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01/18/2008 06:56:37 PM · #1
We just finished up a peninsual-wide exercise on Friday. During the exercise a Major asked our team who we thought the greatest US president was, excluding the last two (Bush and Clinton). My answer immediately popped into my head without having to think about it, but I am now curious. Who do you all think the greatest US president was (again excluding the last two unless you have a pursuasive argument as to why they shouldn't be excluded and is your choice.)

So who is it, and why?
01/18/2008 07:04:07 PM · #2
Abraham Lincoln- Kept the Union together through the Civil War and abolished slavery. Without his resolve the union would not be here today, imo. Many great presidents though, Roosevelt-both, Truman, Kennedy, Regan. We've had some clunkers too, but that's another thread.

Message edited by author 2008-01-18 19:04:35.
01/18/2008 07:10:51 PM · #3
Richard Nixon his foreign policy with the Soviet Union and China. Right now China keep the economy going.
01/18/2008 07:11:18 PM · #4
That's a tough one.

You could argue for Jefferson for the foresight of the Louisiana Purchase and his pre-presidential work on the Constitution and his support of states' rights.

You could argue for James Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine.

You could argue for Lincoln and his ability to hold the country together while dealing with slavery.

You could argue for FDR for his dealing with the Depression and WWII.

You could argue for Kennedy for his stance on Civil Rights.

You could argue for Reagan for his ending of the Cold War.

Personally, I think that Jefferson made the biggest impact on the history of our country, but I am glad we had all of them I listed above.
01/18/2008 07:18:03 PM · #5
I wouldn't have believed it at the time being more liberal then than now but Reagan...
01/18/2008 07:20:41 PM · #6
Its easy FDR...he led us through WW2.

Under Lincoln, more Americans died in war than all other wars combined....he should have negotiated a peace...then he would have been the greatest of all time.
01/18/2008 07:21:25 PM · #7
William Howard Taft weighed the most and therefore is the greatest.
01/18/2008 07:31:09 PM · #8
Originally posted by Nobody:

That's a tough one.

You could argue for Jefferson for the foresight of the Louisiana Purchase and his pre-presidential work on the Constitution and his support of states' rights.

You could argue for James Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine.

You could argue for Lincoln and his ability to hold the country together while dealing with slavery.

You could argue for FDR for his dealing with the Depression and WWII.

You could argue for Kennedy for his stance on Civil Rights.

You could argue for Reagan for his ending of the Cold War.

Personally, I think that Jefferson made the biggest impact on the history of our country, but I am glad we had all of them I listed above.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Nobody forgets Washington. Although Lincoln, Jefferson, and JFK were on my list too.
01/18/2008 07:32:09 PM · #9
Originally posted by dsmil:

Its easy FDR...he led us through WW2.

Under Lincoln, more Americans died in war than all other wars combined....he should have negotiated a peace...then he would have been the greatest of all time.


WoW I'm shocked! I thought everyone believed in the Lincoln myth. In the end he got his. The real truth is Booth was a hero to half the country. Lincoln freed slaves he had no power to free and did nothing for the ones he could have freed. His motive for emancipation was purely military.

If I voted for Jefferson Davis would that send this to rant? ;)

01/18/2008 07:37:32 PM · #10
It's hard to judge historical figures but in my lifetime it's easy.

In 1981 Ronald Wilson Reagan got our country off it's knees and began another great 20 years for our country. The economic mailaise of the 1970's and being pushed around by a bunch of Iranian students and thugs were our wakeup call. No he wasn't perfect, but he was a true leader and a visionary (rather than an ideologue).
01/18/2008 08:15:51 PM · #11
Originally posted by _eug:

Originally posted by Nobody:

That's a tough one.

You could argue for Jefferson for the foresight of the Louisiana Purchase and his pre-presidential work on the Constitution and his support of states' rights.

You could argue for James Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine.

You could argue for Lincoln and his ability to hold the country together while dealing with slavery.

You could argue for FDR for his dealing with the Depression and WWII.

You could argue for Kennedy for his stance on Civil Rights.

You could argue for Reagan for his ending of the Cold War.

