Presidents past and present | Access NEPA

Site has biographies and tidbits on all the chief executives

The birthdays of two of our greatest presidents are this month. George Washington, Feb. 22, and Abraham Lincoln, Feb. 12, are always in the top three of all the presidential rankings I’ve looked at (not to mention they are half of Mount Rushmore). It’s appropriate that we celebrate them with Presidents Day, which is on Feb. 15 this year.

The holiday was originally celebrated on Washington’s birthday, but when it was moved to the third Monday of the month, Lincoln’s birthday was added. Most people, if they think of the holiday at all, think of it as a day to honor all the presidents.

It will be nice if we return to living our daily lives without thinking of the president that often. We’ve just voted out a man who consumed the media and the public’s attention like no other. There is already a noticeable reduction in the noise around the presidency, and it feels good. Of course, we should pay attention to what the president is up to, but it shouldn’t occupy every waking hour.

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The 45 men who have been president of the United States are a varied bunch, even if they are all male and white. POTUS.com is a website that profiles all of our past presidents. The home page features a picture gallery of all of them in order of service with their name and the years they served.

Clicking on their picture or name brings you to a biography page. On the left side is a slideshow of portraits of the men at different stages of their lives. These include paintings and photos. The photos start with John Tyler in 1841.

To the right of that is biographical information, such as nicknames, birth date and place, family members, religion, education, occupations, party affiliation, other government positions they’ve held and what their presidential salary was. Below that is information on their presidential elections, who their opponents were and what the popular and electoral vote totals were. Next is their vice president and cabinet members. The names are also links to Wikipedia pages.

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Next is a list of notable events that occurred under their watch. Each item has a short description of why it was significant, and many of them have links to more information. Under that are links to various other online biographies followed by a collection of videos. There are more links to historical documents and other internet sources. A map shows some points of interest in their lives. There are some random additional facts, quotes and even a Facebook feed for those still with us who have a social media presence.

In addition to the biographies, the site has a Presidential Facts and Trivia section. You can find out who the tallest (Lincoln at 6’4”) and shortest (James Madison at 5’4”) presidents were, or the heaviest (William Taft at 340 lbs.) and lightest (Madison again at 100 lbs.). There’s info on their kids, pets, net worth, languages spoken, facial hair, cause of death and lots of other categories.

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There’s also a Presidential Quizzes section. It features 16 quizzes, some of them still works in progress, on different aspects of the office. You can test your knowledge of what they did before being elected, what their hobbies were, how they used the media, the first ladies in their lives and more.

The site isn’t flashy, but it is logically organized and easy to navigate. It has a limited mission, and it does it quite well.



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