With the Presidential election coming up very soon, now is a great time to reflect not only on the current candidates, but also on the Presidency itself and the individuals who have previously occupied the Oval Office. There is a wealth of information available, but perhaps the best resource is the American Presidency Project (APP), hosted at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The APP is a non-partisan website that collects almost every public statement ever made by a President, or more recently, a presidential candidate. Whether you are interested in the history of Presidential elections or only want to hear what the current candidates think about the issues, the APP has some excellent ways to find what you need. You can browse through the different collections, or you can search the entire archive.
Most Relevant to the 2016 Election
The APP has a comprehensive collection of speeches, statements, and press releases from the 2016 candidates. You can also find transcripts of Presidential, and some Vice Presidential, debates from 1960 to 2016. Given some of the recent news concerning potential disputes over election results, the APP's page on the Bush v. Gore recount in 2000 is also helpful, as it compiles numerous resources related to that dispute, including court documents and candidate statements.
Historical Election Data
Remember that map of the country showing red and blue states from the last Presidential election? You can find similar maps for every single Presidential election, along with a state-by-state breakdown of election results. Check out the maps from 1860 and 1864 to see how the Civil War affected the election of Abraham Lincoln. In 1972, Massachusetts was the only blue state.
Presidential Documents and Speeches
The APP provides the text of every Executive Order issued by a President, all the way back to John Quincy Adams in 1826, and all Presidential Proclamations, dating back to 1789, when George Washington proclaimed a Day of National Thanksgiving. There is also an audio/video archive where you can watch or listen to all kinds of Presidential speeches, including John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961, Franklin D. Roosevelt's prayer on D-Day in 1944, President Obama's remarks at Newtown High School in 2012, and Richard Nixon's resignation from the Presidency in 1974.
Whatever your interest, the American Presidency Project is a great resource for all things Presidential. If you have any questions, ask a reference librarian!