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.
  • 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 by explore

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.

View the full list

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

Let's Talk: Philly D.A.

Philadelphians, we need to talk! Join your neighbors at eight Free Library of Philadelphia libraries between May 23 and June 30th, to watch and discuss individual episodes of the award winning PBS documentary series Philly D.A. . We…

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Frenemies: The Strange Friendship of JFK and Richard Nixon

The 1960 presidential campaign was close, hard-fought, and left both sides feeling embittered. Kennedy’s final margin of victory was less than 115,000 votes out of nearly 70 million cast.  Nixon was convinced that the Kennedy…

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Trust No One: Joe McCarthy and the Politics of Fear

Lies. Alternative facts. Demonize and Destroy Your Opponents. Does this sound familiar? Former Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) has been dead for 63 years, but the political tools and techniques that he pioneered are as fresh as…

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Voting by Mail? Avoid "Naked Ballots"!

Updated Tuesday, October 20, 2020 12:15 p.m. Spanish and Chinese translations have been added to this blog post. In the real world, small technical details count for a lot. How many checks were never cashed because the person who wrote…

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Making Her Mark: Philadelphia Women Fight for the Vote Exhibition Opens Fall 2020

As we find ourselves weeks away from Election Day, consider this question:  Who was the first person in your family to vote?  The stories of Philadelphia women who built and sustained movements dedicated to voting rights is…

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Defying Putin: The Dangers and Opportunities in Opposing Russia’s President

Bad things happen to people that Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, dislikes. Currently, Aleksi Navalny, the most important leader of Russia’s opposition, lies in a German hospital bed struggling to recover from a cup of…

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The Picture of Health: The Strange Case of John F. Kennedy

During the critical first presidential debate in 1960, the difference in the physical appearance of the two candidates could not have been sharper. Vice President Richard Nixon looked like a man who belonged in a hospital. The…

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A Dying Man Runs for President

If ever a man simply wore himself out while serving his country, Franklin D. Roosevelt is his name. First elected during the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, he was still on the job twelve years later in the midst of World War…

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President Eisenhower, Senator McCarthy, and "The Junketeering Gumshoes"

During the years that Dwight Eisenhower served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, he had to contend with some of the most demanding and difficult personalities on two continents.  The shortlist included Franklin D. Roosevelt ,…

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Race in the United States: Social Justice Virtual Workshops for Teens

Updated Friday, July 10, 2020 4:59 p.m. "The Social Justice Symposium Teen Planning Committee supports the Concerned Black Workers of the Free Library of Philadelphia ! CBWFLP Response to DEI/Board of Trustees' letter We are…

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"I Voted" Stickers from Our Special Collections

It's Primary Election Day in Philadelphia! If you've signed up in Pennsylvania to vote by mail , you should have already received your ballot with its easy-to-follow instructions, enclosure envelope, and mailing envelope. The…

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Women of the World, Unite!

"Women of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!" You’ve probably heard a slightly different version of this quote (or, to be fair, misquote ) from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto , the…

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Get Your Trusted 2020 Presidential Election News from the Free Library

Super Tuesday is now behind us. The 11th debate of the Democratic presidential primary is on the horizon. Candidates are dropping out of the race left and right, but it’s still anybody’s game. As the field narrows, how can…

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Women's History Month 2020: Stories We Know, Stories We'll Discover

"Even if I believed that women should be denied the right of suffrage, wild horses could not drag such an admission from my pen or my lips, for this reason: precisely the same arguments used to prove that the ballot be withheld…

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MLK Day of Service | When the Youth Lead

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a strongly celebrated day in Philadelphia. People of all ages come together to support their communities and uplift the values of MLK’s civil rights leadership during this nationally recognized Day of…

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Spotlight on Special Collections: Five Unstudied Prints from the American Revolutionary War

Prints were popular in American colonial homes. Among the decorative luxuries available, they were the most affordable. They would be hung in hallways, entrance halls, stairwells, and kitchens. They represented people, places, and…

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Election Day is Tuesday, November 5

Election Day is Tuesday, November 5 throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During this general election, Philadelphians will elect a Mayor, 10 District Council and Seven Council at-Large members, as well as Judges, City…

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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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