Because I am highly interested in knowing the actual truth about the presidents instead of the BS we are taught in school. So what I would like to know is what each president has done while in office and who has actually done their job properly.
Like for instance George W. Bush and Obama rank at the bottom and we can summarize what they have done. I don't think JFK should be as high as I used to and FDR should also be around the bottom. Also I've learned some awful things about Lincoln.
Here's a list of the presidents and their summaries:
George Washington-All star first cabinet. Set the two term precedent. not really a libertarian, unfortunately (he signed on to Hamilton's national bank and whiskey tax bills), but still a genuine believer in the rule of law and not of men, who had every opportunity to be a king or an emperor, but refused, set a powerful precedent against such usurpation, and in so doing gave the United States the opportunity to endure as the freest nation on Earth for many decades. He was also admirably non-interventionist in foreign affairs, and codified it in his farewell address, which has served as a rallying point against imperialism in the centuries since.
Thomas Jefferson-an utter genius, and one of the very greatest proto-libertarian thinkers and leaders. During his presidency, he oversaw the abolition of all internal taxes, the scaling back of the military and federal workforce, the repeal of the Alien and Sedition Acts, the banning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the reduction of the national debt by a third-- the government was operating on nothing but tariffs, land sales and postage stamps, and still running a surplus. On the downside, he did (by his own admission) ultimately break with strict constructionism in his actions relating to the Louisiana Purchase, and the Embargo Act of 1807 which he pushed as a means of pressuring Europe into meeting American demands was a disaster.
James Madison-Accomplishments of president James Madison, our greatest president:
1) the first president to establish limited exectuve and war powers. Madison set many precedents regarding what a president can do in a time of war:
a) no military draft needed to win
b) no central bank needed
3) no income tax needed
4) no significant standing army needed
5) no violations of civil liberties
6) no censorship of the press
7) no round up of ethnic minorities or enemies
8) declaration of war debated by public and duly voted upon by congress
9) declaration of war states specifically the causes for war and the goals for victory
10) no special executive wat powers claimed by president
2) War of 1812 the greatest victory in US history:
a) very low casualties, entire war had fewer deaths than single civil war battles or single battles in Napoleoin wars
b) lasting peace established with England
c) Victories at New Orleans, Baltimore, Plattsburgh/Lake Champlain, Horsehoe Bend, Chippewa, Lake Erie, the Thames, Tippacanoe, York, and the 2nd barbary War are among the greatest in US history
d) War of 1812 & 2nd barbary war established free trade on the Great Lakes, Mississippi Rvier, Gulf of Mexico, Carribean Sea, Mediterrenean Sea, and Atlantic ocean.
e) Madison retired as the most popular 2nd term president in all US history per many authorities including John Adams
f) Madison started the Era of Good Feelings
g) victories of the USS Constitution, aka Old Ioronsides, among the most accliamed in all US history.
h) Patriotic Uncle Sam icon created during Madison's term
i) famous people like Sam Houston and Davy Crockett got theoir careers started under Madison
j) War of 1812 veterans dominated congress and the presidency for almost 50 years.
3) Madison delivered 7 vetoes, compared to 0 by Jefferson and Adams and only 2 (minor ones) by Washington.
a) the principle of sepeartion of church and states was clearly established by James Madison, via vetoes.
4) Madison set limits on the powers of a central bank:
a) In January 1815, despite being in the middle for a war, Madison veotes a bill that would have expanded the powers of the central bank (Madison also let the 1st bank die in 1811, even though he knew war was coming).
b) In 1816, Madison signed a bank bill that had the exact sames powers as the bank already deemed Constitutional by George Washington.
c) Everybody knew exactly waht Madison was doing.
d) hence the Federal Reserve Act is not only blantantly unconstitutional, but bad policy as well, per other Madison principles (banks only needed to pay of debts from NECESSARY defensive wars).
5) Madison hand-picked his successor, one of the few to do so:
a) James Monroe went on to become one of our greatest presidents.
