Ranking George Washington (5 = excellent, 1 = poor)
Contribution to the United States Prior to Presidency– How can anyone measure up to George Washington? He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary War Army, delegate to the Continental Congress, and President of the Constitutional Convention. George Washington deserves special recognition for his selfless service to the formation of the United States. No person contributed more to establishing the United States than George Washington. Points- 5.
Integrity– Washington refused to compromise his value system when making any decision. His word was his bond and he searched for the good in everyone. Washington was dismayed by political infighting and he worked to stay above the fray. He considered the welfare of the nation before his own. When assessing his own skill level prior to his appointment as the head of the Army or the nation- he was unsure he could fulfill the position. Points- 5.
Scandals During Administration– The single hint of scandal during Washington’s administration and is attributed to Edmund Randolph. Although Randolph was not convicted of treason, it is hard not to consider the possibility that he was being bought by the French. He was judged to be innocent by Washington, initially, but his later defense seems to indicate his guilt. Points- 4.
Military Service– Washington fought in the French and Indian War, protecting the Virginia border from enemy attacks. He served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Army and has the distinction of being the only sitting President to take the field as Head of the Army. The military service Washington provided his country reflects great credit upon who he was as a man, however, he did lose more battles than he fought and his battle plans were more complex than his forces could execute. He held the Army together by sheer force of will, therefore, his defeat of the British cannot be attributed to his tactical genius. Points- 4.
Popularity– At the time, there was no popular vote, yet he was unanimously elected by Congress twice. Points- 5.
Party Leadership– Washington had no use for political parties, however, they began to form organically under his leadership. The Federalists prevailed on many points that Washington supported. If Washington had been bound to a political party- I have no doubt he would have been a Federalist. Points- 4.
Legacy– He served two terms in the Presidency even though initially he intended to spend only a few years in office. Eight years of selfless service, followed by the subsequent peaceful transfer of power demonstrated the viability of a Republican government. Washington selected the location of the nation’s capital along the Potomac. His legacy remains the standard by which all future Presidents are judged. Points- 5.
Foreign Policy– Washington navigated the new country in amongst the French and British conflicts of the late 18th century. He signed treaties with the British, French and Spanish during his time in office. As President, Washington desired neutrality because he recognized that the United States could not compete militarily with European powers. The Jay Treaty with England did keep the country from war with Britain, but was not well received in America. Points- 4.
Domestic Agenda– As the first chief executive, Washington achieved his primary goal of keeping the states unified. He did not believe it was the government’s job to disperse entitlements to its citizens. He did not oppose utilizing military force during the Whiskey Rebellion in Massachusetts to enforce the law. Points- 4.
Economic Policy– With Hamilton as his Secretary of the Treasury, the government successfully tallied the debt and assumed the debt of the states. Washington desired a strong manufacturing sector as opposed to complete reliance on an agrarian state. Washington encouraged the purchase of American goods. His administration devised a tariff system on imports to raise money for the federal government. Points- 4.
Respect of the Constitution– Washington respected the Constitution and did not seek to strengthen the executive branch by exploiting implied powers. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution during his presidency. As the first President, his actions were the guide for future chief executives in regards to the power of the executive branch. Points- 4.
Supreme Court Selections– The Supreme Court was the weakest of the branches during Washington’s presidency, but was still in its infancy. Washington appointed John Jay as a Justice of the Supreme Court. He did nothing to discourage the establishment of the third branch of government. Points- 3.
Cabinet Selections– Could the selections of Jefferson, Hamilton and Knox have been any better? I think not. Despite frequent squabbles between Jefferson and Hamilton, Washington listened patiently to each of them. His luck was not so good during his second term, however. Washington could not find men who wanted to serve in his Cabinet due to ferocious attacks in the press. Due to his inability to appoint leaders such as Patrick Henry, his cabinet was much weaker in his second term. Points- 4.
Executive ability– He learned on the job, the first of its kind with zero precedent to review. Washington lived his entire presidency under scrutiny for every action he did or did not take. He established the executive branch of government and managed it well. Points- 5.
Overall impression of his Presidency– Taking all things into account, his presidency was a success that stabilized a new nation into what would become the most powerful country in history. Washington was the one man who could keep the country together in its earliest days. Reflecting on the differences between the Northern and Southern states, it could have easily been torn apart. The European countries could have destroyed the new country, but Washington maintained neutrality in their disputes. Points- 5.
Washington was an outstanding president and that is reflected even 220 years later in almost every published poll. In many ways, he will be the gold standard by which I judge every other President. He currently ranks number 1 out of 1 reviewed President.
65 out of 75 points overall