1. George Washington
(First, Federalist 1789-1797)
He is The Father of our Country, and I believe him to be not only our greatest chief executive, but possibly the greatest American that has ever held the office. The legendary general won The Revolutionary War based upon revolutionary ideas. Loved by all at the time, he was the obvious choice for our first President, after presiding over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Having commanded through peril his armies to victory, he gave up power twice, once after serving as commander-in-chief of the army, and then, uneventfully, after serving his second term as president thus creating the informal term limits for presidents. As president, he suppressed Shays Rebellion and preserved the Articles of Confederation.
Washington is remembered for his great personal integrity, and a deeply held sense of duty, honor and patriotism. His personal character stands above more than being a war hero or founding father. One of Washington's greatest achievements, in terms of American values, was refraining from taking more power than was due.
2. Thomas Jefferson
(Third, Democratic-Republican 1801-1809)
Jefferson was a remarkable man. He role as a statesman and a founding father was in addition of being a author, inventor, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist and horticulturist. This background surely became his intention explore and expand the States to the new west. As president, possibly Jefferson's greatest achievement was his purchase of "Louisiana," which did not just double the size of the United States, but it meant that the future refugees from Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Germany would have land to settle and, with all the risks inherent in true freedom, to thrive. Jefferson skillfully defeated the Alien & Seduction Acts, which was the first threat to the new nation’s constitutional liberties. Our third president also was a staunch believer in limited government. Sometimes his eight years in office were uneventful, due to that philosophy. Jefferson is also remembered for what he called a "wall of separation between Church and State." A regular church goer he was one of the few who successfully divided personally religious convictions with government.
3. Ronald Reagan
(Forty-First, Republican 1981-1989)
His Presidency will be forever remembered for winning the forty year Cold War without bloodshed. True to his principles, Reagan was always optimistic and believed modern government did more harm to Americans than good. He cut taxes in which businesses and consumers prospered, that also contributed to the high tech revolution of the 1980’s and restored the principles of limited government to their proper place. Reagan's best moment was
when suffered a near mortal gunshot wound from a would-be assassin, he faced it not just with courage, but with humor.
4. Abraham Lincoln
(Sixteenth, Republican 1861-1865)
There was no better man for the time. Lincoln united American at it's darkest hour. He was a a honest man of high morals, those qualities where an inspiration to politicians who followed him.
Lincoln lead the Republican Party the first political party in history founded specifically on universal moral principles. Many believe him to be our greatest president since he preserved the Union and his vision began the process of emancipation. (Why fourth, not first or second? The achievements of the previous two occurred without bloodshed, and Lincoln chose one of the worst Presidents ever has his running mate, Andrew Johnson.)
5. Franklin Roosevelt
(Thirty-Second, Democrat 1933-1945)
Roosevelt was elected to four terms, leading the nation, and the world, through World War II, Americans and all freedom loving people in the world loved him. He served 12 years spanning crises more acute than any others in U.S. (Save the Civil War.) Also known for bringing the nation out of the great depression with is policies. FDR’s legacy was indelible.
6. Dwight Eisenhower
(Thirty-Fourth, Republican 1953-1961)
Eisenhower's Military Experience enabled him to be a strong leader during the cold war, in which he managed and averted many crises. A Conservative in office, he emphasized fiscal restraint with his economic policies, where federal budgets cut and managed. One of his best known achievements was creating the interstate highway system.
7. James Monroe
(Fifth, Democratic-Republican 1817-1825)
His legacy is the Monroe Doctrine (1823) which was a blueprint for America ’s Westward expansion, and used by several presidents since. His administration has be labeled "The Era of Good Feelings." The Missouri Compromise (1819) kept the nation together and adverted a war. Monroe's was great at selecting good people. He picked a great cabinet, and often asked for their advice. A quality vital for good leadership.
8. Theodore Roosevelt
(Twenty-Sixth, Republican 1901-1909)
Roosevelt's diplomacy via “speak softly and carry a big stick,” meant peace through strength, and he severed with that philosophy. His ‘Square Deal’ busted trusts and businesses became more responsible. Roosevelt was known as ‘The Great Conservationist’ and he started the National Park System. He built The Panama Canal & Mediated the Russo-Japanese War.
9. James Polk
(Eleventh, Democrat 1845-1849)
Few presidents accomplished as much as Polk did in four years. The US became a coast to coast country when Polk acquired the American Southwest as a result of the Mexican War, and got the Oregon Territory by making peace with Britain. Polk successfully reduced tariffs and was an advocate of free trade. He kept his promise to serve only four years.
10. Harry Truman
(Thirty-Third, Democrat 1945-1953)
Truman's most remarkable attribute was that he came into the presidency virtually unprepared for it, and accepted all the challenges and responsibilities without doubt. His “The Buck Stop’s Here” Leadership style, he was not afraid to make a tough decision, and he made many. Lead the country through the end of World War II, making the decision to drop the A-bomb.
11. Calvin Coolidge
(Thirtieth, Republican 1923-1929)
The most under rated president in American History. Overlooked and misunderstood by the many who list him as one of the worst. He finished the term of Harding, and was re-elected in 1924. In just over five years, Coolidge was a small government conservative, which might explain his exclusion from many historians who believe a president must be an active legislator to be effective. He used the veto pen many times. Coolidge believed that business was the backbone of America. He cut taxes resulting in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ prosperity, and was responsible for starting commercial aviation. He was the first to recognize the power of the image of the President, and used PR firms regularly.
12. Andrew Jackson
(Seventh, Democrat 1829-1837)
To many, Jackson is listed as a great president based his leadership qualities and his expanding the role of the executive branch. He also increased participation by citizens in the political process. That was the beginnings of our Political Party System. His new plans would still exclude blacks and women. As the nation headed west, Jackson wanted to destroy the American Indian Tribes on the way. A fact that tarnished a somewhat remarkable administration.