Tech-Savvy Presidents that Set the Stage for Innovation
During this time in America, it’s important to commemorate our founding fathers and reflect on the innovative advancements they’ve ushered into our current society. While iPhones and Androids didn’t exist in the eras of Lincoln, Roosevelt or Kennedy, these three progressive presidents utilized the cutting-edge technology of their time to revolutionize the digital world as we know it today.
President Abraham Lincoln had a keen interest in developing technologies during his presidency, and was the first president to leverage the telegraph for military communications during the Civil War. The president was intrigued with the ability to communicate over great distances, and used telegraphs extensively to spread information from the army to the public, marking the first time a commander in chief could communicate in real-time with his commanders. President Lincoln’s skillful use of the telegram greatly influenced the Civil War and was one of the major reasons that the north came out victorious.
Another president who used technology to reshape the American Presidency was Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the time of his presidency, the radio was the current breakthrough technology that allowed for the most immediate and intimate means of communicating with the public. President Roosevelt utilized the medium to deliver information and build meaningful relationships with the American people through his “fireside chats,” a series of 31 broadcasts discussing a range of topics from economic policies to new legislation. Through the fireside chats, Roosevelt was able to position himself as a caretaker of the American people and boosted the public’s confidence in his leadership. Imagine how he could charm America with the visual technologies of FaceTime, Skype, and broadcast TV that we have today!
President John F. Kennedy was one trailblazing president who used television to convey his charisma and eloquence during his campaign against Richard Nixon in 1960. In order to capitalize on the developing technology, Kennedy made it his mission to understand the importance and potential of the relatively-new medium and brilliantly articulated his speeches to win over the hearts of Americans nationwide during the first televised presidential debate in history. President Kennedy harnessed the power of visual communication to bond with the public, build his popularity and establish TV as a central element of the electoral process, altering the landscape for the presidential elections that followed.