Political Cartoons | Film and Television | Music

Kevin Kline as president in Dave, 1993

Courtesy of Movie Still Archives

The presidency has always been a dominant force in shaping and reflecting songs, movies, and other cultural expressions. As a symbol of and for America, the president traditionally was depicted as a heroic figure, as the nation's moral compass, or as a reflection of the national mood. Changing technologies and changing attitudes have contributed to more accessible and varied characterizations, though they are not necessarily more realistic.

The centrality and visibility of the presidency in American society speaks volumes about its importance and influence, and contributes to a common political culture.

Almost every city in the United States has a street named for a former president.
These signs demonstrate how Americans interact daily with representations of the presidency. Washington is the presidential name used most often on street signs, followed by Lincoln.

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