On Presidents Day, I always post my list of Top 10 Presidents on Facebook. I thought I would share my updated list here, to live on forever on the inter-webs!
10. William McKinley
I considered Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft and James Monroe, but ultimately this Ohio raised boy gave the nod to one of Ohio’s favorite sons, McKinley. In terms of conservative values, Monroe and Taft might be the better fit, and Roosevelt has a long list of accomplishments, but I am a fan of McKinley, the President , the Major, and the man. McKinley led the USA to victor in the Spanish American War. He was a great defender of the American worker and American products, but he also opened the door to expanding foreign trade and experienced a strong economy that is arguably the best economy the USA had seen to that point. He favored businesses over government, arguable both a strength and weakness of his. He established the Gold Standard Act, which was a solution to an incredibly complex financial issue that had been a major point of political debate for decades. He renegotiated the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and though Roosevelt often gets credit, it was McKinleys that built the initial the ground work for the Panama Canal. Lastly, he was a man that faced immense personal tragedy, and did so with great courage, and was an admirably devoted and loving husband.
9. Dwight Eisenhower
Ike! Eisenhower continued to climb higher in my rankings, and I considered him as high as number 6. Eisenhower ended the Korean War (which he considered his greatest accomplishment as President) and kept America at peace. He sponsored the civil rights bill of 1957. He balanced the budget. He wasn’t the champion for lower taxes and small government to the extent that others on this list were, but he led a solid prosperous 1950’s econmy and the boom of a middle-class. He is also who we can thank for our highway system, a massive government spending bill, but one in which he was able to balance the budget again afterwards. Though many rank his successor, Kennedy, and predecessor, Truman, higher historically, Eisenhower was a significantly better President.
8. James Madison
Madison was the “Father of the Constitution. and his writings and views outlined the scope of Government.” He, at his own political expense, fought as President to uphold the constitution and stood against any bill that went against the authority of the constitution, no matter how popular the bill was or if he agreed with the bill. He also navigated our still young and fragile country though the War of 1812, and laid the foundation for decades of mostly peace. While Madison won’t make most peoples Top 10 list, it is his courage and integrity to uphold the Constitution that merits him his spot at number 8.
7. Grover Cleveland
The highest ranking Democrat on my list, Cleveland was a strong defender of small businesses and limited government. Cleveland is the only USA President to serve two non consecutive terms. He is often over-looked, and in fact I had him out of my top 10 until this past year and I almost ranked him at number 6. His strong fight against high taxes and big government can’t be over-looked. He vetoed several bills which would have given Government more power and which were harmful to small businesses. He also significantly strengthened the military. He inherited a bad economy from Benjamin Harrison, which led to the Panic of 1893, and resulted in his second term not being as stellar as his first. He is the best ever Democrat President.
6. Donald Trump
Trump is a difficult President to rank. His accomplishments alone make him worthy of top 5 consideration, but his negatives can’t be ignored. 6-9 on this list are all very close, but Trumps economic accomplishments and his endless fight for conservative values, freedom, for the unborn, for religious freedoms, and the ideals of the constitution and our democratic republic are too great for me to rank him lower; however, I would not argue with anyone ranking him as low as 9th. His rhetoric, especially in his 4th year, his too frequent lack of Presidential behavior, and his lack action on voting integrity prior to 2020 keep him from my top 5. He did oversee the greatest economy in the history of the country despite non-stop interference from the “far-left.” Trumps economy benefited minorities and women the most, leading to the lowest unemployment for women and African Americans of all-time and the highest wages. During the pandemic, he showed his true commitment to states rights but allowing states to have power, even though doing so would and did likely led to him losing his re-election. His peace agreements and trade agreements were outstanding. His commitment to border security, veterans, and the blue collar working class was unwavering. He was also the only President to not start a new war in my lifetime.
5. Thomas Jefferson
The tall gentlemen from Virginia and author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson had long been a fighter for limited government and conservatism before becoming President. Jefferson favored states’ rights, repealed many federal taxes, and was a fierce opponent of government debt and defender of religious freedom. He secured the Louisiana Purchase, which more than doubled the size of the nation for just 15 million (around $300 million in todays money). Perhaps his biggest accomplishment was that he abolished the slave trade. One big negative of his Presidency is that he left the military unprepared for the War of 1812 and economically the country was not as strong under his Presidency as compared to Coolidge or Regan. Jefferson, perhaps more than anyone but maybe James Madison, deserves credit for the freedoms and equality we experience today, as he fought for it to be in the very language and foundation of our nation.
4. Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge succeeded Warren G. Harding. Harding is often considered one of the worst two or three Presidents of all-time, and Woodrow Wilson before him, whom I do consider the worst President of all-time. The economic policies of Coolidge led to the “roaring 20’s” and the change and beginning of a new modern American lifestyle. He was a true believer and practitioner of limited government and low taxes. The economy was the best in USA history under Coolidge, only rivaled by the economy under Trump and Reagan. Coolidge, unlike others on this list, did not have any major negatives. He was calm, cool, and steadfast. Had he decided to run again for President, I believe we would have avoided the Great Depression. An often over-looked accomplishment, Coolidge granted citizenship to native Americans. He also was one of the biggest supporters and leaders for the equality of rights for women and helped lead the early suffrage efforts.
3. Abraham Lincoln
He won the civil war and freed millions of slaves. These are the two greatest accomplishments of any President. Lincoln compares to Trump in that his negatives way large on his historical ranking despite his huge positives, and that did keep me from putting him above Reagan, but he is still worthy of the top 3. His suspension of habeas corpus and disregard for state rights, as well as other actions, especially in regards to banking and taxes, learned more “big government,” are certainly not conservative, but again his two biggest accomplishments are two big to rank him lower. The Homestead Act of 1862 is also a great and often over-looked accomplishment.
2. Ronald Reagan
Reagan was the best modern conservative President. There can certainly be an argument to put Lincoln number two, but I feel Reagan held to constitutional conservatism more. Economically, only arguably Calvin Coolidge and Donald Trump out performed Reagan. He led the largest peace time boom in economic history, until Trump. Reagans biggest accomplishment is that he stood strong against Russia/USSR, and won the Cold War. His leadership saved millions of lives. He believed in limited Government, and his tax cuts led to a huge economic boom. He implemented Laissez-Faire and free-market policies and laid the foundation of what is the ideal for conservative politics and economics. Regan was also a champion of American and family values.
- George Washington
We got it right from the beginning. Washington was a great President and would have been a great President in any era. He was also a great man, great business man, great General, and was said to be the best ballroom dancer in the land! Nobody showed more executive restrain than Washington. He believed in a limited government, by and for the people. He was a true constitutionalist. He also surrounded himself with great men and leaders, several of opposing political views. He would be a great President for our current times.