British historians have been polled about who they think was the greatest US President, and Franklin D Roosevelt has come out on top. They were asked to rate every President from 1789 to 2009 (ie not including Barack Obama, and also not William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, who died shortly after taking office) in 5 categories:
- domestic leadership
- foreign policy leadership
- moral authority
- positive historical significance of their legacy
The Top 5 were:
1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-45)
2. Abraham Lincoln (1861-65)
3. George Washington (1789-97)
4. Thomas Jefferson (1801-09)
5. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09)
George W Bush came 31st, Bill Clinton was 19th, George Bush (Senior) was 22nd, and Ronald Reagan 8th.
US polls tend to put Abraham Lincoln first because of his achievements in ending the Civil War and abolishing slavery, but it is possible that the recent economic climate has given people new respect for FDR's achievement in establishing his New Deal. What are your opinions and where do you think Obama should come in the list?
PS: If you would like more data, here is a direct link to the survey, from the "United States Presidency Centre".