The presidents of the United States are some of the most revered (or reviled) men in the nation. They've led our country through wars and economic recessions. Some presidents have inspired us to work for our country, while others have engrossed us with their scandals. Here we've rounded up the chief resources on chief executives:
Grolier Online: The American Presidency
After a free sign-up, the site offers thorough biographies and a plethora of fun facts. Did you know
that Ulysses S. Grant was once arrested for driving his horses too
fast and fined $20?
The American President
This site is a companion to a 10-hour PBS series on the presidency. It's packed with helpful information, including
biographies, lesson plans, historical documents and a glossary.
American Presidents: Life Portraits
C-SPAN gives you the low down on all 43 chief executives. Pick a
president from the drag-down menu at the top and you'll be presented
with a host of vital information, including life facts and links to
"Presidential Places" (birthplace, grave site, etc.)
Known as the father of this nation, George Washington led an
interesting and varied life before and after his presidency.
Washington, whose father died when he was 10, boasted a decorated
military career, leading battles at Trenton, German-Town, Valley
Forge and more. Author David Ramsey has written about the history of
these battles, as well as Washington's days out of uniform, in his
book The Life of George Washington.
After Washington retired from his life as an officer, his countrymen drew him into a
role of government service that resulted in his election as our first
president. He was the only president to be inaugurated in New York
City. The man who
scoffed at the idea of being king instead of president won respect
through his dealings with the Indians, recommendations to revise the
Federal system and insistence of presidential term limits. After he
concluded his public life, Washington and his wife Martha retired to
their historic plantation home at Mount Vernon.
President Andrew Jackson
Born in South Carolina to a Scottish-Irish immigrant couple, Jackson
moved to Tennessee to become a cotton farmer and begin a political
career, first in the House of Representatives and then as Tennessee's
first senator. The Hermitage describes
Jackson's political career from its beginnings to his first futile run for the Presidency
and finally to his election. Although his political career is largely
untarnished, Jackson and his wife, Rachel Donelson,
received much criticism because of
Donelson's divorce from her first husband, Lewis Robards, and the
Jacksons' inability to conceive. Andrew Jackson Jr. was adopted.
Jackson was seemingly talented at living, escaping death at least
twice: once during an assassination attempt during his presidency and
once during a duel that left a bullet permanently lodged near
Jackson's heart. The Hermitage site has many other odd tidbits to
satisfy the ever-curious history buff. After his presidential
service, Jackson returned to Tennessee where he and his wife spent
their days on a plantation home nestled outside of Nashville named
President James Garfield
Before entering office, James Garfield was a teacher and principal.
Education played an important role in his life, for while attending
the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, he met his wife
Garfield, the nation's last log cabin president, defeated opponent
General Winfield Scott by only 10,000 votes. This
White House biography offers more details
about the 6'2" Republican. Garfield's life ended early when an
assassin shot him at the Washington Railroad Station four months
after he took office.
President Theodore Roosevelt
Rough Rider Roosevelt was a New Yorker who welcomed challenges. His
life was sprinkled with highs and lows, adventure and danger.
He climbed the Matterhorn while on his honeymoon. Roosevelt held a deep appreciation for education,
being schooled at Harvard himself. He put that education to use, authoring 38 scholarly works
including Hunting Trips of a Ranchman,
which he wrote after his wife,
Alice, passed away. This White House biography lists many interesting Teddy facts.
President Jimmy Carter
James Earl Carter was born in the small Georgia town of Plains and
went on to be our nation's 39th President. The Jimmy Carter National
Historic Site in Plains commemorates the
Democratic president's boyhood farm and the town railroad station
that served as his campaign headquarters in 1976. Carter began dating
his wife, fellow Plains resident
when she was only 17-years-old. Carter attended the Naval Academy in
Annapolis, Maryland, and went on to serve as Georgia's governor and
then president by a margin of 56 electoral votes. His
White House biography highlights the
history of Carter's life of public service.
President Ronald Reagan
Learn more about the former president of the Screen Actors Guild and the United States
at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The Gipper, as
Reagan is known in some circles, was born in Tampico, Ill. and played
football for Eureka College.
Reagan's second marriage to Nancy Davis resulted in two children. The
former first lady has defined herself with a dedication to educating
children about drugs and caring for her husband since he left office.
Check out the Ronald Reagan Home Page for a tribute to this president.