Personally, I think that Jefferson made the biggest impact on the history of our country, but I am glad we had all of them I listed above.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Nobody forgets Washington. Although Lincoln, Jefferson, and JFK were on my list too.


I didn't forget him. I think the founding fathers as a group were significant, but I don't know that Washington was head and shoulders above Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, etc. It really was a group effort.
01/18/2008 08:22:54 PM · #12
This could quickly devolve into Canon/Nikon, Mac/PC like thing, but . . .

Thomas Jefferson - Probably the smartest president we ever had
Abraham Lincoln - No brainer
Harry Truman - No nonsense leadership
Richard Nixon - although he'll go down as one of the worst (deservedly so) he did open up relations with China, so give props where props are due
Bill Clinton - I know, I know, but 8 years of peace a prosperity is hard to argue with. He'll never win best husband, but as a president he's hard to match. And Jefferson was just as randy, but wasn't under the microscope modern presidents are.

I get that people loved Reagan, but while he talked balanced budgets he increased the deficit every time, often demanding higher budgets than congress gave him. His economic tinkering didn't work through 8 years of his presidency and 4 years of Bush Sr. The 1993 Clinton budget opened the doors for the high tech revolution and the greatest rise in the economy in history.

The end of the Cold War was a bipartisan effort over several administrations.

Worst US presidents:

Grant - Drunk most of the time
Warren G. Harding - Clueless
GW Bush - Took a good thing and ran it and the county's reputation into the ground.

01/18/2008 09:26:56 PM · #13
Originally posted by Niten:

Originally posted by dsmil:

Its easy FDR...he led us through WW2.

Under Lincoln, more Americans died in war than all other wars combined....he should have negotiated a peace...then he would have been the greatest of all time.


WoW I'm shocked! I thought everyone believed in the Lincoln myth. In the end he got his. The real truth is Booth was a hero to half the country. Lincoln freed slaves he had no power to free and did nothing for the ones he could have freed. His motive for emancipation was purely military.

If I voted for Jefferson Davis would that send this to rant? ;)


It maybe to late for your opportunity to make a bid, unless ebay has slaves online.

Message edited by author 2008-01-18 21:52:08.
01/18/2008 09:32:31 PM · #14
Originally posted by undieyatch:

Originally posted by Niten:

Originally posted by dsmil:

Its easy FDR...he led us through WW2.

Under Lincoln, more Americans died in war than all other wars combined....he should have negotiated a peace...then he would have been the greatest of all time.


WoW I'm shocked! I thought everyone believed in the Lincoln myth. In the end he got his. The real truth is Booth was a hero to half the country. Lincoln freed slaves he had no power to free and did nothing for the ones he could have freed. His motive for emancipation was purely military.

If I voted for Jefferson Davis would that send this to rant? ;)


It is may to late for your opportunity to make a bid, unless ebay has slaves online.


lol
01/18/2008 09:37:51 PM · #15
Nobody has mentioned Homer Simpson yet! just kidding... :)
01/18/2008 09:56:58 PM · #16
Since I started this I will throw my answer out there. As I said before this was an opbvious answer to me that I didn't have to give a lot of thought on to come up with.

FDR.

When you consider that he turned this country around from the Great Depression. Put into action plans for many of the reservoirs that provide us with drinking water and dams that built these reservoirs as well as provide electrical power. He took a nation that was in dire straits and brought it back to life only to be smacked in the face by a sneak attack. Yet unlike successors of his, he had the leadership and the vision to ensure that that enemy was defeated. He led our country through a war in two theaters, and ensured defeat in both of them. His vision ensured that our nation bonded together and made sacrifices so that victory could be achieved. Victory gradens, airplane manufacutiring at a rate that has never been done since, energy conservation, attacks on the Japanese homeland that nobody thought was possible, and many other decisions that led this country back to greatness, and all while ebing paralyzed. He didn't let his own disabilities hamper his spirit and in so prevented our nation from falling weak.

An easy choice for me to say that he was our Greatest President of all time!
01/18/2008 10:05:57 PM · #17
Ronald Regan...he put an end to the Cold War.

