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What Matters in Ranking a President?


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I'm curious as to what you all think really matters in a presidential ranking? I'm going to play devil's advocate and post some rhetorical questions

What is overemphasized, what is underemphasized. 

For instance, Historian HW Brands argues that a two-term presidency is crucial for presidential greatness, something I disagree with. Should a solid one-term president be valued more than a mediocre two-term presidency? 

Additionally, a lot of emphasis is given to military accomplishment, while there seems to be little praise for avoiding wars. 

Another thing might involve the economy, especially among earlier presidents. How much control does a president have on causing or fixing the economy. If little, should the economy be much of a factor. If they have a lot of influence, should the economy be the major factor?

How about personal integrity? Can someone be a complete scumbag and still be a great president, or should our personal dislike of a president weigh down a possible successful president? Should integrity be ignored. 

How about scandals that are outside of a president's control? 

Should presidents be judged by 21st century standards? For instance, by 21st century standards, JQ Adams, as unsuccessful as he was, is inflated because he's basically a 20th century president operating in the wrong century. Whereas, Jefferson and Jackson might get punished for holding very common views on slavery and native american's for their time. Are they rightly evaluated? 

Is the meat of a presidency, appointments, platform fulfillment, vetoes, and foreign policy, and party leadership and that's it?

Should intangibles like intelligence, vision and willingness to take risks matter in an evaluation, or should we stick strictly to facts (production, reactions to events, successful vetoes, actions, appointments, etc.)

Should presidents be punished for leaving little legacy, even if their presidency was successful during their time and made the people more or less happy during their time, even if a lack of precedence, long-lasting judges, new lasting laws, etc. were passed?

Are major events too overinflated? Should the little things add up? For instance, Abraham Lincoln is generally exclusively rated for a Civil War victory and leading the abolishment of slavery; yet, his presidency also included other successes and some failures. 

Should presidents in the international era, since FDR (when we became a superpower), and even more so, post-Reagan (when we became a hyperpower), be scrutinized even harder since a presidency impacts a global population? If so, should international opinion be included in a presidency? 

I'm probably forgetting some other questions to be asked. Please answer these and ask your own questions for the community. 

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2 hours ago, vcczar said:

I'm curious as to what you all think really matters in a presidential ranking? I'm going to play devil's advocate and post some rhetorical questions

What is overemphasized, what is underemphasized. 

For instance, Historian HW Brands argues that a two-term presidency is crucial for presidential greatness, something I disagree with. Should a solid one-term president be valued more than a mediocre two-term presidency? 

Additionally, a lot of emphasis is given to military accomplishment, while there seems to be little praise for avoiding wars. 

Another thing might involve the economy, especially among earlier presidents. How much control does a president have on causing or fixing the economy. If little, should the economy be much of a factor. If they have a lot of influence, should the economy be the major factor?

How about personal integrity? Can someone be a complete scumbag and still be a great president, or should our personal dislike of a president weigh down a possible successful president? Should integrity be ignored. 

How about scandals that are outside of a president's control? 

Should presidents be judged by 21st century standards? For instance, by 21st century standards, JQ Adams, as unsuccessful as he was, is inflated because he's basically a 20th century president operating in the wrong century. Whereas, Jefferson and Jackson might get punished for holding very common views on slavery and native american's for their time. Are they rightly evaluated? 

Is the meat of a presidency, appointments, platform fulfillment, vetoes, and foreign policy, and party leadership and that's it?

Should intangibles like intelligence, vision and willingness to take risks matter in an evaluation, or should we stick strictly to facts (production, reactions to events, successful vetoes, actions, appointments, etc.)

Should presidents be punished for leaving little legacy, even if their presidency was successful during their time and made the people more or less happy during their time, even if a lack of precedence, long-lasting judges, new lasting laws, etc. were passed?

Are major events too overinflated? Should the little things add up? For instance, Abraham Lincoln is generally exclusively rated for a Civil War victory and leading the abolishment of slavery; yet, his presidency also included other successes and some failures. 

Should presidents in the international era, since FDR (when we became a superpower), and even more so, post-Reagan (when we became a hyperpower), be scrutinized even harder since a presidency impacts a global population? If so, should international opinion be included in a presidency? 

I'm probably forgetting some other questions to be asked. Please answer these and ask your own questions for the community. 

I don't have a stringent, absolute, always binding set of standards. I go with what they did at the time they were in office and how they dealt with the issues and zeitgeist of their day. I openly admit that some US Presidents who were very good for their period would be disastrous if they were elected at other times, and the reverse logic of that ideal as well is likely true.

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