3 | Survey of U.S. Presidents

15 December, 2017 - 127 min read

What / Why?

One of my APUSH high school assignments involved outlining the lives of all the U.S. presidents (omitting the example outline of Washington and president-elect-at-the-time Trump). I found this assignment pretty valuable and have found myself searching back through school Google Drives searching for specific tidbits here and there, so this post resolves that issue by consolidating the multiple assignments into one document for my ease of use.

This is another post that is more self-serving for myself rather than of interest for other viewers.

Table of Contents

John Adams

Early Life

  • Born October 30th, 1735, Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Graduated Harvard 1755, later studied law

Career Before Presidency

  • Worked as a lawyer

    • Represented British soldiers of the Boston Massacre
  • Recognized for his dedication towards the Independence cause

    • Selected to be a delegate at both Continental Congresses (1774-1777)
  • Diplomat to France during the Revolutionary War (1778-1788)

    • Helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris
  • Vice President to George Washington
  • Eleventh Amendment - Restricted the authority of Federal courts

    • Ratified February 7th, 1795 because of Supreme Court Case Chisholm v. Georgia
    • Prevents Federal courts from presiding over disputes between a person and the state


  • 1797

    • Federalist party nominee, along with Thomas Pinckney
    • His affiliation With Washington gave him an edge over Jefferson
    • Narrowly wins over Democratic-Republican Jefferson who became his Vice President


  • Struggled with international relations because of conflict in and with France
  • XYZ Affair

    • French custom of requiring bribes in commercial relations, Americans insulted
  • Alien and Sedition Acts passed not only due to XYZ Affair, but also to weaken the Democratic-Republicans

    • Alien Act:

      • Power to deport foreigners
      • Restrict immigrants voting rights – tended to vote in favor of Democratic-Republicans
    • Sedition act: prohibited opposition of government
  • Kentucky and Virginia resolutions: passed by Republicans to challenge legitimacy of the Alien and Sedition Acts

    • Leads to nullification later down the road
  • Fries’s Rebellion

    • To fund military growth in response to XYZ Affair, congress passed heavy taxes
    • Farmers in Pennsylvania rebel against increasing the size of the military
    • Adams pardons all involved the night before the election
  • Quasi War with France

    • Conflicts at sea as French privateers antagonize American trade ships
    • Led America to strengthen naval capability
    • France, not wanting war either, offers to accept the previously insulting envoy (XYZ) respectfully
    • Adams loses popularity due to his efforts as peaceful resolution being perceived as submissive

      • Divides party - Hamilton condemns the way Adams handled undeclared naval wars with France

Life After Presidency

  • Retires to family farm in Quincy, Massachusetts
  • Continued political influence via letters and political commentaries until death
  • Maintained extensive correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, political rival
  • Died same day as Jefferson: July 4th, 1826

Thomas Jefferson

Early Life

  • Born in 1743, in Albermarle County, Virginia
  • Born into a wealthy, plantation owning family
  • Graduated from William & Mary, then studied law

Career Before Presidency

  • Selected to be a delegate at both Continental Congresses
  • Wrote the Declaration of Independence
  • Minister to France after Benjamin Franklin (1785)
  • Elected governor of Virginia
  • Secretary of State for George Washington

    • Tensions between he and Hamilton led him to resign in 1793, eventually became leader of Democratic-Republican party
  • Wrote the Kentucky Resolution (1798)


  • 1800 - “Revolution of 1800” - First peaceful transfer of power from opposing political ideologies

    • Adams’ actions at the end of his term weakened Federalist party
    • Jefferson’s unified party was stronger than the Federalists
    • Hamilton endorses Jefferson, turning the tables in Jefferson’s favor
  • 1804

    • Landslide victory against disjointed Federalists who nominate Pinckney


  • Repeal of Alien and Sedition Acts

    • Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions never put to the test
  • Marbury vs. Madison (1803)

    • Adams fills government vacancies with Federalists right before the transition of power to Jefferson
    • Jefferson doesn’t acknowledge them, and fills them with his own selections
    • Result: John Marshall establishes judicial review by backing Jefferson’s decision, but still strengthening the Federal Government
  • Louisiana Purchase (1803)

    • Jefferson conflicted: Strict-constructionism would not allow the executive branch to purchase land, but an agrarian driven, Democratic-Republican would
    • Workaround by acquiring land through a treaty
  • Barbary Pirates

    • Jefferson stopped paying bribes to pirates of North Africa, causing a conflict
    • Led to expansion of the US Navy
  • Napoleonic Wars hurting American economy

    • British impressment → state sponsored kidnapping of American sailors
    • America still too small to go to war over the issue, Jefferson enacts a boycott of all trade
  • Embargo Act - closes all foreign trade

    • Immediate harm to economy
    • Long term benefits, Americans are forced to rely on their own ability to produce
  • Non-Intercourse Act - re-opens trade with all nations but the still-quarrelling France and England
  • Twelfth Amendment

    • Ratified on June 15th, 1804
    • Changed the election of Vice President from being the second place candidate for President, to being the winner of a separate ballot specifically for Vice President House of Representatives votes on president if there’s no electoral majority Continues Washington’s precedent of two terms, endorses James Madison, his Secretary of State, as next president

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to his home, Monticello
  • Continued to publish his commentary on American politics as well
  • Wrote letters to his political opponent, John Adams
  • Died July 4th, 1826

James Madison

Early Life

  • Born march 16th, 1751, in Orange County, Virginia
  • Large plantation mansion, Montpelier
  • Graduated Princeton and later studied law

Career Before Presidency

  • Authored the Virginia Plan with Jefferson - groundwork for the Constitution

    • Earned him the title of “Father of the Constitution”
  • Youngest delegate in the Continental Congress
  • One of the three authors of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution
  • Authored the Virginia Resolution (nullifying the Alien and Sedition Acts)
  • Jefferson’s Secretary of State


  • 1808

    • Federalist rise again in outrage of Jefferson’s economic decisions delaying the War of 1812
    • Madison still wins over Pinckney by a lot
  • 1812

    • Request to go to war with Britain passed by Congress - guaranteeing his re-election


  • Macon’s Bill No. 2

    • Offered preferential trade to either France or Britain
    • Napoleon agrees to stop antagonizing American ships

      • Napoleon is a liar, doesn’t cease to the expected extent
    • Britain increases their aggression in response
  • War of 1812

    • Pressured by Warhawks

      • Continued impressment
      • Violation of declared naval neutrality by both French and British
      • Nationalism giving pro-war supporters confidence in the young nation’s military capability
    • Unprepared, British take Washington; burn the Capitol building and the White House (1814)
    • Britain employs Native Americans - Tecumseh & the Prophet
    • Andrew Jackson’s victory in New Orleans after the war is over made Americans feel like they won
  • Hartford Convention - Northern Federalists against War of 1812
  • The “American System”

    • Protective tariffs to force internal commerce
    • Increased infrastructure to benefit domestic trade (roads)
    • Recharter of the Bank of the United States

      • Met with Democratic-Republican opposition, re-charter put on hold
      • War of 1812 is expensive, especially without federal loans or government credit
      • Eventually rechartered in 1816

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to his childhood estate - Montpelier
  • Spoke in advocacy of the Union against the radical states until death
  • Died June 28th, 1836

James Monroe

Early Life

  • Born in 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia
  • Graduated from William & Mary

Career Before Presidency

  • Officer of the Continental Army under George Washington
  • Worked as a Lawyer in Virginia with Jefferson
  • Delegate in the Continental Congress (1783)
  • Elected Senator of Virginia in 1790
  • Elected Governor of Virginia in 1799
  • Minister to France (1794-1796)
  • Purchased the Louisiana Territory
  • Secretary of State and Secretary of War to James Madison


  • 1816

    • Endorsed by President Madison, continued Republican legacy
    • No formal Federalist nomination
  • 1820

    • Easily re-elected since Federalist party had continued to weaken


  • “Era of Good Feelings” tour

    • Traveled around the nation visiting citizens
    • Interacted with the people, helped break down the separation from the average man and politics
  • Spanish Florida (1818)

    • Monroe sends war hero: General Andrew Jackson to deal with Seminole Indians who were attacking American settlements
    • Jackson takes two Spanish Forts, leads to American acquisition of Florida
    • Adams-Onis Treaty

      • America gains Florida, Oregon, and Louisiana Territory
      • Spain gains Texas... for now, as well as $5 Million
  • Convention of 1818

    • Shared Oregon territory with Britain
    • Established U.S. - Canadian Border at 49th parallel
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) - Legitimized the National Bank and prevented states from taxing them as well as other federal institutions
  • Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) - Ruled that states could not interfere with contracts between private groups
  • Panic of 1819

    • Economic growth followed by a slight decline resulted in artificial depression, causing an actual crisis
  • Missouri Compromise (1820)

    • Allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state
    • Separated Massachusetts into two states, creating Maine as a free state to maintain balance
    • Laid out rules for determining all future states-slave/free status

      • Southern border of Missouri is Northern border of slavery for future westward territories
      • Short term benefit for South → Florida (closer to statehood than unsettled West)
      • Long term benefit for North → More unorganized North West Territory
  • Cohens v. Virginia (1821)

    • Re-established the authority of the Supreme Court of state court rulings
    • Supreme Court, not just “the big court”
  • Monroe Doctrine (1823) - Passed partly to retain Florida from a European alliance

    • Declaration of neutrality to Europe
    • Britain backs their request that European nations not intervene in Latin America or Russia

      • The rest of Europe follows Britain’s lead
  • Johnson v. McIntosh (1823)

    • Ruled in favor of McIntosh’s later claim to land also purchased by Johnson who had since died, as McIntosh purchased the land from Congress and Johnson bought the land from Indians
    • Federal government reserved the “sole right” to purchase land from Indians

Life After Presidency

  • Retired with wife to his Oak Hill estate in Loudoun County, Virginia
  • Suffered financial problems
  • Was a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of virginia
  • President of the Virginia Constitutional Convention
  • Died July 4th, 1831

James Quincy Adams

Early Life

  • Born on July 11, 1767, in Braintree Massachusetts
  • Son of President John Adams
  • Grew Up in Europe during his father’s service as French Minister
  • Graduated from Harvard

Career Before Presidency

  • Studied and practiced Law
  • Secretary to his father throughout negotiations of the peace treaty of the American Revolution
  • Served as Minister to the Netherlands
  • Senator of Massachusetts
  • Minister to Prussia
  • Minister to Russia
  • Helped negotiate peace treaty of War of 1812 (1814)
  • Served as Secretary of State under Monroe

    • Adams-Onis treaty


  • 1824

    • Democratic-Republican party was the only real party
    • 4 contenders: Adams, Jackson, Clay, and Crawford - no one won a majority of electoral votes
    • “Corrupt Bargain”

      • Clay drops out, giving support to Adams
      • Wins by one vote
      • Clay becomes Secretary of State
    • Jackson’s Supporters make up the Democratic party, oppose everything Adams does for his term


  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) - Denied states the power to regulate commerce, including transportation, reserving that power for Congress
  • Continued to support the American System

    • Although Democratic-Republican, Adams was a Federalist
    • Made efforts to utilize his power in the executive branch to develop education and infrastructure
  • Tariff of Abominations (1828)

    • Protective Tariff that harmed the South by taxing the British textile market
    • Jacksonians align with South and antagonize Adams decisions
    • Occurred towards end of his term, ultimately ending his presidency
  • Panama Convention

    • Newly independent Central American countries convened to rally support against European intervention
    • South voted against sending delegates as they new republics were anti-slavery

Life After Presidency

  • Elected Governor of Massachusetts (1830-1848)

    • One of the largest anti-slavery advocates in Congress
  • Helped get a $500,000 donation that would fund the Smithsonian Institution
  • Had a stroke on the floor of the house on February 21st,1848, died two days later

Andrew Jackson

Early Life

  • Born March 15th, 1767, in the Waxhaw settlement on the border of the Carolinas
  • Studied law on his own briefly
  • Fought in the Revolutionary War
  • Killed a man in a duel in defense of Rachel, his wife’s, honor

Career Before Presidency

  • Successful lawyer in Tennessee
  • First Tennessee House Representative
  • Senator of Tennessee
  • As a General during the War of 1812, he led ragtag military force and defeated British in New Orleans, making him a war hero
  • Monroe’s Mission

    • Pursued Seminole Indians into Florida
    • Ambiguous instructions led to him capturing two Spanish Forts


  • 1824 - Most popular single candidate, but lost due to corrupt bargain
  • 1828 - President of the Common Man

    • Wife dies after election, seemingly as a result of the slanderous campaign jabs
    • His election saw the formation of a Second Party System

      • Democrats (Jacksonians)
      • National Republicans (Whigs)
  • 1832

    • Issue of the National Bank

      • Webster and Clay gamble on the people being in favor of the Bank/against Jackson’s vetoing
      • Backfires, Jackson wins easily and the bank dies in 1836


  • “To the victor go the spoils” - gets more people involved in politics

    • Legitimized the process of replacing government officials with allies/advisors
    • Believed government positions should rotate to suit those most qualified rather than aristocratic loyalty
  • Modified Electoral College (felt cheated by election of 1824)

    • More people voting because their vote matters more (white, male people)
  • Ended the American System (which was causing sectionalism) by vetoing bills focused on transportation
  • Nullification Crisis - Jackson’s stance: Union is paramount, nullification is treason

    • Calhoun suggests as an alternative to secession for South Carolina which opposed the harsh tariffs (Tariff of Abominations and 1832)
    • Calhoun resigns as Vice President to become South Carolina Senator

      • Van Beuren replaces him
    • Robert Hayne elected governor to South Carolina
    • Super stacking the “nullificators” in South Carolina
  • Jackson authorizes the Force Bill allowing military force to be used to enforce Federal Law
  • Henry Clay resolves situation with Compromise of 1833

    • Reducing tariffs
    • South Carolina repeals Nullification
  • Indian Removal

    • Being a man of the frontier, Jackson interacted with Indians a lot growing up
    • White supremacy of the time facilitated the manipulation of Tribes westward
    • Although many Tribes exhibited similar traits of civilized society, Jackson did not consider them sovereign states
    • Had government pay for Tribes to move across the Mississippi

      • Execution was poor, corrupt people backed by government authority harassed tribes
    • Supreme Court sides with Natives

      • Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1832) - Tribes are internal independent nations,
      • Worcester v. Georgia (1832) - Tribes are sovereign within their boundaries - bound only by federal law
    • Cherokee Trail of Tears as result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 - Jackson ignoring the Supreme Court’s decision
  • Appoints Robert Taney head of Supreme Court - drastic change from Marshall’s Federalist rulings
  • Bank War

    • Jackson opposed the National Bank
    • Clay, Webster, and Biddle Supported the Bank and its recharter
    • In an attempt to force Jackson’s hand, Webster and Clay pushed issue of rechartering four years up so that it would be an election issue
    • Jackson vetoes the Bank’s recharter
    • Biddle tries to show necessity of the National Bank
    • Jackson circumvents Biddle by ceding Government money to state banks
  • Specie Circular - Jackson requires land speculation to be payed for with gold/silver (cold hard cash)
  • Post Napoleonic France Disputes

    • France to pay reparations for interfering with American shipping
    • Failed to pay what they had promised
    • Jackson, overreacts and asks Congress to retaliate
    • French insulted, but eventually pay
  • Texas Annexation

    • Possibility of purchasing the territory from Mexico failed due to unprofessional negotiator: Anthony Butler
    • American inhabitants of Texas stage a revolt and declare independence from Mexico expecting to be annexed by the US
    • Jackson ignores the new territory because he would not be able to get congressional approval

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to The Hermitage mansion he built in Tennessee
  • Continued to advise Van Beuren
  • Advocated for annexation of Texas when the issue formally arose later
  • Died June 8th, 1845

Martin Van Beuren

Early Life

  • Born on December 5th, 1782, in Kinderhook, New York
  • Born of Dutch Descent, Van Beuren is the first president with no British ancestry
  • His formal education stopped at age 14

Career Before Presidency

  • Clerk for a law office, eventually becomes a lawyer himself
  • Led the Albany Regency - one of the first effective political organizations

