Who was the Greatest U.S. President?

Posted by: PericIes

Based on your logical definition of what constitutes a "great President," which President was/is the greatest? Only consider things that a President did/does while President, and not before or after they were/are President.

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25 Total Votes
1

George Washington

George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted ... the United States Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and remains the supreme law of the land.Washington was unanimously elected President by the electors in both the 1788–1789 and 1792 elections. He oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion, and won acceptance among Americans of all types. Washington established many forms in government still used today, such as the cabinet system and inaugural address. His retirement after two terms and the peaceful transition from his presidency to that of John Adams established a tradition that continued up until Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to a third term. Washington has been widely hailed as the "father of his country" even during his lifetime   more
8 votes
3 comments
2

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political cr... isis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader, state legislator during the 1830s. Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846, where he promoted rapid modernization of the economy through banks, tariffs, and railroads. He had originally agreed not to run for a second term and his opposition to the Mexican–American War was unpopular among the voters. He returned to Springfield and concentrated on his successful law practice throughout central Illinois. He returned to politics in 1854, and was a leader in building up the new Republican Party, which was had a statewide majority. After a series of highly publicized debates in 1858, during which Lincoln spoke out against the expansion of slavery, he lost the U.S   more
8 votes
5 comments
3

John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), also referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK, John Kennedy or Jack Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States. He served from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Major events during...  his presidency include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, United States. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime, but was himself murdered two days later by Jack Ruby before Oswald could be put on trial. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone in killing the president. However, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979 that there may have been a conspiracy. For the public at large, the entire subject remains controversial and shrouded in mystery with multiple allegation theories. The assassination itself proved to be a defining moment in U.S. History due to its traumatic impact on the psycheof the nation and its ensuing political fallout; a historical falloutthat influenced, and continues to influence, the temperament ofAmerican society. President Kennedy is now regarded as an icon ofAmerican hopes and aspirations to every new generation of Americans   more
2 votes
1 comment
4

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. Was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican Party and founder of the Progressive Party insur... gency of 1912. He is known for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity. Born into a wealthy family in New York City, Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. To overcome his physical weakness, he embraced a strenuous life. He was home-schooled and became an eager student of nature. He attended Harvard College, where he studied biology, boxed, and developed an interest in naval affairs. He quickly entered politics, determined to become a member of the ruling class. In 1881, he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he became a leader of the reform faction of the GOP. His book, The Naval War of 1812, established him as a learned historian and writer   more
2 votes
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5

Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921 and leader of the Progressive Movement. He served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910 and was Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. He led his...  Democratic Party to win control of both the White House and Congress in 1912.Wilson induced a conservative Democratic Congress to pass a progressive legislative agenda, unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. This included the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and an income tax. Child labor was temporarily curtailed by the Keating–Owen Act of 1916. Wilson also averted a railroad strike and an ensuing economic crisis through passage of the Adamson Act, imposing an 8-hour workday for railroads. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Wilson maintained a policy of neutrality.Narrowly re-elected in 1916 around the slogan "He kept us out of war", Wilson's second term was dominated by American entry into World War I. That year he proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day in a patriotic speech that bore out the nation's anti-German sentiment   more
1 vote
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6

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly known by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States. A Democrat, he was elected four times and served from March 1933 to his death in Apr... il 1945. He was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. A dominant leader of the Democratic Party, he built a New Deal Coalition that realigned American politics after 1932, as his New Deal domestic policies defined American liberalism for the middle third of the 20th century.Roosevelt defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression. Energized by his personal victory over polio, FDR used his persistent optimism and activism to renew the national spirit. Assisted by key aide Harry Hopkins, he worked closely with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan in World War II   more
1 vote
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7

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American actor and politician. He was the 40th President of the United States, and served as the 33rd Governor of California prior to his presidency.Born and raised in small towns in Illinois, Reagan graduated from Eureka...  College and then worked as a radio broadcaster. He moved to Hollywood in 1937, where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later in television. Reagan served as President of the Screen Actors Guild and later as a spokesman for General Electric; his start in politics occurred during his work for G.E. Originally, he was a member of the Democratic Party, but due to the parties' shifting platforms during the 1950s, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962.After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and in 1976, but won both the nomination and general election in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives   more
1 vote
1 comment
8

Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II (/bəˈrɑːk huːˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama served as a U.S. Senator representing the state of Illinois...  from January 2005 to November 2008, when he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004   more
1 vote
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9

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. He was a spokesman for democracy, and embraced the principles of republicanism and the rights of...  the individual with worldwide influence. At the beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia, and then served as a wartime Governor of Virginia. In May 1785, he became the United States Minister to France and later the first United States Secretary of State serving under President George Washington. In opposition to Alexander Hamilton's Federalism, Jefferson and his close friend, James Madison, organized the Democratic-Republican Party, and later resigned from Washington's cabinet. Elected Vice President in 1796 in the administration of John Adams, Jefferson opposed Adams, and with Madison secretly wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which attempted to nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts   more
1 vote
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10

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States. He was born into a recently immigrated Scots-Irish farming family of relatively modest means, near the end of the colonial era. He was born somewhere near the then-unmarked border betwee... n North and South Carolina. During the American Revolutionary War Jackson, whose family supported the revolutionary cause, acted as a courier. He was captured, at age 13, and mistreated by his British captors. He later became a lawyer, and in 1796 he was in Nashville and helped found the state of Tennessee. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then to the U. S. Senate. In 1801, Jackson was appointed colonel in the Tennessee militia, which became his political as well as military base. Jackson owned hundreds of slaves who worked on the Hermitage plantation which he acquired in 1804. Jackson killed a man in a duel in 1806, over a matter of honor regarding his wife Rachel. Jackson gained national fame through his role in the War of 1812, where he won decisive victories over the Indians and then over the main British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans   more
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11

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman is an author.
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12

Jimmy Carter

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. Is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.Carter, raised in rural Georgia, was a pea... nut farmer who served two terms as a Georgia State Senator and one as the Governor of Georgia, from 1971 to 1975. He was elected President in 1976, running as an outsider who promised truth in government in the wake of the Watergate scandal. He is the second oldest of America's four living former presidents.During Carter's term as President, he created two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. He established a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology. In foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, and returned the Panama Canal Zone to Panama. On the economic front he confronted persistent "stagflation", a combination of high inflation, high unemployment and slow growth   more
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13

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States; he was the grandson of the ninth President, William Henry Harrison. Harrison had become a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. Du... ring the American Civil War, he served the Union for most of the war as a colonel and on February 14, 1865 was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a brevet brigadier general of volunteers to rank from January 23, 1865. Afterwards, he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana but was later elected to the U.S. Senate by the Indiana legislature.Harrison, a Republican, was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland. Hallmarks of his administration included unprecedented economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff, which imposed historic protective trade rates, and the Sherman Antitrust Act; Harrison facilitated the creation of the National Forests through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891. He also substantially strengthened and modernized the Navy, and conducted an active foreign policy   more
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14

Calvin Coolidge

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. Was the 30th President of the United States. A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Po... lice Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little.Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer put it, "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength." Some later criticized Coolidge as part of a general disapproval of laissez-faire government   more
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15

Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States. Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President and the tenth secretary of state, both under Andrew Jackson.Only about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, but trim and erect, Martin Van Bure... n dressed fastidiously. Van Buren was a key organizer of the Democratic Party, a dominant figure in the Second Party System, and the first president not of British or Irish descent—his family was Dutch. He was the first president to have been born a United States citizen, since all of his predecessors were born British subjects before the American Revolution. He is the first president not to have spoken English as a first language, having spoken only Dutch growing up.As Andrew Jackson's Secretary of State and then Vice President, Van Buren was a key figure in building the organizational structure for Jacksonian democracy, particularly in New York. As president, he did not want the United States to annex Texas, an act which John Tyler would achieve eight years after Van Buren's initial rejection. Between the bloodless Aroostook War and the Caroline Affair, relations with Britain and its colonies in Canada also proved to be strained   more
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16

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe; he had responsib... ility for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO. He was the last U.S. President to have been born in the 19th century.Eisenhower was of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry and was raised in a large family in Kansas by parents with a strong religious background. He attended and graduated from West Point and later married and had two sons. After World War II, Eisenhower served as Army Chief of Staff under President Harry S. Truman then assumed the post of President at Columbia University.Eisenhower entered the 1952 presidential race as a Republican to counter the non-interventionism of Senator Robert A. Taft and to crusade against "Communism, Korea and corruption"   more
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17