6) Madison was never involved in any scandals.
was notable as about the only president ever to conduct a major war without engaging in any massive civil-liberties violations, massacring civilians, or installing any major permanent expansions of the federal government. On the other hand, he oversaw tax increases and signed the Second Bank of the United States into law.
James Monroe-cut taxes and spending, substantially reduced the national debt, took a primarily non-interventionist stance on foreign affairs. He did unleash a certain trigger-happy General Jackson on the Indians (grimly foreshadowing certain future developments) in one unfortunate incident.
John Quincy Adams-pushed increased taxation and government intervention into the economy, but did at least tend toward foreign non-interventionism and substantially reduce the national debt.
Andrew Jackson-paid entire debt off and killed the national bank,
Don't forget killing thousands of natives, denying them their property rights by seizing private Indian land for state and federal purposes, their civil rights, and ejecting them form the country. Also ignoring the rule of law by refusing the acknowledge the ruling and authority of the Supreme Court when it said his acts were unjust. Then there is threatening to hang every citizen of South Carolina when the state threatened to nullify his tariffs. He was not a good President, or even a good man as far as I am concerned.
I know Jackson is very popular with some libertarians for killing the second national bank and briefly extinguishing the national debt, and these are great accomplishments indeed, but his illegal and egregious atrocities toward the Indians and distinctly authoritarian use of presidential power (as when he bullied the states during the Nullification Crisis and ignored a Supreme Court ruling that he had to respect previous treaties with the Indians rather than evict them) knock him way down in my book.
Martin Van Buren-gold and silver advocate; deregulation; non-interventionist
William Henry Harrison- Was president for 39 days. Died of pneumonia he got while giving a two hour speech at his inauguration. Credited with "doing the least damage on any U.S. President.
John Tyler-refused to support huge public works spending and a new national bank
James K. Polk-picked a fight with Mexico for land; almost started simultaneous war with British for land in northwest U.S.; expanded executive power
Abraham Lincoln- Believed U.S. was a white man's country and blacks had no place in it. Imprisoned 15,000 political opponents. Started Civil War to keep South from seceding and went to great lengths, including war, to extort money from the South in the form of tariffs. Civil War resulted in 100,000s of American deaths and twice as many maimed for life. Forced servitude through military draft. Restricted firearms ownership. Had a genocidal policy toward Sioux Indians. The National Banking Act. All in all Lincoln was more of a vicious violent dictator than anthing else.
Ulysses S. Grant-the man cut taxes and spending, reduced the debt, reinstated hard currency, and generally had a respectably non-interventionist (both domestically and abroad) agenda throughout his presidency.
Rutherford B. Hayes-noninterventionist; insisted on keeping gold standard; paid down debt; kept federal govt out of labor issues; pro-voting rights for blacks
Chester A. Arthur-
Grover Cleveland-- the best example of genuine fealty to the presidential oath of office, manifested through strict construction and enforcement of the US Constitution's limits on the national government, in all of US history, as illustrated by his issuance of nearly 600 vetoes-- more than all the presidents before him combined. Equally important was his peaceful, non-interventionist foreign policy, best exemplified in his passionate opposition to the US take-over of Hawaii (which he managed, at the least, to delay for a time). He was an outspoken opponent of "paternalism" in government, fought for hard currency in the form of a Gold Standard, fought to decrease taxes and spending (against a Republican congress very eager to run up debt on the perceived credit card that was the American public), and could be relied on to stick to his guns regardless of perceived political advantage. He was the closest thing to a President Paul we've ever had. A story that can bring a tear to the eye: his last words were "I have tried so hard to do right."
William McKinley-big-time imperialist; aggressive foreign policy that set the tone for 20th century; Spanish-American War
William Howard Taft-
Woodrow Wilson-probably the worst; foreign intervention; supported income tax; tried for League of Nations; cracked down on civil liberties; the Fed; racist
a self-described socialist and eugenicist; a radical interventionist (in both domestic and foreign spheres), white supremacist (note that he publicly assented to the accuracy of the film "the Birth of a Nation," which depicted the Ku Klux Klan as a band of gallant knights) authoritarian who lied to the public about his intention to get the US into World War I (he actually campaigned on the slogan "he kept us out of war" while, as is well-documented, fully intending to get the US into the war after he was elected), resegregated integrated federal departments, jailed his political opponents under the Sedition Act of 1917, and was a driving force behind the creation of the Federal Reserve and the institution of the federal income tax.
