George Washington spoke of the “Republican model of Government” as “the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” At its heart was the presidency. As the nation grew strong, the presidency evolved into the world’s mightiest office. Washington, as the first president, devoutly wished that the precedents he established “be fixed on true principles.” Tempered by the times, each president has lent his talents, and some have given their lives, to Washington’s “great experiment.” The profiles presented in The Presidents reflect how each president, in his own way, has committed himself to Washington’s first precedent: “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty.”
The Presidents of the United States of America, now in its twentieth edition, was first published by the White House Historical Association in 1964.The important stories of the lives and administrations of each of the forty-five American presidents from George Washington through Donald J. Trump are illustrated by portraits in the White House Collection and official photographs. The artist Gilbert Stuart’s famous painting of George Washington, which was saved by Dolley Madison before the British burned the White House in 1814, now hangs in the East Room. The haunting image of John F. Kennedy, painted after his death by Aaron Shikler, can be seen in the Cross Hall. Portraits of founding fathers hang throughout the State Parlors. These and many other official presidential portraits are seen by White House visitors today and bring the presidents of the United States of America to life.
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