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson, often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States, a position he assumed after his service as the 37th Vice President. Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, served as a United States Representative from 1937 to 1... 949 and as a United States Senator from 1949 to 1961, including six years as Senate Majority Leader, two as Senate Minority Leader and two as Senate Majority Whip. He campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1960, but ran as Vice President with John F. Kennedy heading the ticket for the 1960 presidential election. After their election, Johnson succeeded Kennedy following the latter's assassination on November 22, 1963; he completed Kennedy's term and was elected President in his own right in the 1964 election, winning by a large margin over Barry Goldwater. He is one of four people who served in both offices of the executive branch as well as both houses of Congress   more
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18

John Adams

John Adams was the second president of the United States, having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States. An American Founding Father, Adams was a statesman, diplomat, and a leading advocate of American independence from Grea... t Britain. Well educated, he was an Enlightenment political theorist who promoted republicanism, as well as a strong central government, and wrote prolifically about his often seminal ideas—both in published works and in letters to his wife and key adviser Abigail Adams. Adams was opposed to slavery, and never owned a slave. After the Boston Massacre, with anti-British feelings in Boston at a boiling point, he provided a principled, controversial, and successful legal defense of the accused British soldiers, because he believed in the right to counsel and the "protect[ion] of innocence".Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. A lawyer and public figure in Boston, as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence   more
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19

James Monroe

James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States. Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation. He was of French and Scottish des... cent. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Monroe was of the planter class and fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was wounded in the Battle of Trenton with a musket ball to his shoulder. After studying law under Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783, he served as a delegate in the Continental Congress. As an anti-federalist delegate to the Virginia convention that considered ratification of the United States Constitution, Monroe opposed ratification, claiming it gave too much power to the central government. He took an active part in the new government, and in 1790 he was elected to the Senate of the first United States Congress, where he joined the Jeffersonians. He gained experience as an executive as the Governor of Virginia and rose to national prominence as a diplomat in France, when he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803   more
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20

James K. Polk

James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States. Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor o... f Tennessee. Polk was the surprise candidate for president in 1844, defeating Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party by promising to annex Texas. Polk was a leader of Jacksonian Democracy during the Second Party System.Polk was the last strong pre–Civil War president, and he is the earliest of whom there are surviving photographs taken during a term in office. He is noted for his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain over the issue of which nation owned the Oregon Country, then backed away and split the ownership of the region with Britain. When Mexico rejected American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican-American War, which gave the United States most of its present Southwest. He secured passage of the Walker tariff of 1846, which had low rates that pleased his native South, and he established a treasury system that lasted until 1913   more
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21

George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush is an American retired politician who served as the 41st President of the United States. A Republican, he had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States, a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of...  Central Intelligence. He is the oldest living former President and Vice President. He is also the last living former President who is a veteran of World War II. Bush is often referred to as "George H. W. Bush", "Bush 41", "Bush the Elder", Bush I, or "George Bush, Sr." to distinguish him from his son, former President George W. Bush. Prior to his son's fame, he was known simply as George Bush or President Bush.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to Senator Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bush postponed college, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday, and became the youngest aviator in the U.S. Navy at the time. He served until the end of the war, then attended Yale University. Graduating in 1948, he moved his family to West Texas and entered the oil business, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40   more
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22

John Tyler

John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States. He was elected vice president on the 1840 Whig ticket with William Henry Harrison, and became president after his running mate's death in April 1841. Tyler was known as a supporter of states' ... rights, which endeared him to his fellow Virginians, yet his acts as president showed that he was willing to support nationalist policies as long as they did not infringe on the rights of the states. Still, the circumstances of his unexpected rise to the presidency and his possible threat to the ambitions of other potential presidential candidates left him estranged from both major parties in Washington. A firm believer in manifest destiny, President Tyler sought to strengthen and preserve the Union through territorial expansion, most notably the annexation of the independent Republic of Texas in his last days in office.Tyler, born to an aristocratic Virginia family, came to national prominence at a time of political upheaval. In the 1820s the nation's only political party, the Democratic-Republicans, split into factions   more
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23

