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Website of the Week — American Presidency


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

This week, it's a site that puts two centuries of presidential history online, giving students, scholars, and the just plain curious insight into America's chief executives from the 18th century right through today.

PETERS: "We have all of the Public Papers and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents in a searchable database, and they're available online for researchers, and that way people can search presidential documents across the entire range of presidential history."

Gerhard Peters is co-founder of AmericanPresidency.org. Various kinds of presidential documents — speeches, press conferences and other material — are widely available, but this website, which is hosted at the University of California in Santa Barbara, aims to bring everything together in one place.

PETERS: "So this includes everything from public remarks, transcripts of news conferences, transcripts of all the addresses, and also written documents such as proclamations, executive orders, memoranda, statements, and the messages to Congress."

The emphasis is on written material, but there are also hundreds of audio and video clips, such as President Franklin Roosevelt's World War II-era fireside chats on radio and video of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration address.

KENNEDY: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

As you may have noticed, we're in the middle of a presidential election campaign here in the U.S., and there's lots of material on AmericanPresidency.org to help you sort out the candidates.

PETERS: "We have a section on past presidential elections, and this year I'm adding all of the presidential candidates' debates, transcripts from these debates, as well as remarks that the candidates are delivering following the various primaries and caucuses."

Gerhard Peters says one final job in this presidential election season will be to capture documents on the current White House website, which will go dark when President Bush leaves office, exactly one year from now, when his successor will launch a new White House website. Two centuries of presidential history on AmericanPresidency.org, or get the link from our site, voanews.com.

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