Rating the Presidents?

The other day while reading my twitter timeline, I saw Mike Shaw from theexecutivepower.com asking if a president could be rated.  The conversation of who the best or worst president is always a fun discussion, but there are many variables when reviewing agencies give their opinions.  How many of the historians are liberal versus conservative thinkers?  How can a President in the 19th Century compare to a 21st Century 24/7 news cycle Chief Executive?  Is revisionist history playing into the minds of the people rating our former Presidents when the country had different morals?

Many presidents seem boring and are skipped over- Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison just to name a few.  The war presidents are recognized by the general population as great presidents- Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR immediately come to mind.  John F. Kennedy may get many positive reviews, but this based on the ideal of Camelot or actual achievements?  Could it be the president who seems mundane be a better overall president than one who seems exciting?

I wanted to read presidential biographies to 1) learn about each man who was the president and 2) to learn more about American history.  I desired to rate each chief executive based on their merits prior to starting my first book and the blog.  I reviewed many different polls- from C-SPAN, Sienna College, and others that listed out their rating criteria, but none of them fit what I wanted to do.  So- I gave up and plunged into Washington: A Life (review here) by Ron Chernow deciding to devise a list of what makes a great president at a later date.

I determined my criteria earlier this week after my twitter exchange with Mike.  He posted his own (link here) that is outstanding and easy to understand- I recommend checking it out.

Upon completion of reading books about each president- I will do a brief Ranking the Presidents blog based on the following categories:

  1. Contribution to the United States prior to becoming president
  2. Integrity
  3. Scandals during their administration
  4. Military Service
  5. Popularity
  6. Party Leadership
  7. Legacy
  8. Foreign Policy
  9. Domestic Agenda
  10. Economic Policy
  11. Respect of the Constitution
  12. Supreme Court selections
  13. Cabinet choices
  14. Executive Ability
  15. Overall Impression of Presidency- success or failure

I will use a 5 (excellent) to 1 (failure) scale for each category with a brief explanation of why the points were awarded.

I will see how my thoughts stack up against some of the purported experts in the field.  If you have recommendations or comments- please let me know!  While you are at it- if this is your first time visiting my blog- please look around and let me know how to make it better and of course- hit the subscribe button!

Matt

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