Which Presidents are the considered the greatest? While this question is obviously up for debate, historians have wanted to know the answer since the American Republic was founded. So, the American Political Science Association created a systematic ranking approach to solve this riddle. A total of 162 members of this group were polled and asked to rate all past U.S. Presidents for their effectiveness as legislators and their foresight as leaders. Here are the the results of their poll: the Top 20 Greatest Presidents in U.S. History.
Despite the rumor that President Taft got stuck in the White House bathtub, it cannot be said that number 20 on our list got stuck in an ineffective Presidency. William H. Taft clearly understood government, business, and diplomacy better than many other presidents. In particular, he used his talents to initiate much needed antitrust acts. That, coupled with his strong international policies, have the makings of an extremely strong President.
The 11th President of the United States comes in at number 19 on our list. Functioning as what is known as a “Jacksonian Democrat”, President Polk was famous for his ability to set forth a policy and achieve not just some of it – but all of it. That is a quality our modern leaders often lack and speaks to the strength of President Polk as head of the Executive Branch.
Despite the fact that our current President of the United States, President Barack Obama, has had to contend with a Congress comprised mostly of the opposing political party, one cannot derided his effectiveness. Despite frequent opposition, he has won two terms to office and put forth game changing legislation, including the Affordable Care Act. While the true effects of his Presidency cannot truly be judged for years, he ranks high as things stand now.
Despite the fact that George H.W. Bush served just one term as President, historians have since re-evaluated his Presidency through the lens of history and give him high marks. The first President Bush was a consensus builder, something our modern leaders seem to be lacking, and his policies have stood the test of time in retrospect.