01/18/2008 10:07:43 PM · #18
Ronald Reagan, his economic woes were caused by a Democratic controlled Congress. My mother worked on Jimmy Carter's re-election campaign, she was a hired gun and she voted for Reagan that year. We went to the White House Rose Garden for an appreciation dinner after the election, Jimmy had lost and the mood was somber. My mom had her game face on, she had done all she could to get Carter re-elected, after all that was her job. She did all she could to win votes for Carter, but in her heart she could not vote for him. The hostages in Iran had been there for over a year. The botched rescue mission was an embarrassment to the US. When Reagan was sworn in, we were there as guests of the Reagan Family. The first thing Reagan did was to contact the Ambassador to Iran and I will never forget these words, "I play hard ball, the guy before me played softball."
01/18/2008 10:15:16 PM · #19
I do not argue your choices, nor do I disagree with you largely. I do, however, think it needs to be pointed out that there are is an inherent danger in picking the best of anything from history.

Yes, we have a lot of information and history to base our decisions on. However, we also have hindsight. Had I been alive at the time of FDR's New Deals, I doubt I would have been liking him very much at all. Those reservoirs that you mentioned? They weren't built on empty fields and plains. Generations of homesteads and farms were forced with little, and sometimes no, compensation from their lands. Over 60 years later, residents of one area is still waiting for a road to their cemeteries that the government promised to build when it made the Fontana Dam. Road to Nowhere

Every decision he (and other presidents) made, adversely effected someone.

Also, situations and "criteria" change as time goes by. If GWB tried to do similar things that FDR did, there would be hell to pay. It is kinda like saying that Tiger Woods is the best golfer, ever. Perhaps, but if Arnold Palmer or Sam Sneed had the same training, opportunities, and technology that Tiger has had, would they have been as good or better? We simply cannot know. The same in politics. When Lincoln was president, how many citizens actually saw him live? Heard him speak? Read what he wrote? Knew what he was doing from day to day. I daresay if we could have had the information on the guys "back then" like we do now, our opinions would be vastly different. It is one thing to say that President XXX in the 1800s was a womanizer; it is quite another to make that information available in real time, for months on end. I guess my point is, many of the things that scandalize presidents today may have been going on then, we just didn't know about it.

Message edited by author 2008-01-18 22:16:29.
01/18/2008 10:34:47 PM · #20
I'll have to throw in a vote for Ronald Reagan, He was one of the most solid presidents that we have had and he managed to end a war before it started.
I could also throw in a vote for Clinton, because he is a loser and sleeps around, also he was such a genius in letting murderous criminals go. Gotta love some Clinton.
01/18/2008 10:37:42 PM · #21
George Washington. Along with many of the other founding fathers he helped us transform from a bunch of rebels with no future to an independent country that could grow to a world power. Had he failed during Valley Forge or many other operations during the war years, we'd be speaking with a British accent right now. Of course we'd all have free health care too! :)
01/18/2008 10:41:26 PM · #22
Originally posted by ryand:

I'll have to throw in a vote for Ronald Reagan, He was one of the most solid presidents that we have had and he managed to end a war before it started.
I could also throw in a vote for Clinton, because he is a loser and sleeps around, also he was such a genius in letting murderous criminals go. Gotta love some Clinton.

Wow. Such venom from one so young. Usually you have to be in your mid-30s to have that kind of passion and bile. ;)
01/18/2008 10:42:13 PM · #23
Originally posted by _eug:

Originally posted by ryand:

I'll have to throw in a vote for Ronald Reagan, He was one of the most solid presidents that we have had and he managed to end a war before it started.
I could also throw in a vote for Clinton, because he is a loser and sleeps around, also he was such a genius in letting murderous criminals go. Gotta love some Clinton.

Wow. Such venom from one so young. Usually you have to be in your mid-30s to have that kind of passion and bile. ;)

lol, i couldn't resist throwing it in.
01/18/2008 10:49:19 PM · #24
Originally posted by karmat:

When Lincoln was president, how many citizens actually saw him live? Heard him speak? Read what he wrote? Knew what he was doing from day to day.

Way more than have of our current President ... ;-)
01/18/2008 11:19:06 PM · #25
JFK nominated Thomas Jefferson...
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