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was an American statesman who served as the sixth President of the United States from 1825 to 1829. He also served as a diplomat, a Senator and member of the House of Representatives. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-R... epublican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties.In his biography, Samuel Flagg Bemis argues that Adams was able to:"gather together, formulate, and practice the fundamentals of American foreign-policy – self-determination, independence, noncolonization, nonintervention, nonentanglement in European politics, Freedom of the Seas, [and] freedom of commerce."Adams was the son of former President John Adams and Abigail Adams. As a diplomat, Adams played an important role in negotiating key treaties, most notably the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. As Secretary of State, he negotiated with Britain over the United States' northern border with Canada, negotiated with Spain the annexation of Florida, and drafted the Monroe Doctrine. Historians agree he was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history   more
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24

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford is an actor
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25

Chester A. Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st President of the United States; he succeeded James Garfield upon the latter's assassination. At the outset, Arthur struggled to overcome his reputation, stemming from his beginnings in politics as a politician from t... he New York City Republican political machine. He succeeded by embracing the cause of civil service reform. His advocacy for, and subsequent enforcement of, the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was the centerpiece of his administration.Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont, but he grew up in upstate New York and practiced law in New York City. He served as quartermaster general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Following the Civil War, he devoted more time to Republican politics and quickly rose in the political machine run by New York Senator Roscoe Conkling. Appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the lucrative and politically powerful post of Collector of the Port of New York in 1871, Arthur was an important supporter of Conkling and the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party. In 1878 the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, fired Arthur as part of a plan to reform the federal patronage system in New York   more
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26

James A. Garfield

James Abram Garfield served as the 20th President of the United States, after completing nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.Garfield's accomplishments as President included a controversial resurgence of Presidential authorit... y above Senatorial courtesy in executive appointments; energizing U.S. naval power; and purging corruption in the Post Office Department. Garfield made notable diplomatic and judiciary appointments, including a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Garfield appointed several African-Americans to prominent federal positions. As President, Garfield advocated a bi-metal monetary system, agricultural technology, an educated electorate, and civil rights for African-Americans. He proposed substantial civil service reform, eventually passed by Congress in 1883 and signed into law by his successor, Chester A. Arthur, as the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.Garfield's presidency lasted just 200 days—from March 4, 1881, until his death on September 19, 1881, as a result of being shot by assassin Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881. Only William Henry Harrison's presidency, of 31 days, was shorter   more
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27

Warren G. Harding

Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States, a Republican from Ohio who served in the Ohio Senate and then in the United States Senate, where he played a minor role.With the Republican Party convention near deadlock, Harding ... was chosen as an inoffensive compromise candidate in the 1920 election. He brought leading advertising experts on board, especially Albert Lasker, to publicize his presidential appearance and conservative promises. He promised America a "return to normalcy" after World War I, with an end to violence and radicalism, a strong economy, and independence from European intrigues. Harding represented the conservative wing of his party in opposition to progressive followers of the late Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Robert M. LaFollette, Sr. He defeated Democrat and fellow Ohio newspaper publisher James M. Cox with the largest popular vote landslide in presidential history.Harding sought out the "best minds" in his cabinet, including Andrew Mellon at the Treasury, Herbert Hoover at Commerce, and Charles Evans Hughes at the State Department. He rewarded friends and contributors, known as the "Ohio Gang", with powerful government positions   more
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28

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Before his presidency, Taylor was a career officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of major general. His status as a nati... onal hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican-American War won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress. Taylor was born to a prominent family of planters who migrated westward from Virginia to Kentucky in his youth. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in 1808 and made a name for himself as a captain in the War of 1812. He climbed the ranks establishing military forts along the Mississippi River and entered the Black Hawk War as a colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname "Old Rough and Ready".In 1845, as the annexation of Texas was underway, President James K   more
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William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States, an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when inaugurated, the oldest president to take office until Rona... ld Reagan in 1981. Harrison died on his 32nd day in office of complications from pneumonia, serving the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis, but its resolution settled many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until the passage of the 25th Amendment in 1967. He was the grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, who was the 23rd President from 1889 to 1893.Before election as president, Harrison served as the first territorial congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory, governor of the Indiana Territory and later as a U.S. representative and senator from Ohio. He originally gained national fame for leading U.S. forces against American Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, where he earned the nickname "Tippecanoe"   more
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Bill Clinton

