Isn’t funny how most Americans have reverence for our Founding Fathers yet our modern leaders are often ridiculed? It makes me wonder if it’s because similar criticisms of the nation’s first leaders have been lost to history, simply ignored, or if today’s media and digital connectivity has just made it easier for critics to make their voices heard. Surely our forefathers had their critics. In November 2012, America has yet another critical decision to make: Romney or Obama? Or maybe Gary Johnson? No matter your political allegiance, you undoubtedly agree that presidential history is fascinating: triumphs, defeats, assassinations, cloak and dagger-types, playboys, and even ghosts have been associated with the office of the leader of the free world. I’ve gathered 15 designs featuring U.S. presidents, each with a story behind the artwork – and a few somewhat off-kilt. Enjoy!
An illustration of Washington before he was president, crossing the Delaware River to launch a surprise attack during the Revolutionary War. Washington brought his troops, artillery, supplies, and horses across the icy and dangerous river not once, not twice, but three times that winter.
The president who presided over the Civil War left lasting contributions to America. This portrait is comprised of the words from one of Abraham Lincoln’s famous quotes: “In the end it’s not the years in your life that counts, it’s the life in your years.”
Theodore Roosevelt was well-known as a tough man who could more than hold his own on the frontier. His exploits included run-ins with some of the States’ most brutal wild animals, including bears, and, apparently, velociraptors.
Before he was president, Andrew Jackson lead troops in a decisive victory over the British at New Orleans. His toughness on the battlefield earned him the nickname “Old Hickory,” since he was said to be as tough as old hickory wood.
This sketch of President John F. Kennedy with his First Lady is a commentary that speaks out against those responsible for his assassination.
When Lincoln sought a general to face Robert E. Lee in the Civil War, he knew how to tip the odds in his favor. Grant, of course, went on to become president himself.
Grover Cleveland was the only president elected to non-consecutive terms, split by Benjamin Harrison.
McKinley was known for promoting American industry and maintaining the gold standard, but was assassinated in 1901.
Our longest-serving president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, always knew how to recruit the best people.
Truman remains a highly controversial president, probably best known today for allowing the use of atomic warfare in World War II. Odd fact: Truman left office with one of the lowest approval ratings in history (22 percent), yet has never been ranked lower than 9th in polls ranking the U.S. presidents.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general, remains a symbol of American military dominance for his role in engineering the successful invasions of France and Germany in World War II.
President Nixon might have resigned, but “Futurama” fans know he will one day return, sans body, to rule as President of Earth .
I don’t know what dinosaurs have to do with presidents, but apparently some of the greatest presidents in history enjoy riding them into battle. Reagan, of course, rode his dino-steed into political battle, taking on Mikhail Gorbachev and Communism.
The U.S. generally prospered during Bill Clinton’s two-term presidency, but Oval Office shenanigans made the president a perfect punch line for comedians nationwide.
After the Revolutionary War, Jefferson continued his mission to spread democracy among the silverbacks.