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presidents FDR to Bush

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Our Presidents

From FDR to Bush


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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

  • 32nd President (1933—1945)

  • Democrat


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Background

  • Life

    • Born January 30, 1882 in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York

    • Died April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs Georgia

  • Family

    • Father and mother were James and Sara Roosevelt, each from wealthy old New York families, of Dutch and French ancestry

    • Had six children: Anna Eleanor, James, Franklin Delano Jr., Elliott, Franklin Delano Jr., and John Aspinwall

  • Education

    • Harvard College (graduated 1903),

    • Columbia Law School

  • Occupations

    • 1908, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn,

    • 1910-1913, New York State Senator

    • 1913-1920, Assistant Secretary of Navy under Woodrow Wilson

    • 1929-1932, Governor of New York


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Terms of Office

  • First Term (1933-1937)

    • First New Deal

      • Aimed at short-term recovery programs for all groups. The Roosevelt administration promoted or implemented banking reform laws, emergency relief programs, work relief programs, agricultural programs, and industrial reform (the National Recovery Administration NRA), and the end of the gold standard and Prohibition.

    • Second New Deal

      • Included labor union support, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) relief program, the Social Security Act, and programs to aid farmers, including tenant farmers and migrant workers. The Supreme Court ruled several programs unconstitutional; however, most were soon replaced, with the exception of the NRA. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was the last major program launched, which set maximum hours and minimum wages for most categories of workers

  • Second Term (1937-1941)

    • Little legislation was passed compared to the first term

    • Supreme Court was the main obstacle to Roosevelt's programs during his second term, overturning many of his programs

  • Third Term (1941-1945)

    • Dominated by World War II, in Europe and in the Pacific. Roosevelt slowly began re-armament in 1938 since he was facing strong isolationist sentiment.

  • Fourth Term (1945)

    • Not much accomplished due to failing health

    • Met with Farouk I, king of Egypt, and Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia. On February 14, he held a historic meeting with King Abdul-Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia


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Key Cabinet Positions


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Relationship with Congress

  • Had a favorable relationship with Congress since most of his legislation was passed

Relationship with Media

  • Positive aspects

    • Fireside Chats

      • Series of 30 evening radio speeches given from 1933 to 1944 that helped to bring a relationship with the people

  • Controversies

    • Roosevelt had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer


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Spirit of the Times

  • Great Depression

    • New Deal programs sought to stimulate demand and provide work and relief for the impoverished through increased government spending

    • The National Recovary Association

      • Set the maximum prices and wages and conditions in all industries

      • Encouraging unions that would raise wages, to 93% increase the purchasing power of the working class

      • Cutting farm production so as to raise prices and make it possible to earn a living in farming (all known as the First New Deal)

      • By 1935, the "Second New Deal" added social security the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a national relief agency; and, through the National Labor Relations Board, a strong stimulus to the growth of labor unions. Unemployment fell by two-thirds in Roosevelt's first term (from 25% to 9%, 1933 to 1937)

  • World War II

    • Roosevelt rejected the Wilsonian neutrality stance and sought ways to assist Britain and France militarily. He began a regular secret correspondence with the First Lord of Admiralty Winston Churchill in September 1939 discussing ways of supporting Britain. Roosevelt forged a close personal relationship with Churchill, who became Prime Minister of the UK in May 1940

  • Pearl Harbor Attacks

    • On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, destroying or damaging 16 warships, including most of the fleet's battleships, and killing more than 2,400 American military personnel and civilians

    • Roosevelt decided from the start that the defeat of Nazi Germany had to take priority. Roosevelt met with Churchill in late December and planned a broad informal alliance between the U.S., Britain, China and the Soviet Union, with the objectives of halting the German advances in the Soviet Union and in North Africa; launching an invasion of western Europe with the aim of crushing Nazi Germany between two fronts; and saving China and defeating Japan


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Political Party

  • FDR was a Democrat

Leadership Style

  • Inspired the nation with confidence

    • the Great Depression and World War II, Roosevelt never seemed afraid--and he was able to communicate this lack of fear to the American people

  • Great Communicator

    • He would sit at his desk to speak into the radio microphone. People felt the president was sitting in the same room with them

  • Showed sensitivity and compassion

    • Roosevelt organized a foundation to help polio stricken children fight their handicaps at Warm Springs, Georgia


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Appointees

  • President Roosevelt appointed eight Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States, more than any other President except George Washington, who appointed ten. By 1941, eight of the nine Justices were Roosevelt appointees. Harlan Fiske Stone was elevated to Chief Justice from the position of Associate Justice by Roosevelt.

