Best U.S. Presidents Through Time


According to the first ever UK academic poll that rates performances of 40 US presidents since George Washington, Franklin D Roosevelt ranked No. 1 while George W. Bush was listed in the bottom 10 and Barack Obama was not included in this survey.


The performance of each president was evaluated by 47 British academics specializing in American history and politics from one (not effective) to ten (very effective) based on five categories including vision/agenda-setting, domestic leadership, foreign policy leadership, moral authority and positive historical significance of their legacy.


Presidents of the United States


The Institute for the Study of the Americas, part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, carried out this survey before the 2010 mid-term elections.


Top three: Roosevelt, Lincoln and Washington. Next five: Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan


George Washington (1789-1797) came first for moral authority


Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) ranked first for the positive significance of his legacy as Civil War leader in restoring the Union and ending slavery


Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) ranked first in three categories: vision/agenda-setting, domestic leadership and foreign policy leadership. During the Great Depression and World War II, he tried to deal with challenges as a president by his confident and inspirational leadership.


The portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt


Among the five presidents from 1977 to 2009, only Reagan made the top 10


The bottom presidents include Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), John Tyler (1841-1845), Warren Harding (1921-23), Franklin Pierce (1853-57) and James Buchanan (1857-1961).


The portrait of Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)



Related links:

A Brief History of US Presidents

U.S. Presidents’ Favourite Movies

Photos of US President when little kids