Official US Presidential Rankings by Historians - do you agree with them?

Gnobe

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Over many years US historians have provided rankings of all the US presidents from best to worst, wiki has tabulated all 18 surveys since the war. They have also broken them down and colour coded them into four quartiles:

1st Quartile: All time greats/transformational presidents (BLUE)
2nd Quartile: Above average/good presidents (GREEN)
3rd Quartile: Mediocre/Below average/Poor presidents (YELLOW)
4th Quartile: Disasters/Terrible presidents (RED)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States#Scholar_survey_results

From this historians appear to conclude the following:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Lincoln, FDR and George Washington are consistently ranked as the top three greatest presidents ever.

- Just after this tier in the 4-7 positions are typically Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson, Truman, Eisenhower.

- Ronald Reagan is consistently ranked as the best US President since 1960 (I didn't agree with him but he was transformative hence the large amounts of recent blue colouring he gets).

- Neither JFK or Obama are consistently ranked in the Top 10 (Obama hasn't ever had one) which is ironic given JFK is constantly tops US public opinion polls as the greatest president ever, but US historians strongly disagree with that.

- LBJ ranks as high and sometimes higher than JFK and surprisingly gets some blue shading given he had the absolute horror show of Vietnam, is an astonishing achievement and still one of America's greatest ever presidents.

- Both Clinton and Obama are ranked as strong 2nd quartile presidents, just outside the top 10.

- George HW Bush is consistently ranked as a better president than Carter, Ford and Nixon. Bush Snr even ranks in the 2nd quartile/top half which is a good achievement given he was only a one term president.

- George W Bush is the only recent president who consistently ranks in the 4th (RED) quartile, not surprisingly given he was a crap president.

- James Buchanan is consistently ranked as the worst president ever.
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Do you agree with these rankings personally yourself??
 


owedtojoy

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Over many years US historians have provided rankings of all the US presidents from best to worst, wiki has tabulated all 18 surveys since the war. They have also broken them down and colour coded them into four quartiles:

1st Quartile: All time greats/transformational presidents (BLUE)
2nd Quartile: Above average/good presidents (GREEN)
3rd Quartile: Mediocre/Below average/Poor presidents (YELLOW)
4th Quartile: Disasters/Terrible presidents (RED)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States#Scholar_survey_results

From this historians appear to conclude the following:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Lincoln, FDR and George Washington are consistently ranked as the top three greatest presidents ever.

- Just after this tier in the 4-7 positions are typically Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson, Truman, Eisenhower.

- Ronald Reagan is consistently ranked as the best US President since 1960 (I didn't agree with him but he was transformative hence the large amounts of recent blue colouring he gets).

- Neither JFK or Obama are consistently ranked in the Top 10 (Obama hasn't ever had one) which is ironic given JFK is constantly tops US public opinion polls as the greatest president ever, but US historians strongly disagree with that.

- LBJ ranks as high and sometimes higher than JFK and surprisingly gets some blue shading given he had the absolute horror show of Vietnam, is an astonishing achievement and still one of America's greatest ever presidents.

- Both Clinton and Obama are ranked as strong 2nd quartile presidents, just outside the top 10.

- George HW Bush is consistently ranked as a better president than Carter, Ford and Nixon. Bush Snr even ranks in the 2nd quartile/top half which is a good achievement given he was only a one term president.

- George W Bush is the only recent president who consistently ranks in the 4th (RED) quartile, not surprisingly given he was a crap president.

- James Buchanan is consistently ranked as the worst president ever.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do you agree with these rankings personally yourself??
I have little argument with them.

A President's standing has a lot to do with the challenges they faced when entering office - Lincoln, Washington and FDR probably probably the most massive problems - Washington to make a country, Lincoln to save it from political collapse, and FDR to save it from economic collapse.

Ulysses Grant used to be seen as one of the bottom few, but now he is seen as pretty much an "improver" He also faced almost insuperable problems, but made a fair fist at re-establishing the US after the Civil War.

On the other side, Andrew Jackson's reputation is on the slide, as (in spite of some of his achievements) he was the man who created the alliance of Southern slave owners and Northern businessmen that led to the Civil War. The President of the Trail of Tears is not one for modern sensibilities.
 

NYCKY

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From a historical perspective, it's too early to be ranking the recent Presidents.

It takes years, really decades of time to assess their legacies and what lasts.
 

