GovDocs / Maps :: President's Day

Last Updated: 17 February 2009

What is Presidents Day?

Presidents Day was made a legal holiday on the 31st of January, 1879 as Washington's Birthday, and takes place on the third Monday in the month of February. It commemorates the birthday of George Washington1, First President of the United States2 (1789-1797), and as eulogized by Henry Lee, "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Born 22 February 1732, George Washington would serve as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army3, and later oversaw the drafting of the United States Constitution during the Philedelphia Convention. He later served as the nascent nation's first President, setting numerous precedents for the executive branch. For his military and civilian leadership and embrace of republican virtues, Washington is honored as the " Father of his Country"4.

Popularly referred to5 as Presidents Day in celebration of both Abraham Lincoln and George Washington (birthdays 12th and 22nd of February, respectively) and celebrated as a joint holiday by several states, it is now celebrated on the third Monday of February. The passing of the Uniform Monday Holiday Law ( Public Law 90-3636) on 28 June 1968 sought to move several federal holidays to create more three day weekends.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States7 (1861 - 1865) sought to abolish slavery. His time in office was marked by the Civil War, and the years of reconstruction that followed until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln managed a divided Republican Party, the Gettysburg Address a testament to his skill as an orator.


  1. Wikipedia : George Washington
  2. The White House : Biography of George Washington
  3. The Library of Congress : Creating the Continental Army
  4. Washington's Birthday Holiday Honors "Father of our Country"
  5. Snopes : President's Day
  6. Public Holidays in the United States : Uniform Holiday Bill
  7. The White House : Biography of Abraham Lincoln

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