    • Hugo Black – 1937

    • Stanley Forman Reed – 1938

    • Felix Frankfurter – 1939

    • William O. Douglas – 1939

    • Frank Murphy – 1940

    • Harlan Fiske Stone (Chief Justice) – 1941

    • James Francis Byrnes – 1941

    • Robert H. Jackson – 1941

    • Wiley Blount Rutledge – 1943

  • Roosevelt's appointees would not share ideologies, and some, like Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter, would become "lifelong adversaries.“Frankfurter even labeled his more liberal colleagues Rutledge, Murphy, Black, and Douglas as part of an "Axis" of opposition to his judicially conservative agenda.


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Domestic Policy

  • The New Deal

  • Did not raise income taxes before World War I began; however payroll taxes were also introduced to fund the new Social Security program in 1937. He also got Congress to spend more on many various programs and projects never before seen in American history.

  • On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which imprisoned the "Issei" (first generation of Japanese who immigrated to the US) and their children, "Nisei" (who were US citizens).


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Foreign Policy

  • The rejection of the League of Nations treaty in 1919 marked the dominance of isolationism from world organizations in American foreign policy.

  • The main foreign policy initiative of Roosevelt's first term was the Good Neighbor Policy, which was a re-evaluation of U.S. policy towards Latin America.. In December 1933, Roosevelt signed the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, renouncing the right to intervene unilaterally in the affairs of Latin American countries.

  • Congress passed the Neutrality Act, applying a mandatory ban on the shipment of arms from the U.S. to any combatant nation. Roosevelt opposed the act on the grounds that it penalized the victims of aggression such as Ethiopia, and that it restricted his right as President to assist friendly countries, but public support was overwhelming so he signed it


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History’s View & Legacy

  • Roosevelt has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest U.S. presidents in historical rankings, alongside Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

  • Roosevelt firmly established the United States' leadership role on the world stage, with pronouncements such as his Four Freedoms speech, forming a basis for the active role of the United States in the war and beyond.

  • Reflecting on Roosevelt's presidency, "which brought the United States through the Great Depression and World War II to a prosperous future", said FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith in 2007, "He lifted himself from a wheelchair to lift the nation from its knees.


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Harry S. Truman

“The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world.”

  • 33rd President (1945—1953)

  • Democrat


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Background

  • Life

    • Born on May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri

    • Died December 26, 1972 in Kansas City, Missouri due to pneumonia

  • Family

    • Son of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Young Truman

    • Married Elizabeth “Bess” Virginia Wallace

    • Had one child: Mary Margaret

  • Education

    • Independence High School (now William Chrisman High School)

    • poor eyesight prevented him from applying to West Point (his childhood dream) and financial constraints prevented him from securing a degree elsewhere.

    • He did, however, study for two years toward a law degree at the Kansas City Law School (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law) in the early 1920s.

    • Later in his life, at age 60, Truman was issued an invitation to become a member of Missouri-Kansas City's Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, which he accepted.

  • Occupations

    • Farmer

    • Businessman

    • Public Official


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Key Cabinet Positions


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Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A people that values its privileges above its principles loses both.”

  • 34th President (1953—1961)

  • Republican


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Background

  • Life

    • Born October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas

    • Died March 28, 1969 at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C

  • Family

    • Son of David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stover, of German, English and Swiss ancestry

    • Married Mamie Geneva Doud. The couple had two sons. Doud Dwight Eisenhower (died of scarlet fever) and John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower

  • Education

    • Attended Abilene High School in Abilene, Kansas and graduated with the class of 1909.

