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In honor of Presidents’ Day, we took a stroll down memory lane — digging through hundreds of photos that document presidential visits to the U.S. Chamber.
The Chamber is right across the street from the White House, just past LaFayette Square – but we like to think that it’s not just the short walk that has led to so many appearances. Every visit from America's chosen leader is a high honor, and all but a handful of presidents (either before or after they ascended to the nation's highest office) have addressed the U.S. Chamber since its founding in 1912.
On this holiday weekend, it's worth taking a moment to pause and pay respect to the individuals who have served, as well as the democracy that the executive branch represents. We should never take for granted the freedom to choose our own leaders.
Here are some of the photos from our archive:
President Herbert Hoover and President Dwight D. Eisenhower
President Herbert Hoover is honored Feb. 8, 1957, with a scroll presented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of the former chief executive's devoted lifetime of work for his government.
President John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy (a senator at the time of the picture) speaks March 23, 1956, to top-level business executives gathered in the Chamber’s Hall of Flags for the Chamber-sponsored National Action Conference.
President Lyndon B. Johnson
President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks at the Chamber’s 1965 annual meeting.
President Richard Nixon
President Richard Nixon catches up with Arch Booth (right), president of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, during the Chamber’s 57th annual meeting on April 29, 1969.
President Nixon gave closing remarks and recalled that except for President Lyndon Johnson, he was the only person who had addressed the Chamber’s annual meeting as a congressman, senator, vice president and president.
President Gerald R. Ford
President Gerald R. Ford addresses the Chamber's 63rd annual meeting at Constitution Hall on April 28, 1975. His address was interrupted 13 times by vigorous and sustained applause.
President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan takes the stage at the Chamber’s 70th annual meeting on April 25-27, 1982.
“Well, this is a happy day, and I am honored to be with you. You’ve earned the great respect of individuals and organizations all across this country and, may I say, a warm spot in my heart. The Chamber is celebrating an important milestone this week, your 70th anniversary. I remember the day you started. (Laughter) And like good wine, you’ve grown better, not older. The membership of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States is the only thing that’s grown faster than the Federal Government—thank heaven!”
President George H.W. Bush
Former President George H.W. Bush visits the Chamber on January 18, 2001.
President Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton discusses transportation funding for cities at the Chamber on April 19, 2013.
President George W. Bush
President George W. Bush speaks at the Chamber's Small Business Summit at the Renaissance Hotel on April 18, 2008.
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama addresses the Chamber Feb. 7, 2011, on the joint effort between government and the private sector to spur job growth, innovation, and U.S. competitiveness.
Find out more infomation about the history of the Chamber here.