In 1945, at the end of a devastating global war, America emerged as a superpower. The Cold War presented the nation with a new and unprecedented crisis: the threat of nuclear annihilation.
In 1945, at the end of a devastating global war, America emerged as a superpower. The Cold War presented the nation with a new and unprecedented crisis: the threat of nuclear annihilation. The country looked to the President to keep them safe during these dangerous times. The struggle against the spread of communism abroad, and the corrosive effects of inequality at home, demanded a new resolve and a steadfast international leader. Since the mid 1960s, the power of the presidency has risen and fallen. It's been burdened by the personal failings of the men who occupied the office; by a Congress determined to reassert its power; by a skeptical and fragmented media; and by a public that had grown indifferent. The Cold War ended, but global terror networks rose to present a more complicated threat. Despite these new challenges, the power of the office has grown substantially--remaining the shining symbol of America s noble experiment in democracy.
America at the beginning of the 20th century found a growing chasm between the rich and poor. The country's priorities were changing, as was the Presidency.
America at the beginning of the 20th century found a growing chasm between the rich and poor. The country's priorities were changing, as was the Presidency. Since the end of the Civil War, Congress and the deep pockets of Big Industry had dictated the course for the nation. But one President took back the reigns, fighting for the common man, just as a grisly international fight began to emerge that would test America's strength and its leader's resolve. America in the 1920s was a country poised for a fresh start. The horrific brutality of the first global war was over. The economy was beginning to "roar," and the Presidents at the helm were happy to take a backseat to Congress. But as America crashed into Depression--and then another World War--the times called for a stronger leader, one who set the table for presidential power in the 20th century.
America after the Civil War was a traumatized country in desperate need of leadership. The President who'd seen the nation through its most divisive conflict was dead, leaving no road map for peace. Over the next three decades, a series of weak Presidents lacked any vision for the future and showed little interest in real leadership. Each successive man took a back seat to Congress and to captains of industry--and the Presidency hit rock bottom.
America by the mid-1800s was triple its original size thanks to bold and controversial decisions by Presidents such as Jefferson, Jackson, and Polk. But with new territory came old confrontations. Slavery--the question that had been avoided since the country's birth--now had to be answered. Some leaders pinned their hopes on compromise, until one used the Presidency to defend freedom and the Union--at any cost.
The United States of America was a bold invention of enormous risk. An 8-year war of independence, followed by intense political debate produced a government of, by and for the people.
The United States of America was a bold invention of enormous risk. An 8-year war of independence, followed by intense political debate produced a government of, by and for the people. This democracy in a world ruled by Kings and Emperors was a new experiment with three branches--a Court, a Congress and an Executive--all sharing power; a precarious balancing act purposely left open to interpretation.
At the helm of the most powerful office in the world, one man at a time shapes history. This special event offers a fresh perspective on the evolution of the Oval Office and the men who have served this country from George Washington to Barack Obama.
Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Dwight Eisenhower had a warm and amicable relationship. Truman even offered to run as Ike's VP.
How was Washington, D.C. chosen as the capital of the United States?
Lincoln often utilized his sense of humor when making political statements, and also to silence his critics.
Find out why Nixon described himself as an introvert in an extrovert's job, and how his personality type may have affected his presidency.
Theodore Roosevelt believed in a vigorous lifestyle. During his presidency, he even participated in a boxing match that left him blind in one eye.
Slavery is a central paradox of much of American history. In fact, most of the country's founding fathers owned slaves.
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were known for warmly welcoming guests to the White House.
LBJ spent time after college teaching impoverished Mexican-American immigrants on the border of Texas and Mexico, an experience that shaped his personality and presidential ambitions.
Find out what happened when poor health sidelined Woodrow Wilson for several years of his presidency.
Andrew Jackson lived up to his tough reputation when a would-be assassin attempted to shoot him at point-blank range.
Abraham Lincoln began receiving death threats almost as soon as he took office, and didn't have the luxury of modern Secret Service protection.
In 1884, speculation swirled around Grover Cleveland, and the idea that he may have fathered a child out of wedlock.
Find out why Martin Van Buren is known as the "ok" president, and why he's considered the first professional politician to hold the office.
Find out more about Jimmy Carter's life after leaving the Oval Office, including his Nobel Peace Prize win.
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