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Who Was the Best American President?

Updated on June 4, 2009

Who Were the Best Presidents? An Introduction


The debate about who was the best U.S. President continues to rage, and it can be difficult to answer this question. While Lincoln is still the President who stands out for many, the debate over the best U.S. President, or even the five best, still rages on. So here is a list of seven former Presidents who have all been considered among the best either by historians, political science professors, or the good old masses of common people.


There are three Republicans, three Democrats, and the only unaffiliated on the list, placed in chronological order. So enjoy, and please feel free to leave feedback, but keep it civil and factual in discussions: if you want to debate give positive reasons for your favorites, don't cut others down!

Books on U.S. Presidents

Seven of the Best U.S. Presidents


George Washington, Federalist Party. The very first President, he definitely belongs on this list. During his time as President, the office of the Presidency actually had really little power during this time. Washington was President when the Bill of Rights was ratified, he refused to be king (the offer was there) and voluntarily stepped down after two terms, setting a precedent that helped democracy in the United States form and survive. Correction: The Federalist Party was started during Washington's first term, but when he took office he was not affiliated, making John Adams the only "true" Federalist President. Good catch by Tim.


Thomas Jefferson, Republican Party. Not only did Jefferson get a huge amount of land with the Louisiana Purchase, but he also saw the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy as well as the Lewis & Clark expedition. Jefferson was also quoted as saying: "The government is best that governs least," a sentiment that many Americans wish both parties would adopt. He was not repudiated to be a particularly nice man, but he was an excellent President.


Abe Lincoln, Republican Party. A major part of being remembered in history is being in the spot light during a historical crisis. The Civil War threatened to tear the nation apart, and Lincoln refused to allow this to happen. He was one of the least popular Presidents ever during his lifetime, but history has certainly vindicated him. Lincoln preserved the union, and his letters indicate his steadfastness came from a vision of the future that seemed almost prophetic. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves, and the Union after a bloody war, held together as one. Lincoln is generally the most popular choice for best President ever, though critics do point out his suspension of habeus corpus and the first military draft.


Teddy Roosevelt, Republican Party. Teddy was known as a President who was gutsy and stubborn, and surprisingly progressive. He was the first President to be on a submarine or an airplane, and was a major conservationist. Over 125 million acres of nature were made into National Parks while also gaining a reputation as a trust buster, bringing the robber barons to their knees and forcing open and fair capitalism. The first laws were passed forcing a minimum quality for food. Teddy also won a Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace between Russia and Japan, and stated unequivocally to European powers that they had no right to interfere with the Western Hemisphere. Not bad for a President only elected to one term.


FDR, Democratic Party. Beloved by Democrats and Independents, demonized by Republicans, FDR is nonetheless the only President to be elected to more than two terms, and saw the country through the Great Depression while deciding it was better to intervene and keep tens of thousands, or even millions, from starving to death rather than let the markets that caused the Depression simply "take their course." FDR founded the TVA, helping to bring the South (still being punished for the Civil War) into the 20th century, created Social Security to prevent severe or life threatening poverty among the elderly, and had the first form of welfare - one in which people worked to build roads and national parks to earn money.


FDR's WPA program, in fact, employed some 3.3 million people who were set to work on tasks that gave America lasting improvements. In 8 years the WPA built 40,000 buildings, 8,000 schools, built or improved 650,000 miles of roads, 124,000 bridges, 8,000 parks, 18,000 playgrounds, and over 2,000 swimming pools. This program was later referred to by President Ronald Regan as one of the best and most successful government social programs in history. Oh, yeah, they also built New York's La Guardia Airport.


He also repealed Prohibition, and brought America's industrial strength to full force before entering World War II and becoming a world power, although there was that shameful attempt to pack the Supreme Court.


JFK, Democratic Party. During JFK's tragically short time as President he created the Peace Corps, saw the first American sent to space, and gave residents of the District of Columbia the right to vote in Presidential elections. During the Cuban Missile Crisis his cabinet wanted to use nuclear weapons, the generals wanted to use nuclear weapons, and Kennedy refused to listen and brokered peace, averting nuclear war. Say what you want, any President who prevents nuclear war is automatically on my top five.


