Historical rankings of presidents of the United States

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Historians (and sometimes political scientists) are surveyed and asked to give Presidents of the United States number ratings on their overall performance or on different aspects of their leadership.

Several different factors are considered in deciding what makes one a good or bad president. These include their character, their vision for the country, their relations with congress, their relations with foreign leaders (diplomacy), how they managed the economy, how they managed the military, and their overall political skill.

To make sure the rankings are fair, many surveys equally balance the opinions of Democrats and Republicans.

It is sometimes difficult to accurately rank a president because all of the presidents faced completely different challenges.

Historical opinions of U.S. presidents may change over time. For example, Harry Truman had very low approval ratings right after he left office, but many historians now consider him among the greatest presidents.

General Findings[change | change source]

Highly ranked[change | change source]

Abraham Lincoln is rated as one of the best Presidents for his leadership during the American Civil War and his eloquence in speeches such as the Gettysburg Address.

The following presidents are usually ranked highly:

Mixed ratings[change | change source]

President George H. W. Bush has had mixed polling opinions due to his success in the Persian Gulf War, but also caused a weak economy

Some presidents have mixed ratings. For example, Ulysses S. Grant is thought to be a bad leader since he had corrupt friends for government jobs, but at the same time he helped African-American to have more rights in the Reconstruction Era.

Recent examples:

Low in rankings[change | change source]

Warren Harding is rated as one of the worst Presidents

Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Harrison, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Rutherford B. Hayes, Martin Van Buren, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush are considered to be below average.

John Tyler, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan are often considered to be among the worst because they refused to prevent the growth of the slavery which resulted in the Civil War.

Andrew Johnson is often ranked among the worst because he was against Lincoln's Reconstruction.

Warren G. Harding is often considered to be the worst because he hired corrupt friends to become government officials.

Donald Trump is usually considered to be the worst because he got impeached twice and made countless lies.

Not ranked[change | change source]

William Henry Harrison is often not ranked because he died shortly after becoming president. Same goes for James Garfield. Also, Joe Biden is not yet ranked in polls because his presidency not ended yet.

Other websites[change | change source]