United States Presidents, 2024

Evaluating the United States Presidents.

Historians are often asked to rank the presidents in order of greatness.  Answering that question is a responsibility that serious historians should not take lightly.  It is my view that each of our presidents should be evaluated on the basis of six criteria.  The unbiased historian should research each president on their performance as:

1-Chief Executive Officer

2-Head of State

3-Chief Diplomat

4-Chief Legislative initiator

5-Commander in Chief

6-Moral Example

I will now briefly discuss these six criteria.  

As Chief Executive Officer for the United States of America, the president should be an efficient manager of the Executive Branch.  Ask yourselves these questions.  Do the day-to-day operations at the White House reflect order or chaos?  What kinds of people has the president chosen as advisors?  Are they informed and intelligent in their area of responsibility?  Do they act and speak in a professional manner?  These people include the person chosen by the president to be the vice president, members of the cabinet, the national security advisor, chief of staff,  speech writers, and more.

When acting as the nation’s Head of State, the president represents the character and image of the American people to the world.  The world’s opinion of who we are as a people is seen by the way the president reflects the nation’s principles and values.  How well does the president represent those principles and values?  Does the president act in a way that makes the average citizen proud to say, “That is our president.”

The role of Chief Diplomat is especially important for the American president.  Performance in that role is often the difference between war and peace abroad, calm and quiet domestically.  The president needs to strengthen and secure military and economic bonds with our allies, and at the same time, deal with adversaries firmly.  Sometimes when dealing with adversaries the president must recognize the uncomfortable reality that the enemy of your enemy is your friend.

Anyone can propose legislation.  Typical citizens can contact representatives and senators with legislative ideas.  Sadly, proposals by everyday citizens often fall on deaf ears.  Not so with the president.  A proposal by the president is front page news.  It is important to evaluate the legislative proposals of the president.  Are they relevant and essential to the nation or do they simply respond to current political trends that translate into votes.  Are the president’s proposals well thought out?  Do they demonstrate an administration clearly in touch with the needs of the nation?

Many people feel that the president’s most important role is that of Commander in Chief.  It is in this role that the president keeps us safe from dangers, both foreign and domestic, that wish to do us harm.  In the modern age of military weaponry that adds drones, biological warfare and cyber-attacks to conventional weapons, this role has elevated to heights never before known.

The final criteria, Moral Example, is an important role for a successful president and one poorly filled in recent history.  Bad personal behavior and an unethical character are viewed by some as divorced from being an effective president, but that is a dangerous attitude to hold.  There is clearly a connection between an individual’s personal behavior and their professional responsibilities, a fact especially true for someone who leads the country.  Presidents need to be reflective people whose behavior is guided by life’s three most important questions.  Who am I?  Why am I here?  How then shall I live?

So, using my criteria, who do you choose as the best presidents in our nation’s history?  I will not reveal mine until you have had time to ponder.


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