Presidents & Other Great Americans

February could be dubbed "President's Month" since President's Day is sandwiched between Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays (no accident there). In honor of the great men who have served in the highest office of the leading nation in the world, we pay tribute to a sampling of the Commanders in Chief. Along with the expected coverage of national heroes Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, we have assembled stories of some other notables. We then let some of them speak for themselves.

And since presidents lead their peers in this most unique governmental arrangement, we have provided an ecclectic sampling of biographies of citizens who have helped shape the national mind and soul. We hope you enjoy this unique Special Focus.

—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University

Presidential Articles:

Bully Pulpiteers
Janet Marsden
Book review of The Roosevelts: An American Saga. "The truth is that, once you get past Washington and Lincoln, few if any Presidents can be believably presented as spiritual directors of the national soul. While Theodore Roosevelt might not have been comfortable with talk about sacralizing the presidency, he is the one who dubbed the office a bully pulpit.... Franklin apparently had no doubt that he was supposed to distinguish himself in what was in more innocent days called 'public service.'... And he had no doubt that the criterion of distinction was TR."

Abraham Lincoln: Leader for all Ages
Edwin Meese

The former U.S. Attorney General considers the leadership of our 16th president.

My Own Private Rushmore
James Nuechterlein

How would one go about ranking all of the Presidents in American history? It is a task that has been done by various panels for the last fifty years. The author, having been selected to serve on one such panel, shares his rankings in this article.

The Life of Calvin Coolidge
Dr. Michael Platt

Calvin Coolidge, often scourged by modern historians, may have been one of the most decent and wisest men ever to occupy the White House.

Faith & Freedom: The Christian Roots of American Liberty Benjamin Hart
Chapter One: We Hold These Truths
I introduces the book with a brief account of George Washington's heroic role in the formation and governance of the American experiment in self-rule. Hart goes on to trace the roots of the Declaration of Independence and how its underlying philosophy--based on Christianity at its core--has been eroded.

Faith & Freedom: The Christian Roots of American Liberty
Benjamin Hart
Chapter Nineteen: Bloody Footprints in the Snow
"Faith & Freedom" examines the birth of the nation of the United States of America, exploring the rise of freedom and democracy in America. This chapter presents the Revolutionary War period, during which which George Washington loomed gigantic.

Hidden President's Names ("Our Godly Heritage")
A Dessert-Discussion

This word-recognition game is a fun way to review the names of presidents we learned in elementary school. The answers can be found here.

Presidential Speeches:

The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln

No better way to highlight a great American than to provide the text of his seminal speech. This most famous of Lincoln's speeches considers the principles in the Declaration of Independence in light the American Civil War. His fellow speaker on the occasion, classical scholar Edward Everett, remarked that he hoped to have said as much in two hours as the President had in two minutes.

Evil Empire Speech
Ronald Reagan

President Reagan speaks out against totalitarianism, particularly the Soviet Union's form of it, in this speech before the House of Commons.

Farewell Address
George Washington

In this most famous address, Washington states, among other things, that religion is necessary for political prosperity.

Other Great Americans:

The Homesick Homeless (Book Review)
Molly Finn

Finn admires the biographer's knowledge of and love for Walker Percy, the "novelist, philosopher and Southern Gentleman," but criticizes the addition of ancillary details and paraphrasing. The book drove her back to the great novels of the subject himself. For more on Percy, see also: http://leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9304/articles/montgomery.html

Discovering the American Aristotle
Edward T. Oakes

Reviews the life and thoughts of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), arguably America's greatest philosopher.

Michelle Akers's Story
Michelle Akers
, captain of gold-medal winning U.S. Women's soccer team
My dream as a little girl was to be a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I practiced Hail Mary catches daily with my dad and brother in the backyard and at school during recess with the guys. Then one and day, my first grade teacher pulled me aside and told me "Girls don't play football. "I was crushed.

The Sacred Fire of Liberty
Gary Rosen

After his many accomplishments at the federal level in the 1780's, did James Madison turn into an ardent states rights advocate in the following decade? Traditionally, scholars have argued that this is the case. In his book The Sacred Fire of Liberty, Rosen sees consistency in the views of this influential man, who greatly shaped our government's philosophy of government

Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Although this article appears on another site, we deem it only appropriate for such a selection of biographies. A brief biography of the civil rights leader and preacher who marked American history like few others have. .

Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (Book Review)
Mark A. Noll

Reviews "Just As I Am: the Autobiography of Billy Graham." The review of the book becomes a review of the man himself.

Faith & Freedom: The Christian Roots of American Liberty
Benjamin Hart
Chapter Fourteen: Two Preachers and The Great Awakening

Provides a vivid glimpse into pre-revolutionary America's religious history and its political and societal implications. Jonathan Edwards, along with other famous colonial evangelists of the Great Awakening, joined English preacher George Whitefield in leading a revival that fostered astounding spiritual renewal and helped set the stage for the unique American ethos of the individual as primary. Once the stage is set in the chapter, somewhat laboriously, the stories of these men and their times glimmer.

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