American Presidency Series

Join the Free Library for a series of compelling provocative programs that examine the untold stories of, unconventional approaches to, and contemporary concerns about the world's most difficult job. The 2016 American Presidency Series will blend education and entertainment for the whole family, offering lectures and analysis about the presidency and leadership along with enriching programs for children in our neighborhood libraries.

American Presidency Series


  • 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

    Philadelphia will be on center stage this July as it plays host to the 2016 DNC from July 25–28. Stay informed, find fast facts about our city, volunteer, and much more through the city's site all about the event.
  • A Guide to the 2018 Midterm Election

    An independent, nonpartisan advocate for better government in Philadelphia, the Committee of Seventy has comprehensive information about each race and candidate on the ballot in the Philadelphia region.
  • Additional Information about Voter Registration in Pennsylvania

    The Committee of Seventy also provides information about Pennsylvania voter registration and absentee ballots.
  • Ballotpedia

    Ballotpedia is an online encyclopedia of American politics and elections. It contains neutral, accurate, and verifiable information on government officials and the offices they hold, political issues and public policy, elections, candidates, and the influencers of politics.
  • Ben's Guide to Government for Kids

    A simple guide for children on how our government works, divided by age range.
  • Commission on Presidential Debates

    "The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners." Look for a link to Debate History for facts about historical presidential debates.
  • Committee of Seventy

    Philadelphia is home to an amazing resource for voters, those interested in the political scene, and anyone with a question: the Committee of Seventy. The Committee is the city's only independent "good government" organization, with a vision of "better government citizens can trust." Visit their site to brush up on the latest issues, figure out how to plan your candidacy for office, or to find your polling place. They also have maps and lists of all the local elected officials.
  • Crowdpac

    Wondering where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you? Not sure whom to choose? Check out Crowdpac. This handy site helps you learn the ins and outs of all the candidates’ views and even allows you to build your own ballot in advance of the election. Crowdpac is a non-partisan group working to “make it easier for citizens to learn about politicians, and to find and support political candidates that match their priorities and beliefs.”
  • Fact Check: Annenberg Political Fact Checker

    Based at the University of Pennsylvania, this is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit, 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. [They] monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases."
  • Federal Election Commission

    In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act. This site includes data on campaign contributions to all candidates, along with maps that show where contributions originated.
  • League of Women Voters of Philadelphia

    The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia provides a one-stop portal for non-partisan information on voting, election information, civic education, and civic participation.
  • Pennsylvania Voter Registration Resource Center

    The Pennsylvania Department of State’s Online Guide to voter registration has everything you need to know about voting in the 2018 midterm election.
  • Project Vote Smart

    Project Vote Smart allows voters to scrutinize candidates voting records, issue positions, interest group ratings, public statements, campaign finances and biographical information.
  • Surviving Thanksgiving

    Dreading the post-election Thanksgiving dinner table conversation this year? Here are some survival tips. Good Luck!
  • The American Presidency Project

    A very complete electronic source of everything you ever wanted to know about the Presidency from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Includes audio and video clips back to the Hoover Administration, Executive Orders and Proclamations, Transcripts of Debates back to 1960, and much more.
  • The Electoral College

    The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for the electors who then vote for the President.
  • The History of Televised Presidential Debates

    Essays, interviews, and guides to the role of debates in presidential races, including video of debates since 1960.
  • The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials from 1952 - 2008

    Fascinating look at the presidential campaign commercials of yesteryear.
  • The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials from 1952 - 2012

    Fascinating look at the presidential campaign commercials of yesteryear.
  • The Rendell Center

    The Rendell Center is a civic engagement and education nonprofit offering "opportunities for educators and students to develop the knowledge, practices, and dispositions of engaged citizenship." It trains teachers and students by building curriculum, creating pedagogical tools, and offering engaging programming all in the name of increased literacy of citizenship and civics.
  • U.S. Election Assistance Commission

    One of the Election Assistance Commission’s primary mandates under the Help America Vote Act is to serve as a central resource for information about elections. This site includes information about registering to vote and serving as a poll worker, along with studies on how, where and when we vote.
  • U.S. Elections and Politics

    The United States presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The Pennsylvania primary is Tuesday, April 26, 2016. How do you register to vote? Where do you go to vote? Who is running for office and what are the policies they stand for? Follow the link to our series of pages on U.S. Elections and Political resources.
  • Vote: the Machinery of Democracy

    The Smithsonian Institution has put together this website on the history of the technical and mechanical aspects of voting in the US.
  • Votes PA

    Portal from the Pennsylvania Department of State has information on registering to vote, locating your polling place, applying for alternative ballots, and the new voter ID law.
  • Votes PA

    The Pennsylvania Department of State’s online guide to voter registration has everything you need to know about voting in the 2008 Presidential Election.

