There was a debate, when George Washington became the first president, of what to call this highest of elected officers. "His Elective Majesty" was one of the suggestions and "His Highness, the President of the United States and Protector of the Rights of the Same" was another. The House of Representatives finally decided on the simple title, "President of the United States".
The Constitution refers to five jobs that the president is responsible for: the head of state, the chief diplomat, the chief executive, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the chief citizen of the United States.
Each president swears to defend the constitution of the United States and to protect the interests, freedoms, and rights of all citizens.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president expanded on the role of the president. He said, "There is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy...They are: equality of opportunity for youth and for others, jobs for those who can work, security for those who need it, the ending of special privilege for the few, the preservation of civil liberties for all, the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living."
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about the presidents of the United States.
Places To Go People To See Things To Do Teacher Resources Bibliography
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about the presidents of the United States.
Travel to the boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
Visit the burial site of many presidents. President Martin Van Buren is buried in Kinderhook, New York.
Visit the library of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It has document, photographs, sound and video recordings, and other primary source materials to learn about this popular president. You can also visit Hyde Park, FDR's birthplace, and Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt's private "getaway" home during her marriage.
Virtually visit the theatre where John Wilkes Booth, an actor and ardent Confederate supporter, shot President Lincoln.
Visit the home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. He was a colorful and interesting man.
Spend time in the birthplace of William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States. He was assassinated in 1901 while visiting the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
Virtually visit the home of James Madison, the fourth president of United States. He is known as the Father of the Constitution and a chief proponent of the Bill of Rights. He was the president when the White House was burned during the War of 1812.
Travel to the most famous of presidential homes.
The Roosevelts had a summer home in Campobello, Maine. Visit it virtually and experience the walking trails, woods, beaches, and ocean shores of this beautiful area.
Sherwood Forest is the name of the home of President John Tyler. He was the first vice-president to become President after the death of a President (William Henry Harrison). This house supposedly has a ghost!
Virtually travel to the ancestral home in England of George Washington's family. The property is situated in the rural village community of Sulgrave, near to Banbury and about 30 miles from both Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford.
Sail onboard the USS Potomac. It was the official government yacht of Franklin D. Roosevelt and is now a historic landmark.
Travel to Staunton, Virgina and visit the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president. "Woodrow Wilson's first home offers an authentic picture of family life in the pre-Civil War Shenandoah Valley."
Get to know Andrew Jackson. He was the 7th president of the United States and the first president who was the target of an assassination attempt. Find out about the details.
Make the acquaintance of Dr. Samuel Mudd. He was the doctor who set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth after he escaped from Ford's Theatre. Find out what happened to Dr. Mudd as a consequence of him giving medical help to Booth.
Meet the wives of the presidents. Every president, except for bachelor James Buchanan (the 15th president), had an accomplished wife as a partner. Abigail Powers Fillmore (1798-1853) was a school teacher. She established the first library in the White House during her husband's administration.
Chat with Abe Lincoln and his forefathers. This great site has a Lincoln timeline that begins with the 1637 immigration of Abraham Lincoln's grandfather to America. The United States was at war for all but 48 days the Lincoln served as president.
William McKinley was the 25th president. President McKinley was elected to his first term in 1896. He was reelected in 1900. On September 5, 1901, he gave a speech at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, New York advocating commercial reciprocity among nations. The next day he was shot down by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz.
Mary Surrat was the first woman to be executed by the United States government after being found guilty of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. She ran the boardinghouse where John Wilkes Booth plotted the assassination. She was hanged on July 7, 1865.
Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as 26th president after the assassination of William McKinley. At 42 years of age, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president. (Kennedy was the youngest elected president, at 43.)
Visit Thomas Jefferson through this PBS site. It's based on a PBS series. You'll find student study sheets and teaching tips for using the program.
Test your presidential knowledge. This site will show you an illustration of a president and some facts about him. You choose the correct answer. You can choose your level of difficulty. This is part of the great FunBrain site.
Find out how the minimum age a person has to be in order to be elected president of the United States.
Read inaugural speeches. Whose speech was the longest? Who spoke for the shortest amount of time?
Read biographical information about all 42 presidents. Of these 42 presidents, how many of them were lawyers?
View the official portraits of each president as well as a short biography.
Count how many presidents have official presidential libraries.
Find information about every president and some of the First Ladies.
From the White House, find facts about each president. Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president ever elected.
Tokens and Treasures exhibit features gifts to U.S. presidents by American citizens and foreign heads of states.
Listen to audio files of speeches, performances, lectures, interviews, broadcasts, etc. by over 50,000 persons from all walks of life recorded over 100 years including many U.S. presidents.
- Barber, James. Presidents. New York: Dorling Kindersley Pub., c2000.
- Blassingame, Wyatt. The Look-it-up Book of Presidents. New York: Random House, 1990.
- Freidel, Frank Burt. The Presidents of the United States of America. Washington, D.C.: White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society, c1985.
- Johnson, Mary Oates. The President: America's Leader. Austin, Texas : Steck-Vaughn, 1993/
- Kessler, Paula N. The Presidents Almanac. Los Angeles: Lowell House Juvenile; Chicago: Contemporary Books, c1996.
- Krull, Kathleen. Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame, and What the Neighbors Thought. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Co., c1998.
- MacMillan, Dianne. Presidents' Day. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, c1997.
- O'Neill, Richard. Presidents of the United States. Surrey [England] : Zigzag Pub.; New York, N.Y.: Distributed by Smithmark Publishers, 1997.
- Sherrow, Victoria. The Big Book of U.S. Presidents. Philadelphia, Penn.: Courage Books, c1994.