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served from 1993 to 2001 as the 42nd President of the United States. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the fi... rst president from the baby boomer generation. Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Many of his policies have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance. Before becoming president, he was the Governor of Arkansas for five terms, serving from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992. He was also the state's Attorney General from 1977 to 1979.Born and raised in Arkansas, Clinton became both a student leader and a skilled musician. He is an alumnus of Georgetown University, where he was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Beta Kappa and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford. He is married to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served as United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 and who was a Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. Both Clintons earned law degrees from Yale Law School, where they met and began dating   more
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31

James Madison

James Madison, Jr. Was an American statesman, political theorist and the fourth President of the United States. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key ... champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights. He served as a politician much of his adult life.After the constitution had been drafted, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify it. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced The Federalist Papers. Circulated only in New York at the time, they would later be considered among the most important treatises in support of the Constitution. He was also a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention, and was instrumental to the successful ratification effort in Virginia. Like most of his contemporaries, Madison changed his political views during his life. During the drafting and ratification of the constitution, he favored a strong national government, though later he grew to favor stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes late in his life   more
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32

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th President of the United States. As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction, began the efforts that led to civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and ... Reconstruction.Hayes, an attorney in Ohio, became city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain; he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general. After the war, he served in the U.S. Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872, and then to a third term, from 1876 to 1877.In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious and confused elections in national history. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes   more
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33

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as he was Vice President at the time of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ... ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.Johnson was born in poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina. Apprenticed as a tailor, he worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. He served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After brief service in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became Governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857   more
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34

James Buchanan

James Buchanan, Jr. Was the 15th President of the United States, serving immediately prior to the American Civil War. He is, to date, the only president from Pennsylvania and the only president to remain a lifelong bachelor.He represented Pennsylvan... ia in the United States House of Representatives and later the Senate and served as Minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson. He was also Secretary of State under President James K. Polk. After he turned down an offer for an appointment to the Supreme Court, President Franklin Pierce appointed him minister to the Court of St. James's, in which capacity he helped draft the Ostend Manifesto.Buchanan was nominated by the Democratic Party in the 1856 Presidential election. Throughout most of Pierce's term, he was stationed in London as a minister to the Court of St. James's and therefore was not caught up in the crossfire of sectional politics that dominated the country. His subsequent election victory took place in a three-man race with John C. Frémont and Millard Fillmore. As President, he was often called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies, who battled with Stephen A   more
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35

George W. Bush

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009, and the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. The eldest son of Barbara and George H. W. Bush, he was born in N... ew Haven, Connecticut. After graduating from Yale University in 1968 and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. Bush was elected president in 2000 after a close and controversial election, becoming the fourth president to be elected while receiving fewer popular votes nationwide than his opponent. Bush is the second president to have been the son of a former president, the first having been John Quincy Adams. He is also the brother of Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida.Eight months into Bush's first term as president, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred   more
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36

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States. Hoover, born to a Quaker family, was a professional mining engineer. He achieved American and international prominence in humanitarian relief efforts in war-time Belgium and served as...  head of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business under the rubric "economic modernization". In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination, despite having no elected-office experience. Hoover is the most recent cabinet secretary to be elected President of the United States, as well as one of only two Presidents elected without electoral experience or high military rank. President Calvin Coolidge had famously asserted that "The business of America is business," and "pro-business" policies fostered an economic bubble that peaked in America in 1929, facilitating a landslide victory for Hoover over Democrat Al Smith   more
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37

William McKinley

William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination on September 14, 1901, six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protecti... ve tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals.McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War, beginning as a private in the Union Army and ending as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton. In 1876, he was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party’s expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. His 1890 McKinley Tariff was highly controversial; which together with a Democratic redistricting aimed at gerrymandering him out of office, led to his defeat in the Democratic landslide of 1890. He was elected Ohio’s governor in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests   more
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38

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States. He is the only person to have served in both of these offices.Before becoming President, Taft, a Republican, was appointed to ser... ve on the Superior Court of Cincinnati in 1887. In 1890, Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft Governor-General of the Philippines. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Taft Secretary of War in an effort to groom Taft, then his close political ally, into his handpicked presidential successor. Taft assumed a prominent role in problem solving, assuming on some occasions the role of acting Secretary of State, while declining repeated offers from Roosevelt to serve on the Supreme Court.Riding a wave of popular support for fellow Republican Roosevelt, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency   more
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39

Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States, the last Whig president, and the last president not to be affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. Fillmore was the only Whig president that did not die in office or g... et expelled from the party, and Fillmore appointed the only Whig Supreme Court Justice. He is consistently included in the bottom 10 of historical rankings of Presidents of the United States. As Zachary Taylor's vice president, he assumed the presidency after Taylor's death. Fillmore was a lawyer from western New York state, and an early member of the Whig Party. He served in the state legislature, as a U.S. Representative, and as New York State Comptroller. He was elected vice president of the United States in 1848 as Taylor's running mate, and served from 1849 until Taylor's death in 1850, at the height of the "Crisis of 1850" over slavery.As an anti-slavery moderate, he opposed abolitionist demands to exclude slavery from all of the territory gained in the Mexican War. Instead he supported the Compromise of 1850, which briefly ended the crisis. In foreign policy, Fillmore supported U.S   more
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40

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States. In 1865, as commanding general, Grant led the Union Armies to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. He then implemented Congressional Reconstruction, often at odds with ... President Andrew Johnson. Twice elected president, Grant led the Radical Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African-American citizenship, and defeat the Ku Klux Klan.Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the Mexican–American War. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander. He incorporated displaced African American slaves into the Union war effort. In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two   more
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41

Grover Cleveland

Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States; and, therefore was the only US president to serve two nonconsecutive terms and to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents. He was the winner of the popular vo... te for president three times—in 1884, 1888, and 1892—and was one of the two Democrats elected to the presidency in the era of Republican political domination dating from 1861 to 1933.Cleveland was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, Free Silver, inflation, imperialism, and subsidies to business, farmers, or veterans. His crusade for political reform and fiscal conservatism made him an icon for American conservatives of the era. Cleveland won praise for his honesty, self-reliance, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism. He relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage and bossism. Indeed, as a reformer his prestige was so strong that the like-minded wing of the Republican Party, called "Mugwumps", largely bolted the GOP presidential ticket and swung to his support in the 1884 election   more
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42

Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of t... he United States from 1953 to 1961.Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. After completing his undergraduate work at Whittier College, he graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law. He and his wife, Pat Nixon, moved to Washington to work for the federal government in 1942. He subsequently served in the United States Navy during World War II. Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the Senate in 1950. His pursuit of the Hiss Case established his reputation as a leading anti-communist, and elevated him to national prominence. He was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidential nominee in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as vice president. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and lost a race for Governor of California in 1962   more
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43

