Did you know that Presidents’ Day is actually a holiday that honors George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? Or that its official name is “Washington’s Birthday”? Many people, however, consider the holiday a celebration of the birthdays and lives of all the U.S. presidents, and “Presidents’ Day” has become the name most people use.
The celebration of Washington’s Birthday began in the 1880s and was observed on February 22nd, the day Washington was born. In 1968 Congress passed a bill that moved several federal holidays to Mondays, including Washington’s Birthday. It was proposed that the holiday be renamed Presidents’ Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln (born on February 12). Congress eventually rejected the name change. After the bill went into effect in 1971, however, Presidents’ Day became the commonly accepted, though unofficial, name.
To honor Presidents’ Day, we are rolling out 3 great resources for your classrooms.
1. Get the newly updated e-book!
The American Presidency, updated for 2017, provides a rich journey through U.S. history. Meet the occupants of the nation’s highest office from George Washington to Donald Trump. Each presidential summary includes a detailed biography, the president’s signature, his vice president(s), a profile of the first lady, and a timeline. Coverage of the recent 2016 presidential election and information describing the Cabinet, the White House, election results, the presidential flag, and the presidential seal history are also included.
2. Download a free U.S. Presidents’ Poster.
You might know that our current president, Donald Trump, is a reality TV-show star, but did you know that President Abraham Lincoln carried his work in his hat, which he called his “walking office”? Or did you know that President Chester A. Arthur, who was privately wealthy, refused to move into the White House until a real bath was installed? Or did you know that President Harry Truman might have become a concert pianist if he hadn’t gone into politics?
3. Download a free graphic organizer and try this presidential activity with your students!
Choose a president and create a biographical timeline, using this Britannica graphic organizer, outlining significant events and accomplishments during his presidency. What issues did the president face? What was happening in the country or the world during his presidency? Were there any amendments to the Constitution during his time in office? What do you think he would be the most proud of from his presidency? What controversial events happened during his presidency?
We hope you enjoy these presidential resources for your libraries and classrooms!