Make a list (doesn’t have to be in order), a short (I said short) justification is good. Cannot include any in the last 20 years (history has not written the book on them yet).
Washington- There should be no argument here
Jefferson- For his record, also one of the few times in history when there was a peaceful transfer of power between political powers inside a country (Adams-Federalist/Jefferson Democrat)
Polk- Dark horse, accomplished much in one term- Decided against second term, which I wish more would do
Reagan- ended the Cold War, favorable tax policies, for the most part attempted to contain growth of government
FDR and Lincoln will never make my list- FDR made the the Great Depression worse and gave us today’s bloated government. Lincoln started a war that killed over 600,000 Americans- the states were within their right to secede. States’ rights have not existed since that war.
3 of my top 5 would coincide with your list, Jason: Washington, Jefferson, and Reagan. I would, however, have to go with Lincoln. Even though I am a Southerner and have deep Southern roots, a nation built on slavery and as a confederacy was, in my opinion, doomed to eventual failure. I’d hate to envision what would have become of those states had a secession been successful. I’m not sure who my 5th would be… I’m more taken with Presidential trivia (and reviewed some of this with my sons recently) like… Which man served as President without ever being elected to the office? Which President is the only one to serve two non-consecutive terms? Which Presidents were related to each other? etc. Thanks for posting a thought-provoking blog for Presidents’ Day, Jason.
Interesting, I’m a Yankee by birth with no southern roots and think differently.
Slavery in the south would have gone the way of slavery in much of the western world, it would have faded away, just like you said. As disgusting a practice as it was, fighting a war over it (and larger issues such as economic disparity and centralized power in Washington), dividing the country until the 1960s, Union war crimes (the March to the Sea, and the razing of the Shenandoah Valley), and the loss of states’ rights was not worth it.
And while we are on the topic- The War Between the States was no more a civil war, than the Revolutionary War. It was a war of secession.