    • Democratic-Republican taking after Jeffersonian ideals
    • Worked to get DeWitt Clinton out of power in New York
  • New York County Official
  • Member of New York State Senate
  • New York Attorney General
  • Senator of New York
  • Elected New York State Governor a few weeks before becoming Secretary of State
  • The Eaton Affair

    • Wives of Washington politicians shunned Margaret (Peggy) O’Neale for rumored stories about her 1st husband’s death shortly before she married John Eaton
    • Van Beuren was one of the few people to treat her well
    • Jackson noticed this, and rewarded him for it
  • Served as Jackson’s Secretary of State
  • Almost appointed Minister to Great Britain (reward for the Eaton Affair) - refused by Vice President (leader of the Senate) Calhoun
  • Jackson’s Vice President


  • 1836

    • Campaigned that he would continue where Jackson stopped
    • Support of Jacksonian policy outweighed the still young Whig party’s opposition
    • Beat the four Whig candidates, William Harrison came in second


  • Panic of 1837 (through to 1842) - Worst economic depression yet

    • Causes

      • Jackson’s economic actions during and after the Bank War
      • Foreign withdrawal of funds in light of destruction of the bank
      • State banks lending money to liberally
    • Van Beuren cuts government spending significantly
    • Promotes idea of National Treasury as opposed to another Federal Bank
  • Texas Annexation

    • Anti-Slavery Van Beuren does not want to admit another slave state into the Union
  • Indian Removal

    • Cherokee Trail of Tears (%10 - %25 of the Tribe died)
    • Seminole Tribe in Florida resisted US efforts to relocate them westward
  • The Caroline (1837)

    • Canadian Separatists (from Britain) being supplied by American sympathizers
    • British instruct loyal Canadians to attack The Caroline which was the ship supplying the rebels resulting in the death of one American
    • Van Beuren declares neutrality and does not pursue aggressive reaction to British actions
  • Maine Crisis

    • Dispute over the border line between Maine and British Canada led to British military action
    • Van Beuren begins to resolve the issue diplomatically in the form on the Webster-Ashburton Treaty which would later be signed in 1842

Life After Presidency

  • After losing re-election in 1840, Van Beuren continued to pursue presidential nomination
  • Refused position of Minister to Britain after casting his influential support for Polk, believed he had been under-rewarded
  • Formed the Free-Soil Party - Focused on opposing implementation of Slavery in Western territories
  • Died on July 24th, 1862, in his home town, Kinderhook, NY

William Henry Harrison

Early Life

  • Born on February 9th, 1773, in Charles City County, Virginia, into a plantation family
  • Graduated from Hampden-Sydney College
  • Studied Medicine

Career Before Presidency

  • Officer in the Army during the War of 1812

    • Battle of Tippecanoe which gave Harrison his fame
    • Killed Tecumseh, and delivered a punishing blow to the Native Americans
    • Then retired from the military to celebrate in the glory of his heroism
  • Secretary to the Northwest Territory
  • Governor of Indiana Territory

    • Conflict over Indian lands and settlement
    • Fought Tecumseh and the Prophet
  • General of the Army in the North West territories during the War of 1812

    • Killed Tecumseh and British forces at the Battle of Thames
  • Elected to House of Representatives
  • Senator of Ohio
  • Minister to Columbia


  • 1840 - Presented by the Whigs as a Common Man, just like Jackson

    • Won easily because of Van Beuren’s lack of effective response to Panic of 1837


  • Gave the longest inaugural speech ever

    • Outlined his intentions to set a precedent of weakened executive action
  • Died of a respiratory infection 32 days later

Life After Presidency

  • Sadly, NA

John Tyler

Early Life

  • Born on March 29th, 1790, in Charles City County, Virginia into aristocratic elite family
  • Graduated the College of William & Mary
  • Studied law under his father

Career Before Presidency

  • Practiced law
  • As a member of the Virginia house of Delegates, he opposed the National Bank
  • Supported the War of 1812, led a group of soldiers, but did not fight
  • Governor of Virginia

    • Retired out of distaste
  • Senator of Virginia

    • Resigned rather than conform to Jacksonian plans
  • Strongly opposed Jackson and what he considered misuse of the Executive powers

    • Formed the Whig party with Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster
  • Harrison’s Vice President


  • 1840*

    • Following Harrison’s death, Tyler asserted himself as the Constitutional heir to the Presidency
    • Set precedent of Vice President succeeding president in emergencies
  • 1844

    • On Jackson’s advice, Tyler casts his support to Polk to prevent a voter split resulting in Clay winning because of a majority


  • Issue of Party

    • Joined Whig party initially out of opposition of Jackson
    • His actual agenda did not agree with the Whigs
    • Failure to cooperate with their plans resulted in:

      • Resignation of most of his cabinet members
      • Being formally kicked out of the party
    • Tyler re-populates his cabinet with pro-states’ rights southerners
    • Essentially took over the vacant Democratic Party for the institution of slavery
    • Severe sectionalism: Whig party = the North, Democrats = the South
  • Vetoed two attempts to establish a new National Bank by Clay

    • Triggered cabinet rollover as well as attempts to have him impeached
  • Treaty of Nanjing (1842)

    • Secured the same “most favorable nation” trading status as Britain with China
  • Webster-Ashburton Treaty gets passed
  • Ended the Seminole War which began in 1833, no real winner (1842)
  • Annexation of Texas - topic for the upcoming election
  • Failed once due to pro-slavery sentiments made by Secretary of State Calhoun

    • Proposed as Joint Resolution rather than a Treaty like the Louisiana Purchase
    • Easier to get passed, Texas to join the Union as a slave state
  • Congress Overrides one of Tyler’s vetoes to spite him - First time this happened

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to Virginia Plantation
  • Served as chair for the Richmond Convention

    • Attempted to remediate the growing tensions between North and South
    • Resolutions rejected by Lincoln, Tyler fully supports South afterwards
  • Later became a member of the Confederate House of Representatives

James K. Polk

Early Life

  • Born on November 2nd, 1795, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
  • Family moved to Tennessee where his father started a plantation
  • Graduated from the University of North Carolina
  • Studied law in Tennessee

Career Before Presidency

  • Practiced law as a state senate clerk
  • Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
  • Governor of Tennessee

    • Worked closely with Jackson to defeat the National Bank
  • Speaker of the House


  • Manifest Destiny - Westward expansion and its implications on slavery were the primary campaign topics for both parties
  • 1844 - Dark Horse Elected

    • Van Beuren starting to poll poorly, cast his support for Polk, a relatively unknown candidate
    • Polk narrowly beats Clay in the closest election yet
  • Vowed to only run once, was very successful during that single term


  • Walker Tariff of 1846

    • Polk aimed to remove protective tariffs -unclear definition of “protective”
    • Passed a bill authorizing the Walker Tariff which had significantly lower rates
  • Independent Treasury Act of 1846

    • Polk revived Van Beuren’s law which established an alternative to the National Bank which had been repealed by the Whigs
  • Growing Issue of Slavery and Sectionalism

    • Wilmot Proviso - banning slavery from acquired Mexico Territory

      • Supported by both parties in the North
      • Rejected by both in the South
      • Did not pass, but marked an increase in the tensions of the sectional crisis of the 1850s
  • Texas is annexed as a slave state

    • War promised by Mexico does not occur
    • Aggressive militia movement towards Rio Grande results in termination of diplomacy between Mexico and US
  • Oregon

    • Initially occupied by both Britain and US peacefully
    • Democrats claim land all the way up to the 50th parallel “54-40 or fight”
    • Avoiding war, Polk settles with the 49th in 1846
  • California

    • Mexico declines offer of $20 Million
    • General Zachary Taylor provokes Mexican aggression
    • Polk goes to war with Mexico
    • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)

      • US buys New Mexico and California for $15 Million
      • Establishes Rio Grande as the Mexico-Texas Border
  • Established the Department of the interior to manage all of the newly acquired land
  • Treaty of Granada

    • Gave US permission to cross the Panama passage
    • Guaranteed Granada sovereignty
    • Led to development of the Panama Canal

Life After Presidency

  • Toured many of the Southern States
  • Finally retired to a Nashville estate
  • Died on June 15th, 1849

Zachary Taylor

Early Life

  • Born on November 24th, 1784, in Virginia
  • Family moved to Kentucky plantation

Career Before Presidency

  • Ran plantations in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky
  • Officer and General in the Army

    • Sent by Polk to provoke Mexican War
    • Won key battles during the Mexican War
    • Became a war hero after defeating Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista while severely outnumbered
  • Fought natives on the Western Frontier


  • 1848

    • Van Beuren’s Free Soil Party drew drew enough votes from the Democratic nominee
    • Ran as a Whig, although he was more independent, well liked by North and South


  • Slavery in newly acquired Mexico territories

    • Attempted to resolve issue of by letting them decide themselves in their proposed state Constitutions
    • Southerner’s displeased as allowing slavery is unlikely this way
    • Taylor firmly opposed secession, threatening to use military force to preserve the Union
  • Drafting of the Compromise of 1850 - Taylor refused to take a stand for or against

    • Proposed that California enters Union as a free state
    • The rest of the acquired Mexico territories could determine their own status
    • Fugitive Slave Law that would require all escaped slaves be returned no matter where they are caught
  • Texas-New Mexico border

    • Threatened to use force if Texas overstepped its boundaries into Mexico
  • German Revolution

    • United States supported German revolution in Germanic States
  • Taylor Dies in office

    • Becomes severely ill after a hot event on July 4th, 1850 -most likely cholera
    • Dies four days after on July 9th, 1850,

Life After Presidency

  • NA

Millard Fillmore

Early Life

  • Born on January 7th, 1800, in Cayuga County (Finger Lakes), New York
  • Brutal cloth making apprenticeship
  • Formal education ended after one-room schoolhouse

Career Before Presidency

  • Clerk under the local judge, later became a lawyer
  • Member of New York State Assembly as an Anti-Mason
  • Member of the House of Representatives
  • New York Comptroller (Chief Financial Officer for the state)
  • Zachary Taylor’s Vice President

    • He and Taylor did not get along, only nominated as VP to balance out the Southern-leaning ticket
    • Ultimately disenfranchised from Taylor’s administration


  • 1848

    • Sworn in sixteen months after Zachary Taylor’s election
  • 1852 - reluctantly forced by Whig party to run

    • Webster takes votes for Whig nomination from Fillmore, Force Bill General Scott ends up winning nomination
    • Loses to Democrat Franklin Pierce


  • Replaced cabinet with his supporters, like Clay and Webster
  • Declared his support of the Compromise of 1850

    • Intense national debate drains Clay
  • Resolution by Senator Stephen A. Douglas divided Clay’s compromise into separate five bills

    • California enters the Union as a free state
    • Pay Texas to accept the Texas-Mexico border
    • New Mexico becomes an official territory
    • Allow federal authorities to be employed by slaveholders seeking runaway slaves (Second Fugitive Slave Law) -loosely upheld in the North, made South mad
    • Restrict slave trade in Washington D.C.
  • Fillmore’s enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Laws - making the Federal government the protector of slavery

    • Received lots of resistance from Northern Whigs
  • Commodore Matthew Perry restores trade with Japan
  • Attempted Cuban Invasion

    • Venezuelan Narciso Lopez stirred up Southerners to invade Cuba
    • First expedition failed, the second was met by the Spanish
    • All the participants in the attempt to incite rebellion were enslaved or executed
  • Hungarian Liberation

    • Austrians accuse Americans of supporting the Hungarian liberation efforts
    • Fillmore says America supports nations trying to establish governments that help their people
    • Actually does very little to help Hungarians

Life After Presidency

  • His wife and daughter both died shortly after Pierce’s inauguration
  • Ran for president in 1856 as part of the Know-Nothing Party
  • Retired back home to New York
  • Supported the Union effort during the Civil War
  • Died of a stroke in march 1874

Franklin Pierce

Early Life

  • Born on November 23rd, 1804, in Hillsborough, New Hampshire
  • Graduated from Bowdoin college

Career Before Presidency

  • Studied and practiced law
  • Speaker for New Hampshire State Legislature
  • Member of the House of Representatives for New Hampshire
  • Senator of New Hampshire

    • Resigned because of the stress of Washington on his wife
  • Served in the Army during the Mexican War for political influence

    • With no military experience, he used his connections, namely President Polk, to gain the rank of Brigadier General
  • Alcoholic for much of his time in Washington, but after retiring from the Senate, he became an advocate for the Temperance movement


  • 1852 - dark horse

    • Won the Democratic nomination for his disposition as a Proslavery Northerner
    • Won against the disjointed Whig party’s nominee
    • Shortly after winning the election, the last of his three children died in a train wreck
  • 1856 - Due to the issue of slavery in the west consuming his efforts, he was considered ineffective, and did not win re-nomination


  • Cuba - Perfect for Southern efforts at expansion of slavery/agriculture

    • Attempted to purchase from Spain for up to $130 Million
    • Negotiations were poorly executed by Minister to Spain: Pierre Soule

      • Turned into threats of military action if Spain wouldn’t sell
    • Ostend Manifesto

      • Written by John Mason, James Buchanan and Soule (ministers to Europe)
      • Outlined American claims to Cuba and how it might have to be taken in order to ensure internal peace
      • Secretary of State had to calm down Europe and disavow the document after it was released
  • Tried to achieve international neutrality in Central America

    • Britain occupying Central America which the US believed was under their control
    • Nicaragua

      • American William Walker established himself as a dictator
      • Outraged a railroad Tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who planned to build railroads through the region
      • Walker flees to Honduras where he was captured and executed by Hondurans (conflict of information on Miller Center about how he was killed/captured)
  • Gadsden Purchase

    • Paid Mexico $15 Million for land (Southern AZ and Southern NM)
    • Final Continental boundaries
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    • Repealed the Missouri Compromise
    • Along with Pierce’s election, this marked the death of the Whig party along with the formation of the new Northern party - the Republicans
  • “Bleeding Kansas”

    • Popular sovereignty - Douglas’s concept of allowing a state to choose it’s status as a free/slave state
    • Rush to Kansas by Northerners and Southerners
    • Proslavery southerners call for the removal of abolitionist governor
    • Pierce appoints a proslavery governor
    • Violence breaks out after proslavery Southerners raid town of Lawrence causing abolitionist retaliation

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to Concord, New Hampshire
  • Supported the North in the Civil War, but publicly opposed Lincoln

    • His house was vandalized by a mob after Lincoln’s assassination until he gave a speech asking them to leave
  • Died on October 8th, 1869

James Buchanan

Early Life

  • Born on April 23rd, 1791, in Pennsylvania to a successful merchant family
  • Graduated Dickinson college
  • Bachelor President

    • Rumors of Buchanan and other women result in his fiance ending their engagement
    • She dies shortly after
    • Buchanan vows himself to a life of solitude

Career Before Presidency

  • Studied and practiced law as a very successful attorney
  • Soldier during War of 1812, saw no action
  • Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Member of the House of Representatives
  • Minister to Russia under Jackson
  • Senator of Pennsylvania

    • Chaired the Foreign Relations Committee
  • James Polk’s Secretary of State
  • Minister to Great Britain Under Pierce

    • Helped author the Ostend Manifesto


  • Ran for president unsuccessfully 1844, 1848, 1852
  • 1856

    • Having been abroad for the duration of the growing tensions of Pierce’s administration, Buchanan appeared somewhat neutral to other candidates
    • Votes split between Republican John C. Fremont and Know-Nothing former President Fillmore


  • Dred Scott Decision - Taney’s Court

    • Supreme Court ruled that slaves are property, not citizens and have no right to sue for freedom in the first place
    • Ruled that Congress could not restrict a person’s right to their property in the new territories/states

      • Big issue is the part about territories, most of the North and South are in agreement about slavery within states
    • Stated that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional
  • Kansas

    • Buchanan attempts to admit Kansas to the Union as a slave state to appease his Southern supporters

      • Lecompton Constitution - did not receive a majority, yet passed to congress by Buchanan anyways
    • Stephen Douglas opposes Buchanan, instead favoring popular sovereignty
    • Another constitutional convention is held in Kansas - produces a “free state” constitution
    • Severely weakens Democratic party - opens door for Lincoln
  • Brown’s Rebellion

    • John Brown, one of the men who killed proslavery supporters in Kansas, fled to Harper’s Ferry, (West) Virginia
    • Prepared to stage a military rebellion
    • Buchanan supported Brown’s suppression, sent General Robert E. Lee to stop him
    • Brown is hanged, viewed as a hero by the North, and vindication for the South
  • Central America

    • Continued border issues with Mexico, Buchanan eventually wins reparations
  • Cuba

    • William Walker arrested for actions in Nicaragua
    • Buchanan released him (Conflict of information)
  • American Sovereignty

    • Buchanan authorized naval movement relative to British encroachment
  • Secession instead of Lincoln

    • Democratic split in the North and South eliminated their chances of unifying behind a single candidate - Lincoln easily wins
    • Southern states propose secession as opposed to submitting to a Republican president
    • Between Lincoln’s election and his inauguration South Carolina, followed by six other Southern states seceded from the Union
    • Buchanan, still in office, responds weakly, leaving president-elect Lincoln to deal with America on the brink of war

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to his home in Wheatland, Pennsylvania
  • Maintained a very private life until his death on June 1st, 1868

    • tbh I probably would too if I were one of the worst presidents in history 🤭

Abraham Lincoln

Early Life

  • Born on February 12th, 1809, in Hardin County kentucky
  • Self-made man

    • self educated, born into a poor family
    • Taught himself law
    • Built his own log cabins and ferry boats etc.

