United States Presidents 32-44
Democrat • Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves. • He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Roosevelt created a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed. • Also sought through neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the war in Europe, yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened or attacked. • When France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he began to send Great Britain all possible aid short of actual military involvement.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only American president to be elected four times and the first American president to be inaugurated in January (1937). After FDR, the 22nd Amendment ratified in 1951, limited the presidential office to two terms. • FDR was the first president whose mother was eligible to vote for him.• Roosevelt was paralyzed from the disease polio; he served his entire presidency without the use of legs.
Democrat • During his few weeks as Vice President, Harry S Truman scarcely saw President Roosevelt, and received no briefing on the development of the atomic bomb or the unfolding difficulties with Soviet Russia. • Suddenly these and a host of other wartime problems became Truman's to solve when, on April 12, 1945, he became President. He told reporters, "I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."
As President, Truman made some of the most crucial decisions in history. Soon after V-E Day, the war against Japan had reached its final stage. • An urgent plea to Japan to surrender was rejected. Truman, after consultations with his advisers, ordered atomic bombs dropped on cities devoted to war work. Two were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japanese surrender quickly followed.
• Harry S. Truman was the first president to travel underwater in a submarine.• Truman was the first president to give a speech on television.• Harry Truman use to get up at 5 o'clock in the morning to practice the piano for two hours
Republican • In domestic policy the President pursued a middle course, continuing most of the New Deal and Fair Deal programs, emphasizing a balanced budget. • As desegregation of schools began, he sent troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, to assure compliance with the orders of a Federal court; he also ordered the complete desegregation of the Armed Forces. "There must be no second class citizens in this country," he wrote.
Dwight Eisenhower was in charge of the D-Day invasion during World War II.• Eisenhower played football at West Point and was injured trying to tackle Olympic and NFL star Jim Thorpe. • Eisenhower was the only president to serve in both World War I & World War II.
Democrat • Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. • His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society. • He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. • With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained
Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a band of Cuban exiles, already armed and trained, to invade their homeland. • The attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro was a failure. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union renewed its campaign against West Berlin. Kennedy replied by reinforcing the Berlin garrison and increasing the Nation's military strength, including new efforts in outer space. • Confronted by this reaction, Moscow, after the erection of the Berlin Wall, relaxed its pressure in central Europe.
Instead, the Russians now sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. • When this was discovered by air reconnaissance in October 1962, Kennedy imposed a quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. • While the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians backed down and agreed to take the missiles away. The American response to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail.
John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president and the first president born in the 20th century.• JFK was the first president to hold a press conference on television.• JFK was the youngest American elected president and the youngest to die in office
Democrat • The Great Society program became Johnson's agenda for Congress in January 1965: aid to education, attack on disease, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, a wide-scale fight against poverty, control and prevention of crime and delinquency, removal of obstacles to the right to vote. • Congress, at times augmenting or amending, rapidly enacted Johnson's recommendations. Millions of elderly people found succor through the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act.
Vice President Johnson was riding two cars behind President Kennedy's car when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Johnson was administered the presidential oath aboard Air Force One.• Before becoming a politician, Lyndon Johnson taught school in Texas.• Johnson was the first American president to name an African American to his cabinet.
Republican • Reconciliation was the first goal set by President Richard M. Nixon. • The Nation was painfully divided, with turbulence in the cities and war overseas. • During his Presidency, Nixon succeeded in ending American fighting in Viet Nam and improving relations with the U.S.S.R. and China. But the Watergate scandal brought fresh divisions to the country and ultimately led to his resignation.
Nixon was the first president to visit all 50 states and the first president to visit China. • Richard Nixon talked to astronauts on the moon from the White House by radio-telephone on July 21, 1969.• Nixon is the only U.S. president to resign.
Republican • When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts." • It was indeed an unprecedented time. • He had been the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was succeeding the first President ever to resign
• Gerald Ford became vice president and president without being elected to either office. • Ford once worked as a fashion model. • Ford is the only president who was employed by the National Park Service. He served as a Yellowstone park ranger in 1936.
Democrat • Carter worked hard to combat the continuing economic woes of inflation and unemployment. • By the end of his administration, he could claim an increase of nearly eight million jobs and a decrease in the budget deficit, measured in percentage of the gross national product. • Unfortunately, inflation and interest rates were at near record highs, and efforts to reduce them caused a short recession.
Jimmy Carter was the first president born in a hospital. • Carter studied nuclear physics at Annapolis. • Carter was a speed reader, having been recorded reading 2,000 words per minute.
Republican • At the end of his two terms in office, Ronald Reagan viewed with satisfaction the achievements of his innovative program known as the Reagan Revolution, which aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon Government. • He felt he had fulfilled his campaign pledge of 1980 to restore "the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism."
At age 69, Ronald Reagan became the oldest person ever elected U.S. president.• Reagan was twice named TIME magazine's "Man of the Year."• Ronald Reagan was the first actor elected president. He acted in 53 films before becoming president.
Republican • George Bush brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States "a kinder and gentler nation." • In his Inaugural Address he pledged in "a moment rich with promise" to use American strength as "a force for good."
George Bush was the first vice president elected president since Martin Van Buren and also the first vice president to lose re-election since Van Buren.• Bush is distantly related to Presidents Pierce, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ford, and Winston Churchill.• George Bush was one of the youngest U.S. naval carrier pilots in the WWII Pacific Theatre.
Democrat • During the administration of William Jefferson Clinton, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time in its history. • He was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term.
He could point to the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country's history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare rolls. • He proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. • As part of a plan to celebrate the millennium in 2000, Clinton called for a great national initiative to end racial discrimination.
As a delegate to Boys Nation while in high school, Clinton met President Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden in 1962. The encounter led him to enter a life of public service. • Bill Clinton was the first president to be a Rhodes Scholar. • Clinton was the first U.S. Democratic president to win reelection since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Republican • Since his election to the Presidency in 2000, President Bush has worked to extend freedom, opportunity, and security at home and abroad. His first initiative as President was the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan measure that raised standards in schools, insisted on accountability in return for federal dollars, and led to measurable gains in achievement – especially among minority students.
Faced with a recession when he took office, President Bush cut taxes for every federal income taxpayer, which helped set off an unprecedented 52 straight months of job creation. • And President Bush modernized Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit, a reform that provided access to needed medicine for 40 million seniors and other beneficiaries.
First son of a president to become president since John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams.• Pilot in the Texas Air National Guard from 1968 until 1973.• First managing general partner of a Major League baseball team (Texas Rangers) to become president.
Democrat • Barack Obama’s presidential legacy is in the process of being determined. • Most notable legislation to date: Health Care reforms.
First African American to be elected president. • Winner of 2 Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word Album; Dreams for My Father (2005) and Audicity of Hope (2008).