Historic Moments of the Presidency

When Thomas Jefferson was President, from 1801 to 1809, our government bought the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase made the United States twice as big as it had been! President Jefferson believed strongly in democracy and equality. He felt that people should not bow to the President, so he shook hands with everyone he met.

Picture of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, was in office during the Civil War. The Civil War was fought because many of the states could not agree on the issue of slavery. President Lincoln wanted all Americans to be free, so he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves. President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.

Our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, had been a cowboy in the Dakota Territory and loved the outdoors. He cared about our country's natural resources and called a White House Conference on Conservation. He established national parks and millions of acres of national forests.

After world War I, President Woodrow Wilson tried to get all countries to join together in a world union called the League of Nations. He was given a great honor in 1919--the Nobel Peace Prize.

Franklin Roosevelt was elected President four times. He held office from 1933 to 1945 and lived in the White House for more than twelve years. He helped create jobs for people during and after the Great Depression and served as Commander in Chief during World War II.

When John F. Kennedy was President, from 1961 to 1963, he sent the first Americans into space. He also started the Peace Corps.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting, education, and other areas.

As President, Richard Nixon opened relations with the People's Republic of China and traveled to the Soviet Union to sign an arms limitation agreement.

President Ronald Reagan started talks with the Soviet Union that led to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987. This treaty reduced the number of nuclear missiles held by the United States and the Soviet Union.

On September 12, 1994, President Bill Clinton launched his national service program, AmeriCorps, which provides opportunities for young people to serve in their communities in exchange for credit for education or job training.



President Clinton facilitated negotiations between Israel and Jordan that helped end more than forty years of hostilities between these two nations. This historic handshake, between Jordan's King Hussein and Israel's Prime Minister Rabin, gave the world new hope for peace in the Middle East.

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