Career Before Presidency

  • Successful lawyer intermittently throughout career before presidency
  • Captain in the Army during the Black Hawk War against native americans on the frontier
  • Member of the Illinois State Legislature for 8 years

    • Did not support equal rights for black, free citizens, but did support Abolition
  • Member of the House of Representatives

    • Boldly attacked Polk for the Mexican War (after being elected)
  • One of the leaders of the Republican party -opposition of expansion of slavery
  • Lost to Stephen Douglas for Senatorship of Illinois

    • Many intense debates which exhibited his skill and charisma
    • First nationally covered political campaign other than the presidency
    • "A house divided against itself cannot stand," speech -predicted civil war and established his moral anti-slavery position
    • National issue vs. popular sovereignty


  • 1860 - First of the young Republican party to win the presidency

    • Democrats were unable to unite behind a single candidate
    • Try to prevent a Republican majority by running multiple candidates - weakens the Democratic Party
    • One of Lincoln’s few campaign promises was that he would try to restrict the expansion of slavery, not it’s existence where it was already present
  • 1864 - Demonstration of democracy, wartime elections were unheard of in most countries

    • Lincoln won largely because of military victories leading up to the election


  • Leading up to the Civil War

    • Tensions overflowed with Lincoln’s election and Buchanan’s lack of response to seven states’ secession -not intending violent conflict
    • Formation of the Confederacy with Jefferson Davis as the president
    • Lincoln’s inauguration address asserted that the Union’s possession of ALL of the states was as valid as Southern slave-states possession of slave’s
    • Lincoln’s dedication to preservation of the Union vs. Southern “Cult of Honor” mentality compelling them to die for their ideals lead to 4.5 years of conflict
  • Outbreak of the Civil War at Fort Sumter

    • Federal outpost in Charleston, South Carolina that needed to be resupplied or abandoned
    • Lincoln authorizes an unarmed resupply to show the peaceful nature of the convoy
    • Jefferson Davis calls for Sumter to surrender rather than be resupplied
    • Commander of Fort Sumter, Major Anderson, refuses - April 12, 1861 Confederates open fire - marks the start of the open violence of Civil War
  • Conscription Law passed as the number of volunteer soldiers declined throughout the War
  • Paying for the War

    • Legal Tender Act of 1862 - passed to help supplement financing the war

      • Allowed the use of paper dollars that were not backed by gold or silver
    • First Income Tax passed
    • Resurrection of the National Banking System
  • Lincoln never recognized the Confederacy as a legitimate, separate nation

    • They did however cooperate with soldier exchange rather than execution
    • 1863, the Confederacy pledges to execute or enslave black Union soldiers
  • Blockades

    • Naval assets sent to Southern shoreline to block Southern trade
    • Minister to England:John Quincy Adams’ Son, Charles Francis Adams, prevented English/French intervention into the Civil War
    • International Law stated that Lincoln could not employ a blockade unless it was against a sovereign nation, which Lincoln would not recognize in the South
    • North dependence on British markets during war time helped make up for the now closed Southern Cotton market
    • French/British intentions to recognize Confederacy as a separate power and therefore re-open trade were crushed by the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Gettysburg Address

    • Shift of the focus of the Civil War from preserving Union to abolishing slavery
  • Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

    • Freed all slaves in the Confederacy with a few exceptions of Union-occupied slave-states
    • Led to a significant increase in black soldiers in the Union Army
    • Helped sever foreign aid from European anti-slavery nations to the South
  • End of the Civil War

    • Lincoln’s strategy of cutting off the South and continuing to chase down the Confederate forces after a battle was won helped lead to Union victory
    • April 9th, 1865, General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, VA
  • Reconstruction

    • Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction -Lincoln’s 10% Plan

      • Southern citizens would recognize the abolition of slavery
      • If 10% re-pledge allegiance to the United States, then they could form a new state government
      • Republican party chastised his generosity
    • Wade-Davis Bill

      • Majority of citizens required to re-pledge allegiance
      • Recognize black equality
      • Had to submit a new state constitution
    • Lincoln allows states to pick which “process” they wanted to follow
    • Louisiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas’ were rejected readmission into the Union under Lincoln’s plan as they shared many similarities to their pre-Civil War, pro-slavery counterparts
  • Homestead Act of 1862

    • Provided a means for poor citizens to settle in the midwest
  • Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862

    • Gave states large amounts of land based on their presence in Congress
  • Assassinated April 14th, 1865, just a year into his second term, a week after Lee’s surrender

    • John Wilkes Booth shot him at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C.
    • Resulted in backlash on the South that hurt chances of peaceful resolution to the war

Life After Presidency

  • NA

Andrew Johnson

Early Life

  • Born on December 29th, 1808, in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Born into poverty, Johnson received no formal education

Career Before Presidency

  • Success as Mayor jettisoned him into the world of politics as a “common man”
  • Member of the House of Representatives
  • Governor of Tennessee
  • Senator of Tennessee, even after secession - prioritized preservation of the Union
  • Military governor of Tennessee
  • Vice President to Abraham Lincoln


  • Assumed the role of president after Lincoln was assassinated
  • Southern, pro-states’ rights, but anti-plantation Democrat, Johnson served as a ticket balancer to Lincoln

    • Opposed racial equality


  • Reconstruction Plan

    • Reflected his distaste with Southern plantation elites
    • Provisional governors
    • Abolished slavery
    • Oath of loyalty
    • Requirement of Johnson’s approval for particular offenders
  • Joint Committee of Reconstruction

    • Radical Republicans working to oppose Johnson’s “lenient” reconstruction policies
    • Involved military occupation of the South
    • Made the 14th Amendment a requisite for re-joining the Union
  • Southern bias enabled the formation of “Black Codes” in the South which served as a re-skin of slavery
  • Dealing with Radical Republican Congress

    • First president whose veto was overridden by Congress
  • Freedman’s Bureau

    • Put into place by Radical Republicans in order to feed, educate, and house the millions of newly freedmen
  • Civil Rights Act - precursor to the 14th Amendment

    • Defined citizenship with the condition of being born in the United States, with the exclusion of Native Americans
    • Removed the 3/5ths compromise from the Constitution
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867 - precursor to the 15th Amendment

    • Strengthened military presence in the South
    • Granted blacks the right to vote.
  • The Thirteenth Amendment - Prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude except for court ordered punishment
  • The Fourteenth Amendment

    • Defined citizenship by birth
    • Provoked racial violence in the South
  • Facing Impeachment

    • Radical Republicans pass legislation designed to restrict his executive authority

      • Command of the Army Act
      • Tenure of Office Act
    • Intentionally violates the Tenure of Office Act to draw attention to its unconstitutionality
    • First president to get impeached, goes before Senate
    • Narrowly avoids conviction by one vote
    • Severely weakened his power and credibility as president
  • Purchase of Alaska territory from Russia with little-to-no plans for statehood
  • Reaffirmation of the Monroe Doctrine attitude through the expulsion of France from Mexico

Life After Presidency

  • Senator of Tennessee again
  • Died of a stroke on July 31st, 1875, same year as his Senatorial re-election

Hiram Ulysses S. Grant

Early Life

  • Born on April 27th, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio
  • Graduated from West Point

Career Before Presidency

  • Successful soldier in the Mexican War
  • After resigning from the Army, Grant was forced to return to work for his father - a job he despised
  • Civil War breaks out, and, as one of few experienced military officers, Grant returned to the Army as commander of a small volunteer regiment
  • Eventually he would become the leading General of the Union Army


  • 1868 - War Hero status and Republican affiliation with Lincoln after the failure of Johnson get easily him elected
  • 1872 - His ineptitude as president resulted in the formation of the Liberal Republican Party

    • Their nominee was shared by the Democrats, however Grant’s firm loyalty proved to outshine his competition’s wavering policy on many issues


  • His effectiveness as president was limited by his naivete and honor
  • Johnson’s late-term efforts against the freed blacks nudged Grant towards the Radical standpoint shared by most Republicans
  • The Fifteenth Amendment - guaranteed all male citizens the right to vote
  • Enforcement Acts - collection of laws passed to enforce the 15th Amendment
  • Financial Folly

    • Inflation from the wartime currency supplement: greenbacks
    • Gold scammers urge Grant to hold all government gold, increasing the demand, luckily one of his advisers realizes their intentions and floods the market, still harms the economy
    • Panic of 1873 - economic depression, leads to the dollar being back by gold for decades, as well as a shift in Republican ideologies
  • Peace Policy

    • Grant recognized the validity of native’s anger with American expansion
    • Called for the relocation of native tribes onto reservations nearer to “white civilization” for the end goal of assimilation
  • Ulysses (Scandal) Grant

    • Credit Mobilier - Railroad embezzlement
    • Whiskey Ring - Tax evasion that led back to Grant’s own secretary
    • Black Friday - Aforementioned Gold scammers
    • Salary Grab Act - Huge pay raises for president and congress
    • Sanborn Contract Fraud - Tax fraud which went towards Republican funding
    • W.W. Belknap - Secretary of State who was payed off to ignore violent actions against natives
  • Cuban revolt against their Spanish sponsor gives the US an opportunity to acquire, Spanish reject all negotiations
  • Grant’s attempt to annex the Dominican Republic gets shot down by the chair of foreign relations who led - Grant on to think that he would support the effort
  • Alabama Claims - lingering tensions between US and Britain over the warships supplied to the Confederacy from Britain

    • Eventually resolved along with other disputes between, restoring diplomatic negotiations between the two countries

Life After Presidency

  • Partner of a financial firm that fails do to his partner’s involvement in a scandal
  • Composed auto-biography so as not to leave his family with debt, hugely successful :’(
  • Died on July 23rd, 1885, of throat cancer

Rutherford B. Hayes

Early Life

  • Born on October 4th, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio
  • Graduated from Kenyon College, and later Harvard Law School

Career Before Presidency

  • Successful lawyer in Cincinnati
  • Served in the Civil War, rose to the rank of Brevet Major General

    • Refused congressional nomination as he was still an officer in the war
  • Following the war, he became a member of the House of Representatives
  • Governor of Ohio


  • 1876 - Compromise of 1877

    • Hayes loses the popular vote to Democrat Tilden
    • Disputed electoral votes prevented definitive election of either candidate

      • Tilden only needs one vote for the majority, Hayes would need all of them
    • Formation of the Electoral Commission made up of 7 Democrats, 7 Republicans and 1 Independent (Republican) to determine allocation of electoral votes

      • 8-7 vote gives all of them to Hayes
    • Granted the South many concessions to appease them and to discourage filibustering/outrage including:

      • One cabinet post
      • Removal of federal troops stationed in the South
      • Southern infrastructural improvements
      • Control of the Federal monetary aid being sent to the South


  • Recognizing the need to curb the South’s perception of corrupt Republicans, Hayes brought an end to reconstruction through the removal of federal troops protecting the remaining Republican governments in the South as part of the compromise of 1877

    • Resulted in Democratic dominance in the South who heavily restricted the rights of blacks
  • Specie Resumption Act - returned to the gold standard in an effort to ease out of the economic depression left over from Civil War spending

    • Nevertheless depression led to the Great Strike of 1877, an unorganized strike of railroad workers that spread across the nation

      • Violent outbreaks led to Hayes authorization of military forces to ensure peace
    • Stressed necessity of bipartisan cooperation in order to restore unity to the country
    • Under Hayes, Indian Removal policies that were initiated under Grant took effect and resulted in the removal of the Nez Perce to Indian Territory after much resistance
    • Enacted policies to limit, but not entirely ban, Chinese immigration to the West

Life After Presidency

  • Advocate for educational improvements in North and South alike
  • Died on January 17, 1893

James A. Garfield

Early Life

  • Born on November 19th, 1831, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
  • Payed for his own education working many jobs
  • Graduated Williams College, went on to study law independently

Career Before Presidency

  • President of Western Reserve Eclectic Institute
  • Ohio state legislator
  • Senator of Ohio
  • Brigadier General and Major General of Volunteers during the Civil War
  • Member of the House of Representatives (minority leader of the Republican party)
  • Participated in the Credit Mobilier Scandal under Grant


  • 1880 - Dark Horse

    • Originally entered the election campaigning for a fellow Republican, but gained popularity and votes.
    • Narrowly won over the popular vote over the Democratic nominee


  • Weakened power of the Senate

    • Garfield appointed a member of the “half-breed” sub-party to position of Collectorship of the Port of New York -point of highest revenue of all American Ports
    • Stalwarts outraged, namely Senator Conkling, who argued that the appointment should be made by the Senate
    • Garfield refused, Conkling and another New York Senator resigned
  • 100 days after his inauguration, Garfield was assassinated by an angry politician who did not receive an appointment to Garfield’s cabinet

Life After Presidency

  • Died on September 19th, 1881, from the infected bullet wound

Chester A. Arthur

Early Life

  • Born on October 5th, 1829, in Fairfield, Vermont
  • Graduated from Union College

Career Before Presidency

  • Practiced law
  • New York Quartermaster General during the Civil War
  • Collector of the coveted Port of New York
  • Vice President to James Garfield - did not get along due to ties with Conkling and the NY Port


  • 1881 - Assumed the role of president after Garfield was assassinated

    • Although he held one of the most disputed government positions as Collector of the Port of New York, once president he rose above party politics
  • 1884 - Little effort at pursuing reelection due to his kidney disease which he kept private


  • Pendleton Act - governmental position reform law

    • Arthur himself favored the spoils system, however he recognized the presence of widespread corruption because of his years working in Conkling’s Stalwart machine
    • Required written exams for certain government positions
  • Rivers and Harbors Act of 1882 - Arthur spoke out against it in favor of government reform, nevertheless his veto did not stop it being passed by congress
  • White House Renovation - Even though Arthur worked against excess government spending and corruption, he oversaw the expensive refurbishment of the White House
  • Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 - Initially called for a 20 year ban, however when Arthur spoke out against the severity it was lowered to 10 years

    • Stopped Chinese immigration and citizenship for a period of ten years
  • Tariff Act of 1883 - Passed by congress as opposed to Arthur’s heavier tariff proposition
  • Authorized expansion of the Navy

Life After Presidency

  • Died of kidney disease November 18th, 1886

Grover Cleveland

Early Life

  • Born on March 18th, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey
  • Sacrificed opportunity for education to support family, studied law independently

Career Before Presidency

  • Lawyer
  • Paid for a substitute to fight in the Civil War for him
  • Sheriff
  • Honesty as city mayor made him an admirable choice for congress
  • Governor of New York


  • 1884 - First Democrat since the Civil War

    • Again, his dedication to reducing corruption won him the respect and votes of many on both sides
    • Owned up to sex-scandal, his honesty saved his campaign
  • 1888 - Won the popular vote, but lost to Harrison in the Electoral College
  • 1892 - Only president to return to the Executive office after losing a reelection

