The Presidents

Watch The Presidents

  • 2005
  • 1 Season
  • 8.5  (283)

The Presidents is a full length documentary series that explores the lives and presidencies of all of the Presidents of the United States of America. The Presidents series goes into the history of all the American presidents during their tenures in office, and each episode discusses a certain number of presidents from a time period. For example, the first episode starts with the terms of George Washington, America's first president up to James Monroe and includes important details of note such as their political affiliation, family ties, personality and any other noteworthy aspects, both good and bad. This is the basic structure of the series and goes all the way up to the President Barack Obama's current tenure in office. Also of note is the fact that the documentary discusses how each president's term relates to and has effect on the president that came after him and was set in place by ones before them. This is so everything in their respective histories can be put into complete context. The Presidents was narrated by Edward Herrman. Craig Haffner served as the executive producer of the series.

The Presidents
Filter by Source

Seasons
1977 - Present
8. 1977 - Present
March 8, 2005
The final hour of the series brings us to precipice of the 2005 inauguration. This is an era marked by a new world order, defined by the fall of the Berlin Wall, then shattered by the specter of global terrorism. Defining moments include Jimmy Carter's economic malaise and the Iran Hostage Crisis; the election of actor Ronald Reagan, bringing another assassination attempt, Iran-Contra, and the Strategic Defense Initiative; George H.W. Bush's Gulf War; Bill Clinton's booming economy, sex scandals, and impeachment; and the terror strikes on America on 9/11, George W. Bush's handling of the crisis, the War on Terror, doctrine of preemptive strikes, and invasion of Iraq. We also look at the contentious 2004 reelection of Bush over John Kerry.
1945 - 1977
7. 1945 - 1977
March 1, 2005
An era of seeming bliss turns into a period of total political disenfranchisement. Plain-spoken Harry Truman becomes president after FDR dies in office and presides during the last days of WWII. He also ushers the US into the Atomic Age and the beginning of the Cold War. Truman is followed by the hero of D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike's grandfatherly image and "hidden hand" politics are replaced by youth and charisma when John F. Kennedy is elected. Assassination thrusts Lyndon B. Johnson into office and Vietnam drives him out. After Richard Nixon resigns in disgrace, Gerald Ford tries to heal a wounded nation. Defining moments include the dropping of the first atom bombs, containment of communism, the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, man on the Moon, JFK's assassination, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the first presidential resignation.
1913 - 1945
6. 1913 - 1945
February 22, 2005
The sixth hour looks at a challenging period of US history that was marked by financial depression and two world wars. This era also witnessed America's emergence as a player on the world stage and ultimately a superpower. In 1917, Woodrow Wilson proclaimed American entrance into World War One a crusade to make the world "safe for democracy." After the war's end, he asserted international leadership in building a new world order. Warren Harding watched as scandals rocked his administration. Calvin Coolidge ushered the nation to a dangerous economic precipice that became the Great Depression during Herbert Hoover's years. And finally, we look at the three terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who helped the nation recover from the Depression and led it through the Second World War.
1885 - 1913
5. 1885 - 1913
February 15, 2005
From Grover Cleveland to William Howard Taft, the Gilded Age of the American Presidency, featured a new breed of men who occupied the White House. It was an era of unbridled economic growth, combined with the completion of America's "Manifest Destiny" policy, and dominated by the emerging figure of Theodore Roosevelt. Defining moments include Grover Cleveland's two nonconsecutive terms in office, William McKinley's assassination, Teddy Roosevelt's anti-trust assaults on big-money monopolies, and William Howard Taft's political estrangement from his mentor and friend TR, which led to a split in the Republican Party.
1865 - 1885
4. 1865 - 1885
February 8, 2005
During America's Age of Reconstruction, from Andrew Johnson (Lincoln's vice president) to Chester A. Arthur, the ruptured nation faced the difficult task of rebuilding a union after four years of civil war and a presidential assassination. This period was also known as the era of "The Ohio Generals"--three of the five presidents featured in this hour were generals in the Civil War, all from the state of Ohio. Defining moments include the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson (by a margin of one, the Senate voted not to convict him), the triumphant ascendancy of Ulysses S. Grant, the back-room politics of Rutherford B. Hayes, the unrequited aspirations of James Garfield, and the civil service reforms of Chester A. Arthur.
1849 - 1865
3. 1849 - 1865
February 1, 2005
Marked by polar opposites, this hour scrutinizes a fractious era of the presidency--from Taylor to Lincoln--one of the most turbulent in US history, when the volatile issues of states' rights and slavery erupted in civil war. We highlight the rough-hewn style of Zachary Taylor, the second president to die in office, through the compromising weaknesses of Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce (Barbara Pierce Bush's fourth cousin four times removed), the near-treasonous James Buchanan administration, to Abraham Lincoln, savior of the republic to some, destroyer of the nation to others. The episode ends with the first presidential assassination on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, when Southern sympathizer and actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the head at Ford's Theater in Washington during a performance of Our American Cousin.
1825 - 1849
2. 1825 - 1849
January 25, 2005
In Part 2, America's leadership changes hands from the Founding Fathers to a new breed of Founding Sons. The period marked rapid growth and contentious politics, including the bitterest election in US history and first decided by popular vote--the election of 1828. The imposing figure of Andrew Jackson dominates as he impresses his will upon the nation, heralding the era of the Common Man and Manifest Destiny. We also peruse the putrid politics of John Quincy Adams' presidency; Battle of the Petticoats; Indian Removal Act; Bank War; economic turmoil during Martin Van Buren's term; William Henry Harrison's death, the first succession crisis, elevation of Vice President John Tyler ("His Accidency"), and the first impeachment resolution against a president; and exploits of James K. Polk, who took the US to war with Mexico and expanded the nation "from Sea to Shining Sea."
1789 - 1825
1. 1789 - 1825
January 18, 2005
Based on the book To the Best of My Ability, this 8-part series provides an insightful look at the exclusive group of men from all walks of life and parts of the country who have led America from the Oval Office. Part 1 probes the Constitutional Era, when the fledgling nation's revolutionary Founding Fathers became its first administrators. From George Washington, who defined the presidency, to James Monroe, the last of the Revolutionary War heroes, the office of president evolves and is tested as the United States undergoes growing pains. Defining moments include Washington's Whisky Rebellion, John Adams' XYZ Affair, Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, James Madison's War of 1812, and the Monroe Doctrine. We also examine the human side of the Presidents, offering a look at their strengths and weaknesses, their families, and accomplishments.
Description

The Presidents is a full length documentary series that explores the lives and presidencies of all of the Presidents of the United States of America. The Presidents series goes into the history of all the American presidents during their tenures in office, and each episode discusses a certain number of presidents from a time period. For example, the first episode starts with the terms of George Washington, America's first president up to James Monroe and includes important details of note such as their political affiliation, family ties, personality and any other noteworthy aspects, both good and bad.

This is the basic structure of the series and goes all the way up to the President Barack Obama's current tenure in office. Also of note is the fact that the documentary discusses how each president's term relates to and has effect on the president that came after him and was set in place by ones before them. This is so everything in their respective histories can be put into complete context.

The Presidents was narrated by Edward Herrman. Craig Haffner served as the executive producer of the series.

The Presidents is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (8 episodes). The series first aired on January 18, 2005.

Where to Watch The Presidents

The Presidents is available for streaming on the History website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Presidents on demand at Apple TV+, Vudu and Apple TV.

  • Premiere Date
    January 18, 2005
  • IMDB Rating
    8.5  (283)