Ranking the Presidents of the United States is a fun task. Looking back at who historians perceive to have been the best and to analyze what were the their attributes that made them a strong President might be helpful in ascertaining who among the candidates for the high office of President of the United States to consider with our vote in 2016.. Also by looking at what attributes or lack of attributes contributed to why or what made some of our Presidents the worst can be helpful as well.
Instead of using the word great because it is such a subjective standard, I prefer to look at who were the strong Presidents as opposed to who were the most obscure and the weakest. Which Presidents had the most impact and had the most positive consequences as a result of their leadership is part of the criteria. Another aspect of having a criteria is which Presidencies were morally lacking? The more recent the Presidency the more likely subjective judgments and emotion are likely to be involved in assessing a Presidency.
The first 5 Presidents were founders. By being among the first Presidents their job was more difficult in that they were the ones to set the standards and tone for what we were to expect in the future. They were the trend setters and helped to establish our traditions.
Since World War II, a President is now expected to be a leader of the Free World.
Americans expect a lot from their President. He or she needs to be liked and trusted. We sometimes expect miracles from them, but that is expected. We place our hopes on the shoulders of the newly elected in the hope and prayer that somehow this one person will save the day and immediately improve life in America. A President is the only elected official that all Americans vote on. In assessing who should be at the top of the list, we look at those Presidents who did have an impact, whose Presidency’s had long term consequences for the life and history of the United States of America.
In ranking Presidents we should immediately eliminate 3 from consideration because they died so soon after being elected or were so sick or injured that their Presidency can not be judged for our purposes. Those Presidents were William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and James Garfield.
We are now living during the 44th Presidency. I will list the top 24 with one caveat and I will list my top ten worst Presidents. A subsequent essay will explain the reasoning behind the individual rankings.
In the last several rankings by historians there has been agreement on the top 3.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
JAMES K. POLK
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
HERBERT WALKER BUSH
The caveat is regarding the Presidency of Richard M. Nixon. If not for Watergate he would belong in the top 25 for having opened up to the world, the nation of China, and for his other accomplishments. It is hard to judge a President when he was in the process of being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
THE TOP 10 WORST PRESIDENTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
WARREN G. HARDING
GEORGE W. BUSH
The next segment on this topic I will attempt to delve further into some of the Presidents and why their Presidency’s were strong and what reasons contributed to making the top 10 worst list. I hope you all join in on the discussion and share your feelings and thoughts.