Bill Clinton, Democratic Party. Although his Presidency was full of controversy, it is hard to argue with the numbers. The lowest unemployment rate ever, the biggest economic boon in history, a five trillion dollar deficit paid off, budgets balanced, and minimum wage raised. The negatives were all the scandals, some which were definitely political witch hunts, others which appear very legitimate. He left office even after all the scandals with a 65% approval rating, the highest since FDR shortly after his death. Love him or hate him, there's no denying the economy of the 1990s was far superior to anything before or later.

Widely Considered the Greatest U.S. President Ever

Who are your choices for the best U.S. Presidents?

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      Mahamadine 5 years ago

      Lincoln and Obama are the best

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      Noneofyourbuisness 5 years ago

      Agree with the top ten except for Clinton and JFK. Not that I think Clinton and JFK are bad presidents, but I would replace them with Polk and Madison.

    • grinnin1 profile image

      grinnin1 6 years ago from st louis,mo

      First of allI'm not a historian,but I'm very interested in American history and although I revere Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan for their particular intellect and leadership during the specific times that they served, I have a renewed sense of admiration for George Washington, recently having read a few books about his service in the Revolutionary War. He seems to have had a bravery and integrity that was palpable to people around him. A true leader, and one who trusted in God, rather than himself, to show the way through what seemed like unimaginable odds. He showed through his example what courage for the sake of freedom truly meant, because it would have been much easier for him to continue to be a part of the English colonies and not risk all of his worldly treasures for the sake of an autonomous America. I'm not sure we would have had the same country had he not been the first leader of the United States of America. Thanks for a great hub and giving me something to think about this morning!

    • profile image

      Old Empresario 6 years ago

      Interesting choices; there is no doubt that Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Jefferson were exceptional men. You can keep the rest of them though. I always preferred the guys who took office and administered government without trying to make an expensive splash at the cost of blood and treasure. That pretty much leaves John Quincy Adams, the Whig presidents, Grover Cleveland, Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover. I would even like Harding were it not for the scandals.

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Love the list - after further investigation I would definitely add LBJ and actually Chester A. Arthur. Appreciate the fact you have a mixed list - it shows strong intelligence and open reasoning.

    • ChristianRecca profile image

      ChristianRecca 6 years ago from Rutherford, NJ

      Here's my personal list for what it's worth.

      1. FDR: Social Security, New Deal, TVA, 4 terms, radio addresses, WWII, overcame polio...

      2. Lincoln: Freed slaves (duh!), saved union, possibly gay, studied law by candlelight in log cabin...

      3. Washington: Won our independence, kept a fragile young Republic together, couldn't tell a friggin' lie!...

      4. LBJ: War on Poverty, Civil Rights Acts, Affirmative Action, Medicare, master of the Senate...

      5. Kennedy: Cuban Missile Crisis, started space program, peace corps, inspired 60s...

      6. Teddy Roosevelt: Trust-busting, conservationism, Rough Riders, speak softly/carry big stick...

      7. Eisenhower: WWII general, Interstate Highway System, Korea, military/industrial complex, our 50s president...

      8. Reagan: Definitely enabled end of cold war, battled malaise, made some people mad loot, America's grandpa...

      9. Jefferson: Louisiana Purchase (kinda big deal), developed own religion, wrote declaration of independence...

      10. Clinton: Turned deficit to surplus, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, no major wars, sax playing, non-inhaling charmer...

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      Jburr 7 years ago

      Kennedy may have averted the cuban missle crisis, but his short-term success also came with a long-term anxiety for America. He established continuing the arms race based on the belief that America had the nuclear advantage. Russians believed that America was superior in nuclear striking and so the Soviets built up their navy and destroyed America's lead in nuclear missiles.

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      Eztransfer 7 years ago from Denver Colorado

      I'm not much into politics because, frankly I believe most politicians are just a higher form of criminal. However, during my tenure on this planet. The best president I've seen was the team of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I could not care less who Bill was having sex with my pockets were full of money, and the economy was great back then. Now I go from month-to-month wondering whether I'll be homeless or not.

