The Spring of 1787

In the spring of 1787, 55 men participated in foundational debates to shape the America we know today and define the presidency to lead it.

Jan. 30 2019 6:11 PMA ’90s-Style Government Shutdown (Part 2)On Nov. 7, 1995, a long and uncomfortable plane ride helped fire up Speaker Gingrich to deliver a dramatic set of budget demands that President Bill Clinton did not expect.
Dec. 12 2018 1:56 PMIf a Wall FallsIn 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and President George H.W. Bush refrained from making grandiose statements about American-style democracy.
Nov. 14 2018 6:04 PMTip and the Gip: Part 1Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill were friends, at least after 6 p.m.
Oct. 3 2018 6:09 PMTaking Aim at the New GuyOn Oct. 18, 1938, former President Hoover picked on his successor with gusto.
Aug. 22 2018 6:10 PMThe Bidding of Biden to Boo BorkWhen Justice Powell announced his resignation, President Reagan realized he had an opportunity to score major cultural points with his party.
July 11 2018 9:00 PMKennedy and Communism (Part 2)In 1961, JFK gave Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev a second chance.
June 13 2018 6:40 PMNixon Goes to China (Part 3 of 3)President Nixon trades jokes and digs into philosophy with Chairman Mao.
May 23 2018 5:24 PMNixon Goes to China (Part 1)President Richard Nixon warmly visited China in 1972, even as he positioned himself as firmly anti-communist. 
April 19 2018 4:03 PMThe Lighthearted Leanings of LeadershipRonald Reagan could deliver jokes like the best of them, but do American presidents need to make the masses laugh?
March 7 2018 6:41 PMGriever in Chief and Guardian of Common GroundOn April 19, 1995, when the Oklahoma City bombing shocked the nation, Bill Clinton offered emotional and political guidance.
Feb. 8 2018 10:12 AMJimmy Carter’s Olympic BoycottThe president tried to use the 1980 Summer Olympics to get Russia out of Afghanistan. It didn’t work.
Dec. 27 2017 7:45 AMThe Entanglements of the MegarichAre the financial complications of the extremely wealthy compatible with the presidency?
Nov. 29 2017 6:59 PMThe Partial Truths of the PresidencyMany American presidents value truth without delivering it fully.
Nov. 1 2017 6:02 PMFDR’s PurgeIn 1938, Roosevelt went toe-to-toe with Congress in order to get his way.
Oct. 5 2017 10:30 AMResponder in ChiefOn Sept. 10, 1965, President Johnson established a new norm.
Jan. 16 2019 6:36 PMA ’90s-Style Government Shutdown (Part 1)In April 1995, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich battled to define American democracy.
Nov. 28 2018 6:08 PMTip and the Gip: Part 2Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill demonstrate how bipartisanship can lead to compromise when it comes to Social Security.
Oct. 31 2018 6:40 PMDoing the Midterm ShuffleMidterm elections in 1982, 1986, 1994, 2006, and 2010 all called for the incumbent president of the United States to do a little reframing of the meaning of the vote of the people.
Sept. 5 2018 6:58 PMThe Nomination of Judge Bork, Part 2President Reagan saw Judge Bork as a clear choice for the Supreme Court, but it wasn’t quite so clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
July 25 2018 7:48 PMKennedy and Communism (Part 3)“Little Boy Blue meets Al Capone.”
June 27 2018 4:42 PMKennedy and Communism (Part 1 of 2)President John F. Kennedy bumbled the Bay of Pigs but pressed on to meet Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
May 30 2018 4:54 PMNixon Goes to China (Part 2 of 3)With the help of a ping-pong tournament, Richard Nixon’s diplomatic goals got a boost.
May 2 2018 1:00 PMRoosevelt vs. the GorgonTheodore Roosevelt stood up to the monopolies of his time, but with no guarantee of success.
April 4 2018 5:13 PMFour Score and Seven Years of Presidential GolfingPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower may have been America’s biggest presidential golf player and fan.
Feb. 22 2018 7:19 AMRetiring for PeaceOn Jan. 17, 1968, Lyndon Johnson delivered his State of the Union and surprised his closest advisers when he didn’t step down.
Jan. 24 2018 7:30 PMThe 25th AmendmentWhen Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office, a flaw in the Constitution was revealed.
Dec. 13 2017 5:27 PMThe Air Traffic TakedownIn 1981, Ronald Reagan served an ultimatum to air traffic controllers.
Nov. 15 2017 12:00 PMHarry S. Truman’s Battles With the BossesTruman was an action hero–style president.
Oct. 18 2017 5:13 PMAt the Heart of the President’s HeartIn 1955, a presidential heart attack changed the relationship between the press and the presidency.
Sept. 20 2017 4:00 PMA High Point in Bipartisan DealmakingOn Sept. 30, 1990, President George H.W. Bush announced an unusual bipartisan deal— and he took flak for doing so.