The Presidents

Watch The Presidents

  • 2005
  • 1 Season
  • 8.5  (307)

The Presidents from History is a riveting documentary series exploring the fascinating lives and legacies of America's presidents. Featuring expert insights from renowned historians and journalists such as H.W. Brands and Walter Cronkite, as well as narration from the acclaimed actor Edward Herrmann, this series provides a comprehensive look at the men who have held the highest office in the land.

With each episode devoted to a different president, The Presidents from History traces their personal and political journeys, examining the defining moments of their presidencies and the impact they had on American society and culture. Through rare archival footage and interviews with those who knew them best, viewers gain a deep understanding of the complex figures who have shaped the course of American history.

From George Washington to George W. Bush, The Presidents from History covers every president to hold office up to that point, shining a light on both their triumphs and their failures. Viewers get an inside look at the pivotal moments of each presidency, including the Civil War under Abraham Lincoln, the Great Depression under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Cold War under John F. Kennedy.

The series also explores the personal lives of the presidents, delving into their relationships with their families, their struggles with mental and physical health, and their personalities and quirks. By examining both the public and private sides of these complex figures, The Presidents from History offers a nuanced and humanizing portrait of these iconic leaders.

Throughout the series, expert historians weigh in on the impact and significance of each presidency. H.W. Brands, author of acclaimed biographies of Franklin Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant, lends his insights on the political ramifications of each presidency, while Walter Cronkite, the legendary journalist and anchorman, offers his perspectives on the media coverage of these historic events.

The series also delves into the broader historical context surrounding each presidency, examining the cultural, social, and economic forces that shaped America during each era. By exploring the political landscape of the time, as well as the social and cultural currents that influenced American life, The Presidents from History provides a rich and nuanced exploration of American history.

Overall, The Presidents from History is a compelling, enlightening series that offers a comprehensive look at the lives and legacies of America's presidents. With expert insights from some of the most respected journalists and historians of our time, this series provides a deep understanding of the complex figures who have shaped the course of American history. Whether you're a history buff or simply curious about these iconic figures, The Presidents from History is a must-watch series.

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

The Presidents
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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.
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 Channels, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Sling and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    January 18, 2005
  • IMDB Rating
    8.5  (307)