The most revered political office in the world, the President of the United States is also the most powerful man in the world. We've had lawyers, generals, even an actor as the Commander in Chief, and now it is time to elect a new number one. Which Presidents have been the greatest in history? I can tell you right now that JFK is not on this list. Congrats for handling the Cuban missile crisis and civil rights, but you botched the Bay of Pigs invasion (if you're gonna commit to a coup, commit ENTIRELY). JFK is the Kurt Cobain of U.S. Presidents... a decent leader, but overrated and overhyped just because he died early. Nonetheless, this list will please men and women of all political leanings. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Top Ten Presidents of the United States!
10. Andrew Jackson, 7th President
You know him from: the $20 bill
Why he is awesome: Ever hear of "Jacksonian Democracy?" Plus this gem of a quote: "I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun."
Highlights in office: The first known case of a woman giving a President her baby to kiss, Jackson declined and gave it to some other dope to kiss. Jackson implemented the "Indian Removal" policy, where he would negotiate with Indians in the East to exchange lands for frontier lands in the West, plus he paid them. This policy was, and is still today, met with lots of criticism. Another first, Jackson was the first victim of a Presidential assassination attempt, when some bum walked up to him with two pistols. Both miraculously misfired, and Old Hickory responded by nearly beating him to death with his cane.
Highlights out of office: President Jackson was fond of duels, having competed in at least 13 of them (most of them over slights made against his lady). In the one duel where he actually killed the other man, Jackson allowed Charles Dickinson to have the first shot (!). Dickinson obliged, turned, and shot him in the chest. Old Hickory stood like a brick wall and fired back, killing him. The bullet was never removed.
9. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President
You know him from: "Only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Why he is awesome: He's not, but liberals sure think so. New Deal, maybe?
Highlights in office: I am against having FDR on this list because people who break unwritten rules really grind my gears. You don't steal second base when you're up by 10, and you don't get elected to a third term! Had he not been a cripple, he could've been elected for more than just the 4 terms. That's pretty scary, almost Emperor Palpatine scary. Still, FDR led the country through WWII and kept us from totally collapsing during the Great Depression, and both tasks were nowhere near easy. A lot of people probably have him higher than this, but I cannot get past him breaking tradition.
Highlights out of office: N/A (he died)
8.Woodrow Wilson,28th President
You know him from: President during WWI
Why he is awesome: International way of thinking was ahead of its time.
Highlights in office: He broke off from Washington's direction to maintain isolationism when he engaged the Germans in World War I. His biggest achievement is setting up the League of Nations, the antecedent to the current United Nations. Because of this, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. Too bad the U.S. never joined the League of Nations, mostly because the Republican Congress didn't feel like joining the international political arena to fight for democracy, progressiveness, and liberalism...go figure.
Highlights out of office: His face is on the $100,000 bill, which is out of circulation, but still considered legal tender.
7. James K. Polk, 11th President
You know him from: Manifest Destiny
Why he is awesome: Responsible for the second largest expansion in U.S. history.
Highlights in office: A foreign policy dynamo, he successfully negotiated for U.S expansion when he added the Oregon Territory, annexed Texas, and, thanks to Guadalupe-Hidalgo, added southwestern territories. All in all, he is responsible for Texas, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico. Also, he led us in the Mexican-American War, a war we dominated.
Highlights out of office: Youngest former President to die in retirement at 53. Also had the shortest retirement at 103 days. Although he started with lots of life and vigor, public service took its tool physically.
6. Harry S. Truman, 33rd President
You know him from: FDR's successor, Fair Deal, the old headlines that said "Dewey Beats Truman"
Why he is awesome: He ordered the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan to end the war.
Highlights in office: A folksy alternative to FDR, he popularized two cool sayings. "The buck stops here." "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." He founded the United Nations, helped rebuild Europe, and had to deal with the rise of Communism. Truman also had to deal with the aftermath of the Great Depression and rebuild the American economy. In one of the most crucial points in American History, President Truman (yet another Democrat) delivered. But the big story was his order for the U.S. Army to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a tough call to obliterate two cities and many innocents, but something I believe was necessary. Not only did it keep mine and many other grandfathers from invading Japan, but it cemented America's position as the top dog in the world.
