Presidents’ Day

Every third Monday in February in the United States is known as Presidents’ Day.  Initially the holiday was established in 1885 to recognize George Washington. It became known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honouring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.   If you would like to learn more about past and present United States Presidents, the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library has an extensive collection of books that can certainly cater to research pursuits or general interests. Here are a couple of our titles to get you started… 

The American Presidency

 The American Presidency 1945 – 200
Illusions of Grandeur

 Unique in its concentration on the postwar presidency, this radical history goes to the heart of the presidential role in the US to discover how and why the power and popularity of this office have fluctuated so remarkably in the last fifty years. This volume explores the radical changes in the historical role of the president since 1945, with an opening chapter looking at the evolving nature of the office from the 18th to the 20th century. The central argument is that after 1945, the power of the presidency increased enormously.    

Stephen Graubard - The Presidents

The Presidents: The Transformation of the American
Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama

 In this magisterial examination of the Presidency over the course of the 20th Century, the author explores the history of the world’s greatest elective office and the role each incumbent has played in changing the scope of its powers. Using individual presidential portraits of each of the presidents of the past century Graubard asks, and answers, a wide variety of crucial questions about each President. What intellectual, social and political assets did they bring to the White House, and how quickly did they deplete or mortgage that capital? How well did they cope with crises, foreign and domestic? How much attention did they pay to their election pledges after they were elected? How did they use the media, old and new? Above all, how did they conduct themselves in office and what legacy did they leave to their successors? Graubard provides original analysis in each case, and reaches many surprising conclusions.        

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