Presidents are everywhere. They go around campaigning for themselves and for other politicians who agree with them. They talk to the public about what they want to do when they get in power, and they take sports teams to the White House if their team wins.
What does the president do? He reads a lot of books. He talks to people on the phone. He makes important decisions about how our country should run.
Being a president is more than just speeches and meetings with foreign leaders. It’s also the day-to-day running of an organization. Terry Sullivan, executive director of White House Transition Project, said that it has a bigger impact on the world than being CEO at a major global company.
You can tell how hard a president works by measuring how many hours he or she works. In recent decades, presidents have started working right away and then keep going with the work. In a data set that Sullivan collected on the 100 days of presidents from 1953 to 1993, each president saw their day get 10% longer from when they arrived until the 100th day.
A president’s day is longer than a regular person’s. Jimmy Carter worked an average of 17 hours a day, but it was even longer on his 100th day in office.
Presidents are spending more time on their job and less time on other stuff. They spend more time commanding the army and less time in the party. The president has about 35% of his time to sleep and do other things. He spends most of his time doing the jobs that only the president can do.
Less than 10% of the president’s time is spent on his political party and communications tasks. The other 90% is allocated to travel and personal time.
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All the president’s time
Anyone with internet access can find out what presidents were doing on a given day. Franklin D. Roosevelt started the “daily diary,” Many of those diaries can be found on the internet at presidential libraries. The UCSB project also has online archives of presidential public documents.
“This diary gives you a sense of what the president did, not just the main events that were given to the press and public,” Woolley said.
The diary of presidents is now assembled. The White House Historical Association gets it from sources like the president’s daily schedule, Secret Service logs, and notes from White House staff.
ACCORDING TO THAT DAY’S DIARY, Lyndon B. Johnson started his day at 9 a.m. on July 2, 1964, with breakfast with his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. He then met with legislators and ambassadors and signed some bills for the government. In the evening, he sent a note to his daughter in writing on her 17th birthday.
Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He did this at 6:45 p.m. There were many historic figures, including Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at the event.
The president’s official day ended at 10:46 p.m. when he fell asleep after reading the papers on an airplane.
If you have a daily diary, it will tell you what happened. But sometimes, there are issues with national security, which can make the records vague. Sometimes the list of people who attend a meeting is incomplete for other reasons.
But, in general, the daily diary is a great place to find data. Most of the presidents in the country’s history only have one or two sources where you can find out what they did. But if you read their diary, you can find out everything they do on any given day.
George Washington wrote in his diary. Some of them are in the Library of Congress. Samples are online, but they are handwritten, so it can be hard to read them from the copies.
All presidents inherit different things when they are in office. For example, Eisenhower was in charge during the Korean War, and Richard Nixon was in charge during the Vietnam War. They did not spend a lot of time on commander-in-chief duties, but both of them spent about the same amount of time overall.
But when the Bay of Pigs crisis came up, John F. Kennedy spent a lot more time on military duties.
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