Degeneration X

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Over many years US historians have provided rankings of all the US presidents from best to worst, wiki has tabulated all 18 surveys since the war. They have also broken them down and colour coded them into four quartiles:

1st Quartile: All time greats/transformational presidents (BLUE)
2nd Quartile: Above average/good presidents (GREEN)
3rd Quartile: Mediocre/Below average/Poor presidents (YELLOW)
4th Quartile: Disasters/Terrible presidents (RED)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States#Scholar_survey_results

From this historians appear to conclude the following:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Lincoln, FDR and George Washington are consistently ranked as the top three greatest presidents ever.

- Just after this tier in the 4-7 positions are typically Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson, Truman, Eisenhower.

- Ronald Reagan is consistently ranked as the best US President since 1960 (I didn't agree with him but he was transformative hence the large amounts of recent blue colouring he gets).

- Neither JFK or Obama are consistently ranked in the Top 10 (Obama hasn't ever had one) which is ironic given JFK is constantly tops US public opinion polls as the greatest president ever, but US historians strongly disagree with that.

- LBJ ranks as high and sometimes higher than JFK and surprisingly gets some blue shading given he had the absolute horror show of Vietnam, is an astonishing achievement and still one of America's greatest ever presidents.

- Both Clinton and Obama are ranked as strong 2nd quartile presidents, just outside the top 10.

- George HW Bush is consistently ranked as a better president than Carter, Ford and Nixon. Bush Snr even ranks in the 2nd quartile/top half which is a good achievement given he was only a one term president.

- George W Bush is the only recent president who consistently ranks in the 4th (RED) quartile, not surprisingly given he was a crap president.

- James Buchanan is consistently ranked as the worst president ever.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do you agree with these rankings personally yourself??
I remember Pat Buchanan always pointing out how President James K. Polk is always neglected on these lists - given that it was under his watch that the territory of the country almost doubled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_K._Polk

I remember thinking that oddly Pat had a point.
 

owedtojoy

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From a historical perspective, it's too early to be ranking the recent Presidents.

It takes years, really decades of time to assess their legacies and what lasts.
I agree.

Realistically, Presidents from the last 50 years or so should be excepted, with maybe Nixon squeaking in.

Obama, for example, will be evaluated as the President who took office at a time when the US was deeply divided over Iraq, and suffering the second-worst economic crisis in its history. Reagan will be evaluated at the President given an unparalleled opportunity to end the Cold War.

How did they do? Both did very well, IMHO, but another generation may beg to differ.
 

owedtojoy

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I remember Pat Buchanan always pointing out how President James K. Polk is always neglected on these lists - given that it was under his watch that the territory of the country almost doubled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_K._Polk

I remember thinking that oddly Pat had a point.
OTOH, Polk was a slave trader who bought and sold slaves even while President.

Even if you hold your nose over that one, many felt the Mexican War was morally the worst war in American history - both Abraham Lincoln and U.S.Grant (who fought in it) thought so - in their view it was a military adventure to gain territory for slavery.

And the new territory was non-slave (Mexico has outlawed slavery). It opened a bitter dispute between North and South over allowing the new lands to be slave soil or free soil. That dispute produced the Civil War.
 

EUrJokingMeRight

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Fake News.

Trump is the best president EVER not only in the US but in any country, including Ireland.

:)
 

Degeneration X

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OTOH, Polk was a slave trader who bought and sold slaves even while President.

Even if you hold your nose over that one, many felt the Mexican War was morally the worst war in American history - both Abraham Lincoln and U.S.Grant (who fought in it) thought so - in their view it was a military adventure to gain territory for slavery.

And the new territory was non-slave (Mexico has outlawed slavery). It opened a bitter dispute between North and South over allowing the new lands to be slave soil or free soil. That dispute produced the Civil War.
Yes, but the US wouldn't have Texas and California without him - he changed the country utterly forever - it's not as if Washington and Jefferson weren't slave holders who expanded slavery through territorial acquisition.

And it is not as if Lincoln and Grant gave back the spoils of 1848 when they were President.

Manifest Destiny and all that.
 

owedtojoy

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Yes, but the US wouldn't have Texas and California without him - he changed the country utterly forever - it's not as if Washington and Jefferson weren't slave holders who expanded slavery through territorial acquisition.

And it is not as if Lincoln and Grant gave back the spoils of 1848 when they were President.

Manifest Destiny and all that.
It is well in the past now .... but Polk's reputation will always suffer for what he was, and for leaving the job half-done. Once upon a time, America used to believe that it would not start wars for selfish nationalist reasons, up to 2003. Granted some were dubious (like LBJ's Tonkin Gulf Resolution) but at least there was a fig-leaf that someone else was responsible for the aggression.

