Whether you celebrated Presidents’ Day this week or the so-called “Not My Presidents’ Day,” we wanted to honor some of the best-known presidents in history in our own unique way. We want to share with you some of the most amazing content that they have created over the years. Admittedly, they didn’t do it all on their own as lots of other talented people were often involved. However, that written content often led to important changes to the country and in some cases even the world.
Let’s look at some examples of content – documents, declarations, speeches, and proclamations that helped make the United States what it is today.
The Declaration of Independence
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. It made it known that the 13 American colonies, which were then at war with Great Britain, considered themselves newly independent sovereign states that were no longer under British rule. It was this content, known as a declaration, that was the basis of a new nation called the United States of America, and future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were both contributors to it.
The US Constitution
Signed by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (including future presidents George Washington and James Madison) on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States is the single most important political document ever created in the country’s history. It established America’s national government, set forth its fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens.
The Emancipation Proclamation
On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that sought to abolish slavery and change the legal status of over three million enslaved people. Importantly, it also changed the goals of the Civil War. Although slavery had been a major catalyst for the war, initially Lincoln’s sole object was to maintain the Union. However, with the Proclamation, freeing the slaves became an explicit objective of his war effort.
The Gettysburg Address
In one of the most important speeches of his career, and the history of the nation, on November 19, 1863, four months after the conclusion of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln spoke at the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The two-minute Gettysburg Address, widely known for it’s famous opening — “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” — played a pivotal role in directing the United States in the aftermath of the war.
John F Kennedy’s Inaugural Address
When John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States, he concluded his inaugural address with the now immortal words “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Throughout his address on January 21, 1961, Kennedy spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens. He also asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the common enemies of man, including tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. His speech is widely believed to be among the best presidential inauguration speeches in American history.
Ronald Reagan’s Tear Down This Wall Speech
On June 12, 1987, at a ceremony honoring the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin, President Ronald Reagan made history. Standing in West Berlin just 100 meters from the Berlin Wall, Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, who at the time was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear down the Wall. Two years later, on November 9, 1989, East Germany opened the Berlin Wall. A year later, the two Germanies were reunited under a single democratic government.
This President’s Day week, we hope that you’ll take a moment to appreciate these and the many other significant pieces of content that some of our greatest presidents have contributed to shaping the past, present, and future of this great nation.