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George Washington was the first President of the Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the

USA and is consistently voted as one its top five United States. He was born in 1743 in Virginia and
leaders. He was born in 1732 in Virginia. His family died on July 4, 1826. He was the third of ten children
were well off and owned a plantation. Growing up, and grew up on his father’s 5,000-acre plantation.
he learned the morals, manners, and knowledge He studied law at college. Jefferson is frequently
necessary for an 18th-century Virginia gentleman. listed as one of the USA’s greatest Presidents. He
He was greatly interested in two things while he was also one of its most powerful advocates of
grew up: military arts and western expansion. personal freedom and envisioned a great “Empire of
Liberty”.
In 1754, at the age of 22, he became a lieutenant
colonel in the Army. He fought in the first skirmishes Jefferson became a lawyer in 1767 and had a great
of what grew into the French and Indian War. The love of books. He was a very eloquent
following year he escaped injury in battle although correspondent using the written word, but was no
four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were public speaker. At the age of 33, Jefferson drafted
shot from under him. His military experience taught the Declaration of Independence. In the following
him valuable lessons in leadership he would use years, he labored to make its words a reality in
later in his political life. Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing
religious freedom, which became law in 1786.
From 1759 to the outbreak of the American
Revolution, Washington managed his lands. He Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister
married Martha Dandridge Custis and devoted to France in 1785. His sympathy for the French
himself to farming life. However, he felt exploited by Revolution led him into conflict with the party of the
British merchants and British regulations. In 1775, Federalists. He gradually assumed leadership of the
he took command of his ill-trained troops and Republicans and became Vice President in 1796. In
embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling 1801, he became America’s third President and
years. He forced the surrender of the British at served from 1801 to 1809. He advocated tax cuts
Yorktown in 1781. and presided over the abolition of the slave trade in
1807.
Washington entered politics and became a prime
mover in the steps leading to creating the While in Office, Jefferson purchased the vast
Constitution in 1787. After the new Constitution Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 and
was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously authorized expeditions to explore the new west. He
elected him as the USA’s first President. Washington also established the University of Virginia and the US
avoided further wars and promoted the importance Military Academy at West Point. He is remembered
of federal power. He died in 1799 and was hailed as by the Jefferson Memorial in Washington and as one
"first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of of the four sculpted presidents on the Mount
his countrymen". Rushmore Memorial. He also appears on US postage
stamps.
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President
a one-room log cabin in Kentucky. Growing up in the of America. He served for two terms between 1901
countryside, he made extraordinary efforts to and 1909. He was born in 1858 in New York City. He
educate himself while working on a farm and in a was mostly home schooled because of ill health as a
store. He said, “somehow I could read and write”. child. He graduated from Harvard (where he was a
He was a captain in the U.S. Army and then spent boxing champion) and in 1880 entered law school.
eight years as a lawyer. His partner said Lincoln’s He dropped out a year later to enter politics. He is
“ambition was a little engine that knew no rest." often ranked as the greatest ever U.S. President.

Lincoln was a one-term member of the House of During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was
Representatives, but failed to get a seat in the U.S. lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment,
Senate. He campaigned for years against slavery, which he led on a charge at the battle of San Juan.
calling it a “monstrous injustice”. In his speeches, he His war-hero status prompted New York
continually reminded people that “the authors of Republicans to nominate him as Governor to draw
the Declaration of Independence…’did consider all attention away from the state’s scandals. Roosevelt
men were created equal’”. He was elected as the won the election and served with distinction for two
United States’ 16th President in November 1860. years.

Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: Roosevelt became Vice President in March 1901. Six
"You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy months later, with the assassination of President
the government, while I shall have the most solemn McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43,
one to preserve, protect and defend it." Despite became the youngest President in the nation's
this, the American Civil War started on April 12, history. He brought new excitement and power to
1861. Lincoln sent 75,000 troops to the South to the Presidency as he vigorously led Congress and the
“preserve the Union”. At Gettysburg in 1863, he said American public toward progressive reforms and a
the War had created a new birth of freedom in the strong foreign policy.
nation.
As President, Roosevelt believed that the
Lincoln was re-elected for a second term in 1864 Government should play a greater role in the
after building the Republican Party into a strong economy. He steered the U.S. more actively into
national organization. He had already issued the world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb,
Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery. He "Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go
promised to rebuild post-War America but was far." He won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating
assassinated in April 1865. Lincoln’s death marked the Russo-Japanese War. Some of his biggest
the first assassination of a U.S. president. He is achievements were in conserving America’s
continually considered to be one of the three national parks. He died in 1919 aged 60.
greatest ever Presidents.