Greatest U.S. Presidents

The American presidency is probably the world’s toughest job. The U.S. president faces enormous challenges both globally and domestically. Even early presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were not immune from the heavy burdens; they were tasked with guiding a young democracy to its realized potential. The land of the free has witnessed at least 44 different presidents. Obviously, some presidents were better than others and some were worse than the rest. This article offers a list of the greatest U.S. presidents of all time.

George Washington 1st President

If presidential greatness is measured by one’s statesmanship, George Washington should definitely be considered the greatest American president. Washington did not leave behind any landmark legislation or win any war (during presidency). Yet, his mere honorable presence was the perfect catalyst that held the Union together in its early days. Washington was the ultimate moderate. People may disagree with the president’s policies, but they always respected him for his leadership and were willing to give him the benefits of the doubt. George Washington was a great leader and role model.

Abraham Lincoln 16th President

If greatness is determined by inspirational leadership, Abraham Lincoln would be a perfect candidate for this ultimate honor. President Lincoln led the United States through the country’s greatest crisis -- the American Civil War. His strong leadership and unyielding attitude inspired a hard-earned victory for the North over secessionist South.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in particular, was often praised as the key turning point in the War. But the president’s effort did not stop there. Lincoln went a step further by effectively ending slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation. Abraham Lincoln was a man of principles and a righteous president.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President

If greatness is determined by one’s accomplishments, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) would unquestionably take the title of the greatest U.S. president. Roosevelt was the longest serving president in history. When he took office, the country was in the beginning of the Great Depression. His strong leadership, which included the implementation of the New Deal, was believed to have alleviated the adverse effects of the Depression. He also established key banking and labor reforms as well as important social safety nets like social security and the FDIC.

Roosevelt’s many accomplishments were not limited to just domestic matters. FDR was probably the greatest wartime president in American history. Under his strong leadership, the United States and its allies defeated Nazi Germany. Simply put, Franklin Roosevelt was a fearless and decisive leader.

Harry Truman 33rd President 🎩 Ronald Reagan 40th President

Both Truman and Reagan were famous for making decisions that brought an end to war. Truman made the unpopular decision of dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities leading to Japan’s immediate surrender. It is true that many lives were lost as a result, but imagine how many more lives would have been lost if the war was allowed to carry on.

Reagan’s policy of Cold War escalation was a contributing factor in bringing the Soviet Union to its demise. His effort was of course aided by key allies such as Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, but his steadfast leadership earned him praises at home and abroad. Moreover, the U.S. enjoyed prosperity under his administration. His optimism and free market policies helped to uplift the American economy.