C-Span's presidential rankings

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C-Span's presidential rankings

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Editado: Fev 17, 2009, 1:15pm

There's a new C-Span survey of presidential historians that ranks the presidents. It makes for some interesting reading. Ulysses S. Grant's reputation has gone up quite a bit since 2000, for instance. Most of the others are pretty similar to where they were.

Over on the right hand side, there's a discussion by category, such as economy management or moral pursuasion.

Here's the link...


Fev 17, 2009, 3:37pm

Cross posted to Pro and Con here.

Fev 17, 2009, 8:35pm

I thought it was very interesting that we go from #1 with Lincoln to #41 with Andrew Johnson with 1 bullet. What an impact!

Fev 18, 2009, 1:57pm

Very interesting. The biggest surprise for me was how low Jefferson finished overall. I was under the impression that Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson always finished top 3 in some order. He wasn't even close.

Fev 18, 2009, 2:33pm

I still think that Warren G. Harding was the worst of the US presidents.

It takes time to make a more complete evaluation, however.

Fev 18, 2009, 11:45pm

Funny, I was surprised Jefferson was in the top 10. After the books I've been reading, I would have thought that historians would have rated him lower.

Fev 19, 2009, 12:02pm

#6 He's definitely fallen from favor these last 10+ years, hasn't he? I suspect his writings will always keep him bouyed up above mediocrity.

Fev 19, 2009, 3:32pm

Oh well, I have a soft spot for Harding only because my grandparents were on the same train for their honeymoon, according to family history. It's always fun to see what shifts over the years. Thanks for the direct link!

Fev 20, 2009, 12:20am

I have a soft spot for Harding. One, I believe that he is misunderstood. Two, he admitted that he should have never been President.

One book that I would recommend on on him is "The Strange Deaths of President Harding" by Robert H. Ferrell. It will give you the chance to see a side of Harding that history ignores.

I like comparing the Presidential Rankings/Surveys to the older ones. It is interesting to see them rise and fall over the years and to read about why. A few years ago, I listed a bunch of them on an unused blog I had for quick reference.

Set 10, 2010, 9:57pm

I agree. If you read the John Adams book by David McCullough Jefferson really did appear that great. However, until I had read that book I had never heard that analysis of Jefferson.

Editado: Set 11, 2010, 11:18am

I'm surprised that Wilson, Reagan & Lyndon Johnson ranked as high as they did. Wilson was a terrible President who more than any other President in American history crushed civil liberties. LBJ had some major accomplishments but most of his Presidency was a disaster. And I expect 50 years from now, when there is a better perspective, Reagan's ranking will fall dramatically. Still I was surprised to find George W. Bush ranked so high -- winning #36 gives him far more credit than he deserves ...

I think Jefferson gets a higher ranking on the list because he was a major figure of his time who is recognized for cementing the concept of a smooth transition in power from one bloc to another in America. And the Louisiana Purchase. Beyond that, Jefferson's Presidency was a disaster and it pales in comparison to his other magnificent achievements as a founder and a statesman. I admire Kennedy very much, but I think his ranking is higher than it should be perhaps, as is Eisenhower's.

Grant, Nixon, Ford & Carter should be ranked much lower.