    • Cleveland is able to win due to reeling Republican party (Jim Crow Laws limiting their black votes) as well as the diversion of votes going to the new People’s Party


  • Opposed the Tenure of Office of Act of 1867 - Aimed at keeping Republicans in appointed positions, Cleveland argued against this
  • Opposed racial equality
  • Dawes Act of 1887 - diminished tribal tradition and culture

    • Granted land to individual Native Americans as opposed to the tribal ownership that was prevalent up until now
    • Granted citizenship to those who inhabited the land for twenty five years
  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 - Backed the dollar with primarily silver instead of gold, led to inflation

    • Cleveland called for its repeal, people start turning in bonds for gold
    • Cleveland forced to rely on J.P. Morgan to supplement the growing shortage of gold
    • Led to the Panic of 1893
  • Open revival of the Monroe Doctrine - Cleveland threatened Britain with war for the imperialist expansion towards Venezuela
  • Interstate Commerce Act - Provided regulations for the railroad business to prevent discrimination of rates
  • Growing Issue of Labor

    • Haymarket Square Riots of 1886

      • police used violence to disperse protesters
      • Riot breaks out, laborers throw make-shift bombs in the crowd
      • Paints labor in a negative light as violent and greedy
    • Homestead Strike 1892

      • Carnegie Steel plant orders dispersion of a union, instead they go on strike
      • Carnegie hires Pinkerton Investigation (muscle) to expel strikers from the steel plant
      • Strikers light the river on fire and begin openly violent exchange with PI
      • National guard required to break up dispute
    • Pullman Strike of 1894
    • Factory workers live in nearby corporate-run “model town”
    • Cuts in wages not matched by decrease in cost of living in the “model town”
    • Resulting Strike led by Eugene V. Debs could only be broken up by federal troops
  • Coxey’s Army

    • Thousands (only a few hundred actually arrive) of protesters head towards Washington to call for government sponsorship of public works programs
    • Ignored by Cleveland who believed that was out of the scope of the role of government

Life After Presidency

  • Died on June 24th,1908

Benjamin Harrison

Early Life

  • Born on August 20th, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio

    • Grandson of William Henry Harrison
  • Graduated from Miami University, studied law independently

Career Before Presidency

  • Lawyer
  • Brigadier General during the Civil War
  • Senator of Ohio


  • 1888 - Lost the popular vote to Cleveland, but won in the Electoral College


  • McKinley Tariff of 1890 - Enacted to try to protect American business, ended up hurting consumers
  • Sherman Antitrust Act - Placed commerce restrictions on corporations to prevent monopolies

    • Although it was not detailed or funded enough to be effective, it set precedence as the first bill to constrain giant businesses
  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 - Called for the Treasury to purchase silver to supplement the gold reserves, led to inflation
  • Land Revision Act - Protected land for the use of National Parks
  • First Pan American Conference - Convening in 1889
  • Avoided War with Chile over injury to US sailors
  • Following the deposition of the resident nationalist Queen Liliuokalani, the Senate rejected Harrison’s attempts to annex Hawaii

Life After Presidency

  • Died on March 13th, 1901

Grover Cleveland again, what a guy

William McKinley

Early Life

  • Born on January 29th, 1843, in Niles, Ohio

Career Before Presidency

  • Brevet General during the Civil War
  • Lawyer in Ohio
  • Member of the House of Representatives
  • Governor of Ohio


  • 1896 - Democrats viewed as responsible for Panic of 1893, McKinley demolishes the Democratic candidate
  • 1900 - Economic success secure McKinley’s reelection


  • Gold Standard Act - Moved back towards a solely gold-backed dollar
  • Dingley Tariff Act - Increased tariff rates to reduce taxes
  • Worked with Union leaders to improve labor conditions
  • Spanish-American War 1898

    • Cuban rebellion caused harsh Spanish punishment
    • Americans sympathize with Cubans partially due to yellow journalism
    • US Naval forces deployed to Havana Harbor to enforce peace
    • Explosion of the USS Maine (blamed on the Spanish), along with an intercepted Cuban letter insulting McKinley increased Americans’ calls for war with Spain
    • War declared by Spain, reciprocated by US with specific declared intent of securing Cuban independence
    • US Navy easily destroys Spanish Atlantic fleet, Theodore Roosevelt leads efforts to capture Santiago
    • Following the the explosion of the USS Maine, Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt stationed naval forces adjacent to Spanish territories in Pacific

      • As soon as war breaks out, United States seizes opportunity to liberate the Philippines
      • US annexed Hawaii
    • Paris Peace Treaty of 1898

      • US gains Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippine Islands
      • Platt Amendment - Enabled US to occupy Cuba for the following four years and have definitive influence in Cuban foreign policy
  • Philippine War - Liberated from Spanish control after Spanish-American War, only to be controlled by the United States

    • McKinley sends troops to quell resistance of American control
    • Four years of violence ensue, with the United States inevitably suppressing the Filipinos
  • Plessy v. Ferguson - Ruled that separate was the same as equal, enabling Jim Crow Laws
  • United States v. E.C. Knight - Excluded manufacturing companies from the provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act
  • Open Door note - State Department issued letter to China and its European trade partners asking for equal international trade privileges with China

    • Although rejected, Secretary of State Hays proceeds as if all nations have agreed, bluffs the international trade community establishes free trade in China
  • Boxer Rebellion - Chinese nationalists known as the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists kill many Christian ministers as an act of resistance to Western involvement

    • McKinley authorizes deployment of troops in cooperation with Britain, Germany, Russia, and Japan to extract their respective citizens within China and to destroy the organization
  • Assassinated on September 6th, 1901

Life After Presidency

  • Died on September 14th, 1901, from gangrene infected bullet wound

Theodore Roosevelt

Early Life

  • Born on October 27th, 1858, in New York City, New York
  • Graduated from Harvard, briefly studied law at Columbia

Career Before Presidency

  • U.S. Civil Service Commissioner
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy
  • Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry known as the Rough Riders

    • Led charge on San Juan, Cuba. Made him a war hero
  • Governor of New York, until he was “kicked upstairs” for not cooperating with the Republican machine in NY
  • Vice President to McKinley during his 2nd term


  • 1900 - After McKinley’s death in 1901, Roosevelt assumed the position of President
  • 1904 - First incumbent to win re-election after succeeding an assassinated predecessor
  • 1912 - Although vowing to adhere to the two term precedent, Roosevelt believed that the nation would be better served by himself under the new Progressive “Bull Moose” Party than Woodrow Wilson

    • Roosevelt’s divergence divided the Republican Party, securing Taft the presidency


  • Elkins Act of 1903 - Prohibited railroads granting preferential shipping treatment to large companies
  • Hepburn Act - Enacted as a result of the Elkins Act ineffectiveness

    • Strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission’s ability to monitor and control shipping rates enforced by railroad companies
  • Square Deal

    • Roosevelt threatens to use federal troops for labor rather than to break up a strike in light of the owners and laborers unwillingness to negotiate
    • This method of federal intervention in order to resolve disputes became his process for much of his domestic policy
  • The Great Regulator

    • One of the first presidents to actively intervene into the economic affairs with the Sherman Antitrust Act in an effort to break up monopolies
    • Northern Securities Company - large railroad trust that was dissolved after Roosevelt’s Department of Justice challenged it as a monopoly
  • Conservation

    • Newlands Reclamation Bill - Distributed federal funds from land sale to the preservation and agricultural development of the West
    • Oversaw the creation of many new federally run national parks, forests, and monuments
  • Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 - Signed in response to muckrakers investigation of the poor conditions of industrial food production
  • Oversaw the beginning of construction of the Panama Canal

    • US sponsored a revolution in Panama, preventing Colombians from stopping US from proceeding with their plans to construct the Atlantic-Pacific passage
    • Hay-Bunau Treaty - Granted US control over the Canal for $10 Million
  • Roosevelt Corollary - Extrapolation of the Monroe Doctrine

    • In an effort to preserve control over the Western Hemisphere, Roosevelt announced that the US would intervene on behalf of any Latin American, establishing the United States as “police” of the Western Hemisphere
  • Russo-Japanese War

    • Roosevelt mediated arbitration between the two warring nations
    • Received Nobel Peace Prize for his actions
  • Possible World War avoided

    • French claim to Morocco in return for British claim to Egypt
    • Germany speaks out against France’s unfounded involvement in Morocco
    • Roosevelt mediates settlement in 1906, granting total control of Morocco to France, and enabling British control of Egypt
  • Great White Fleet tour to demonstrate US naval dominance

Life After Presidency

  • Ran for President again on the Progressive Bull Moose Ticket

    • While campaigning, he was shot in the chest, but delivered his scheduled speech anyway
  • Died on January 6th, 1919

William Howard Taft

Early Life

  • Born on September 15th, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Graduated from Yale, studied law afterwards

    Career Before Presidency

  • Federal Circuit Judge
  • Chief Civil Administrator (governor) of the Philippines
  • Secretary of War under Roosevelt


  • 1908 - Following the direct endorsement of Roosevelt, Taft swiftly won the presidency
  • 1912 - After failing to live up to Roosevelt’s expectations as a progressive president, Taft campaigned to redeem himself

    • Resulted in the division of the Republican Party, allowing Woodrow Wilson to take office


  • Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 - Allowed the ICC to regulate railroad rates
  • Trust-Buster - Dissolved multiple trusts, including some “Good Trusts” as selected by Roosevelt, leading to Roosevelt’s resentment of Taft
  • Payne-Aldrich Tariff

    • Enacted minor tariff reductions, which Taft explicitly spoke out against
    • However, Taft praised the bill, and signed it into law, demonstrating an apparent reversal of policy in favor of big business, contradicting his trust-busting attitude
  • Dollar Diplomacy - Use of military for economic gain and foreign stability

    • Led to a Pan-American Congress aimed at reducing US involvement and intervention for profit

Life After Presidency

  • Professor of Law at Yale
  • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (only person to hold both)
  • Died of heart disease on March 8th, 1930

Woodrow Wilson

Early Life

  • Born on December 28th, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia
  • Graduated from the College of New Jersey, University of Virginia Law School, and Johns Hopkins University

Career Before Presidency

  • President of Princeton
  • Governor of New Jersey


  • 1912 - Democratic “New Freedom” platform

    • Roosevelt split from the Republican party, dividing the vote between himself and Taft, barely securing Wilson the presidency
  • 1916 - Won by virtue of his neutral stance on the war unfolding in Europe: “He kept us out of war”


  • Underwood-Simmons Act - lowered tariffs enacted by previous Republican legislatures and presidencies
  • Federal Reserve Act of 1913 - established several national banks, reclaiming control of the American economy from private bankers
  • Establishment of the Federal Trade Commission - extension of antitrust movement aimed at restricting huge businesses
  • Clayton Antitrust Act - protected labor unions and small agrarian businesses from the Sherman Antitrust Act being used against them
  • Adamson Act - Mandated eight hour maximum workdays for railroad workers in response to railroad unions leveraging their power to strike

    • Led to labor reform in many other industries
  • Mexican Conflict

    • Wilson cited moral diplomacy in challenging the validity of dictator Huerta’s control over Mexico as his rule did not reflect the values of the Mexican people
    • Capture of US sailors enabled Wilson to authorize naval occupation of the port city Veracruz
    • Pancho Villa deviously murders several Americans in New Mexico to incite conflict between US and their preferred government led by Carranza
    • Wilson sends troops into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa, leads to violent outbreak between Carranza’s troops ands US forces
  • Entrance into World War I - 1917

    • Following the destruction of the The Lusitania, as well as the discovery of the Zimmerman Telegram, Wilson went to congress to declare war on Germany - April 4th, 1917
    • Selective Service Act of 1917 - Instituted the draft, which fielded over 70% of US forces in the war
    • American intervention in the war led to the victory of the allies
    • Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the last of which established the League of Nations

      • Wilson’s ideas were drastically altered/omitted by the time they made it to the Treaty of Versailles
      • Wilson personally campaigned across America for the passage of the Treaty of Versailles, suffered a stroke due to exhaustion
      • Treaty of Versailles fails in the Senate after Wilson encourages that it be voted against in light of it being weakened by amendments that disagreed with his vision for international peacekeeping
      • United States does not participate in Wilson’s League of Nations
    • November 1918, Germany signed the Armistice
  • Domestic Effects/Events of the War

    • Under Wilson’s War Industries Board, wartime productions caused massive increases in industrial output, as well as government involvement and regulation in business
    • Railroad becomes a government subsidiary after breaking down during the war
    • Installment of an income tax to fund the war
    • Committee on Public Information - dissuaded any negative opinions about the war on the home front
    • Espionage and Sedition Acts - Restricted free speech against the war effort
  • 16th Amendment - Established the first federal income tax
  • 17th Amendment - Election of Senators decided by popular vote
  • 18th Amendment - Instituted prohibition - banned the sale and production of intoxicating liquors
  • 19th Amendment - Guaranteed women equal suffrage

Life After Presidency

  • After leaving office drastically weakened, he continued to advocate for international cooperation
  • Died on February 3rd, 1924

Warren Gamaliel Harding

Early Life

  • Born on November 2nd, 1865, in Blooming Grove, Ohio
  • Graduated from Ohio Central College

Career Before Presidency

  • Ran a local newspaper
  • Ohio state Senator
  • Senator of Ohio


  • 1920 - Won 60% of the popular vote

    • His stance on the League of Nations was notably absent from his campaign


  • Harding proved to be easily manipulatable by his Republican allies

    • The “Ohio Gang” - corrupt/unfit members of Harding’s cabinet, many of whom received bribes

      • Secretary of the Interior received bribes for letting oil companies drill into the Teapot Dome wildlife oil reserves
      • Director of Veterans Bureau misappropriated illicit medical supplies away from their intended veteran recipients to black market dealers
      • Secretary of the Treasury Mellon greatly cut taxes for the wealthy and for businesses
  • Budgeting and Accounting Act of 1921

    • Allowed the president to propose a budget to congress
    • Established the General Accounting Office to check federal spending
  • Immigration Quota Act of 1921 - Limited immigration based on previous demographics

    • Favored Northern Europeans who had had a larger presence in America in the past
  • Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act - increased import tax rates
  • Secretary of State Hughes decreased foreign dependency on handling international trade
  • Dawes Plan of 1923

    • Decreased severity of war reparations due from Germany
    • Enabled German economy to recover
    • European nations who received reparations from Germany then paid off American war loans
  • Washington Armament Conference

    • Called for a halt of naval expansion, leaving the US and English navy to be almost the same size, and Japan to be just over half of their two-ocean fleets

Life After Presidency

  • Died on August 2nd, 1923, of a heart attack

    • Rumors that his wife poisoned him to spare him from conviction due to the corruption of his cabinet

Calvin Coolidge

Early Life

  • Born on July 4th, 1972, in Plymouth, Vermont
  • Graduated from Amherst College

Career Before Presidency

  • Lawyer in Massachusetts
  • Participated in Vermont State Legislature and Senate
  • Governor of Massachusetts
  • Vice President to Warren Harding


  • 1920 - Following Harding’s death in 1923, Coolidge assumed the Executive Office
  • 1924 - Success of the economy and the stability of Coolidge’s behavior as president, as well as the division of the Democratic party led to his reelection


  • Struck down the McNary-Haugen Bill - would have aided the already declining small farming sector
  • Radio Act - Designated airwaves to be subject to government regulation
  • Mississippi River Flood of 1927

    • Initially resisting the use of federal aid for the most significant natural disaster yet, Coolidge eventually caved and authorized financial support to the affected areas
  • Immigration Act of 1924 - Extended the provisions of Harding’s Immigration Act and wholly banned Japanese immigrants
  • Revenue Act of 1924 and 1926 - Reduced income and general taxes
  • Affirmed the Kellogg-Briand Pact - stated that war is not a means to solution of international conflict
  • Following much resentment from an aggregation of Latin American Countries who assembled in protest of American intervention, Coolidge promised lessened involvement

Life After Presidency

  • Died of heart failure on January 5th, 1933

Herbert Hoover

Early Life

  • Born on August 10th, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa
  • Graduated from Stanford University

Career Before Presidency

  • Mining Engineer for Chinese business
  • Multiple humanitarian acts during WWI for Europeans
  • Director of both the Food Administration and American Relief Administration
  • American Delegate at the Versailles Peace Conference
  • Participated in the Supreme Economic Council
  • Secretary of Commerce for Harding and Coolidge


  • 1928 - Promising a continuation of the general prosperity of the previous two presidents, Hoover was also incredibly popular for his work during WWI

    • Won 58% of the popular vote
  • 1932 - Hoover’s laissez-faire response to the Great Depression left the American people receptive to an alternative in the form of FDR


  • Boulder Canyon Project Act - Authorized construction of what would become the Hoover Dam
  • Federal Farm Board - Formed to try to stabilize the failing agricultural sector by providing loans that would allow farmers to decrease production output and increase the value of their crops
  • The Great Depression

    • Partly caused by tax cuts on the wealthy enabling them to participate in risky margin trades leading to crash of the American stock market on October 24th, 1919
    • Hoover viewed the cause of the depression as stemming from the failing post-WWI global economy, therefore the few programs he enacted focused on American business in a hope to stimulate the global economy

      • Also postponed German war reparations in order to save American loans from being lost in their downward-spiraling economy
    • Hoover’s conservative “volunteerism” policies were ineffective in resolving the Depression that drained American’s sense of goodwill and prosperity
    • Reconstruction Finance Corporation - Attempted to stabilize businesses with government subsidies

      • Proved to be unsuccessful and unpopular for its focus on business rather than the affected people themselves
    • Veterans March on D.C.