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      Dazz 7 years ago

      Clinton was definitely one of the best US presidents ever and was instrumnental in bringing peace to Northern Ireland something which eluded all his predecessors

    • AJReissig profile image

      Alex J. Reissig 7 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio

      Before making the list, it might have been helpful to explain what your criteria was. If your criteria is who were the most progressive presidents, then I think the list is pretty accurate with the exception of Washington. If the criteria is who was the most Constitutional President (ie, followed the Constitutional constraints of his office), then an entirely different list would emerge. The first 15 Presidents, in general, obeyed the Constitution. Garfield and Hays did as well (both managed to tick off members of their own party for vetoes on bills they deemed unconstitutional.)

      Most of the 20th century Presidents would not make the grade. And if Constitutionality is our criteria, then I would have to say that FDR and Lincoln would be tied for last place. Both spent their entire time in the White House stomping on the Constitution. FDR stated on many occassions that the Constition was suited for "horse and buggy days and no longer applies". Lincold suspended Habeus Corpus and the Bill of Rights, and imprisoned anyone who was a critic. In fact, Lincold even went so far as to have an arrest warrant written out for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Roger Taney) because Taney had declared several laws unconstitutional. (The warrant was never served because it was written the day before Lincoln's assassination.)

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      Patrick 7 years ago

      Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan, Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Jackson

      Yes I know: an assortment of conservatives, liberals and progressives; hawks and doves; saints and sinners. But then as Solomon said, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."

      It's all a matter of how the respective ideologies are constitutionally expressed; according to the times; and for what cause, that counts.

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      Texasbeta 7 years ago

      It can get complicated, but let's not forget that Washington's first order of business was to tax spirits to pay for the war. When the people who fought with him, and were now taxed by him, stood up against the taxes, he sent in the army who literally shot down crowds of our own citizens, i.e. the Whiskey Rebellion.

      Lincoln at the time of the war was an extremely contentious name, and not because of only race issues. During the entire war, he was allowing and the Union was profiting from the supply sales to the Confederates by business interests in the North. The more you read about this, the shadier it gets.

      Reagan, as many mentioned, had double digit unemployment in his 3rd year of Presidency, expanded the deficit beyond any President before him, gave amnesty to 4 million illegals, carried out an illegal war, sold arms to the very country that took our citizens as hostages a few years earlier, sold them to drug running "freedom fighters" in South America, and allowed Oliver North to fly in cocaine to be used for funding by the CIA, resulting in the crack epidemic in the late 80s and early 90s. When you delve into them, they all have questionable actions.

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Due to the high volume of people picking fights, getting off topic, insulting others, and just not getting it, the comments section here is now closed. Don't bother leaving one. Unless it's one of the most unique and unbelievably scholarly arguments based on fact and not propaganda, there's not way it will get published. Consider this section closed.

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      Harry Atwell 7 years ago

      James Buckhannon is called the worst president becouse he didn 't stop the southern states from seizing Federal territory and leaving the union.Well there is nothing in the constitution that says states cannot walk away,nothing at all.President Lincoln did not care that this important piece had been left out by our founders,he used military force to get what he wanted he did not care that the constitution in fact does not give the Federal government the right to force the states to remain in the union.But he is not the only president to ignore the constitution,the Marxist that's in there now and his communists healthcare bill is another prime example.

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      Brad Daft 7 years ago

      One last thing to the reagan fans out there,prove he defeated infation,prove he won the cold war,that's all im saying i want to see proof so far i have seen nothing at all just heard a lot of bragging about things which are hard to establish-prove it!

