful and active presidents. Learn how his attitudes and policies strengthened the President's power and left a lasting impact on U.S. politics.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Martin Van Buren | 60-Second Presidents

    Martin Van Buren was a master at getting people voted into the White House. Look back on how he did it and how he fared in his own presidency. And be sure to thank him for laying the foundations of modern political campaigns

    Grades: 4-12
  • William Henry Harrison | 60-Second Presidents

    William Henry Harrison didn't accomplish much as President, lasting only 32 days in office. But check out how he got there, from his early days in the military to the Log Cabin Campaign.

    Grades: 4-12
  • John Tyler | 60-Second Presidents

    When President Harrison passed away, John Tyler found himself in the Presidency. See how he made the most of his promotion, from his annexation of Texas to his veto of the national bank.

    Grades: 4-12
  • James Polk | 60-Second Presidents

    James Polk accomplished a lot more in one term than many presidents accomplish in two. Find out how he delivered on his promise of westward expansion.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Zachary Taylor | 60-Second Presidents

    The sentiment that war heroes make great presidents gained Zachary Taylor enough favor to land him in office. But Old Rough n' Ready was a bit of a political wild card, having no previous political history. Find out how that turned out.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Millard Fillmore | 60-Second Presidents

    Millard Fillmore fell into the presidency when Zachary Taylor died. Let's look at how he dealt with the rising tensions among the states over the slavery issue.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Franklin Pierce | 60-Second Presidents

    Franklin Pierce was good-looking, but not so good at being President. Let's revisit his term, which saw the slavery issue push the nation further towards the brink of the Civil War.

    Grades: 4-12
  • James Buchanan | 60-Second Presidents

    James Buchanan's presidency saw the Dred Scott case and South Carolina's attempted secession. Needless to say, slavery spoiled his time in office. Take a trip down memory lane and learn how the country unraveled into Civil War.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Abraham Lincoln | 60-Second Presidents

    Abraham Lincoln pulled the nation out of the Civil War by taking matters into his own hands. Learn about some of his greatest moments, from the Gettysburg Address to the Emancipation Proclamation. Honest Abe is honestly one of the nation's greatest leaders.
    Grades: 4-12
  • Andrew Johnson | 60-Second Presidents

    Andrew Johnson spent much of his presidency in a power struggle with Congress. Trace his years in office, and see how he dealt with the nation's Reconstruction.
    Grades: 4-12
  • Ulysses S. Grant | 60-Second Presidents

    Ulysses S. Grant was a hero in the Civil War, but not so much in office. Find out how the first-time politician diminished the power of the presidency and got wrapped up in scandal, but also defended newly enfranchised black citizens.
    Grades: 4-12
  • Rutherford B. Hayes | 60-Second Presidents

    Rutherford B. Hayes's presidency was marked by rising racism in the South. Although prejudiced attitudes persisted in the country, find out the ways that Hayes moved the country forward. If nothing else, he kept his promise of serving only one term.
    Grades: 4-12
  • James A. Garfield | 60-Second Presidents

    James Garfield's presidency looked promising, but it was cut short when he was assassinated after only six months. Let's look back on this champion of the Republican Moderates and how he fought against the Republican Stalwarts' practices of rewarding government favors.
    Grades: 4-12