The Wilson legacy:
* sinking of Lusitania (orchestrated event)
* The bogus Zimmerman Telegram (another orchestrated event)
* creation of ADL in 1913
* "lone nut" near assassination against Teddy Roosevelt in October 1912, throwing the election to Wilson
* income tax
* Espionage Act act of 1917, followed by arbitrary arrests of newspaper publishers
* Federal Reserve
* Harrison Act of 1914 (war on drugs)
* allowing women to vote without making congressional districts smaller to balance increased number of voters
* League of Nations
* mass murder of over 70 labor unionists in Michigan (Italian Hall fire of 1913, orchestrated event)
* direct election of Senators (worst event on this list)
* alcohol prohibition
* resurgent racism (Wilson set an example for the nation by kicking all the blacks out of the federal government)
* Wilson set a precedent by lying about his health to the people; he should have resigned, his last two years in office he could not function; basically, his unelected wife took over, rather than the Vice President as the Founders intended
* In 1913, Charles Beard, cheered by Wilson, published the most horrific "scholarly" attack upon the Founding Fathers, a bogus book called 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution'
* In 1915, Beard published another horrible attack upon Thomas Jefferson
* Wilson was responsible for the massive spread of influenza, he intentionally moved sick soldiers all over the world and then failed to tell local leaders who could have taken some precautions; this alone led to the deaths of 50 million people, making Wilson the greatest mass murdered in human history, beating out Lincoln, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined
Warren G. Harding-President Warren G. Harding understood that depressions were the unavoidable result of speculative bubbles created by monetary inflation. As Harding explained, “There will be depression after inflation, just as surely as the tides ebb and flow.” [iii] The painful liquidation of unsound money and unsound businesses created by Woodrow Wilson’s foolish intervention in World War I was not only unavoidable but necessary if the economy was ever to return to a sustainable path.
Under President Harding, there would be no huge government bailouts to save failing businesses or banks, no grand federal make-work programs to employ the unemployed, no massive regulation of the economy to reign in the markets, stifle investment or impede trade. Most important, there would be no major wars started to stimulate production of useless war materials or to destroy “surplus labor.” Though then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover urged the President to take drastic action to fight the depression, Harding largely brushed Hoover’s exhortations aside. Though Harding did humor his Commerce Secretary by calling for a White House Conference on Unemployment, Harding cautioned the conferees regarding the use of federal funds declaring, “The excess stimulation from that source is to be reckoned a cause of trouble rather than a source of cure.” [iv]
Harding was not entirely passive, however. To fight the recession, he called on Congress to dramatically reduce both taxes and spending. Under Harding, federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and to $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes were also reduced from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and to $4 billion in 1922 with budget surpluses each year used to reduce the federal debt. [v]
The results were astounding. By 1922, GNP had recovered to $74.6 billion and unemployment fell by nearly 50% to 2.8 million (6.7%). By 1926 with Harding’s Vice President, Calvin Coolidge, in the White House, unemployment had fallen even further to 1.8% (the lowest rate ever recorded in peacetime). Unfortunately, behind the scenes the Federal Reserve was already in the process of inflating yet another monetary bubble. This new bubble would burst (as all bubbles do) in the famous crash of 1929. By this time, Harding was dead and Coolidge in retirement. Having learned nothing from Harding and Coolidge, President Hoover proceeded to raise taxes, increase spending, intervene massively in the economy and the rest is, well, mythology.
his brief stint in the presidency was a wonderful remedy to Woodrow Wilson's eight years. He overturned the oppressive Sedition Act of 1917, freed Wilson's political prisoners, finalized peace in the aftermath of World War I, didn't intervene in the economy when the stock market crashed, but instead cut taxes and spending (leading to a quick recovery), balanced the budget, and reduced the national debt. On the downside, he at least paid lip service to supporting alcohol prohibition (though he did very little to enforce it once he took office and was an alcoholic himself), raised tariffs to their highest level in US history up to that stage, and made some poor choices in cabinet members, leading to corruption (graft, patronage and whatnot) scandals within his administration.