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      Brad Daft 7 years ago

      Yes i do get mad when i see reagan's name at all.I grew up when he was president and i remember people living in their cars,people homeless and the chronic unemployment.reagan gave the rich all the breaks,i thought he didn't believe in government intervention hmmm what do you call his tax cuts for the rich?Im sorry but the man was a dirt bag.His deficits were a result of needless military spending like i said before unacceptable losses.The Soviets could not destroy all our SLBMs and we could retaliate destroying their cities and they did not want to lose St.Petersburg or Moscow anymore than we did not want to lose Washington or NewYork.So like i said reagan was a dirtbag,Carter who people have used as their punching bag for years was right all along about our suicide dependency on overseas oil.He saved social security from bankruptcy,he did goof when he left the embassy open but hey no one is perfect he said he did not believe Iran was even in prerevolutionary stages.besides he was a champion of human rights and the shah was a brutal dictater.Also Carter normalised relations with China in 1979 so it was he not Nixon who opened up China.He was right about cancelling the B1 bomber.The B1 was expensive and vulnerable while we had better options the cruise missile and stealth technology.The B1 lobby was determined to get the contract even though America had better alternatives.They waited until dumby got in there in 1981 and got what they wanted,however wastefull for America which it was.Just becouse reagan had the pure luck of having Gorby to work with people want to give him credit for winning the Cold war what a joke.reagan's rhetoric in his first term the pre-Gorby days actually emboldened Soviet hawks and actually drew the conflict out a little longer.reagan's first term was the most dangerouse since the Cuban missile crisis and dumby made it even worse by running his big mouth and his needless nuclear buildup.I can't stand the guy or anyone who goes around trying to say he was great.

    • profile image

      Brad Daft 7 years ago

      Sorry but i like to fight,i just hate reagan people their so stupid but i guese your right i did not take the time to read your lists and to you i apoligize but to anyone who voted for reagan in 1980 well im ready to fight!

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      @ Brad - Because I was at the hospital with a family emergency. Everyone's comments get posted as long as they're respectful and not racist, antagonistic, or argumentative. And it's hard to overlook you calling me stupid and a Reagan fan and not notice that Clinton is on the list and Reagan is not. Try reading the page next time and realize not everyone spends all day at their computer trolling for a fight. Some of us have more important things to do.

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      Brad Daft 7 years ago

      I see you didn't put up my posts why?My posts was the most intelligent one of all.Well as usual people are to stupid to accept the facts and go the stupid rout just like 1980.You people should have put up my posts!reagan fans i bet!

    • profile image

      Brad Daft 7 years ago

      Jimmy Carter was the greatest,look at nuclear proliferation the energy crisis

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      Brad Daft 7 years ago

      James Earl Carter Jr. was the greatest president.Look at the facts he created this countries first comprehensive energy policy,created the Department of education,saved social security from bankruptcy,created the rapid deployment force to gourd our oil flow from the Persian Gulf.Helped create a lasting peace between Egypt and Israel.He warned us about the energy crisis and he was right however people only wanted to hear what they wanted to hear not the bad stuff.Carter was the smartest man that has ever lived in the white house,he placed human rights at the forefront and like the Soviets said called them out in public always in public!His descision to allow the Shah into America was egged on by Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger.His carefullness in handling that crisis averted war,the hostages being killed and may have even averted World War 3 since the Soviet Union was always looking to intervene whereever possible.President Carter followed the détente process and pushed for deep cuts in both sides nuclear arsenals.reagan the dumby undid all Carter's work,he wasted billions of dollars on our armned forces when they had already been strenghtened by President Carter.Yes the Trident submarine was deployed in 1979!Read the book The myth of Soviet military supremecy,it will tell you about how after we reached a certain number of nuclear warheads there was no reason to build more becouse the Soviets could never destroy all our SLBMs & if they struck first we still had the power to render unacceptable losses down on their cities.Yes they did not want to see their cities wiped out anymore than we did.So the reagan buildup was a total waste.President Carter was mostly a victim of events beyond his control and he had a congress that worked against him as well,Bob Byrd said we had a saying back then im the senate's man not the president's man.President Carter was looked at in more favorable light by the mid-80s when reagan's deficits nearly bankrupted the country.People who liked to use Jimmy as their punching bag realised that he did try to curb inflation and solve the unempoyment crisis.Unlike reagan who actually said that the minimume wage was the couse of unemployment if you don't believe me watch the carter reagan debate online.People can say what they want but Jimmy carter is my favorite president and the facts are there to prove it.