American Presidency by explore

The 2016 American Presidency Series will blend education and entertainment for the whole family, offering lectures and analysis about the presidency and leadership along with enriching programs for children in our neighborhood libraries. Check out these supplemental reading suggestions, recommended by our expert librarians!

View the full list

Presidents of the United States (16 items)

Under the United States Constitution, the President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States. As chief of the executive branch and face of the federal government as a whole, the presidency is the highest political office in the United States by influence and recognition.

U.S. Elections and Politics (25 items)

The United States midterm general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. In Pennsylvania, the ballot includes candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania State Senate, and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. All registered voters are eligible to vote on November 6. The last day to register to vote is October 9, 2018. Read on for U.S. Election and Political resources relating to the upcoming Midterm Elections.

Electronic Resources

Upcoming Events

Blog Posts

New Voting Machine Demonstrations at a Neighborhood Library Near You!

Whether you've voted or not in the past few years for national or local elections, you may or may not know that voting security has become an ever-increasing concern. A bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee released…

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How to Vote in the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 21

Philadelphians: it’s time to make your voting plans for the 2019 Pennsylvania primary election, which will be held this coming Tuesday, May 21! The Free Library is here to help you vote, in more ways than one. Here’s an…

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First Ladies, In Their Own Words

The position of First Lady is a unique one in American government. It’s not a democratically elected position, but the office holds a great deal of cultural clout, and the women who occupied it have been deemed significant enough…

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Plan for the Polls: No Excuses!

With the launch of our Division of Cultural and Civic Engagement (DCCE), the Free Library is committed, more than ever, to getting Philadelphians involved in what’s happening in their neighborhoods and communities, as well as the…

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Midterms Matter: Democracy Looks Like You!

Voting is an exercise in democracy. And no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, if you’re not registered to vote, your voice won’t be heard. Midterms matter! And for these crucial 2018 elections, the deadline to…

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Our Spring 2018 Author Events Series Is Full of Fire and Fury!

Updated January, 16, 2018 Watch our interview with Michael Wolff tonight LIVE starting @ 7:30 p.m. A week from today, in what is sure to be one of our more interesting Author Events to ever take place at the Free Library, we welcome…

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Rally to Save Net Neutrality and Open Internet for All!

Welp, here we go again... This is what could happen if there are no Net Neutrality laws. Remember Net Neutrality ? If not, here's a refresher: In its simplest terms, Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet…

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November 7th is Election Day

Election Day is Tuesday, November 7th throughout the state of Pennsylvania. During this general election, Philadelphians will elect both a new District Attorney and City Controller, as well as: Nine new judges on Philadelphia…

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Looking Beyond the Headlines: What You Should Know About Russia, North Korea, and Turkey

Relatively few Americans have ever visited or know much about Russia, North Korea, and Turkey. Yet, each passing day seems to bring additional evidence that these nations are working to thwart U.S. foreign policy goals from Eastern…

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Presidential Inaugural Stories and Anecdotes

The peaceful transfer of power from one presidential administration to the next is a hallmark of our democracy—and something that Americans take great pride in. The occasion is particularly bittersweet when one of our two major…

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Bernie Sanders: Progressivism, Social Democracy, and Political Revolution

2016 will be remembered for many things in the history books and one of those top historical moments will be the 2016 Presidential Election. No matter which candidate you voted for or what political beliefs you may hold, there is no…

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Click, Engage, and Involve at Technology Learning Collaborative's Conference

The Technology Learning Collaborative (TLC) , an association of service organizations from throughout Philadelphia committed to leveraging technology resources to reduce poverty, improve public health, decrease homelessness,…

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Celebrate International Literacy Day with the Free Library

Happy International Literacy Day ! While everyone knows libraries are literacy hubs, many might not know the different types of literacy the Free Library of Philadelphia helps to promote! Not sure what we're talking about? Here…

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Visit the Free Library While the DNC Is In Town!

With the Democratic National Convention descending on the city next week, political partying and election events are taking over the town. Joining in on this moment for the city, the Free Library and the Rosenbach also have some…

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The 2016 American Presidency Series

2016: It's an election year and Philadelphia is hosting the Democratic National Convention!  The Free Library wanted to get in on the fun, so join us as we launch an exciting new event series: The American Presidency. This…

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