Just like Andrew Jackson's will always suffer for the Trail of Tears, which he could have prevented. "Manifest Destiny" meant death and genocide, plus it led directly to the Civil War.
 

GDPR

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From a historical perspective, it's too early to be ranking the recent Presidents.

It takes years, really decades of time to assess their legacies and what lasts.
After Don "Capone" Trump's time Obama will have nothing left of his legacy as it is Fückface Von Clownstick's major goal to destroy as much of it as he can. For no other reason than it was created by Obama.
 

Catalpast

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Richard Nixon deserves his place on the Pantheon

He ended US involvement in the Vietnam War but most importantly he opened up China to the West

'Only Nixon could go to China' and all that....:cool:
 

Gnobe

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I agree.

Realistically, Presidents from the last 50 years or so should be excepted, with maybe Nixon squeaking in.

Obama, for example, will be evaluated as the President who took office at a time when the US was deeply divided over Iraq, and suffering the second-worst economic crisis in its history. Reagan will be evaluated at the President given an unparalleled opportunity to end the Cold War.

How did they do? Both did very well, IMHO, but another generation may beg to differ.
I'm not sure about Obama personally, I think he had the potential to be a top 10 president, but he kinda blew it. He had huge majorities and a huge mandate, incredibly popular guy, but I'm not convinced what was passed under him ranks as a "all time great" material, (national Romneycare and Dodd Frank?) and even a lot of his legacy (particularly that on climate change for example) is at the mercy of Trump/GOP unfortunately and needed another follow up Democratic president like what with Reagan had with Bush.

He also escalated the war in Afghanistan needlessly (33,000 troops under Bush, a then record, to 100,000) and never properly ended it. I don't want to be too harsh on the guy, I think overall he was a good president, and his current ranking of a solid 2nd quartile president is correct, but I wouldn't put him any higher.

I mean compare his 8 years to the 8 years of JFK/LBJ with Civil rights, Voting rights, Great society, Medicare/Medicaid, sweeping Immigration reform, Apollo Moon landing missions etc, I mean that SCREAMS top 10/1st quartile from a democratic perspective, and so I would rank those 8 years ahead Obama's (still very good) 8 years. The 1960s democrats were superb transformational/society changing ones. Obama was quite a competent, but safe president for me.

It's early days, but there's no guarantee Obama is even going to be ranked higher than Clinton. Its weird because Clinton wouldn't be idolised the way JFK or Obama would be, but his ranking somewhere between 10-15, knocking on the door for the top 10 is very impressive.
 

Dame_Enda

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Washington must rank as the best for creating the US in the first place or at least playing the most indispensible role in its creation. Lincoln 2nd for ending slavery. At the time some blamed him for the secession because the South feared losing its slaves. But in fact Lincoln started off on the moderate wing of the abolitionist movement. He offered to leave slavery in place in the existing slave states, but prevent its spread to the new states and territories. After taking office he even supported the Colwell amendment, which passed the House of Representatives. This amendment would have essentially left slavery intact where it was already law. This probably delayed about half the Confederacy from seceding. Indeed originally Virginia rejected secession but the decision to call up 70,000 Virginians for the federal army to suppress the CSA (when it was only a few states) seems to have swung the secession convention in favour when previously it was in the balance between Unionists, conditional Unionists and unconditional secessionists. But he did in the end issue the Emancipation Proclamations which freed the slaves.

Third would be FDR for defeating the Nazis, beginning the long road to civil rights (in a small way) and introducing the New Deal, which gave America a welfare state for the first time.

James Buchanan was a failed president because he hardly lifted a finger to prevent secession particularly during the lame-duck period between the election and Lincoln's inauguration. To some extent he was influenced his close friend (and possibly more) Rufus De Vane King (the previous VP), who gave him a sugarcoated version of life in the slaveholding South. Andrew Jackson called them "Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy".
 
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Finbar10

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Well, there's William Harrison towards the end of the list. He did his inauguration speech in freezing rain and snow without proper clothes, caught pneumonia, and then promptly died of it only a month later. I suppose we can excuse him his low ranking! :)
 
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Any ranking of American Presidents, should in my opinion, be based on the principle of least harm done.On that basis,Trump is doing all right so far.......:shock: with the kicker of course that he has not even served a year yet.
 


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