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      GD 7 years ago

      I mostly agree with this list. My personal favorite president was James Polk because he laid out an agenda and actually acomplished it, something that rarely happens today. Jefferson, TR, and Lincoln follow close behind, but Polk accomplished more in one term than most presidents did in two. I also agree with the authors views on Reagan and I would put him in the same boat with the three presidents before him as they were all in office during crappy political and economic times in the country. I also believe that once we get some perspective, the Clinton adminstration will go down as one of the best because, all scandals aside, it was just a great time to be an american in the 90's. The economy was expanding like never before, more people were working than ever before, and the deficit was completely erased and actually gave way to a surplus in 2000. Another plus for Clinton is to look how far things have gone south in just a decade after his departure. While opinions of him may be biased now because his scandals are still fresh in peoples minds, I believe that a few years down the road people will begin to realize just how good they had it with Clinton in the White House.

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      Zack 7 years ago

      Lincoln was the worst president ever he had more americans killed than any other and he freed the slaves which at the time was a great descison but today it was the wrong thing to do but he had killed more americans ever. I say Truman, Roosevelt, and W. Bush were the best they kept this country safe from anything W. Bush after 9/11 but after that i never felt in danger but with obama i feel scared we are going into a dangerous mission in afghanistan and hes firing a general cause he used freedom of speech. so the best:truman, roosevelt, and W.Bush. the worst lincoln and obama

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      truth 8 years ago

      very good list. definitely agree, and i cannot say how thankful i am that you did not include reagan.

    • Melissa McClain profile image

      Melissa McClain 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I would agree with most of your choices and, as many have pointed out, Washington is definitely in a class of his own. Even though I thought Clinton was a good President, I wouldn't have put him on the list....yet. Time will tell his true impact on our Nation. And let's face it, he won't be heralded as one of the best presidents until we put some time between those who remember voting against him and the present.

      Doll: I'm a fan of Jimmy Carter too, but that might have something to do with the fact that I'm from GA. I think he made a better ex-President than President though. Now he gets the opportunity to promote peace and help out charities without having to deal with the ugly side of politics.

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      RR 8 years ago

      Personally, I would replace Bill Clinton with Ronald Reagan.

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      dude 8 years ago

      THOMAS JEFFERSON WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      TR 8 years ago

      Carter? A good president? Go get some fresh air! I'll give Carter credit for one thing, I think he did what he felt was right. The problem was we was wrong.

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      Doll 8 years ago

      So what if Andrew Jackson had good intentions? Everyone has those. He gained Florida at the cost of the Mexicans and massacred Indians. He may not have been a horrible president, I admit I don't know a lot about him, but I know enough to say I wouldn't consider him one of the best.

      Jimmy Carter is my favorite President. I don't know why people don't like him, but he seemed to me to be more for peace than any other President.

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      Greg Gubitosi 8 years ago

      No mention of Andrew Jackson! While his Indian removal policies surely seem harsh by today's standards, they were intended to improve the welfare of the "common man." He helped win the War of 1812, gained Forida, balanced the U.S.budget and extended the voting rights to many.

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      JamesBenjaminJrMD 8 years ago from USA

      Jerry G2 this is a very good post. Thanks for the info. I will become a fan.

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      C.J. Wright 8 years ago

      Jefferson was in my opinion the best President. Clinton and Reagan were Popular Presidents, not the same thing as a great President. Not saying either were horrible either. However I would include FDR, LBJ, Carter and Nixon on my list of horrible Presidents.

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      anon 8 years ago

      FDR should be on that list.

      REGAN should not. And I firmly stand by it.

      And please, don't say "Well I was there and he did great things" blah blah blah.

      I lived in Poland and the US during his time, and trust me, he didn't have anything to do with the fall of the USSR, Berlin Wall, etc. Sure he got hostages out, but so did Bill Clinton- a couple of months ago!