      • Peaceful protest to ask for their veteran bonuses early
      • Although Hoover ordered that they not be disbanded, General MacArthur forcefully and violently dispersed them, causing much outcry and rioting
  • Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 - increased tariffs on essential imports, causing a reciprocation from the European and Japanese nations, ultimately hindering global trade
  • Disarmament discussions continued throughout Hoover’s presidency

    • He was preoccupied with the economy, leaving his Secretary of State with unrealistic plans to introduce to the international community that ultimately failed
  • Good Neighbor Policy - Consisted of Hoover’s Central and South American campaigns pledging to decrease American intervention

    • Clark Memorandum - Challenged the validity of the imperialistic actions performed under the provisions of the Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt’s Corollary
  • Stimson Doctrine - Attempted to curb Japanese expansion into China while avoiding war by refusing to recognize Japan’s expanded borders

    • Japan did not heed American’s warnings and continued to threaten Shanghai
    • Borah Letter - from Stimson to the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorizing US withdrawal from disarmament agreements with Japan
  • Twentieth Amendment - Defined the ending date and time of the term of the President, Vice President, Senators, and Representatives

Life After Presidency

  • Chairman of reorganization of the Executive Departments for Truman and Eisenhower
  • Died on October 20th, 1964

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Early Life

  • Born on January 30th, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York
  • Graduated from Harvard, and then Columbia Law School

Career Before Presidency

  • Member of the New York State Senate
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson
  • Diagnosed with polio at age 39
  • Governor of New York at the outbreak of the Great Depression, where his liberal policies prefigured that of his presidency


  • 1932 - Height of the Depression along with the past 3 economically laissez-faire presidents’ policies left America wanting a change regarding federal involvement
  • 1936 - Vindicated by the “popular mandate” accompanying his election, Roosevelt maintained the degree and extent of governmental action he had implemented during his first term
  • 1940 - Breaking the precedent of only keeping the executive office for two terms, FDR ran successfully for a third time on the basis of his existing national support and the unfolding crisis in Europe
  • 1944 - Now firmly involved in the war, Roosevelt argued against "[changing] horses in mid-stream"


  • Expanded the size of the cabinet, drawing from a wider range of advisers than involved in previous presidencies
  • Twenty-First Amendment (1933) - Repealed the 18th amendment which enacted prohibition
  • The New Deal (first term)

    • “First 100 days” aimed at the immediate needs of the reeling economy and suffering American people
    • Bank Holiday - Closed all banks to cease the panicked withdrawal, giving the banks a chance to recover
    • Fireside Chats - Roosevelt made use of the growing technology of radio by speaking to the shaken country over radio, calming and unifying the nation during the Depression
    • Truth in Securities Act - Required increased transparency within the Stock Market to prevent misinformed investments that contributed to the crash of Black Tuesday
    • Glass-Steagall Act -

      • Established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation which ensured the savings to a certain amount for the American depositors
      • Prevented the irresponsible investment gambling of their clients deposits
    • Securities and Exchange Act - Established the Securities and Exchange Commission which provided regulation of the economy
    • Took the US Dollar off of the gold standard, allowing for greater economic flexibility
    • Banking Act of 1935 - Reorganized the system of Federal banks across the nation in response to banking crises of the Great Depression
    • Reconstruction Finance Corporation - Supplemented financial support to other government agencies in order to provide relief to the struggling population
    • Federal Emergency Relief Administration - Allocated funds to states to distribute as necessary directly to the unemployed
    • Civilian Conservation Corps - Organized hundreds of thousands of men to perform infrastructural maintenance and development tasks such cleanup and construction
    • Civil Works Administration - Financially enormous organization which allocated huge amounts of money for public works, employed millions of people
    • Agricultural Adjustment Act - Subsidized farmers in order to prevent the overproduction of crops that was hurting the agricultural economy and enacted a parity on several agricultural goods which helped the farming market
    • Farm Credit Association - Lent massive amounts of money to the poor American farmers on the brink of losing their property in order to keep the “family-level” farming sector afloat
    • Farm Security Administration - Constructed labor camps for migrants to prevent over saturation of the farming market leading to competitive production and surplus which had already proven to harm that market
    • Rural Electrification Administration - Developed rural areas with the utility of electricity, helped establish power as a public necessity
    • Tennessee Valley Authority - Harnessed the regional natural resources and helped bring the poorest area in the nation out of their economic dark age, solidified the idea of public access to electricity
    • Soil Conservation Service - Provided relevant agricultural education to farmers in the hopes of conserving the lifespan of the farmland
    • National Industrial Recovery Act - Controversially allowed for national economic planning instead of the familiar cut-throat capitalism that had been on the decline since the end of the Gilded Age

      • Created the Public Works Administration aimed at reviving the economy by sponsoring massive amounts of public works which would create jobs using materials produced by U.S. industry
      • Created the National Recovery Administration - Aimed to regulate the competition in the business spheres, prohibit unfair methods like child-labor, and protect the rights of organized labor

        • While potentially beneficial on paper, the NRA was dominated by big business, and selective adherence to the provisions protecting labor rights which undermined its intended goal for success
  • Opposition to the New Deal

    • American Liberty League - Formed in opposition to the New Deal with support across the aisle, arguing that Roosevelt was overstepping the bounds of the Executive branch and the federal government as a whole
    • Huey Long (and his supporters) - Argued that Roosevelt was not doing enough with the Federal government, advocated for total redistribution of wealth
    • Residually conservative Supreme Court rejected much FDR’s legislation as they believed it violated the principles of the government described by the Constitution
  • The Second New Deal

    • Works Progress Administration

      • Extended the Public Works Administration by broadening the definition of a public work in order to implement as many unemployed people as possible
    • Social Security Act - Furthered the welfare state of the U.S. through multiple entitlement programs by:

      • Diverting taxpayer dollars to the elderly incentivizing their retirement
      • Ensuring future generations would be able to rely on government support
    • Wagner Act - Protected the rights of organized labor by establishing the National Labor Relations Board
    • Public Utilities Holding Companies Act - Attempted to make amenities such as electricity more easily available to the public
    • Court Packing - Seeking to usurp the Conservative resistance he was facing in the Supreme Court, Roosevelt attempted to add six additional members to sway the balance in his favor

      • Following disapproval from both Democrats and Republicans, Roosevelt’s plan failed, but the Supreme Court also ceased rejecting his New Deal policies
    • Fair Employment Practices Committee - Attempted to mitigate discriminatory employment methods of government agencies against blacks
    • Governmental Reorganization Bill - Drastically strengthened the presidency by creating “temporary” agencies within the Executive branch which had direct influence over several other departments
  • Good Neighbor Policy - Reversal of the Monroe Doctrine/Roosevelt Corollary, pulled US troops from Caribbean, and disavowed interventionist actions that had defined US foreign policy for the previous decades
  • Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act - Enabled the US to designate preferential trade partners according to a decrease in tariff rates employed by other countries
  • Indian Reorganization Act - Invalidated the Dawes Severalty Act by returning the ability to own land pseudo-communally, in accordance with traditional native values and culture, to the Native American people - the effects of which were somewhat repressed because of the unifying nationalist sentiments that increased as the nation approached WWII
  • World War II - Pulled the US out of the Depression by sheer requisite of production

    • Neutrality Acts - Enveloped by the economic crisis on the home front, Roosevelt focused on keeping the US out of war, although eventually volunteering preferential aid to Great Britain and other Allied nations

      • U.S. enacted Arms Embargo upon nations participating in the war
      • Cash and Carry process enabling other nations to procure non-military goods from the U.S. on the condition that they pay up front and ship the goods themselves
      • As the Axis powers’ actions become increasingly identifiably reprehensible and support for the Allied forces also increased which was evident through policies such as :

        • Lend Lease - US would donate/lend arms to Great Britain and eventually the USSR on the understanding that they would be returned or paid for after the war
      • Re-emphasis on the Kellogg-Briand pact, still without any method of enforcement
    • Atlantic Charter - Statement released by Winston Churchill and FDR announcing their shared war goals

      • United States was fully preparing to enter the war at this point
    • Japanese bombing of crucial Pacific naval base: Pearl Harbor - December 7th, 1941, immediately brought the United States into the war

      • Also led to the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps
      • Korematsu v. United States - Ruled that executively ordered exclusion/relocation of Japanese Americans away from places of high national security was constitutional
    • Key Battles / War Events of FDR’s lifetime

      • Island Hopping - United States retaking control of the Pacific
      • Stalingrad - USSR exhausting Nazi efforts on the Eastern front
      • D-Day - Invasion that led to the liberation of France from Germany
    • Labor unions (AFL and CIO) refrain from striking during wartime
    • Saw an unprecedented amount of both governmental control of the economy, but also cooperation from the American citizens

      • Anti-inflation Act - Allowed the government to expand their control of the economy in times of crisis
      • Revenue Act - Dramatically increased tax rates for everyone, lowered the threshold needing to be met in order to be required to pay taxes
    • Planning for the United Nations - Organization of countries who pledged to adhere to / work towards the goals of the Atlantic Charter

Life After Presidency

  • Died in office, after 12 years in the presidency, on April 12th, 1945, of a cerebral hemorrhage, just months before the end of the war

Harry S. Truman

Early Life

  • Born on May 8th, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri

Career Before Presidency

  • Farmer in hometown
  • Captain of an artillery unit during World War I
  • Judge of local county
  • Senator of Missouri - chaired the “Truman Committee” auditing defense budget
  • Vice President to Franklin Delano Roosevelt


  • 1944 - Assumed the role of president following FDR’s death in office in 1945
  • 1948 - Tarnished by the rough recovery from downshifting into a postwar economy, Truman surprisingly managed to win reelection


  • World War II

    • Becoming privy to the Manhattan project, and following the Germans’ surrender, Truman extended an offer to Japan to surrender which was denied
    • Following Japan’s refusal to surrender he authorized the use of the atomic bomb on two of their wartime production cities: Hiroshima and Nagasaki

      • Japanese surrender shortly followed
      • Continued trend of United States/Western nations investing significant amounts of money and effort into rebuilding nations they recently destroyed which was also taking place in Germany
    • Saw the formation of the United Nations in the following postwar negotiations
    • Start of the Cold War - Soviet Russia split from Allied Western nations and began to sponsor/impose Communist governments across the recovering Eastern Europe
  • National Security Act

    • Organized the three branches of the military into the National Military Establishment
    • Created the Central Intelligence Agency
    • Created the National Security Council
  • Long Telegram - George F. Kennan’s message to Truman voicing concerns about the Soviet’s postwar expansionist behavior
  • Truman Doctrine - Voiced the United states’ willingness to support any pro-Western nation being encroached upon by the Soviet Union
  • Marshall Plan - Secretary of State’s economic recovery plan in the European Union

    • Allied powers combine their three partitions of German territory to form West Germany vs. Soviet East Germany and seizure of the supposedly jointly occupied capital of Berlin
    • Usurping the Soviet blockade of Berlin, Truman authorized several airdrops delivering massive amounts of food and supplies into Berlin
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization - Formed to protect Western nations from Soviet expansion, pooling their military capability in the hopes of deterring Eastern aggression

    • USSR develops nuclear capabilities in 1949
    • NSC-68 - Classified document which advocated for the mass proliferation of nuclear weapons as the most effective method of opposing the USSR, and urged for communist resistance not only in Europe, but across the world
    • White Paper - State Department’s statement regarding the decreased efforts at supporting the pro-Western regime shortly before Mao ZeDong forms the new People’s Republic of China
  • Korean War

    • Communist North Korea overextending across the 38th parallel into Democratic South Korea
    • UN condemns actions and easily authorizes military troops to support South Korean efforts in light of Soviet boycott of the Security Council
    • In an effort to avoid the pattern of appeasement that enabled Hitler’s expansion leading up to World War II, Truman authorized deployment of US troops to support South Korea
    • Implied repercussions from China and Russia if the U.S. crossed back over the 38th parallel
    • United States push North Korean forces towards Chinese borders, provoking their support of North Korea to repel the U.S.
    • North Korean forces repel UN + South Korean coalition to the Southern border of the peninsula, provoking the UN to send more troops
    • After the division resettled near where it started at the 38th parallel, neither side made much progress and the tapered out with no clear victor
  • Israel

    • As their imperialist reach dwindled, Britain turned over control of the region to the United Nations who suggested the 2-state solution
    • Palestinians staunchly opposed the creation of a Jewish state, violent conflict broke out
    • Israel created out of Jewish minority population within Palestine

  • Keeping most of FDR’s cabinet and advisors if only for a brief period following his rise to the presidency Truman’s own cabinet was marked by corruption
  • Employment Act of 1946 - Formed the Council of Economic Advisers which was not only a continuation of FDR’s expansion of the Executive branch, but also enabled the preservation of several New Deal policies
  • 21 Point Plan - Truman’s plan to adjust the economy for the post war future, and the continuation and extension of the New Deal - largely failed due to Republican opposition

    • Grappled with Republicans and conservatives as to how to best transition back into consumer-centric production
  • Taft-Hartley bill - Republicans’ attempt to resolve the issue of labor as identified by Truman

    • Prohibiting the extent of political involvement by labor unions that was currently permitted
    • Allowed “right to work” laws which deterred the influence of labor unions on prospective employees
    • Increased the power of the president to intervene during labor strikes
    • Ended up getting vetoed by Truman, but was then overridden by congress
  • Defended the New Deal by vetoing tariff bills, tax bills viewed as preferential for the wealthy, and trying to implement more economically regulatory laws to cease the inflation that the USD was undergoing
  • Attempted to extend the Fair Employment Practices Committee in order to strengthen support of the black community

    • First president to acknowledge the NAACP
  • The Fair Deal - Truman’s attempt to continue FDR’s policies, failed due to Republican resistance

    • Increased economic regulation
    • Called for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley bill
    • Brannan Plan - Attempted to stabilize the American farmer by supplementing their income as an incentive to decrease production
    • Worked to decrease the homeless/slum-housing population through public housing programs
    • Significant boost in the minimum wage
    • What Republicans referred to as the “growth of the welfare state” through the development of Social Security
    • Attempted to establish the first National Health insurance
    • Increased regional development programs
    • Increased Civil Rights to garner support of the African American demographic which was beginning to abandon the Republican party
  • Attempted to alleviate some of the national debt through decreased spending and increased taxes hurt the already shrunken economy
  • Defense Production Act - Aimed to increase the scope of governmental regulation of the economy in times of crisis/war
  • Created the Office of Defense Mobilization to work in tandem with the Defense Production Act
  • Seizure of the Steel