Highlights out of office: First President to write memoirs about time in the White House (did this because he needed the income after his retirement. Later, he and future Presidents would receive nice pensions).
5. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President
You know him from: Founding Father, writer of the Declaration of Independence
Why he is awesome: Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the country
Highlights in office: One of only two men (Martin Van Buren) who accomplished the political Triple Crown: Secretary of State, Vice President, and President. His big hit was negotiating the Louisiana Purchase from France, which obliterated any chance of a Spanish of French empire in the U.S.
Highlights out of office: Founded the University of Virginia, owned slaves (even though he spoke out against slavery), and fathered children with one of his slaves.
4. Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President
You know him from: Mt. Rushmore, ROUGH RIDERS
Why he is awesome: Big Stick, Panama Canal, Trust-Buster
Highlights in office: My favorite Presidential moment, Teddy sent the "Great White Fleet" (U.S. battleships and escorts) on a trip around the globe as a show of U.S. naval superiority. He put Lincoln on the penny, brokered the deal to construct the Panama Canal (his biggest achievement), and strolled through the White House EVERY DAY with a gun holstered on his hip (not that he needed it; he was a black belt in jujitsu and a former boxer). Roosevelt received letters from army cavalrymen complaining about having to ride 25 miles a day for training and, in response, Teddy rode horseback for 100 miles, from sunrise to sunset, at 51 years old, effectively rescinding anyone's right to complain about anything, ever again. He campaigned for a third term, and while delivering a speech, a madman shot him in the chest. Instead of treating it, he continued his speech while his undressed wound bled.
Highlights out of office: At the time of his death, a fellow politician said this about Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt: "Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight."
3. George Washington, 1st President
You know him from: If you don't know Washington, you're a fuckin' moron.
Why he is awesome: Setting the gold standard on what it means to be the President of the United States.
Highlights in office: Even though George Washington was a piss poor General (but he could sure surprise attack a group of drunken Germans), Washington blazed quite the trail in politics. He's the only President to win 100% of the electoral votes. He would've received a $25,000 salary to be President, but since he was already wealthy, he turned it down to keep his image as a public servant. He reluctantly served a second term but refused a third. And let's not forget his famous Farewell Address, one of the most influential speeches of American political values.
Highlights out of office: Posthumously given the rank of General of the Armies of the United States in 1976, an honor that once again makes him the highest ranking military officer in U.S. history.
2. Abraham Lincoln, 16th President
You know him from: Being assassinated, the penny, the Civil War
Why he is awesome: Kept the Union strong during the Civil War, freed the slaves.
Highlights in office: He supervised the war effort, selected the top generals (U.S. Grant), and issued the Emancipation Proclamation. His Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American History. Lincoln's main goal of the Civil War was not do destroy the South, since he always knew that he had to welcome the defeated Rebs back into the Union and reconstruct. Honest Abe redefined Republican values.
Highlights out of office: N/A, he was the first President in history to be assassinated.
1. Ronald Reagan, 40th President
You know him from: the 80's
Why he is awesome: "Reaganomics," he ended the Cold War
Highlights in office: Favored limited government and laissez-faire economics, 52 American hostages who were held for 444 days in Iran were released during his inauguration speech. John Hinckley, Jr. shot Reagan and missed his heart by less than one inch. Instead, the bullet collapsed his lung. Reaganomics dominated the increasing inflation and unemployments rates in the U.S. and then he went and won the Cold War! How's this for a kicker: when seeking reelection, Reagan carried 49 of 50 states (losing only in Mondale's home state), winning a record 525 electoral votes. He single-handedly united the entire country and then delivered on his promises. No President has been as successful in the modern era, and in truth, no President has been as good as Reagan in history.
Highlights out of office: Unfortunately, Reagan suffered from Alzheimer's and died not knowing how great he truly is. At least the Reagan Democrats are still winning elections for Republicans.