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      DM 8 years ago

      I admire and I respect to President George Washington for keeping the country together. Having Democratic leadership and steping down volontary after second terms. He left great example for all presidents of the world. God bless him and keep him in heaven........

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      MaddieB 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Ronald Reagan should be on this list; definitely ahead of everyone there except maybe George Washington. Reagan secured the release of our American hostages from Iran. Khomeini knew Reagan would retaliate... Abe Lincoln is crediting with ending slavery - his only aim was to preserve the Union. He really didn't care if there was slavery or not. During Clinton's presidency, we saw an economic boom. Unfortunately, a lot of the boom was due to businesses that subsequently went under and contributed more to hurting the economy... FDR did help propel the US out of the Great Depression; however, his policies gave rise to our current "welfare" and "entitlement" society. FDR only intended to use many of the fixes to do just that - FIX the economy after the Depression (regulating the stock market and banking insurance, etc., were good). Making the US a welfare state was not.

      I agree with Austin's comments... Don't blame you for moving North of there. Nice place to visit, though.

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      garhunt05 8 years ago

      the Shark: Reagan under reagan that ceo salaries skyrocketed and he raised taxes six times and the Iranian Release was secured before Reagan was president Economy is not the responsibility of the president and surely the policies of the previous president have no impact on economy during the first term in office. Also I think we can all agree that funding an giving weapons too Iraq and the Mujahadeen were bad ideas. And the whole Iran problem can be largely placed on president Eisenhower sin he approved operation Ajax which ousted a popular democratically elected leader whom though his countries resources should line the pockets of his country and not of anothers. And I really don't see how the Russians ever truly had the upper hand MAD was on and all that mattered was that we had launch nukes to Nuke them and we had the capability to use those nukes when we found out that they had used nukes. And the Soviets never had a good navy we've had a first line Navy since Teddy Roosevelt.

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      A Texan 8 years ago

      I agree with The Shark, you can't discuss GREAT Presidents without Ronald Reagan. My only disagreement with your list (Reagan aside) Is JFK and FDR. I don't think either one did anything extraordinary! Just one last thing, I can see why you are not a Reagan fan. Being from Austin Texas does not lend itself to rational thought concerning conservatives! I was born there and moved North about 20 miles just as soon as I could, now you know where I'm coming from! Other than those 3 items your list was good.

      Just kidding about Austin, maybe.

    • The Shark profile image

      The Shark 8 years ago from Hampton, NH

      I will disagree with Jerry G2 on Regan. It is easy to forget recent history, but in 1979 we had stagflation, extremely high credit interest rates, (20%) and skyrocketing inflation. Let's not let the facts get in the way here, you can argue cold war stuff all day, but economics don't lie. Just go to the web and look up a macro economics chart for growth in the 20th century. You see the moderate ups and downs. The downs are steeper during the depression and again in the 70's. Then there is an unprcedented climb like no other period that was sustained for twenty years. If we are going to blame Presidets when things go bad, then we need to give credit when things go well. In addition to economics there was the general feeling in the country that the great days of our country was behind us. Carter had said Americans need to learn to live on less. He had even gone so far as to suggest we should cordon off our homes with plastic in summer and put an ac in one room. Regan said he not only did not accept America's greatest days being behind her, but that her greatest days were still to come. Instead of seeing events on TV like Americans held hostage and being paraded blind folded every night for eager cameras and seeing US War ships crippled in the Gulf after being attacked by missiles, (USS Stark), we saw strength. While Regan was being sworn in, the hostages were quickly scuttled to an aircraft and were in German airspace by the time the inauguration was over. Libya learned quickly too and the threats from that country stopped when the F15's took out the Presidential palace. Under Carter we saw our military strength slip to second in strength to the Russians for the first time ever .Regan rebuilt our military strength and we have never looked back. I know we are in a new reach out to our enemies and negotiate by getting them to like us era, but peace has never been won through weakness. Just look at the Great Seal of the US, it was crafted to clearly send a message. First an Eagle, a bird of great strength and pride, second an olive branch in the right claw signifying the desire for peace, third the cluster of arrows in the left claw signifying weapons and strength and the willingness to use them if necessary for peace. In other words, peace through strength. Whenever we have a weak president our enemies become emboldened. Just look at No. Korea, with this new reach out diplomacy, they are not only developing nuclear missiles, but have promised a launch toward Hawaii on the 4th of July. Can you imagine No Korea threatning a launch at a US State if Regan was President? In addition to the anti missile ship being sent to Hawaii there would be a warning to No Korea. I am sure we ould say, if you launch a missile at US territory we will take that as an act of hostility and a require a respone.

