This is, of course, just my opinion. But, I hope I will show enough proof for you to consider them.
1. George Washington — We all know that Washington more than any other commander during the revolution, helped America win. But between 1783, when the English capitulated, and 1789 we really do not hear a lot about him. That is because he felt his job was done and he wanted to go back to being the gentleman farmer. But once Washington assumed the presidency he helped bring stability to the colonies. His putting down the Whiskey Rebellion was his was of asserting the federal government as a central power. There was doubt in the states that the federal government was strong. The government needed income and put a tax on whiskey which brought about the insurrection. Washington’s popularity with the general public helped reinforce the people’s trust in the government and its ability to act in their interests.
2. Andrew Jackson — Jackson’s election set America on its ear. People were outraged that a divorced woman would be the first lady. Unfortunately, Rachel Jackson died before her husband took office. Jackson also had to weather the dying Federalist Party that said a person of Jackson’s character would ruin the office of the president. Jackson had been known for bar fights in his younger days and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in the state of North Carolina from just such an event. Jackson took on the powerful banking interests of the day. A private bank, the Second National Bank, virtually had the nation’s finances hostage. Jackson saw to it the charter of the bank was made null, and then oversaw the formation of the federal banks that exist to this day.
3. Abraham Lincoln — It is difficult to imagine anyone would need to be convinced of his selection as one of the ten best. Lincoln was a brilliant political tactician which is seldom talked about. His first vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, was a safe partner for him. He was a Maine Republican, who helped Lincoln balance his mid-west roots with Hamlin’s northeast. But in the election of 1864 Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson, a Democrat. Johnson’s Democrat affiliation along with his North Carolina heritage was done to appease Southern Democrats who Lincoln saw rejoining the government.
4. Theodore Roosevelt — Roosevelt was arguably one of the most ambitious presidents this country has ever had. Roosevelt was William McKinley’s assistant secretary of the Navy when the Spanish-American war broke out. Roosevelt resigned his office so he could fight in the war. He saw it as an opportunity to bring glory to himself, which he did rather successfully. Once he became president after McKinley’s assassination, Roosevelt focused on American expansionism. He was responsible for the assumption of the Panama canal and America’s overseeing it for the next 99 years. He established the Hawaiian Islands and Guam as American territories. He assisted Panama in becoming its own nation. That territory had formerly been Colombia. He established the National Parks System with his good friend John Muir.
5. Franklin Delano Roosevelt — Roosevelt made more changes to the federal government than any president in history either before or since. Roosevelt was key in establishing the FDIC after the bank failures of 1931, he established the social security system, he brought electricity to rural America with projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and others. He put desperately poor Americans back to work with his Works Project America. He also skillfully guided America through World War 2.
6. Dwight David Eisenhower — During his time in office, Eisenhower was criticised for what was seen as excessive time on the golf course, and his propensity to back problems which kept him from the Oval Office many times. But Eisenhower took his European experience, having seen Germany’s modern highways, and brought those ideas to American. He was behind the formation of America’s Interstate highway system.
I really wanted a list of ten but none of the rest achieved nearly as much as these six did. What I will do next is post a list of the ten worst presidents of all time. That is an easy list, and I am sure, a controversial one.