Documenting the President

Documenting the President

How has photography helped define the U.S. presidency?

Grades

4 - 12+

Subjects

Arts and Music, Geography, Human Geography, Photography, Social Studies, U.S. History

Although James K. Polk was the first president to be photographed, it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln ran for office that a president (or presidential candidate) took advantage of photography to promote their ideas and campaign. Since then, presidents have relied on presidential photographers to document their activities in office. Watch this short video to better understand how presidential photography can help define a presidency and even an entire era in American politics. Instructional Ideas Consult Common Core ELA Literacy Standard 8.2: Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.

  • Consult the “Questions” tab for discussion questions about how historic and modern presidents have used photography to present their ideas and platforms to the public.
Media Credits

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Writer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Editor
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Producer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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