Calvin Coolidge-essentially continued Harding's agenda; he cut taxes and spending, kept the federal government out of the economy for the most part, stayed out of other countries' internal affairs, and cut the national debt. On the other hand, Coolidge was a more vigorous enforcer of Prohibition, to the point of assenting to some policies that were outright draconian, such as a scheme by the government to poison ingredients of alcoholic beverages in order to scare people out of drinking them.
Franklin D. Roosevelt-an autocratic despot whose duplicitousness, brutality, and disregard for the rule of law were unmatched. He embarked on the biggest agenda of government regimentation of the economy in all of US history (which severely prolonged the Great Depression), underhandedly bullied the Supreme Court into accepting his illegal New Deal programs, initiated the worst racial persecution by a US president since the Trail of Tears in the form of Japanese internment, became the first and only president to ignore Washington's two-term precedent, lied through his teeth to the American public about his intention to get the US into World War II, undertook a campaign of vicious firebombing of civilian populations during World War II... the list goes on. All told, he did more to break down the Constitution's barriers against federal power, install a permanent big-government apparatus in the United States, set a standard of amoral Machiavellian policy-making that treats human beings like disposable objects of convenience, and put the country on an irreversible course toward fiscal insolvency than any other individual ever has.
Largely responsible for the national government as we know it today, a vast, unfathomable apparatus that recognizes no limits whatsoever to its power, either at home or abroad. Made it unlawful to own gold coins, bullion or certificates and seized all the Fed's gold, intentionally moving us from real money to an almost completely fiat currency. During the Depression, signed Agricultural Adjustment Act. Paying farmers to either not grow crops or plow them under. Established fascism in America with the National Recovery Administration. It gave him power to establish "codes of fair competition" which soon covered 95% of industrial workers. Gave us the Social Security Act, which has been stealing money from American workers ever since and can be currently described as "a colossal clusterf***". Rounded up and imprisoned 100,000 Americans without due process. The Japanese Internment Camps. His policies prolonged the Great Depression, perhaps by as much as a decade. Was more of a tyrant king than a president.
Harry Truman-("containment" was wasteful and belligerent; federal govt involved in labor disputes; supported compulsory health insurance, mandatory military service, and federal housing
responsible for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atrocities and illegal presidential war in Korea, put the first US troops in Vietnam, tried to illegally seize and nationalize the steel industry.
John F. Kennedy-In his first term within few months as president he did get in bed with the establishments, the 'TPTB' and the secret government and king makers. Note again how he was fully into Vietnam war, Cuban Invasion and several strong supporter of the establishment issues including their commercial colonization (Anglo-Brit -American Elite Economic) of the world financial empire.
However during the Cuban missile crisis along with his confidant and right hand brother Robert and with their apparent part of disclosure of things that are privy to the higher powers only, have seen him (and his brother Robert) to change a 180 degree turn in favour of humanity (circa Sept 1962 up to his November 1963 assassination).
He was quoted around January 1963 telling Robert McNamara "this period and the eminent so close Cuban Nuclear war with Russia have shaken my very foundation which made me change overnight to fight evil for what it is, specially what have woken in me of the real reality of the world... my faith and the power I have been given I will do everything right".
The JFK prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis was totally different from the one that made his righteous legacy of fighting the New World Order in favour of humanity.