      No, I am sorry. regan belongs on that list. Put you personal feelings aside and do some reading on him and the Regan years. I know about these things, I was there, I saw them. The Shark

    • The Shark profile image

      The Shark 8 years ago from Hampton, NH

      I would say Washington, he was the first and therefor had no other to model his presidency after. In fact he set precedent for all Presidents that followed on what the Presidency was and what kind of power the office should have. He was in a unique position being the first, he was offered what in effect was kingship, and turned it down, thereby solidifying forever that the office is seved by a civilian. He demonstrated what it meant to be the Commander in Chief, when he personally led a military contigent as President to put down the Whiskey Tax Rebelliion. Understanding the need for the young country to raise revenue, and the fact that unlike the tea party, these people were being taxed with representation. This is not to diminish the role and great challenges that Presidents that followed faced, certainly Lincoln faced the challenge that no president before or after has faced, saving the union. Still Washington provided the model for all Presidents. The Shark

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      ralwus 8 years ago

      Only one real standout. George Washington. The prsidency was formed with him in mind for his integrity and leadership qualities. He very easily could have become our first monarch and also he was the one to tell them to refer to him as Mr. President, not Your Excelency or Your Majesty, etc. He also willingly stepped aside as you pointed out. His biggest problem I think was the Whiskey Rebellion. Lincoln would be my 2nd choice as he really had the hardest time of all of our leaders and was not so well loved until after his death.

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Thanks for the further comments. My reasons for not having Reagan on this list are simple, and I'm glad to finally have non-profanity laced comments that allow me to address this: he is the spearhead of absolute propoganda.

      Reagan had virtually nothing to do with the fall of Communism, and he did not single handedly free 400 million people. This is history, not a Super Man comic. He gave a great speech. The Germans tore down the Berlin Wall, not Reagan. Gorbachov might have had more to do with accelerating the fall than anything because of his progressive policies of Perestroika and Glasnost created a degree of free press and industry in Russia that could not be stopped. When a military coup was attempted, the Russian people stopped it - not Ronald Reagan, not NATO, not the U.S. military. The Soviet Union was doomed from the start because it was communism in a pre-industrial nation - and communism was meant as a form of government for industrialized nations. The Soviet Union didn't qualify, and add in the lack of recovery aid after World War II, the lack of healthy males due to war casaulties, the lack of infrastructure and a world wide embargo, they were finished from the start. The Pope's visit to Poland causing hundreds of thousands of closet Catholics to come out in Poland around the fall of the Berlin Wall had far more of a direct effect than Reagan.

      Reagan also ballooned budget deficits, put the nation nearly $6 trillion into debt, and started what became an accepted practice of running the government on deficits, pushing the tax burden to future generations.

      He also armed Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban (and the beginnings of Al Qaeda) in Afghanistan, as well as giving arms and training (look up the infamous School of the Americas) to roving death squads who ethnically cleansed tens of thousands of innocent people and strengthened dictatorships across Central and South America. He also all but completely ignored AIDS and once mused about Martin Luther King Jr. being a Communist.

      This isn't even going into his support of McCarthy's witch hunts in the late 1940s and early 1950s, which has nothing to do with the actual Presidency.

      People claiming him as one of the best ever give him credit for single handedly taking down Communism - a claim that isn't supported by fact, only propoganda, and anyone who has studied Communism, history, and the Soviet Union without a biased eye would not give Reagan the level of credit he receives from the far right.

      So what did he do? What balances out the budget deficits, the supporting of genocides, and arming the people who would become our enemies for the next twenty years and counting?