    • A friend urged him to apply to the Naval Academy but and passed the entrance exam but was too old

    • United States Military Academy at West Point

  • Occupations

    • Had a job as a night foreman at the Belle Springs Creamery to support his brother Edgar’s college education

    • Lieutenant Colonel in the National Army

    • General of the Army on December 20 1944

    • President of Columbia University

    • In December 1950, he took leave from the university when he became the Supreme Commander of NATO


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Terms of Office

  • First Term (1953-1957)

    • Eisenhower's presidency was dominated by the Cold War, the prolonged confrontation with the Soviet Union which had begun during Truman's term of office

  • Second Term (1957-1961)

    • Became increasingly involved in Middle Eastern affairs, sending troops to Lebanon in 1958, and promoting the creation of the Bagdad Pact between Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran

    • U.S. developed as a global nuclear power. On October 30, 1953, he approved security policy document NSC 162/2, which emphasized nuclear weapons above all other defense means. Nuclear weapons were seen as the most economically feasible means to deter the Soviet Union from military action against what then was called the "Free World."


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Key Cabinet Positions


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Relationship with Congress

  • Had a good relationship with Congress despite Democrats regaining control in the 1954 Senate and House elections, limiting his freedom of action on domestic policy

    • Close friends with House Speaker Sam Rayburn

Relationship with Media

  • Was the first president to use televised press conferences


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Political Party

  • Eisenhower was a Republican

Leadership Style

  • Unique aptitude for strategy and strategic planning

  • Talent for logistics and organization

  • Extraordinary ability to work with others; getting along with others, persuading , directing, encouraging, and mediating amongst them


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Appointees

  • President Eisenhower appointed five Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States

    • Earl Warren (Chief Justice) – 1953

    • John Marshall Harlan II – 1955

    • William J. Brennan – 1956

    • Charles Evans Whittaker – 1957

    • Potter Steward – 1958


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Domestic Policy

  • Like most Republican presidents, Eisenhower believed that a free enterprise economy should run itself, and he took little interest in domestic policy

  • There were three recessions during Eisenhower's administration

    • July 1953 through May 1954, August 1957 through April 1958, and April 1960 through February 1961. Eisenhower allowed the recessions to occur, to wring out the inflation of wartime

  • Launched Operation Wetback in response to increasing illegal immigration to the United States.

  • Wrote legislation that would create a Civil Rights Commission in the executive branch and a civil rights department in the Justice Department, along with protecting voting rights

    • supported the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka U.S. Supreme Court decision, in which segregated “separate but equal” schools were ruled to be unconstitutional

  • promoted the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which created the United States' Interstate Highways


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Foreign Policy

  • In 1953 Eisenhower opened relations with Spain under Fascist leader Francisco Franco. Despite its undemocratic nature, Spain's strategic position in light of the Cold War and Anti-Communist position led Eisenhower to build a trade and military alliance with the Spanish through the Pact of Madrid, ultimately bringing an end to Spain's isolation after World War II, and bringing about the Spanish Miracle

  • Eisenhower Doctrine

    • required Congress to yield its traditional war-making power to the president. The doctrine stated that the United States would use armed forces upon request in response to imminent or actual aggression to the United States. Furthermore, countries that took stances opposed to Communism would be given aid in various forms

  • Increased U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, a process which had begun under his predecessor Truman. In 1954, he sent Dulles to Geneva as a delegate to the Geneva Conference, which ended the First Indochina War and temporarily partitioned Vietnam into a Communist northern half (under Ho Chi Minh) and a non-Communist southern half (under Ngo Dinh Diem). In February 1955, Eisenhower dispatched the first American soldiers to Vietnam as military advisors to Diem's army. After Diem announced the formation of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, commonly known as South Vietnam) in October, Eisenhower immediately recognized the new state and offered military, economic, and technical assistance

  • 1960 U-2 incident

    • Occurred during the Cold War on May 1, 1960 when an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. At first, the United States government denied the plane's purpose and mission, but was forced to admit its role as a covert surveillance aircraft when the Soviet government produced its remains


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History’s View & Legacy

  • Reputation declined and he was seen as having been a "do-nothing" President. This was partly because of the contrast between Eisenhower and his young activist successor, John F. Kennedy.

  • Was criticized for his reluctance to support the civil rights movement to the degree which activists wanted, his handling of the 1960 U-2 incident, (the international embarrassment), and the Soviet Union's perceived leadership in the Arms race and the Space race

  • Since that time, however, Eisenhower's reputation has risen. In recent surveys of historians, Eisenhower often is ranked in the top 10 among all US Presidents.


