I have always viewed that in terms of the challenges they faced. In modern times Ronald Reagan faced some immense economic challenges and was able to pass some of the best tax reform which turned out to be some of the best work in incenting capital formation. He faced severe inflationary challenges and the Fed under Volcker was forced to dramatically raise rates, triggering a recession early in his Presidency. Yet Reagan made no attempts to exert any political pressure on Volcker as he understood it was a necessary action. Something most Presidents would not do.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were probably the most interesting of all Presidents to me. Jefferson not only authored the Declaration of Independence, but was a man of enormous foresight. He warned of the dangers of a US central bank in the late 1700's. He warned of too strong a central gov't, and was very cautious of the Federalist movement. Many such concerns are still relevant today.
Many forget he was authoring our founding documents at a time that he and the other framers were being threatened to be hanged by King George. Yet he drafted a founding document that not only laid a foundation for our governing documents, but laid out the rights of all men. His words were the very foundation of liberty. He essentially drafted a document that allowed for the flexibility of gov't to protect the freedoms of all men and correct past injustices. Jefferson was a supporter of abolitionism, but knew the country was not ready for such strides. And the time to debate it was not as the colonies were facing War and severely outgunned by the British Empire. It was more important to keep the colonies together and gain independence first. The US was new nation struggling to stay a float. But his words inserted a course of action that guaranteed each of us God given rights to pursue our own destiny.
Adams was a moderate Federalist who was very unpopular during his Presidency. But had it not been for his leadership in the continental congress...The rebellion against the British may have never taken place. Annexing from the British Empire was more dangerous than a US state suddenly declaring itself a sovereign nation. It meant certain death. Yet Adams was the voice of the continental congress in the face of many feckless delegates. He was also a brilliant legal scholar. Yet despised the art of politics.. a trait uncommon among todays legal minds.