Richard Nixon-1971: Nixon severs ties to gold
1973: Nixon backs Israel in Yom Kippur War. In retaliation, OPEC declares embargo on US (it lasted 6 months). Nixon rations oil to the states based on 1972 usage rates. States with increased populations had shortages. To encourage new exploration, Nixon fixed the price of oil from existing domestic fields. Prices from newly developed fields are allowed to float at market rates. Because inflation was already picking up from the fiat money switch, existing oil fields became unprofitable. "Old oil" fields were shut down. Shortages increased. This was the beginning of the huge spike in oil that peaked in 1980.
Gerald Ford- Terrible foreign policy, pardoned Nixon.
Jimmy Carter- created the Department of Education and Department of Energy
gets an excessively bad rap in some quarters these days; he actually oversaw moderately significant deregulation of the economy, and was one of the less authoritarian and warlike presidents of the last few decades.
1979: Carter bans oil imports from Iran, imposes import quotas, and tells Americans to install solar panels, lower the temperature in their houses, and to stop driving so damn much.
Deregulated more than Reagan, kept us out of war and had a foreign policy aimed at maintaining peace.
Ronald Reagan-Iran-Contra was among worst constitutional violations ever; big spender;
a divisive figure in and out of libertarian circles, but I think this is largely because of his compelling and distinctive rhetoric and persona; his policies were generally fairly unremarkable. He did deregulate domestically, and was much less of a warmonger than any of the presidents who have followed in his wake (though still too much of one), but also allowed enormous increases in net spending and debt, expanded the drug war, and had the CIA partaking of certain foreign entanglements that would come back to bite us horribly, among other things.
Tripled national debt with his horrid Reaganomics. Genocide of citizens in Nicaragua and other Central American countries. War on Drugs, one of the biggest destroyers of peace, life and liberty. The Reagan of the 1976/80 campaigns could have been a good president. But he did a complete 180 after the assassination attempt.
George Bush Sr.- Taxes. The first Iraq war plus other illegal wars. Drug warrior to the point of invading Panama and kidnapping Noriega. Ruby Ridge happened on his watch. He did some things that would be considered minor by today's standards like banning some types of imported guns.
Bill Clinton- The disaster known as NAFTA. Illegal wars. Was much better economically than Bush Jr or Obama, partially due to the biggest bubble of them all expanding. Tried to implement HillaryCare, which was at least as bad as ObamaCare. The Waco incident. Laid the groundwork for what we have seen from George W. Bush and Obama. The Clinton Body Count. Stole from Social Security to create the illusion of a surplus.
George W. Bush- PATRIOT Act and widespread civil liberties violations; bailouts; unfunded Medicare expansion; general incompetence
Started "War On Terror". No Child Left Behind. Started illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have killed more than 100,000 people and maimed (mentally or physically) several times that many. Committed many war crimes. Greatly expanded the federal government and nearly doubled our national debt. Removed the right to Habeus Corpus with the Military Commissions Act. Used torture and generally found a way to make nearly every country hate us and he was much more of a dictator than president.
Barack Obama- Obamacare. Has gotten us involved in more illegal wars. Signed NDAA and many other bills and Executive Orders that are further destroying our liberties and installing a 1984 style Nanny/Police State. Is actively using drones and troops on American soil. Has added more to our national debt that George W. Bush did. Has pretty much completely given away our sovereignty to the elite globalist banks and U.N.
His policies have substantially worsened unemployment, record numbers of people now depend on government assistance via taxpayer dollars than ever before. Granted himself the power to kill American citizens without trial.
In this OP I put MaxPower's ranking and Recarving Rushmore's ranking and will be slowly working on my own. Members have requested that we group the presidents in tiers instead of rank. So we will be doing that now too.
Here's the Recarving Rushmore list, it only goes to 40 apparently:
We are switching to grouping the presidents, unless you want to do both? Group them and list them? I can put both in the OP. Let's debate. If you want a president higher or lower on the list/grouping please tell us why. Also I still need to put in the summaries for each president and need summaries still for more presidents. Definitely need more discussion on most of the presidents.
- RonPaulForums.com is an independent grassroots outfit not officially connected to Ron Paul but dedicated to his mission. For more information see our Mission Statement.