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John F. Kennedy

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

  • 35th President (1961—1963)

  • Democrat


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Background

  • Life

    • Born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline Massachusetts

    • Assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas

  • Family

    • Son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr and Rose Fitzgerald

    • Married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier

    • Had three children: Carolina Bouvier, John Fitzgerald, Jr. and Patrick Bouvier

  • Education

    • Harvard College (graduated 1940)

  • Occupations

    • Author

    • U.S. Navy Officer

    • Journalist

    • Public Official


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Lyndon B. Johnson

“There is no issue of States’ rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for Human rights.”

  • 36th President (1963—1969)

  • Democrat


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Background

  • Life

    • Born on August 27, 1908 near Stonewall, Texas

    • Died on January 22, 1973, two days after Nixon's second Inaugural, from a third heart attack at his ranch

  • Family

    • Son of Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines

    • Married Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor

    • Had two children: Lynda Bird and Luci Baines

  • Education

    • Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University-San Marcos), graduated in 1930

    • Georgetown Law School, attended in1934

  • Occupations

    • Teacher

    • Public Official


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Richard M. Nixon

“The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

  • 37th President (1969—1974)

  • Republican


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Background

  • Life

    • Born January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California

    • Died on April 13, 1994 from a severe stroke in his home at Park Ridge, New Jersey

  • Family

    • Son of Francis A. Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon

    • Married Thelma "Patricia" Catherine Ryan

    • Had two children: Patricia and Julie

  • Education

    • Whittier College (1934)

    • Duke University Law School (1937)

  • Occupations

    • Lawyer

    • Public Official


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Gerald Ford

“May our third century be illuminated by liberty and blessed with brotherhood.”

  • 38th President (1974—1977)

  • Republican


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Background

  • Life

    • Born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. on July 14, 1913, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska

    • Died at the age of 93 on December 26, 2006 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California of arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease and diffuse arteriosclerosis

  • Family

    • His father was Leslie Lynch King, Sr. a wool trader and his mother was the Dorothy Ayer Gardner. Parents separated just 16 days after his birth. Mother married Gerald Rudolff Ford and was renamed Gerald Rudolff Ford, Jr.

    • Ford married Elizabeth Bloomer Warren, a department store fashion consultant and former model

    • Had four children (Michael Gerald, John Gardner, Steven Meigs, and Susan Elizabeth)

  • Education

    • Attended Grand Rapids South High School

    • Attended University of Michigan as an undergraduate

    • Turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the NFL in order to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school.

  • Occupations

    • Served 13 terms as US House of Representatives

    • House Minority Leader

    • Vice President


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Terms of Office

  • First and only term (1974-1977)

    • He served 29 months as President until January 20, 1977 and presided over what were then the worst economic times since the 1930s, as the cost of living rose higher than at any time since the collapse of the Confederate dollar.

    • Pardoned Nixon from the Watergate Scandal

    • Survived two assassination attempts


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Key Cabinet Positions


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Relationship with Congress

  • The Ford administration battled repeatedly with Congress over tax cuts, federal spending, and energy policy, weakening the President politically

Relationship with Media

  • Ford’s support from the media dwindled when he pardoned former president Nixon


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Spirit of the Times

  • Yom Kippur War

    • October 6 to October 26, 1973 by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel. The war began with a surprise joint attack by Egypt and Syria on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. Egypt and Syria crossed the cease-fire lines in the Sinai and Golan Heights, respectively, which had been captured by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War


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Spirit of the Times

  • Yom Kippur War

    • October 6 to October 26, 1973 by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel. The war began with a surprise joint attack by Egypt and Syria on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. Egypt and Syria crossed the cease-fire lines in the Sinai and Golan Heights, respectively, which had been captured by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War


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Political Party

  • Ford was a Republican

Leadership Style

  • Confidence in American citizens

    • Devoted to constitutional heritage, that helped him assume the burdens of the Oval Office in the wake of Nixon's downfall.  He immediately set about restoring confidence in the presidency and healing the wounds of the nation. 

