10 Presidents in 10 minutes – Lydia Torrington
Among the 45 US Presidents (including Agent Orange who currently holds the position), there have been some magnificent, some unloved and some simply inconsequential. I shall attempt to blast through 10 of these presidents in 10 minutes, so that you walk away from this article feeling like you could hold your own in a discussion on American Presidents.
George Washington (1789 – 1797)
I can hardly talk about the history of US Presidents without mentioning the man that kicked it all off. Washington remains to this day the only president unanimously elected, due to his stunt as a hero during the American Revolution. He served for 8 years and set the bar extremely high for his successors.
Thomas Jefferson (1801 – 1809)
Third at the helm, the already well renowned Jefferson had been the author of the Declaration of Independence of the US from Britain. During his presidency, he negotiated to buy 827,000 square miles of land that France previously owned. This doubled the size of the 3rd largest country to what it now is.
Abraham Lincoln (1861 – 1865)
The 14th US President succeeded in having an incredible beard, being the tallest President to date (at 6ft4in) and making some historic changes in America. In his 4 years in office before he was shot, he kept the country together during the Civil War where 600,000 American lives were lost. Though himself not believing Blacks and Whites to be equal, he abolished slavery in 1863, changing the course of history and solidly landing himself in the books.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 – 1945)
The second member of the Roosevelt family to try his hand at President, Roosevelt 2.0 served the longest of any US President, due to him being so popular he was elected four times. He led the country through the Great Depression after the Wall Street Crash by passing bill after bill to help the unemployed. On top of that, he also managed to work with Churchill and Stalin to win the Second World War. His death was just as dramatic as he suffered a stroke whilst having a portrait done, and his final words were ‘I have a terrible headache’.
Harry Truman (1945 – 1953)
Following in the much-loved footsteps of FDR was Harry S Truman. He made the controversial and famous decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and ending the war with Japan. He also formed NATO which ignited the Cold War. Truman had to deal with issues across the globe and is perhaps and undervalued president.
John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)
Of the four assassinated in the deadliest job in America, the adored JFK only survived 2 years in office, leaving behind the wonderful Jackie and their two kids. In his short stint, he oversaw the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs incident and the building of the Berlin Wall. Being the public man that he was, he was shot while riding in a convertible car through the streets of Texas, and he died in his wife’s arms.
Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974)
From the good to the ugly. Despite any good that was done during the presidency of Nixon (such as the first Man on the Moon), Nixon will forever be remembered for his corruption which led to his resignation. Despite the fact that he denied any wrongdoings, tapes were found in which he spoke about a break in to government buildings in Washington DC which he planned.
Ronald Reagan (1981 – 1989)
Reagan was the only President who was literally already a Hollywood film star before being elected, and he acted in over 50 major movies. During his 2 terms as America’s oldest president, he saw the end of the painful Cold War which had dragged on for about 45 years and is famous for his speech at the Berlin Wall where he called for it to be torn down.
George W. Bush (2001 – 2008)
The 43rd American President was unlucky enough to face some serious emotionally challenging issues during his 2 terms. Only a few months after his inauguration, Al-Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, killing over 3000 people. Due to the fear installed in the public by these attacks, Bush decided to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in order to stop further attacks and catch Osama bin Laden. After being elected again, his popularity began to plummet due to the cost and casualties of the Iraq war and the rise in unemployment, but his job was far from an easy one.
Barack Obama (2008 – 2016)
In the unprecedented but much needed win of Obama in 2008, he became the first African American President in the history of America. Despite this being an achievement in itself, Obama also contributed lots to American in his 8 years. He finished Bush’s job by catching and killing bin Laden and he created ‘Obamacare’ allowing poor people to afford health insurance. He and his family remain much admired in the hearts of the American public.