Reflecting on Past U.S. Presidents

This President’s Day, join us in reflecting on past leaders whose legacies are still felt today.  What can we learn from how the United States has been governed in the past, and how did personal crisis, love, and politics play a role?  The documentaries highlighted here will take you on a presidential journey to the past that feels extremely relevant in today’s modern political landscape.

#GeorgeWashington

George Washington was the first President of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.  He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and presided over the 1787 convention that drafted the United States Constitution.  Widely admired during his time and still today, Washington was unanimously elected by the Electoral College not once, but twice.

With all of these accomplishments, it got us thinking: “How would President Washington’s communication style have differed if social media existed when he was in office?”  Politicians in the 21st century are now expected to communicate to the masses through social media – sometimes to the point of scrutiny.  Their every word is sent to millions and instantly fact-checked and analyzed across the world.  Would the original “father of our country” have been viewed any differently if he communicated in tweets?

Our original, exclusive documentary #GeorgeWashington plays out that exact scenario, as historians analyze George Washington’s voluminous correspondence.  Setting out his contacts and letters in the modern framework of a Facebook profile gives Washington’s busy and productive career a new transparency.  Watch the film today and tweet about what you think using #GeorgeWashington!

Additional Featured Content

Presidents in Crisis – What can we learn from history about presidents in crisis? Before they led America through national crises, Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson were all transformed by personal trauma. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin reveals the all too human men who became legends.

 

Lessons from the Presidents: Balancing Work, Love and Play – Doris Kearns Goodwin is back again to share her unique understanding of some of our greatest presidents. In this engaging lecture, she provides leadership lessons we all can learn from in our never-ending pursuit to live our fullest and most successful lives.

 

Lincoln’s Last Night – Through dramatic reenactments, this powerful documentary takes you on Abraham Lincoln’s journey from his early years as a rising politician through his presidency, the Civil War, to his untimely death.

 

JFK: Fact & Fable – Television made Jack Kennedy the ultimate celebrity during his presidency. However, the JFK we remember is the one his wife, Jackie, created after his death. From Air Force One to the Oval Office to the Rose Garden, Jackie Kennedy designed the symbols of presidential power still used today.

Michael Hammerstrom
Michael Hammerstrom is the Manager of Marketing and Engagement at CuriosityStream, the world's first ad-free nonfiction streaming service. He previously led national community engagement efforts for PBS, focusing on K-12 education, as well as for the national nonprofit KaBOOM!, mobilizing high need communities to build playgrounds through competitive grants and grassroots fundraising. He holds a BFA in Theatre and Liberal Arts from The Boston Conservatory and started his career performing and teaching children's theatre.
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