    • Truman authorized federal oversight/intervention of vital steel companies to prevent a lapse in vital production
    • Truman’s actions overruled by the Supreme Court after being challenged by the steel companies
  • Rise of Anti-Communism

    • Truman’s national security loyalty program to uncover Communists
    • Revival of the House Committee on Un-American Activities to uncover Communist subversion taking place through the Democratic party
    • McCarthyism - Slanderous accusations of Soviet cooperation amongst U.S. officials led by Senator Joseph McCarthy
    • Internal Security Act - Targeted communist activities in the United States

      • Vetoed by Truman and overridden by congress
  • Twenty-Second Amendment (1951) - Restricted the number of terms a president could hold to two terms

Life After Presidency

  • Died of old age on December 26th, 1972

Dwight David Eisenhower

Early Life

  • Born on October 14th, 1890, in Denison, Texas
  • Graduated from West Point

Career Before Presidency

  • Rose to the position of General during WWII, Supreme Commander leading D-Day invasion
  • President of Columbia University
  • Supreme Commander of NATO troops


  • 1952 - “I like Ike” - Following Truman’s downfall of popularity as a result of his failed Fair Deal and the Korean War, Republicans jumped at the opportunity in the White House and nominated the war hero: Eisenhower
  • 1956 - Having been extremely popular on his platform of K1C2: resolving the Korean war, fighting communism and corruption, AND having recovered from his heart attack the previous year, Ike seemed unstoppable and resilient


  • Employed “Modern Republican” policies that proved to be more moderate than conservatives would have preferred with regard to the New/Fair Deal policies that had been enacted in the previous two decades

    • Authorized the growth of Social Security and an increased minimum wage
    • Drastically reduced Federal debt
  • Federal Highway Act of 1954 - Established the Interstate Highway System which proved to be the largest public works program yet, at the expense of the local communities who became irrelevant due to Federally determined path of the highway
  • Eisenhower's presidency was marked by significant economic growth and prosperity leading to the development of “Suburbia”
  • This general prosperity overshadowed the decline of the agricultural market in the South which saw the continuation of the migration of blacks to the North where they faced much difficulty securing equal opportunities for employment and wages
  • Senator McCarthy finally censured following public outrage of his behavior once it was broadcasted on television
  • Civil Rights - Eisenhower the reluctant arbiter of Civil Rights

    • Civil Rights Act of 1957 - Sought to further protect the voting rights of blacks Ended up being weakened by Southern Democrats, resulting in the passage of a second Civil Rights Act
    • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka - Ruled that separate was not equal when dealing with public education
    • Supreme Court’s desegregation decision was met with much opposition in Little Rock, AR, to the extent that Eisenhower was forced to send federal troops to disperse those protesting, and to escort the black students into the school
    • Worked towards desegregation of the military
  • Oversaw the end of the Korean War shortly after entering office for multiple reasons namely because of increased military leverage as well as the death of the Joseph Stalin
  • Chinese Conflict

    • United States’ refused to acknowledge the People’s Republic of China, instead favoring Chiang Kai-shek’s weakened Nationalist Chinese government that had migrated to Taiwan
    • As Mao Zedong began attacking the Taiwanese “imposter” government, Eisenhower leveraged the threat of nuclear warfare on the PRC
    • Whether or not this threat brought about a ceasefire, the conflict was put on hold if only for a few years
  • Hungarian Revolution - Demonstrated the shallow principle of American concern for democracy

    • Democratic revolution was rapidly extinguished by Soviet forces
    • Event was largely ignored by the United States who did not have a stake in Hungarian interests
  • Geneva - Even though tensions between the USSR and U.S. lessened following Stalin’s death, the United States’ efforts at extending peace were met with little cooperation

    • Tensions spiked once more following the Soviet interception of a U-2 reconnaissance plane even though Khrushchev had rejected the United States’ proposal of open skies for mutual surveillance
  • CIA to fight the Cold War

    • Operation Ajax - 1953

      • CIA along with British intelligence agencies sponsored a coup d'etat of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister in favor of the more pro-Western Shah who then restored Britain’s preferential oil industry
    • Guatemala - 1954

      • United States supported the deposition of democratic president of Guatemala for fear of communist cooperation, in favor of a militaristic authoritarian
    • CIA helped establish the Republic of Vietnam in the South following Japanese withdrawal
  • Suez Crisis

    • Following the United States’ withdrawal of support due to the Egyptian president’s cooperation with both sides of the communist/democratic divide, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, freezing international trade
    • British, French, and Israeli forces immediately retaliated with military force
    • Eisenhower condemned their actions and leveraged US influence to force them to withdraw
    • Missing the point, he issued the Eisenhower Doctrine, extending support to Middle-Eastern nations being subjugated to communist pressure
  • Lebanon - In an effort to prevent a conspiratory Egyptian regime in Lebanon, Eisenhower sent marines to try to stabilize the government
  • France and Vietnam

    • United States was covering the majority of French defense expenses in their attempts to retain control of of Indochina against Vietminh resistance
    • Trapped French forces at Dien Bien Phu provoke French calls for US military involvement in the form of airstrikes
    • Without international support, the United States refused to support the French troops resulting in their surrender and the subsequent independence of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia
    • In a last effort at preventing communist control of the entirety of the Vietnamese peninsula, the U.S. supported a democratic partition of South Vietnam
  • As US-Cuban relations fizzled, planning for a coordinated effort to depose communist Fidel Castro began

Life After Presidency

  • Retired to the farm life in Gettysburg, where he continued to advise future presidents about foreign policy
  • Having been rendered bedridden by another heart attack, he died on March 28th, 1969

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Early Life

  • Born on May 29th, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Graduated from Harvard
  • Suffered many illnesses which plagued him throughout his life

Career Before Presidency

  • Officer in the Navy during WWII

    • Medal of Valor and Purple Heart for survival in the Pacific
  • Member of the House of Representatives
  • Senator of Massachusetts
  • Wrote pulitzer winning book, Profiles in Courage


  • 1960 - Participating in the first televised presidential debate that established the norm for all future elections, Kennedy came out above Nixon by a small amount of the popular vote, but secured the electoral vote due to his focus on key states instead of the entirety of the nation Presidency


  • New Frontier - Domestic program focused at reviving the hurting economy, but was limited by Republican resistance

    • Increased minimum wage
    • Reduced taxes
    • Failed health care program aimed at elderly (precursor to Medicare)
  • Civil Rights

    • Kennedy hurt enforcement of Civil Rights legislation in South due to Democratic federal judge appointments
    • Use of the National Guard to to escort black student into college in Mississippi resulting in a violent riot
    • March on Washington - MLK and 200,000+ others demonstrate on the National Mall
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    • U.S. air support withdrawn last minute leaving 1,500 Cuban exiles on their own to be swiftly captured by Castro’s troops
    • U.S. still linked to the mission, causing many issues even though the operation was a large failure
  • Berlin Wall - Khrushchev calls Kennedy’s bluff to punish Soviet aggression and constructs the dividing wall between East and West Germany
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    • Cuban-Soviet relations strengthened following the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion, leading to heavy Soviet militarization of Cuba including nuclear missiles
    • Surveillance revealed the existence of missiles in Cuba posing a tremendous threat to the nearby U.S.
    • Kennedy elected to blockade Cuba and enter a serious period of military threat
    • Following the establishment of a direct line of communication to the Kremlin, Kennedy and Khrushchev came to an agreement involving

      • Removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba
      • Reciprocal removal of American nuclear missiles from Turkey
      • U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba
      • Eventually the Cuban blockade was removed
    • Kennedy advocated for the Space Race, pledging to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade
  • Kennedy created the Peace Corps, an activist humanitarian program
  • Vietnam - Kennedy oversaw continued support of South Vietnam in the form of military advisers, while - refraining from outright deployment of U.S. troops
  • Test Ban Treaty of 1963 - Agreement between the U.S., USSR, and Great Britain to cut down on nuclear testing
  • Alliance for Progress - Effort at progressing Latin American protection and representation, but was largely overshadowed by the Cold War
  • Space Race - Pledged to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade in response to the Soviet’s successful launch of the primitive satellite Sputnik in the previous years
  • Twenty-Third Amendment (1961) - Granted Washington D.C. electoral votes equal to the amount of representation it would have if it were a state without exceeding that of the smallest state
  • Assassinated on November 22nd, 1963

Life After Presidency

  • Sadly, NA

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Early Life

  • Born on August 27th, 1908, in Johnson City, Texas
  • Initially refused admission to teaching college which his poor family struggled to send him to

Career Before Presidency

  • Member of the House of Representatives
  • Lieutenant Commander in the Navy
  • Senator of Texas - youngest Senator to hold both positions of Minority and Majority Leader
  • Vice President to Kennedy


  • 1960 - Assumed the presidency following Kennedy’s assassination in 1963
  • 1964 - Hugely successful Great Society program secured the largest margin of victory ever recorded at over 15 million votes


  • Civil Rights Act - Presented as Kennedy’s idea to be honored
  • Great Society - Domestic policy which aimed to “end poverty and racial injustice”

    • War on Poverty

      • Medicare - Health care program for the elderly
      • Medicaid - Substitute for those of any age who could not afford health care
      • Created the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the Department of Transportation which worked to increase conditions of both fields
      • Economic Opportunity Act - Johnson’s community action plans saw the formation of Community Action Agencies in every city to correspond with federal and state level efforts to help the poor
      • Head Start program - Educational improvement for children living in poverty
      • Succeeded where Kennedy could not in securing increased educational funding regardless of whether or not it was a religious school
      • Legal Services Corporation - Offered legal counsel to those who typically could not afford it
    • Civil Rights

      • Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Ended de jure segregation
      • Voting Rights Act of 1965 - Prohibited the use of literacy tests at polling stations, and began employing federal personnel to register blacks to vote
      • Riots occurred throughout the nation, accompanying particularly violent events such the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy
      • Kerner Commission - Designated by Johnson to determine the cause of the growing racial tensions
    • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 - Increased amount of allowed immigrants and reversed previous immigration laws which enacted quotas according to nationality
    • Highway Safety Act - Established a set of Federal regulations of motor travel to cut down on the large number of vehicle related deaths
    • Public Broadcasting Act - Encouraged increased development educational and noncommercial radio and television facilities
  • Twenty-Fourth Amendment (1964) - Forbid the use of a tax to restrict a citizen’s right to vote
  • Twenty-Fifth Amendment (1967)

    • Legislated the precedent of Vice President taking the place of the president in the event of his death or resignation
    • Enabled the president to select a new Vice President to be confirmed if there is a vacancy
    • Allows a majority of executive branch officers to determine if the president is unable to fulfill the duties of office
  • Vietnam War

    • Johnson began extending U.S. involvement from military advice to increased infiltration and military involvement
    • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - Passed as a result of Vietnamese aggression towards U.S. naval forces in the area, enabled the president to take any necessary measures ensure the security of the troops

      • Although he never went to Congress for a formal declaration of war, Johnson construed the resolution to fit the same purpose
    • Rolling Thunder - Johnson authorized continuous air strikes against North Vietnam

      • Marine troops eventually sent to defend the airfields, led to the further deployment of troops to the Vietnamese peninsula with the final number of troops exceeding 530,000
    • Johnson’s offensive tactics in Vietnam hinged on the decline of North Vietnamese’ will to fight/be fought which never occurred
    • Tet Offensive - Brutal North Vietnamese offensive push that led to severe retaliation had the effects of hurting both the morale of the troops, but also support for the war effort at home
    • After announcing that he would not run for reelection, Johnson ceased the air strikes
    • Increasing resistance to the war effort resulted in massive antiwar demonstrations
  • Outer Space Treaty of 1967 - Prohibited testing nuclear missiles outside of Earth;s inner atmosphere
  • U.S. joins the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty - Aimed to prevent nations from helping or countries attain nuclear capabilities
  • Panama Canal - Following Panamanian riots, control of the canal and surrounding region was returned to Panama
  • Dominican Intervention - Johnson authorized the deployment of 20,000 marines to prevent a non-existent communist regime in the Dominican Republic

Life After Presidency

  • Unexpectedly died of a heart attack on January 22nd, 1973

Richard Milhous Nixon

Early Life

  • Born on January 9th, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California
  • Graduated from Whittier College and late Duke University Law School

Career Before Presidency

  • Lawyer
  • Navy Lieutenant Commander in the Pacific during WWII
  • Member of the House of Representatives

    • Gained fame in the HUAC investigating Alger Hiss
  • Senator of California
  • Vice President to Eisenhower


  • 1960 - Narrowly lost to Kennedy, later remarked, “I would never again enter an election at a disadvantage by being vulnerable to them—or anyone—on the level of political tactics.”

    • foreshadowing the events of the 1972 election that cost him his career
  • 1968 - Returning from two significant political defeats, Nixon effectively campaigned his way to the forefront of the Republican party, but barely won the presidency with little more than 43% of the popular vote
  • 1972 - One of the largest margins of victory ever, Nixon won 49/50 states, only to later be invalidated by the Watergate Scandal


  • Twenty-Sixth Amendment (1971) - Set the legal voting age for both federal and state elections at 18 years of age
  • Gradualism - Economic strategy that reduced the amount of dollars in circulation to combat the growing inflation
  • New Economic Policy - Reversal of policy formed by Nixon and a council of economic advisers which employed numerous economically regulatory policies which went against Nixon’s previously Conservative principles -worked temporarily
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Aimed to prevent workplace injury
  • Rise of Environmentalism

    • Formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor and prevent man made destruction of the planet
    • Revision of the Clean Air Act of 1967 to reduce vehicle emissions contributing to air pollution
    • Noise Control Act of 1972 - Aimed to decrease excessive noise pollution which could result in human injury
    • Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 - Restricted interaction with marine animals for their protection and preservation
    • Endangered Species Act of 1973 - Increased conservation efforts of animals who were becoming endangered
    • Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 - Established national standards for acceptable water content, as well as increased accessibility to safe drinking water through Federal supplies
  • Family Assistance Plan - Expanded the existing welfare programs including Social Security
  • Roe v. Wade - Legalized abortion in the first trimester under the new principle of the right to privacy which would be used to further expand the legality of abortion
  • Roth v. United States - Upheld that all nonviolent speech is protected under the First Amendment, specifically inflammatory, or highly unpleasant speech (pornography)
  • **Watergate Scandal **

    • Involved multiple scandals regarding the president attempting to suppress/cover up a number of shady happenings, the most significant of which was the intrusion of the Democrat National Convention
    • Nixon secretly formed a pseudo investigation organization which was linked to the break-in at the DNC in an attempt to destroy the Pentagon Papers which documented the Vietnam war and what Nixon feared might uncover some of his other dishonest actions as president
    • After two members of Nixon’s Special Investigation Unit were caught and arrested, Nixon was facing impeachment
    • Following multiple hearings implicating either Nixon’s involvement in many scandals, or his attempts to cover them up Nixon grew increasingly defensive
    • Saturday Night Massacre - Nixon fired Archibald Cox after his discovery of the White House taping system and subsequent subpoena, resulting in the disgusted resignation of Nixon’s Attorney General and his Deputy
    • United States v. Nixon - Overruled Nixon’s claim of executive privilege which he was using to prevent turning over the White House tapes
    • Smoking Gun Tape - One of the many recordings of Nixon in which he admitted to involvement with the break-in which was released by the White House following public outrage at the Saturday Night Massacre
    • On August 9th, 1974, Nixon resigned rather than endure his inevitable conviction
  • Repaired relations with China, resulting in his visit in 1972
  • For fear of losing influence with the U.S. to China, the USSR also invited Nixon to Moscow, resulting in the signing of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) between Nixon and Brezhnev
  • Vietnam

    • Ended the draft that had been in place under LBJ
    • Leveraging his newly made relations, Nixon called for the North Vietnamese supporters (China and the USSR) to encourage North Vietnam to negotiate a peace treaty -unsuccessful
    • After Nixon’s ultimatum to North Vietnam to make efforts at peace elapsed, he reverted to militaristic efforts at ending the conflict
    • Vietnamization - Process of withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam, shifting the responsibility of defense back to the South Vietnamese