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States. Genial and well-spoken, Pierce was a northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation. His polarizing actions in championing and signi... ng the Kansas–Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act failed to stem intersectional conflict, setting the stage for Southern secession, and leaving him widely regarded as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.Born in New Hampshire, Pierce served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate until he resigned from the latter in 1842. His private law practice in his home state was a success; he was appointed U.S. Attorney for his state in 1845. Pierce took part in the Mexican–American War as a brigadier general in the Army. Seen by Democrats as a compromise candidate uniting northern and southern interests, he was nominated as the party's candidate for president on the 49th ballot at the 1852 Democratic National Convention. In the 1852 presidential election, Pierce and his running mate William R. King easily defeated the Whig Party ticket of Winfield Scott and William A. Graham   more
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SnaxAttack says2015-08-20T04:06:38.2742989Z
Technically, any President can be "great" because each one had a different challenge above others. Not saying anyone can't have a favorite, but there really is no such thing as a "great" president.
PericIes says2015-08-20T04:07:14.6430077Z
I accounted for that issue in the description, because I thought exactly what you are thinking.
SnaxAttack says2015-08-20T04:11:29.7621674Z
That's fine. Not arguing about that at all, just thought I throw something in the comment section about there being no such thing as a "great" president. More like whatever your favorite President was for what he achieved.
PericIes says2015-08-20T04:13:21.9268864Z
It's all good man.
SnaxAttack says2015-08-20T04:22:30.9568058Z
Ok cool
PericIes says2015-08-20T04:47:56.3501839Z
I should mention that I only included Constitutional Presidents. I did not include the Presidents that served under the Articles of Confederation (John Hanson, Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Nathan Gorman, Arthut St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin). If someone wants to vote for one of these, let me know, and I will add them all. It's just that I doubted that anyone would want to vote for them.
PericIes says2015-08-20T21:01:17.3198834Z
I'd be interested to see ramm55's reasoning for choosing Obama. I'm not discounting her opinion; I just can't see, despite any merits Obama might have, how he would be a greater President than, say, Lincoln, or F.D.R. Speaking of F.D.R., I'm quite surprised that he has no votes yet.
komododragon8 says2015-08-20T21:22:33.5484643Z
While I think Obama has been a good president (certainly top ten) I agree that presidents like LBJ and FDR did a little bit more.
PericIes says2015-08-21T02:34:44.1591702Z
I'd say a lot more, in F.D.R.'s case. I mean, he guided the nation through the Great Depression and most of World War II, established Social Security, withdrew U.S. soldiers from Latin America because he realized that their presence there was stupid, decreased unemployment from 25% to 2%, etc.
dmussi12 says2015-08-21T02:40:45.5256137Z
@Pericles I agree, but IMO he was a bit power hungry. Ran four times (probably a good thing during the war, though), tried to pack the courts. Also Japanese internment. That's why I always go with Teddy. People really can only criticize his "big stick" policy (it's quite hard to find things he did wrong), but I'd say that was a major step to building the US as a global power and prepped 'em for the world wars.
dmussi12 says2015-08-21T02:41:21.9546623Z
Then again TR tried to run a third time so I guess I shouldn't be making that argument against FDR.
dmussi12 says2015-08-21T02:46:25.9440592Z
Plus TR was more progressive on race: he actually invited Booker T Washington to a private dinner at the White House, while FDR segregated White House workers. I really like Teddy if you can't tell...
PericIes says2015-08-21T04:08:24.0732859Z
@dmussi12 Teddy was good, yeah. He and Jackson are probably the contenders for most macho president. Teddy took a bullet while giving a speech, then finished the speech before going to the hospital. When people called it a hoax, he opened his jacket, exposing the wound, saying, "It takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose!" (he was running for the Bull Moose Party at the time). So that's a fun little anecdote. And, yes, I think that Teddy was a president. He read one book a day, as well. You're right about him having relatively few presidential faults, but I don't really like how he completely altered the Monroe Doctrine to allow the U.S. to do exactly what the Monroe Doctrine is against while still claiming he was defending the Monroe Doctrine. :P As for F.D.R. Being elected four times, the guy was doing a good job, and throwing out an incumbent who's doing a good job fixing the largest depression in the history of the planet and mobilizing the nation to fight in the largest war in the history of the planet while simultaneously dong a bunch of other great shit is an asinine idea, so I really don't have a problem with him having been elected so many times, lol. I'm glad you agree on that point. As for the Japanese internment, that was a bit rough, yeah, but, what with post 9/11 paranoia still a force to be reckoned with, I can only imagine that Pearl Harbor paranoia was off the charts. It must have been. As for the segregation thing, I don't know about his personal racial beliefs, but, as a Democrat, he had to maintain certain Democrat customs anyway in order to stay electable.
PericIes says2015-08-21T04:09:57.2464587Z
*I think that Teddy was a good President.
Heterodox says2015-08-22T13:13:37.6787069Z
Kind of strange that if you renamed the poll to "Who was the worst president", I have a lot more options. Gosh, I just don't know who I would vote for then, so many criminals....So so many...
Huntress says2015-08-22T14:57:59.9644495Z
There were some good choices, but I had to go with Lincoln. I agree with the love for T.R.. He had style and I love reading some of his very blunt quotes. They always put a smile on my face.
dmussi12 says2015-08-22T16:38:18.4050290Z
@Pericles All in all it's surprising that more people aren't choosing FDR, though. If you look at the giant meta-survey on Wikipedia's "Historical rankings of Presidents of the United States" he comes out top 3 in every survey listed and 2nd overall.
PericIes says2015-08-22T16:53:40.4801397Z
@dmussi12 Yeah. I'm a Lincoln man myself, but F.D.R. Is definitely somewhere in the top 5.

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