Presidents' Day: America's Top Presidents

Presidents' Day is a national holiday in America. It is a day of honor for all the men who have served in the office of President of the United States. As I researched how people rank the men that have held the highest office in this land, I was somewhat surprised to be challenged by the definition of the term "rank".
Indeed, I saw lists of the "hottest" Presidents of all time. This beauty list usually includes Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Pierce, and Teddy Roosevelt. I saw lists of the best Democratic Presidents of all time. Of course, there were lists of the best Republican Presidents as well. The list of great Democratic Presidents usually included Presidents of more recent vintage like Clinton and Kennedy. The Republican list almost always included Ronald Reagan.

Of course there are some people who just don't know enough about our history to rank any Presidents. In fact, when the question of which Presidents were the top three Republican Presidents in history was recently asked on Yahoo, a person called "Just an average chic" responded: "Are there any? Hmmm..... I draw a blank here".

I thought to myself after looking at that answer that sadly many children have been left behind in our educational system. If that is the knowledge base of the average person, we are a society in big trouble. (Note to the United States Congress, we need to get moving on that new "No Child Left Behind Act").

However, on this Presidents' Day, my definition of the top rated Presidents does not include being handsome or hot. They don't have to be either Republican or Democrat. They don’t have to be modern or popular. What they need to have done to make my list is to have achieved the most. They need to have made a difference. They need to be the best and they need to be recognized as the best over time. So I turned to the consensus ranking among scholars for the Presidents' ratings. Here is their consensus of the top three rated Presidents in American history.

This President said: "The nation which indulges to another habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interests." He created a country from nothing. First President Of The United States, "The Father Of The Country", George Washington is rated third by scholars.

This President said: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Returning America to work after the Great Depression, The New Deal, Pearl Harbor, and World War 2, (FDR) Franklin Delano Roosevelt is rated second by the consensus of scholars.

Finally, it probably doesn’t really surprise you that Abraham Lincoln is the choice of scholars for the best President of the United States. His most famous speech was called "The Gettysburg Address". He was the President during the Civil War and was responsible for preserving the Union. His Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. He was the first President assassinated in office and a martyr for the country. The massive sculpture built as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln located in the National Mall in Washington D.C is certainly not overstated.

Of course, there were many other great Presidents of the United States. The list of the scholars top 10 Presidents goes on to include Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, James Polk, and Dwight Eisenhower. However, Abraham Lincoln is the choice for the best President of the United States and for the benefit of all the "just average chics" out there, he was in fact a Republican.

Author: James William Smith

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