Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

The greatest US presidents of all time (24 items)

By , Deseret News

Feb. 17, 2014

Determining a president’s place in the history of American politics is no easy task. For obvious reasons, partisan politics often influence how one views the past and presidential legacies are no different. There are, however, certain presidents that have established themselves as important figures, despite partisan viewpoints. One may disagree with the policies of Ronald Reagan or Franklin Roosevelt, but denying their importance in the history of American politics would be difficult to argue.

In celebration of President’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of the 25 most revered presidents in the history of the United States. The list comes from an aggregation of 17 surveys conducted over the last 60 years, each one rating the presidents according to their importance. The surveys reflect the opinions of prominent scholars and can be found in Wikipedia’s entry on “Historical Rankings of Presidents of the United States.”

1 of 24. 24. Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes served as the 19th president of the United States, holding office from 1877 to 1881. As the successor to Ulysses Grant, Hayes presided over the end of the Reconstruction era and ultimately did not seek reelection. His election in 1877 is considered one of the most contested in the history of presidential elections.

2 of 24. 23. Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren served as the eighth president of the United States. Having previously served as vice president under Andrew Jackson, Van Buren was elected in 1836 but only served one full term. During his presidency, the country experienced an economic crisis that Van Buren and his cabinet struggled to correct. His presidency is notable for attempting to curb the expansion of slavery by blocking the annexation of Texas, and Van Buren’s stringent fiscal conservative policies.

3 of 24. 22. George H. W. Bush (tie)

George H. W. Bush served as the 41st president of the United States. Having served previously as vice president under Ronald Reagan, Bush was elected into office in 1989. Though he only served as president for one term, Bush presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War. Though his military and diplomatic endeavors were largely seen as successful, the struggling economy under his presidency ultimately led to a failed bid at reelection.

4 of 24. 22. William Howard Taft (tie)

William Howard Taft served as the 27th president of the United States. Elected in 1909, Taft served only one full term. Elected as part of Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive initiatives, Taft quickly soured to politics and lost favor among those who first supported him. Despite his newfound reputation as a conservative, Taft’s administration was notable for initiating 80 antitrust suits as well as other more Progressive initiatives such as promoting the direct election of Senators. Taft is also the only American to serve as both president and a Supreme Court Justice.

5 of 24. 20. Bill Clinton (tie)

William Jefferson Clinton served as the 42nd president of the United States. Elected in 1992, Clinton became notable for becoming the first Democrat to be elected to a second term since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He presided over the longest period of American peacetime and economic growth in the nation’s history. Clinton is also one of two presidents in the history of America to be impeached by the House of Representatives, which occurred during his second term as the result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He was later acquitted by the Senate and served the remainder of his second term. He completed his presidency with the highest approval ratings of any president since World War II.
1. Joshua Steimle
Draper, UT,
Feb. 17, 2014

Well, I can't say I'm surprised to see that my favorite US President, Calvin Coolidge, is not on the list. After all, he didn't start any wars or preside over any other government induced calamities.

2. Mountanman
Hayden, ID,
Feb. 17, 2014

The best definition of leadership I have ever read was given by Dr. Peter Drucker as thus: "Leadership is doing the right (correct) things while management is doing things right (correctly)." The "right things" implies moral, ethical and possessing qualities of character and integrity. If you construct a list of the greatest Presidents in our history with that definition, the list changes dramatically, doesn't it?

3. worf
Mcallen, TX,
Feb. 17, 2014

Too bad they don't make presidents like they used to.

4. Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO,
Feb. 17, 2014

Seemed relevant and interesting after the introduction and until seeing Reagan coming in 17th instead of in upper portion of the top 10. The slant of the pollsters used was evident.

5. justinbl
Portland, OR,
Feb. 17, 2014

I have to say it sickened me to see FDR over George Washington on the list. Especially considering that many of the problems we face today are linked to policies enacted during his reign as president