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July 01, 2010

The Greatest and Worst Presidents in History

A new Siena poll of 238 presidential scholars ranks the top presidents in American history: Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

"Teddy Roosevelt had, more than any other president the 'right stuff', and tops the collective ranking of a cluster of personal qualities including imagination, integrity, intelligence, luck, background, and being willing to take risks. Lincoln, according to the experts, demonstrated the greatest presidential abilities while FDR ranks first in overall accomplishments."

The bottom five: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Pierce and George W. Bush.

"Andrew Johnson leads the 'worst ever' in both abilities and accomplishments finishing below both Buchanan and Harding, but Harding tops the worst in personal attributes including integrity where he finishes just slightly ahead of Richard M. Nixon." Bush was rated "especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence."

For more, see the complete rankings by six personal attributes (background, imagination, integrity, intelligence, luck and willingness to take risks), five forms of ability (compromising, executive, leadership, communication and overall) and eight areas of accomplishment including economic, other domestic affairs, working with Congress and their party, appointing Supreme Court justices and members of the executive branch, avoiding mistakes and foreign policy.


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