19 Feb 2018

Presidents' Day

Presidents' Day

Presidents’ Day is more than an excuse to take the day off work. It is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of two of our nation’s most iconic leaders: George Washington, born on February 22, 1732, and Abraham Lincoln, born on February 12, 1809.

Even before Washington died, his birthday had become an occasion for patriotic celebration. In 1796, for example, a Philadelphia newspaper reported, “This being the anniversary of the President’s Birth day, the dawn was ushered in with a salute of fifteen cannons, and a joyful peal from the bells of Christ’s Church.“ What we now know as Presidents’ Day first became a federal holiday in 1879, when Congress passed legislation designating it as such. In the second half of the 20th century, the holiday was moved to the third Monday of February, where it remains to this day.

Over the years, the holiday has come to be as much associated with Abraham Lincoln as it is with George Washington.

Born almost a century apart, Washington and Lincoln came from very different backgrounds. Yet there were similarities as well. Neither man received much in the way of formal schooling, rising to prominence on the force of their intelligence, integrity and charisma.

Proving himself a leader during the American Revolution, Washington was the obvious candidate when it came time for Americans to choose their first president. As both a general and a president, Washington’s genius rested on his ability to bring people together and inspire them to acts of patriotic service.

Just as Washington provided leadership during the conflict in which the United States was created, Abraham Lincoln led the American people through the conflict in which it was defined. Demonstrating a unique blend of empathy, determination and moral clarity, he guided the Union through its most trying hour, helping to bring about an end to slavery in the process.

Every day, we are proud to honor both Washington’s and Lincoln’s legacies by protecting the land where our nation was forged and defended.

Washington’s Charge at Princeton

We have worked to honor Washington’s legacy by protecting the hallowed ground on which he fought at Princeton. Thanks to many generous supporters, we’ve nearly reached the finish line on our fundraising effort. With your help, we can get there, permanently preserving the very land over which Washington led the famous charge that saved the Revolution.

How Lincoln Changed the World

Why do Lincoln’s iconic words at Gettysburg still matter to each and every one of us? In this new video, Professor Doug Douds of the Army War College explains how Lincoln changed the world in two minutes. This video was produced in partnership with Prager University and made possible by a gift from a generous donor.

In4: Washington's Crossing of the Delaware River

While Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River is rightly regarded as one of his finest moments, the image most Americans hold of the event rests on myth. The reality is far more compelling. Join our own Kristopher White as he delves into the truth of Washington’s epic gamble with our new Campaign 1776 In4 video.

Abraham Lincoln in Popular Culture

Lincoln’s memory continues to resonate in popular culture. Many films have been produced about his life, and new books continue to examine his role in American history. If you’re planning on taking in a movie or curling up with a book this Presidents’ Day, we’ve compiled a list of ideas.

Abraham Lincoln Quiz
Few people have lived more interesting lives than Abraham Lincoln. You may think you know all the facts, but there’s only one way to be sure. Take our quiz and test your knowledge of America’s 16th president.

George Washington Quiz
You probably know that George Washington first saw combat during the French and Indian War. But do you know the name of the battle? Test your knowledge of America’s preeminent founding father by taking our quiz.


American Battlefield Trust

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