  • Compromiser

    • Willing to work in good faith with those with whom he differed to get things done

  • Self-Control

    • Became the man who could calm the nation down, especially during the great financial recession


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Appointees

  • President Ford appointed John Paul Stevens to replace the retiring Justice William O. Douglass

    • John Paul Stevens (Associate Justice) – 1975


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Domestic Policy

  • In response to rising inflation, which he believed was caused by overconsumption, he went before the American public in October 1974 and asked them to "Whip Inflation Now." As part of this program, he urged people to wear "WIN" buttons and spend less

  • The economic focus began to change as the country sank into a mild recession, and in March 1975, Congress passed and Ford signed into law income tax rebates as part of the Tax Reduction Act of 1975 to boost the economy

  • Signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which established special education throughout the United States


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Foreign Policy

  • As the North Vietnamese invaded and conquered the South in 1975, Ford ordered the final withdrawal of American civilians from Vietnam in 'Operation Frequent Wind', and the subsequent fall of Saigon

  • Continued the détente policy with both the Soviet Union and China, easing the tensions of the Cold War.

  • The conduct of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) came under increased scrutiny during Ford's presidency. The Watergate scandal revealed that the CIA had conducted domestic operations, a violation of its mandate. When the press learned that the CIA had conducted an internal study of its activities—nicknamed the "Family Jewels"—and that the report acknowledged CIA spying on American citizens and attempted assassinations of foreign leaders, a public fury erupted


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History’s View & Legacy

  • Presidency then was marked by three elements

    • Faced extraordinary challenges, especially involving the nation's economic woes, which he struggled to solve

    • Had difficulty navigating a demanding political environment in which Democrats (from across the ideological spectrum) and conservative Republicans found fault with his leadership and his foreign and domestic policies.

    • Americans, by and large, believed that Gerald Ford was an innately decent and good man and that he would (and did) bring honor to the White House. Although this sentiment proved too little to bring Ford to victory in 1976, it is an assessment that most Americans and scholars still find valid in the years after his presidency


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Jimmy Carter

“Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities.”

  • 39th President (1977—1981)

  • Democrat


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Background

  • Life

    • Born October 1, 1924, Plains, Georgia

    • Still Alive (unfortunately)

  • Family

    • Son of James Earl Carter and Bessie Lillian Gordy

    • Children : John William , James Earl III, Donnel Jeffrey, and Amy Lynn

  • Education

    • Georgia Southwestern College, 1941-1942

    • Georgia Institute of Technology, 1942-1943

    • United States Naval Academy, 1943-1946 (class of 1947)

    • Union College, 1952-1953

  • Occupations

    • Soldier

    • Farmer

    • Warehouseman

    • Public Official

    • Professor


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Terms of Office

  • First and only term (1977-1981)

    • Tenure was a time of continuing inflation and recession, the energy crisis. While attempting to calm various conflicts around the World, most visibly in the Mid-East, the final year of his administration was marred by the Iran hostage crisis


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Key Cabinet Positions

  • Other cabinet-level and high posts

  • White House Chief of Staff

    • Hamilton Jordan (1979-1980)

    • Jack H. Watson (1980-1981)

  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget

    • Bert Lance (1977)

    • James T. McIntyre (1977-1981)

  • United States Trade Representative

    • Robert S. Strauss (1977-1979)

    • Reubin O'Donovan Askew (1979-1981)

  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

    • John Quarles, Jr. (1977, acting)

    • Douglas M. Costle (1977-1981)

  • United States Ambassador to the United Nations

    • Andrew Young (1977-1979)

    • Donald McHenry (1979-1981)


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Relationship with Congress

  • Great inability to make deals with Congress

    • Congress refused to pass major provisions of his consumer protection bill and his labor reform package

Relationship with Media

  • Relatively good relationship


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Spirit of the Times

  • Operation Cyclone

    • The code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm the Afghan mujahedeen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989

  • Iran Hostage Crisis

    • The Iranian Revolution broke out in Iran and the Shah was overthrown. The shah went into permanent exile but was refused entry into the U.S. by Carter, even on the grounds of medical emergency. Carter finally granted him entry and temporary asylum for his cancer treatment. In response to the Shah’s entry into the U.S., Iranian militants seized the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. The Iranians demanded:

      • The return of the Shah to Iran for trial

      • Thee return of the Shah's wealth to the Iranian people

      • An admission of guilt by the United States for its past actions in Iran, plus an apology

      • A promise from the United States not to interfere in Iran's affairs in the future


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Political Party

  • Carter was a Democrat

Leadership Style

  • Although often been described as a weak and ineffective President, he played a pivotal role in transforming the American Vice Presidency to a position with the potential for substantive significance independent of any succession crisis.