      That's why he's not on the list. Granted, if I was going to re-do this list I'd remove JFK for LBJ and add Esienhower, but without the propoganda, there's no way I could put Reagan on here.

      I appreciate the different points of view, but I only care about results. And before all the liberal cussing out, 2 of the last 3 Presidential campaigns I've worked on were Republican.

      That's all I have left on that. I'll publish any comments without swearing or personal attacks, as always.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 8 years ago

      Here is my list of best presidents (so far). I'm not counting in Obama because he hasn't finished a term.

      1) Abraham Lincoln - he managed to hold the Union together during the Civil War, and deal with slavery above that.

      2) Franklin D Roosevelt - He got America out of the Great Depression and lead us to victory in World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

      3) Harry Truman - He made one of history's hardest decisions: The Atomic Bomb. He also dealt well with Civil Rights. Too bad the whole senate was against his progressive ideals on civil rights.

      4) John F Kennedy - He had to deal with Civil Rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam. It's a shame he was assassinated.

      5) George Washington - he was the founding father.

      6) Ulysses S Grant - he dealt very well with the KKK in the 1870's

      7) Dwight D Eisenhower - He dealt with Little Rock, and the Korean War.

      8) Bill Clinton - Did a lot for aid in Kosovo, and helped with the Education program

      9) Lyndon B Johnson - Signed the Civil Rights Act. Brought America a lot closer to equality.

      10) Thomas Jefferson - Expanded America's influence

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Dude! You have Bill Clinton in a pantheon with George Washington? My goodness! Don't bogart that joint my friend; pass it over to me again . . .

      Seriously, TR, FDR, Abe, Tom . . . not bad. JFK? Well loved—I loved him—but more for his persona than anything he accomplished.

      Is this really Bill Clinton behind this screen name? Come on!!

      How about, one Mr. Ronald Reagan? Berlin Wall, freedom for 400 million enslaved people, that guy. I don't know your age, but you would have to have lived through Jimmy Carter to understand what Reagn actually did because the word on the street at the time was—we were done, but a fork in us.

    • profile image

      Corey Frank 8 years ago

      where is Regan at...he is the one and only great president...REPUBLICAN FOR LIFE

    • profile image

      Hawley 9 years ago

      A good list with some nice information, but you have another mistake as to party affiliation. Jefferson was the founder of the Democratic-Republican party, the first modern political party. It later dropped the Republican part of the name and was the direct ancestor of the Democratic party (some would say they are the same party). So while Jefferson can be considered either a Democrat, or a member of a now defunct party he was by no means a Republican. In fact the Republican party was not even founded until well after Jefferson's death.

    • profile image

      kosovo 9 years ago

      great choices this were the best presidents in usa..

    • profile image

      steve fitzangus 9 years ago

      Lincoln was a war criminal his actions the deliberate targeting of civilans and his action toward the Sioux rebellion can not be frogiven. You do not Free the slaves then enslave the Free.

      Washington and Jefferson are the best.

    • profile image

      9 years ago

      G Washington put his whole way of life at risk and set a standard that has yet to be equalled. Clinton, on the other hand, belongs in the bottom half. Gingrich's Contract with America led to the balanced budget and deficit reductions.

    • profile image

      Tim 9 years ago

      George Washington did not belong to any politcal party as incorrectly stated above as being a member of the Federalist Party. In fact, if you take the time to read Washington's farewell address, you will see that he railed against the idea of politcal parties being formed and would be appalled to see how childish the political wars are today between the Republicans and Democrats.

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 9 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Thanks, guys. Yeah, it's amazing how many even popular presidents had some strong detractors. My brother says that about LBJ: many of his policies were amazing and progressive (especially civil rights) but then throw in the Vietnam War and that's the end of that. Eisenhower also just missed the list.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      I'm glad to see a lot of my favorite presidents here. Teddy Roosevelt can be awfully polarizing, but for the most part, he was popular :)

    • DJ Funktual profile image

      DJ Funktual 9 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

      Great Choice. I liked them all. Anybody but you know who.


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