Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.
When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams
An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.
I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.
Our differences are policies; our agreements, principles.
After the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, the President of the United States of America is undoubtedly the most powerful figure in the world. In fact he is the head of the Government of the most important economic and financial power and the Commander in Chief of the most formidable army in the world. That is why every four years the American presidential elections are followed with such great interest all over the world. Washington, the capital city of the USA, derives its name from the first President of the nation. It lies in the District of Columbia (DC) on the Potomac River half way between the North and the South. Its foundation was due mainly to President Thomas Jefferson.
On the rocky cliff-face of Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, are to be seen four colossal portrait sculptures. They are the heads of four great American Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosvelt.
George Washington (1789-1796)
He was the commander-in-chief of the American Army during the War of Indipendence against Britain. After the Victory of the former 13 British Colonies (1783) he became the first President of the US.
Before the United States won independence from British rule, George Washington was a farmer in the colony of Virginia. He served as a military as a military leader in the Revolutionary War. The colonists trusted him because he did not want power for himself. He wanted all the states and the people to work together as one. He wanted the government to serve the people well. Washington said that power should belong to institutions, not to men. He also said that people could understand the U.S. Constitution in many ways, not just one. He did not think that the United States should have strong ties with other countries. George Washington was the First President of the United States from 1789 to 1796. He is often called “the Father of Our Country!”
Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents’ Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. The day honors presidents of the United States, including George Washington, the USA’s first president. The day commemorates past presidents of the USA. Washington’s Birthday is sometimes known as Presidents’ Day. This is because while most states have adopted Washington’s Birthday, some states officially celebrate Presidents’ Day. Some states pay particular attention to Abraham Lincoln, as his birthday was also in mid-February. In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular. It is a popular day for stores to start their sales. The US federal holiday is on the third Monday of February each year, but records show that George Washington’s birthday is on February 22. Many businesses are open as usual and many stores hold sales on Washington’s Birthday. Many delivery services, except for the Post Office, have a regular service and many, but not all, public transit systems operate on regular schedules. Some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess. According to some government sources, Indiana observes the Washington’s birthday holiday in December.
John Adams (1797-1801)
The Adams’ were the first residents of the White House. They moved in in November 1800 while the paint was still wet. Mrs. Adams would hang her laundry in the East Room to dry. Adams was one of three presidents not to attend the inauguration of his successor. Not only was Adams disappointed in losing to tiny U.S. flag Jefferson, he was also grieving the death of his son Charles. Adams was the great-great-grandson of John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The only presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence Adams and tiny U.S. flag Jefferson both died on its 50th anniversary, July 4, 1826. Adams’ dying words were “Thomas Jefferson survives”. Jefferson, however, had passed on a few hours earlier. In 1800, U.S. capital relocated to Washington, D.C. from Philadelphia and the Congress established the Library of Congress.
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
He could do many things. As a young man, he was a farmer and a lawyer in Virginia. He was also a scientist an inventor, a philosopher; and an architect He designed his own home, called Monticello.
He could speak French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, and Greek. Many of Jefferson’s ideas became basic principles of the government of the United States. For example, he believed that all men are created equal, are born the same and should receive the same treatment under the law. He also said that power must come from “the consent of the governed” (the voters, not the leaders).
He wanted free elections, a free press and free speech. Thomas Jefferson held many important government positions. He was Ambassador to France, Secretary of State (under George Washington), Vice President (under John Adams), and the third Prwsidwsm of the United States, from 1801 to 1809. As President, Jefferson bought the huge Louisiana Territory from France.
In 1776 he helped to draw up the famous “Declaration of Independence” which stated that Britain’s American colonies were “of right free and independent States”. His name is also linked to the foundation of Washington City as the capital of the United States of America.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
He was the president of the Civil War (1860-1865) and of the abolition of slavery. At that time the Southern States still kept black slaves. Lincoln spoke out strongly against slavery. As a result, a Civil War broke out between the Northern and Southern States. The North won the war. The two sides were reunited as a nation and slavery was abolished. He grew up in Kentucky in a log cabin. He couldn’t go to school, so he taught himself. He became a lawyer. Friends called him “Honest Abe” As a delegate from Illinois, he served in Congress from 1847 to 1849. Lincoln was against slavery and gave some famous speeches about his ideas when he was running for the Senate. In 1861 Abraham Lincoln became the sixteenth Presiders of the United States. He wanted the states of the Union to work together as one country, but he had to lead the North against the South in the Civil War. Some people thought that Lincoln was too strong as President because he used unconstitutional powers. President Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. He had a plan to bring the South back into the Union after the Civil War, but he couldn’t carry it out because he was assassinated. In 1865 an actor named John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was 50 when he became President in 1932, during the worst period of the Depression. He did not have the look of a leader: thin, stricken by polio, bound to a wheelchair… Yet he proved one of the greatest presidents ever. He launched the New Deal, that is a sort of alliance between all the social classes and ethnic groups to help the country regains its standards of production and distribute wealth with more justice. In 1936, 1940 and 1944 he was re-elected, but he died just a few weeks before the end of the war. He represents some of America’s greatest virtues: a strong will, able to go beyond the limits of paralysis; the ability of working harder and harder to reach the objective; a certain stubborness when he was convinced that he was right (which caused him some problems with Congress and the Supreme Court…).
The American people thanked him in a special way: FDR was the first and only president to be re-elected after the second term!