The United States of America is unquestionably the greatest nation on the planet, and the presidents that this country has had over the years have contributed greatly to making it what it is today. Just like in most countries, there have been United States presidents, whose terms in office can only be termed as a disaster, but this great nation has stood even through those trying times. Even the best of the presidents have had moments in office that they are not so proud of, but the good they did far outweighs the errors they made, and we thus remember them as heroes.
It is a popular belief that during tough times heroes emerge, and the same trend is evident when you look at why some of the greatest presidents are considered great. You will find that the presidents that got America involved in wars and battles are not half as popular as those who managed to get America out of them. Furthermore, the presidents who address people's issues, reduce taxes, maintain peace, and fight for human rights are the most popular and the most effective leaders in the history of American presidents.
If all the past presidents were alive today, and Americans were asked to go to the polls and vote for the man who would be fit to rule over them for a four-year term, the results of the elections would be quite interesting. It is possible that some of the most popular presidents would get very many votes while others would struggle to win even a single State. Here below are some of the presidents that would emerge as the most popular and the best suited for the job:
9 Ronald Reagan (January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989)
Ronald Wilson Reagan served the United States as its 40th president, and he did so in a way that all Americans at the time, and in present day, could confess that he was truly one of the greatest.
Starting his career as a commentator and actor, Ronald Reagan got into politics and clinched the highest seat in the land on January 20, 1981, a seat he was to hold for two successful terms.
Some of the highlights of his term in office include ending the Cold War and fuelling a 20-year economic boom resulting from his tax cuts, reduction on domestic spending, and deregulation. Reagan rebuilt the strength of the US forces, thereby enhancing peace in the United States. He also ensured the significant reduction of nuclear weapons production in the United States and the world, voiced the values of hard work, patriotism, and thrift in the United States, and reformed the tax code by simplifying it and reducing the taxes imposed on the people.
8 John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963)
John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States, and is without a doubt one of the most famous American presidents known the world over. Despite the fact that he was a great leader, most people remember him in relation to his assassination in Dallas Texas in 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Kennedy's legislation with regard to the civil rights movements didn't get to see the light of day until after his assassination, owing to the huge opposition from the Southern Democrats. However, Kennedy's foreign policy accomplishments are some of the greatest achievements he made while he was in office, especially how he handled the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis, where he avoided getting into a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union.
During Kennedy's time in office, NASA's funding increased significantly, which led to America becoming the leading country in space exploration, and this led to the preservation of US security.
7 Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961)
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last great president born in the 1800s, and was the 34th president of the United States. Before becoming president, Eisenhower had served as a general in the United States Army during the Second World War, and had served as the supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe.
Eisenhower makes it on this list because he had a lot of success during his time in office. Eisenhower is famous for sponsoring and signing the civil rights Bill of 1957, the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 that led to America having the wonderful interstate highway it has today, and for balancing the budget three times during his administration. Most importantly, Eisenhower is famous for ending the Korean War, and maintaining peace in America during his administration.
6 Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921)
There is usually a lot of debate out there on how to classify Woodrow Wilson's tenure as president, but despite all the positives and negatives, he truly was a great president.
Wilson was the 28th president of the United States, and during his time in office he initiated policies that brought about a lot of progress, passed major legislation, and brought reforms in government and in the country.
President Wilson viewed banks and monopolies as threats to the economy, leading to undercutting the power of these institutions in order for the consumer to benefit. He advocated for freedom, arms reduction, the formation of a league of nations, self-determination, and an end to secret ties. Wilson supported unions, which in his view was a great way of supporting working families and trying to provide a better life for the average American.
Although some of his legislations ended up hurting the economy, his heart and intentions were in the right place.
5 Harry S. Truman (April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953)
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States. His time in office is probably one of the most trying in American history, but it brought out the amazing leader in Truman.
Truman ascended to power after the death of his predecessor, Franklin D Roosevelt, who died only three months into his fourth presidential term. Truman got to office at the height of the Second World War, a war that he ended using an Atomic Bomb, and he saw the beginning of the Cold War, that continued for a very long time.
Truman is credited with the creation of NATO, CIA, and the National Security Council. He instigated the Berlin Air Lift, recognized Israel as a State, and authored the "Truman Doctrine" that officiated the repression of Communism.
4 Thomas Jefferson (March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809)
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, and just like George Washington, he was one of the founding fathers of the nation.
In addition to being one of the best presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence back in 1776, owing to his level of education and his background in law and philosophy.
We remember him fondly for his advocacy for human rights. Because he saw all men as equal and slavery as extremely immoral, he purchased the then Louisiana from the French, a piece of land that was taking up a very huge portion of America.
Furthermore, we also remember Thomas Jefferson for establishing the University of Virginia, one of his favorite accomplishments.
3 Theodore Roosevelt (September 14, 1901 to March 4, 1909)
We all know that the teddy bear got its name from President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, but that is not all that we remember about him. Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States and is one of the best presidents that America has had.
Teddy was and still is the youngest man to become the president of the United States. He succeeded to office after the assassination of his predecessor President McKinley, and won the election thereafter to become the elected president.
Roosevelt had a "square deal" philosophy of governance, where he aimed towards ensuring fair dealings between the workers, the consumers, and the businesses. During his time in office, Roosevelt established five national parks, started a wildlife refuge system, and he set aside 42 million acres of land as Natural forest, areas of special interest, and wildlife refuge system. In addition to his amazing leadership, Roosevelt became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.
2 Franklin D. Roosevelt (March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945)
Thanks to his amazing leadership skills and unique personal strengths, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was without a doubt a man who would go down in history as one of the greatest presidents that the United States has ever had.
FDR was the 32nd president of the United States, and he was the longest serving president in US history, having won four elections, a feat that no other president would ever achieve.
During his years in office, FDR guided America through the 1930s Great Depression and the better part of World War 2; periods that made him stand out as a great leader. FDR loved knowledge, he became one of the best orators of his time, and he was very confident in decision-making.
During his period in office, FDR struggled with declining health, after being diagnosed with Polio 12 years before becoming the president, a disease that left him paralyzed from his waist down.
2. George Washington (April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797)
George Washington is the founding father of the United States of America, a title that he received because he was the country's very first president. George Washington is regarded by many as the greatest president of all time, and everything he managed to do during his two terms in office is a testament to how great he was.
Washington inspired his followers, he respected and cared for his soldiers, he valued everyone he met, and he saw people as who they were and not just as a means to an end. Washington, despite being the president, was humble. In his humility, Washington gave people a voice, listened to their ideas, and made them know that their opinions mattered.
Washington lived by the inspiring vision he spoke of, a quality that makes him to stand out from all other leaders. During his tenure, Washington led America to becoming a very strong and well-financed government, and presided over the convention that drafted the US constitution.
1 Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865)
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and is without a doubt the greatest president that the United States of America has had since its independence on July 4, 1776.
It is almost impossible to summarize everything he did to show why overwhelming populations of Americans, both past and present, regard him as the greatest president of all time. However, his moral fiber and integrity of character had a lot to do with making him the great leader he was, qualities that most presidents before and after him have lacked.
Abraham Lincoln was very wise and he surrounded himself with wise people, regardless of their political affiliations. Lincoln listened to everyone's opinions, acknowledged his weaknesses and strengths, gave credit where it was due, and treated everyone he worked with well.
Lincoln stood firm against slavery, he visited with his troops on battlefields and in hospitals, and he connected with the public in forums where he would shake everyone's hand and share a word with them. Lincoln also focused on healing and bringing the country together after the war and the elections.