      • Nixon Doctrine - Extension of the the vietnamization policy which stated that the United States would no longer undertake the defensive efforts of nations resisting Communism
    • Following the replacement of the Cambodian leader with someone who would allow U.S. military involvement, Nixon sent troops to Cambodia
    • Kent State Massacre - This led to the most significant anti-war protest yet as well as the most violent federal response even resulting in the death of multiple college protesting students
    • My Lai - U.S. troops committed heinous war crimes, killing swaths of innocent Vietnamese, further weakening support of the war at home
    • Lamson 719 - Bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail to cut off North Vietnam’s supplies in Laos and Cambodia with South Vietnamese forces on the ground
    • Following significant North Korean offensive, Nixon acted upon several of the plans formed by the NSC including the mining of the Haiphong Harbor as well as increased bombing of North Korea
    • Finally the North Korean government agreed to end the violent conflict, having retained much of the land gained from the offensive with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973
  • 1973 October War (Yom Kippur War)

    • Retaliation from the Six Day war which occurred in 1969 where Israel preemptively attacked several of its neighbors citing threats to national security
    • Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur
    • OPEC enforced an oil embargo on nations supporting Israel
    • Soviets threatened to intervene in U.S. air-supplies to Israel
    • U.S. announces DefCon 3, Soviets retract their aggressive poise and tensions eventually fizzled as Henry Kissinger traveled throughout the Middle-East seeking to resolve the issue with
  • Chile

    • CIA intervened in Chile to prevent socialist leader from rising to power
    • Nixon withdraws 99% of aid to Chile
    • Eventually, the radical and insane General Augusto Pinochet rose to power
  • Space Race Victory - On July 20th, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission resulted in the first successful manned moon landing

Life After Presidency

  • Following his resignation, Nixon was completely pardoned by Gerald Ford, leaving him financially ruined
  • Although marked by scandal, Nixon remained politically active, continuing to provide his commentary on foreign policy
  • Died on April 22nd, 1994, of a stroke

Gerald Rudolph Ford

Early Life

  • Born on July 14th, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Graduated from University of Michigan and then Yale Law School

Career Before Presidency

  • Lieutenant Commander in the Navy during WWII
  • Lawyer
  • Member of the House of Representatives - House Minority Leader

    • Member of the Warren Commission to investigate JFK’s assassination
  • Vice President to Nixon following Spiro Agnew’s resignation due to scandal


  • 1972 - According to the 25th Amendment and following Nixon’s resignation, Ford assumed the presidency on August 9th, 1974, without ever being elected to any executive office
  • 1976 - Lost to the outside Jimmy Carter, who was welcomed by the American people who would be distrustful of the government for decades to come


  • Recognizing that prolonged litigation would do nothing to heal the American people’s faith, Ford pardoned Nixon, stating “Our long national nightmare is over”

    • The general public disagreed, calling for Nixon to be punished
  • Still suffering from the economic downturn punctuated by the oil embargo, Ford struggled to resolve the energy and economic crises

    • Initially, Ford attempted to resolve the growing issue of inflation by cutting the budget and increasing taxes
    • Later switched courses to a tremendous tax break to try to stimulate the economy
    • Revenue Adjustment Act of 1975 - Increased the existing tax cut with plans to reduce government spending that had been conceded to secure the initial tax reduction
  • Refrained from using the Federal government to end de facto segregation where it continued
  • Reluctantly authorized a loan of 2.3 Billion dollars to bail out the struggling New York City
  • Oversaw significant reform of the CIA following the discovery of several illegal domestic operations being carried out by the agency
  • Vietnam

    • Despite the Paris Peace Accords, North Vietnamese forces captured the South Vietnamese capital
    • Concurrently, the surrounding puppet allies of Cambodia and Laos also crumbled
    • A panicked mass evacuation of U.S. personnel followed
  • Ford authorized a military operation to free the American supply freighter, the Mayaguez, which had been captured by Communist Cambodian pirates
  • Helsinki Accords - International acknowledgement of the borders of European nations - aimed to prevent further Soviet expansion
  • Angola - Having gained independence from Portugal, Angola became the battleground for China, the USSR, and the US to wage a proxy war for control of the new government

Life After Presidency

  • Although he never held another political office, Ford remained engaged in political discussions following his single term as president
  • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for his decisive handling of the Watergate Scandal
  • Died on December 26th, 2006

Jimmy Carter

Early Life

  • Born on October 1st, 1924, in Plains, Georgia
  • Graduated from the Naval Academy

Career Before Presidency

  • Served as a Naval officer immediately following WWII

    • One of the first nuclear submarine engineers
  • Worked the family farm following his father’s death
  • Gained recognition through state level government where he opposed segregation
  • Governor of Georgia
  • Chairman of the Democratic National Committee - helped his initial campaign


  • 1976 - An “outsider”, and a strong voice for human rights, Carter was able to win the election over the incumbent: Gerald Ford, who had left the American people without a strong sense of leadership
  • 1980 - Increased economic turmoil and inflation, cold public presentation, as well as his unsatisfactory handling of the Iranian Hostage Crisis hurt his chances at reelection


  • Energy Crisis

    • Emergency Natural Gas Act - Controlled distribution of domestic natural gas, necessary reaction to the ever growing price of foreign oil
    • Established the Department of Energy to further control energy sources as well as to develop more efficient and renewable energy sources
    • Energy Security Act - Formed the Synthetic Fuels Corporation to supplement private efforts at developing better sources and implementation of energy
    • As a residential expert on nuclear energy, Carter used his expertise to influence the course of development of nuclear energy in the U.S.
  • Strong advocate for the prevention of human rights violations
  • Increased Social Security program
  • Carter’s questionable cabinet which consisted of his “Georgia Boys”, his negative media presence, and the increasing energy panic despite his comprehensive programs all hurt his legacy and chances at reelection
  • Camp David Accords - Carter successfully mediated peace discussions between Israel and its Arab adversaries: Egypt and Syria
  • Panamanian Agreement in Principle - Continuing discussions regarding control of the Panama Canal, Carter negotiated an agreement securing U.S. rights to defend the canal whilst guaranteeing the transfer of control to the Panamanians by 1999

    • Continued effort at developing the detente that had been taking place for several years
    • Reaffirmed principles of disarmament/reduced production nuclear arms
    • Never formally ratified by U.S. or Soviets due to Soviet-provoked Afghan conflict causing tensions between the two nations

      • Boycotted the Olympics in 1978 out of spite for Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
  • China

    • Formally recognized the communist People’s Republic of China over the Republic of China in Taiwan
    • Goldwater v. Carter - Supreme Court case disputing Carter’s ability to nullify the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1955 made with the Republic of China which was voided resulting Carter’s default victory
    • Taiwan Relations Act - Maintained diplomatic relations via “institutions” which were established inside the old embassy
  • Iranian Hostage Crisis

    • After the Shah was forced to flee his own nation by the radical Islamic population favoring a theocratic rule under Ayatollah Khomeini, he was welcomed into the United States
    • American hospitality towards their Iranian puppet/ally infuriated Islamic students in Iran who proceeded to invade the American Embassy in Tehran and hold 66 American citizens hostage for over a year
    • In response, Carter put a hold on all U.S. aid going to Iran, the population of which were becoming openly hostile towards America
    • A failed rescue mission led to the relocation of the hostages to several unknown locations
    • Carter’s last action as president secured an agreement releasing the hostages whilst granting Iran increased independence from U.S. control

Life After Presidency

  • President Carter has continued to champion human rights through his participation in several programs and institutions aimed at bettering the global quality of life such as the habitat for Humanity International
  • Remains an expert on international affairs and has aided the State Department with their dealings of particularly toxic adversaries of freedom

Ronald Wilson Reagan

Early Life

  • Born on February 6th, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois
  • Graduated from Eureka College

Career Before Presidency

  • Sports radio personality
  • Member of the U.S. Army Cavalry Reserve as well as the Army Air Corps First Motion Picture Unit - Helped develop informational videos for the Army
  • Prolific actor - President of the Screen Actors Guild (exposure to “the Blacklist”/Red Scare in Hollywood influenced his political views)
  • Spokesperson for General Electric where he perfected his ability to communicate his political ideology
  • Ardently campaigned for Richard Nixon, eventually leading him to change his party affiliation outright to become a Republican
  • Governor of California


  • 1980 - Reagan’s strong, popular presence vastly overshadowed Carter’s, which, in combination with the relative lack of progress made by the previous two presidents, allowed him to sweep the electoral college
  • 1984 - Reagan’s successful conservative programs won him an enormous popularity boost as the economy tangibly benefited from his policies


  • Reagan Revolution (AKA Reaganomics)

    • Although initially hindered by an inevitable recession, his policies ended the stagflation that had plagued the 70s and welcomed a huge economic boom

      • Benefited the upper middle-class the most, leaving the lower fifth of income earners at a loss
    • Reduced tax rates by 30%

      • Later countered by the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982
      • Reforms made to Social Security contained tax increases on the beneficiaries of the program
    • Significant government budget cuts to LBJ’s “Great Society” welfare programs

      • Weakened by congressional exceptions to the budget reform proposed by Reagan - although improved, none of Reagan’s approved budgets were balanced
      • Although Reagan cut most government spending significantly, the U.S. Defense Program actually received a significant boost in funding, which further strengthened the economy
    • Increased interest rates to decrease inflation by limiting the availability of currency
    • Failed to pass a single balanced budget throughout both of his terms, amassing huge deficits, although effectively buying the Soviet Union out of the Cold War
  • Assassination attempt - A failed attempt to kill Reagan, which wounded several ranking bystanders and injured the president, but only resulted in a significant outpouring of public support for the resilient figure
  • Bob Jones University v. the United States - Determined that IRS tax penalties against segregation in schools overruled the religious pretenses barring interracial interactions from Bob Jones University
  • Tax Reform Act of 1986 - Continued tax reform which attempted to expand on the previous tax increases of Reagan’s first term by removing several loopholes
  • Reduced government regulation of the oil industry (as well as other large businesses)
  • Attempted to reduce government regulation of several environmental issues including pollution, which were swiftly opposed and eventually abandoned
  • AIDS Epidemic

    • As the “taboo” disease spread throughout the nation (& world), Reagan’s perception of AIDS shifted from one of indifference to intense concern
    • Surgeon General’s commissioned prevention report sparked controversy for its implications contradicting religious teachings
    • Funding towards researching prevention and cures for AIDS increased dramatically during Reagan’s presidency
  • Peace Through Strength - Reagan’s policy banking on the fact that Soviets could not compete with American production of arms

    • Rejected the informal SALT II treaty claiming that it only weakened the United States as the Russian counterparts were not honoring the agreement
    • Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) - Specifically about the reduction of nuclear arms between the U.S. and Soviets
    • Ordered a Strategic Defense Initiative, which involved researching the possibility of a complex missile defense system in space to prevent ICBM attacks

      • Offered the results of research towards such a defensive mechanism to the Soviets to achieve a mutual assured defense, but was rejected by the Soviet Premier for fear of actually heightening the threat of war
    • Although Reagan remained a staunch advocate of Western democracy, frequently attacking the principles of Communism, his policies were aimed at removing the possibility of nuclear war between the U.S. and Soviets
    • Tensions between the two countries increased with events such as the U.S. “Able Archer” nuclear preparation drill, the Soviets shooting down a Korean commercial airliner, and deployment of nuclear capabilities throughout Europe which both nations contributed to
  • Reagan Doctrine

    • Sponsored pro-Western revolutions/resistance efforts throughout Latin America (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, proxy conflicts with Cuba) to topple the socialist Sandinistas that had replaced the previously pro-American “governments”
    • In acknowledgement of America’s sub-par track record of intervention in Central/South America, Regan refrained from the explicit intervention with the deployment of U.S. troops with an exception in Grenada for fear of injury of American citizens abroad
    • Demanded Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall in a speech delivered in East Germany that received little coverage at the time
  • Lebanon

    • Ties to Lebanon troubled Israeli relations, as Reagan’s administration was obligated to support the democratic Lebanese government from Soviet influence
    • Israel's aerial assaults on Lebanon, for support of a Palestinian organization within its borders, were curtailed following Reagan’s admonishment of the Israeli actions
    • International effort to enforce a ceasefire was led by the U.S. while the Palestinian organization evacuated Lebanon
    • Brash Lebanese massacre of Israeli refugees forced Reagan to withdraw military support
    • Continued military actions taken by Lebanese insurgents against American presence resulted in Reagan’s authorization military force to be taken against Lebanese terrorists including Hezbollah
    • An attack on the U.S. Marines’ barracks provoked Reagan to withdraw all military presence from Lebanon, and subsequently the Middle-East entirely
  • U.S. support of Israel provoked further terror attacks against American forces, ambassadors, and civilians throughout the Middle-East
  • Iran-Contra Scandal

    • Began with the covert supply of anti-tank weaponry to Iran, violating Reagan’s own neutral policy regarding the Iraq-Iran War, in order to fund pro-Western efforts in Nicaragua and to improve Iranian relations resulting in the release of some hostages

      • Inadvertently created a market for American hostages
    • Publication of the Iranian dealings sparked controversy and outrage throughout the Middle-East as well as on the homefront
    • Following his wife’s advice, Reagan took responsibility for the illicit dealings which translated to negotiating with terrorists -something which he had taken an adamant stance against previously
  • Soviet Relations - Moving towards the end of the Cold War

    • Following the multiple turnovers of Soviet leadership during just Reagan’s first term, the reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev took office leading to improved Soviet-American relations

      • Perestroika - Focused on improving the economy (ended up Westernizing many aspects through privatization)
      • Glasnost - Political reformation to accompany the economic upheaval
    • Gorbachev and Reagan maintained unprecedented diplomatic negotiations throughout their mutual terms in power which took place at multiple Geneva summits

      • Often discussed the ideal, although impractical, total disarmament of nuclear weaponry

Life After Presidency

  • Provided political commentary via books and speeches until his unfortunate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in 1994
  • His death on June 5th, 2004, was mourned globally

George Herbert Walker Bush

Early Life

  • Born on June12th, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts
  • Graduated from Yale after being discharged from service in WWII

Career Before Presidency

  • Experienced Navy fighter pilot by the end of WWII
  • Moved to Texas and became involved in the oil industry
  • Member of the House of Representatives (rep. TX, not MA)
  • Ambassador to the United Nations under Nixon
  • Chairman of the Republican National Committee
  • Ambassador to China
  • Director of the CIA
  • Vice President to Reagan after losing the Republican nomination


  • 1980 - Lost the Republican nomination to the more conservative Reagan, but joined his ticket as vice president
  • 1988 - Riding the popularity of Reagan’s conservative presidency, Bush won the election on the basis of continuity of the prosperity of Reagan’s policies
  • 1992 - Equal amounts of growth and prosperity and unpopularity of Gulf War lose to Bill Clinton


  • Struggled to balance policies of low taxes with harmful fiscal plans, especially with a largely Democratic congress

    • Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 - Imposed increased taxes in order to reduce the deficits accumulated by the budget during Reagan’s presidency, contradicting Bush’s promises to cut taxes
  • Government bailout of the Savings & Loans industry which led to a further destabilized economy
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - Expanded upon principles of the Civil Rights act of 1964 to mitigate the prevention of disabled peoples from unfair discrimination
  • Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 - Extended the provisions of the Clean Air Act to account for smog, acid rain, and chemical emissions -byproducts of the advancing industrialization
  • Tiananmen Square

    • Democratic uprising in China that was violently squashed
    • U.S., avoiding a large-scale international conflict, placed menial sanctions upon China
  • Panama

    • Rogue CIA informant Manuel Noriega rose to power in Panama through control of the military
    • Noriega seized power of Panama, rejecting the results of their democratic election
    • A failed coup led to Noriega’s increasingly fascist and violent efforts to suppress those who resisted him
    • Operation Just Cause - Following the murders of U.S. citizens by Noriega's military, the United States violated international law and sent troops to Panama to remove the violent dictator from power
    • Noriega was captured and extradited to America where he was found guilty on several drug charges
  • Cold War - Continuing to come to an end

    • Berlin Wall comes down

      • Two-plus-four plan saw the reunification of Germany involving discussions from the two sides of Germany and the four other WWII wards of the partitioned sections of Germany
      • Germany joined NATO
    • Continued arms reductions discussions, namely the signing of START
    • Soviet resistance to Gorbachev’s “softness” caused further instability
    • Soviet satellite nations began to declare independence from the Soviet Union
  • Gulf War

    • Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait for oil
    • Immediately condemned by U.S. Britain, and the Soviet Union
    • Operation Desert Shield - Diplomatic effort to resolve Hussein’s seizure of power
    • Israeli cooperation to recuse themselves in order to facilitate cooperation amongst the rest of the Arab nations
    • As diplomatic measures failed to yield any positive Iraqi reaction, Congress authorized Operation Desert Storm

      • Bush led a UN military coalition to liberate Kuwait composed mostly of U.S. troops
      • After two months of conflict and Iraqi withdrawal, Bush declared a victory in Kuwait, illustrating the effectiveness of cooperative efforts within the United Nations
  • New World Order - Born out of the relative success of the Gulf War, the New World Order was Bush’s ideal of international cooperation to suppress violent rogue nations

    • Operation Restore Hope - Deployment of U.S. troops to Somalia to help resolve the unfolding humanitarian crisis
  • Failure of the New World Order to act during the Yugoslav dissolvement led to violent conflict resolution instead of diplomatic negotiation

Life After Presidency

  • Cooperated with Bill Clinton to provide humanitarian aid to tsunami victims

Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton

Early Life

  • Born on August 19th, 1949, in Hope, Arkansas
  • Graduated from Georgetown University and Yale Law School

Career Before Presidency

  • Attorney General of Arkansas
  • Governor of Arkansas twice


  • 1992 - Boasting his lengthy, although mixed in performance, tenure as Arkansas governor, as well as his centrist policies, Clinton the presidency over from the incumbent: Bush
  • 1996 - Breaking the single term deadlock of Democratic presidents since FDR, Clinton retained the executive office largely due to Republican folly in their hyper-partisan rejection of Clinton


  • Twenty-Seventh Amendment (1992) - Adjustments in salary for Senators and Representatives doesn’t take effect until the next election cycle

    • Must be re-elected in order to benefit from their proposed raises
  • Economic Policy

    • Immediately after entering office, Clinton worked to get his economic plans passed while the Democrats still held Congress
    • Against Republican’s urgings, his plans passed resulting in a finally balanced budget as well as large surplus from tax increases and spending reductions

      • By the end of his terms, unemployment and inflation were at all time lows
  • North American Free Trade Agreement - Removed mutual trade regulations between the countries facilitating increased friendly trade
  • Don’t Ask Don’t Tell - Compromise regarding the participation of homosexuals in the armed forces
  • Health care reform - Organized by his wife, Hillary Clinton, this effort failed due to turnover in the House and in the Senate to a Republican majority which opposed her plans, as well as her questionable authority to lead such a task force
  • Scandal

    • Clinton’s time as president was marked by several accusations of scandal involving embezzlement in a real estate savings and loan business, inappropriate sexual encounters both before and during his time in the White House
    • Clinton v. Jones - Ruled that the president was capable of participating in his own legal defense against accusations of sexual harassment whilst still focusing on the presidency
    • Vindicating the aggressive accusations of Republicans that contributed to Clinton’s reelection in 1996, a sexual relationship between Clinton and a member of the White House staff, Monica Lewinsky, was uncovered

      • President Clinton perjured himself attempting to salvage the situation
      • Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice amongst other things
      • Plainly partisan vote did not yield the necessary 2/3rds vote to convict the president
      • Republicans faced backlash against their efforts to prosecute Clinton, which manifested in the midterm votes costing them representation
  • Somalia - Inherited Bush’s humanitarian aid mission to Somalia that mutated into a violent conflict resulting in the deaths of several American soldiers, pressuring Clinton to withdraw support
  • Rwandan Civil War

    • Hutus attempt to perform genocide on the Tutsi people
    • Failure in Somalia postponed immediate response
  • Enlargement Policy - Similar to Bush’s New World Order, this principle stressed cooperation between free democratic nations to leverage their influence and forces to prevent immoral nations’ actions
  • With the Soviet Union continuing to shrink in influence, the United States took the forefront of the international stage and acted as the moral authority, helping mediate disputes between other nations

    • UK - Clinton’s administration aided in negotiations between The Republic of Ireland, Britain, and a militant revolutionary group known as Sinn Fein
    • Israel and Egypt - Helped prevent tensions in the Middle-East from extrapolating into war
    • Bosnia

      • Human rights violations against the Bosnians by the Serbs provoked U.S. involvement and the inclusion of NATO into the affair
      • Use of force prompted peace talks known as the Dayton Peace Accords as well as the deployment of a peacekeeping operation into the Balkans to hold Bosnia together
      • Calling for support from NATO, Clinton led extensive air raids against the Serbian government to prevent their genocidal attempts to remove Albanians from the region
  • Iraq - U.S. troops continued to remain in Iraq, searching for nuclear weapons
  • Soviet Union

    • Expansion of NATO as Soviet Satellite nations regain their independence
    • Support for new Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, as well as the rebuilding of the Cold War superpower, allowed the United States to have hands on involvement in the disarmament of their nuclear capabilities

Life After Presidency

  • Remained politically active through his ties to his wife, Hillary Clinton, as well as his/their charitable organization the Clinton Presidential Foundation

George W. Bush

Early Life

  • Born on July 6th, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Graduated from Yale as well as Harvard University Business School

Career Before Presidency

  • Member of the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War
  • Entered the oil business back in Texas, starting his own business, Arbusto Energy, and later Bush Exploration
  • Campaigned for his father whilst engaging in state level political races unsuccessfully
  • Jointly purchased the Texas Rangers baseball team
  • Governor of Texas


  • 2000 - Highly controversial election of which Bush lost the popular vote

    • Decision came down to disputed Electoral votes in Florida in part because of confusing ballots
    • Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board & Bush v. Gore - Bush challenged the ruling of the Florida State Court to allow vote recounts that favored Gore

      • Furthermore, there was no time to conduct a proper recount, so Bush won Florida
    • As Bush questionably received the Floridian electoral votes and therefore the presidency, his term was marked from the outset with national frustration and contention
  • 2004 - Defeated John Kerry both in the electoral college and in the popular standing on the basis of justifying the inva


  • Compassionate Conservative

    • Created the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives - To supplement the role of government on the local level
    • Upheld conservative Christian values by restricting government funding towards the destruction of embryos for stem cell research
    • Successfully passed huge tax cuts to stimulate the economy and potentially increase the tax base

      • While the economy did prosper, his cuts had the adverse effect of shrinking the Federal tax revenue
    • Social Security Reform - Incentivized retirement funds by offering up to $60K non taxable income towards savings

      • Failed due to Democratic opposition, ambiguous reform prescriptions for the long term, and the issue of those drawing from SS whose benefits would be revoked
  • No Child Left Behind Act - Drastically increased education funding, aiding development on the local level, - particularly for underprivileged areas so that the national academic standards would be raised
  • Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 - Attempted to privatize certain aspects of the Medicare system so as to allow more individual responsibility and liberty, and ultimately prevent the government from racking up large deficits
  • Hurricane Katrina

    • Anticipating the catastrophe, Bush mobilized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prepare for the intense storm headed towards Louisiana
    • When it reached the land, Katrina proved to be one of the deadliest natural disasters of the nation’s history
    • Bush came under fire for the absence of direct Federal aid, citing that that was largely the responsibility of state/local governments with the support of the Federal government

      • Local efforts were unable to cope with the massive damage, excessive crime, and humanitarian crises that were arising out of the initial disaster
  • Financial Crisis of 2008

    • Regardless of Bush’s stimulus bailout that was passed with bipartisan support in response to the worrisome decline of the economy, the situation only became worse with the crash of the stock market
    • Speculation within the housing market, as well as Bush’s initiative to subsidize the market to increase housing, were two of the most significant contributing factors
    • Shedding conservative principle for a pragmatic response, Bush supported government intervention in the economy to prevent the crisis for spiraling out of control

      • Emergency Economic Stabilization act - Formed the Troubled Assets Relief Program which provided huge amounts of money to stabilize the economy
  • September 11th, 2001 - War on terror became the primary focus of his presidency

    • Fundamentalist terror attack on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and attempt at the White House, killing almost 3,000 Americans

      • Ease of the attackers to seize airplanes used in the attack led to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration
    • Following the immediate care for the wounded, Bush declared war on terrorism
  • Afghanistan

    • Bush’s focus centered in Afghanistan, where the Taliban harbored Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, the organization behind 9/11
    • Eight days after the attack, bush’s war cabinet agreed upon a military offensive to combat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and begin heavy air strikes in Afghanistan
    • Operation Anaconda - Saw the dispersion of Taliban/Al Qaeda forces out of Afghanistan
    • After capturing the orchestrator of the 9/11 attack, rather than withdraw troops, Bush authorized the strengthening of U.S. presence in an attempt to secure the region and prevent the Taliban from returning
  • Bush Doctrine - Voiced the United States strong stance against any nations supporting terrorism, focusing on:

    • Preemptive cooperative efforts extinguish terror regimes before they could take off
    • United States expansion of its sovereign ability to defend itself from potential attackers
    • Spread of democracy to prevent such barbaric behavior
  • Invasion of Iraq

    • Intention was to remove Saddam Hussein, replace him with a Democratic governing system, and destroy any outlets for production of Weapons of Mass Destruction
    • Several politicians opposed the impractical/aggressive ideals of the Bush Doctrine which was the basis for the invasion
    • Upon razing the capital, Baghdad, and decisively invading Iraq, no WMDs were found, Hussein having unceremoniously gotten rid of them previously
    • With Hussein out of power, the U.S. waited for Iraq to stabilize decreasing its military presence -no stability/Democracy rose out of the rubble

      • Huge opportunity for terror groups to fill the power vacuum, identify the antagonistic West, and rally massive amounts of support
      • U.S. response was to send 20,000 more troops
    • Strategic Framework Agreement - Discussions with the new Iraqi government to wean them off of American support (Vietnamization of Iraq)
  • War on Terror

    • Creation of Department of Homeland Security
    • Patriot Act - Increased levels of surveillance in an attempt to prevent future attacks - exploited by various government organizations
    • Terrorist Surveillance Program - Granted the NSA the ability to access private information without a warrant for the purpose of preventing terror

      • Challenged by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - Restricted such efforts to only be used foreign nations, not U.S. citizens
    • Guantanamo Bay - Cuban prison facility used to hold suspected terrorists, key location and terminology of inhabitants bent the law to allow the U.S. to do whatever they wanted to those they deemed agents of terror (torture)

      • Military Commissions Act of 2006 - Law passed in response to outcry against the procedures being used justifying and enumerating the extent of the methods being used
  • Africa

    • Increased cooperative spending with the UN to combat the spreading issue of AIDS
    • International Mother and Child HIV Prevention Initiative - Bush’s program to prevent the maternal transmission of HIV to children
    • President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief - Initiated direct response to Africa to treat and prevent the spread of AIDS
    • President’s Malaria Initiative - Helped reduce the disease which accounted for almost one tenth of African deaths
    • Millennium Challenge Account - Incentivized free markets and facilitated the formation of several international free trade agreements

Life After Presidency

Resigned from the life of politics to pursue a life of recreation (painting) and philanthropy

Barack Obama

Early Life

  • Born August 4th, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude

Career Before Presidency

  • Member of the Illinois State Senate
  • Senator of Illinois - Ran an anti-war platform


  • 2008 - His continued track record of opposition to the war, as well as slogans of change, which, in combination with his charisma and success in Illinois, made him the first black president of the United States
  • 2012 - Although unable to champion compelling results of his first term, as election day approached, Obama benefited from an uptick in popularity attributed to his immediate response to Hurricane Sandy, as well as economic improvements

    • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) - Decreased regulations constraining the amount of money campaigns were allowed to spend/receive


  • Financial Crisis

    • Entered office as the economic meltdown originating in the housing market expanded to other regions of the economy, most directly and worryingly, the banking sector
    • Unemployment at 10% and rising quickly
    • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

      • Obama’s proposed stimulus package, similar to Bush’s TARP which had helped keep banks and the auto industry afloat
      • Supplemented tax cuts, infrastructural repair, and subsidized business to counteract the growing unemployment issue
  • Obama Care - Healthcare reform

    • Potentially a huge expenditure due to Obama’s promises to make healthcare more affordable to all Americans, the idea provoked the formation of the new Tea Party movement which opposed all of Obama’s legislative action
    • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aimed to:

      • Increase the the general degree of insurance
      • Subsidize insurance companies to make coverage affordable (duh)
      • Became the largest point of controversy in Congress, with Republicans constantly lobbying for its repeal, which was later vetoed by Obama
      • Also hindered by the failure of the program’s launch via website
    • Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act - Attempted to resolve the disparities between visions for the bill between the Senate and the House
  • Budget Negotiations

    • Obama failed to reach an agreement with Speaker of the House, John Boehner, further contributing to partisan tensions
    • Saw the formation of a super-committee to determine how to go about balancing the budget which was accumulating hundreds of billions of dollars in deficits annually - did not work
  • Hurricane Sandy - Hurricane in 2012, to which Obama rapidly responded, boosting his popularity
  • Supreme Court

    • Having already replaced two liberal Justices, Obama’s opportunity to shift the 5-4 count of Conservative-Liberal Justices, and therefore move towards a more leftist ideology, came as a surprise with the death of Antonin Scalia
    • Republicans stubbornly refused to even entertain congressional hearings to discuss Obama’s selection for appointment, Merrick Garland, let alone to vote on whether or not to confirm him
    • Although Garland appeared to be considerably centrist on many issues, and the potential threat of a far more liberal Justice was highly probable with the upcoming election in which Hillary Clinton would likely win, Republicans held out, and Obama’s nomination was neglected
    • Obergefell v. Hodges - Ruled state bans of same-sex marriage unconstitutional
  • Removal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in favor of cooperative open acceptance of homosexuals into the military
  • New START - Agreement with Russia to decrease military capabilities
  • Sandy Hook Shootings - Provoked serious discussions regarding the Second Amendment as well as attempted increases on restrictions of firearms, but were shot down by Republicans in Congress
  • Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act - Attempted to facilitate immigration and citizenship programs for immigrants, but was repudiated by the Tea Party
  • Executive Orders - Obama’s only unilateral tool to get anything done due to heavy Republican opposition

    • Environmental concerns expressed through his veto of the Keystone Pipeline, as well as Climate Action Plan which aimed to reduce air pollution
    • Raised minimum wage of federal employees
    • Increased security requirement when purchasing firearms
  • Militant Middle-East

    • Significantly decreased residual military presence in Iraq (from 150,000+ to just over 100)
    • Increased military presence in Afghanistan to continue to repel Taliban/Al Qaeda forces from returning (almost reached 100,000)
    • Navy SEAL raid which successfully resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden May 2nd, 2011, allowed for the gradual withdrawal from the region as the Taliban/Al Qaeda were significantly weakened by the loss
  • Libya - Cooperatively supported the deposition of the dictator, Muammar el-Qaddafi, working with NATO troops
  • Syria - Opted to take a backseat in the civil war unfolding in Syria between rebels and the dictatorial leader Bashar al-Assad, (and later ISIS forces as well)

    • Took little action, even after Assad’s repeated violation of Obama’s threshold of violent actions known as his “red-line”
    • Called for Russia to leverage its influence over Syria to pressure Assad to refrain from his tactics (involving chemical warfare on his own Syrian citizens)
  • Rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

    • Filling the power vacuum left by Saddam Hussein’s vacancy in Iraq, former Al Qaeda members formed an extremely hostile terror organization aimed at establishing a caliphate in the Middle-East
    • Obama authorized airstrikes in Syria as well as the deployment of a small amount U.S. troops specifically to combat this new terrorist organization

      • Wanted to avoid another Afghanistan, limited U.S. boots on the ground, supported foreign coalitions to oppose ISIS such as the Kurds

Life After Presidency

  • With the freedom of no longer being burdened by the responsibility of the entire nation, president Obama is enjoying spending time with his family
  • Occasionally tweets out some tasty licks and assassinates Bernie Sanders' campaigns from the shadows whenever he tries to run for higher office


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