    • President Carter drew upon certain characteristics of his leadership style, including his ability for dispassionate analysis, his commitment to decision-making based on intensive fact-gathering, and his sense of personal security and self-confidence

    • Even as he conducted a less imperial Presidency in reaction to the excesses of the Johnson and Nixon years, Carter supported the development of a much more robust Vice Presidency.

    • Carter helped to establish new conditions which mitigated some of the factors which had produced tensions between some prior Presidents and their Vice Presidents and which had played an important role in inhibiting Carter's predecessors from making better use of their running mates


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Appointees

  • Had no opportunity to appoint any justices to the Supreme Court of the United States, but managed to appoint 56 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 203 judges to the United States district courts.

  • Also experienced a small number of judicial appointment controversies, as three of his nominees for different federal appellate judgeships were not processed by the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee before Carter's presidency ended.


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Domestic Policy

  • Reorganization efforts separated the Department of Health, Education and Welfare into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. He signed into law a major Civil Service Reform, the first in over 100 years

  • Carter was one of the first presidents to address the topic of gay rights. He opposed The Briggs Initiative, a California ballot measure that would have banned gays and supporters of gay rights from being public school teachers

  • Carter signed legislation greatly increasing the payroll tax for Social Security, and appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to government and judiciary jobs. He also initiated a comprehensive urban policy

  • Convinced the Democratic Congress to create the United States Department of Energy with the goal of conserving energy

  • When the energy market exploded– an occurrence Carter tried to avoid during his term – he was planning on delivering his fifth major speech on energy; however, he felt that the American people were no longer listening. Carter went to Camp David for ten days to meet with governors, mayors, religious leaders, scientists, economists and citizens


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Foreign Policy

  • During his first month in office, he cut the defense budget by $6 billion. One of his first acts was to order the unilateral removal of all nuclear weapons from South Korea and announce his intention to cut back the number of US troops stationed there

  • Initially departed from the long-held policy of containment toward the Soviet Union. In its place, Carter promoted a foreign policy that put human rights at the front. This was a break from the policies of several predecessors, in which human rights abuses were often overlooked if they were committed by a nation that was allied with the United States

  • Carter continued the policy of Richard Nixon to normalize relations with the People's Republic of China by granting them full diplomatic and trade relations

  • One of the most controversial moves of Carter's presidency was the final negotiation and signature of the Panama Canal Treaties in September 1977. Those treaties, which essentially would transfer control of the American-built Panama Canal to the nation of Panama, were bitterly opposed by a majority of the American public and by the Republican Party

  • Key foreign policy issue Carter worked laboriously on was the SALT II Treaty, which reduced the number of nuclear arms produced and/or maintained by both the United States and the Soviet Union


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History’s View & Legacy

  • Much more highly regarded today than when he was in the presidency

  • Carter revived a long-dormant practice of presidential mediation in disputes between other nations, something every succeeding chief executive has emulated to varying degrees. His insistence on American leadership in the protection of human rights around the world helped to subvert the power of communist and other dictatorial regimes, and eventually led to the human rights initiatives of the 1980s and 1990s

  • His stubborn independence, a great asset while climbing to the presidency, was in many ways his downfall once he attained the office. His refusal to engage in a give and take with Congress; the ill-conceived boycott of the Olympic Games; his inability to use force effectively to resolve the crisis in Iran; his inability to build coalitions and to be flexible in dealings with friends and foes. These varied characteristics combined to brand him as ineffectual.


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Ronald Reagan

“As long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours.”

  • 40th President (1981—1989)

  • Republican


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Background

  • Life

    • Born February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois

    • Died on June 5, 2004 at his home in Bel Air, California

  • Family

    • Born to John "Jack" Reagan and Nelle Wilson Reagan

    • Jane Wyman (divorced) and Nancy Davis

    • Had four children Maureen Elizabeth, Michael Edward, Patricia Ann, and Ronald Prescott

  • Education

    • Eureka College (1932)

  • Occupations

    • Actor

    • Public Official


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George H. W. Bush

“America is never herself unless she is engaged in high moral principal.”

  • 41st President (1981—1989)

  • Republican


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Background

  • Life

    • Born June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts

    • Still Alive

  • Family

    • Born to Senator Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush

    • Married Barbara Pierce

    • Had six children George W., Robin, John Ellis "Jeb" , Neil , Marvin , and Dorothy "Doro"

  • Education

    • Yale University (1948)

  • Occupations

    • Businessman

    • Public official


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Terms of Office

  • First and only term (1989-1993)

    • He entered office at a period of change in the world; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Union came early in his presidency.

    • He ordered military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf and, at one point, was recorded as having a record-high approval rating of 89%.

    • However, economic recession and breaking his "no new taxes" pledge caused a sharp decline in his approval rating, and Bush was defeated in the 1992 election.


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Key Cabinet Positions


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Relationship with Congress

  • Relationship was strained when he supported Democratic legislation and alienated Republican legislation

  • This led to a sharp decrease and dislike from the Republicans

Relationship with Media

  • The relationship with the media was average


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Spirit of the Times

  • Cold War

    • Helped the United States navigate the end of the Cold War and a new era in U.S.-Soviet relations

  • U.S. Invasion on Panama

  • Persian Gulf War

    • He also led an international coalition of countries which successfully forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War


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Political Party

  • Bush was a Republican

Leadership Style

  • Cautious

    • Bush came into office promising continuity with the Reagan years and proceeded cautiously

    • He did not advocate radical change or announce sweeping domestic programs


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Appointees

  • President Bush appointed David Souter and Clarence Thomas

    • David Souter 1990)

    • Clarence Thomas (1991)

      • Confirmation process involved allegations of sexual harassment by Thomas but the United States Senate confirmed Thomas in a 52-48 vote on October 15, 1991


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Domestic Policy

  • Federal Budget

    • When Bush took office in 1989, the federal budget debt stood at $2.8 trillion, three times larger than it had been in 1980. This financial situation severely limited the President's ability to enact major domestic programs

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act

    • Bush signed two significant pieces of domestic legislation during his tenure. The first was the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which forbade discrimination based on disability in employment, public accommodations, and transportation.

  • Clean Air Act

    • Bush took the lead with the other significant piece of domestic legislation he signed while in office: the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990


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Foreign Policy

  • End of the Cold War and Changing U.S.-Soviet Relations

    • When Bush became President in 1989, the United States had already begun to see a thawing of relations with the Soviet Union. As vice president, he attended the December 1988 summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Bush spoke of softening relations in his inaugural address, claiming that "a new breeze is blowing," and adding that "great nations of the world are moving toward democracy through the door to freedom

  • Persian Gulf War

    • On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded its neighbor Kuwait. Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq, had long held designs on Kuwait's land, wealth, and oil. Although intelligence agencies had watched Iraq's military buildup along its border with Kuwait, both the United States and Iraq's Arab neighbors did not believe that Hussein had plans to invade the small country to its south. But they misread Hussein's intentions. The invasion violated international law, and the Bush administration was alarmed at the prospect of Iraq controlling Kuwait's oil resources.

  • German Unification

    • Events in 1989 moved along at such a rapid pace that President Bush's natural inclination toward gradual change was severely challenged


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History’s View & Legacy

  • Came into the presidency as one of the most qualified candidates to assume the office having a long career in both domestic politics and foreign affairs

  • Bush was unsuccessful in reelection because he failed to provide change and focused more on foreign affairs rather than the economy that was failing right before him

  • He lead the United States through a period of geopolitical transition and although the Bush administration often had little control over the unfolding of world events, its responses helped avoid chaos


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Bill Clinton

“There is nothing wrong in America that cannot be cured by what is right in America.”

  • 42nd President (1993—2001)

  • Democrat


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Background

  • Life

    • Born August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas

    • Still alive

  • Family

    • Son of William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. (died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born) and Virginia Dell Cassidy. Mother remarried to Roger Clinton.

    • Married Hillary Rodham

    • Had one child: Chelsea Victoria

  • Education

    • Georgetown University (1968)

    • Oxford University (1968-1970)

    • Yale Law School (1973)

  • Occupations

    • Lawyer

    • Public official


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George W. Bush

“The price of indifference would be catastrophic.”

  • 43rd President (2001--2009)

  • Republican


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Background

  • Life

    • Born July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut

    • Still alive

  • Family

    • Son of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Pierce

    • Married Laura Welch

    • Had two children: Barbara and Jenna

  • Education

    • Yale (B.S., 1968)

    • Harvard (M.B.A., 1975)

  • Occupations

    • Businessman

    • Public official


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Key Cabinet Positions


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