Historical Ranking of U.S. Presidents

Happy Presidents Day!

The American Presidency was one of our favorite college courses, so we find the latest survey and rankings of American presidents (colored by quartiles) always interesting.

The following table is the 2018 ranking of U.S. presidents by historians in the American Political Science Association (APSA).   Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked numero uno in the surveys.   President Trump ranks dead last this year.  The silver lining for the current president is that there is only upside.

President Trump and Senator Hatch do need to brush up on their history, however,   Or maybe see a shrink.

During a Thursday press conference at the GOP retreat, President Donald Trump praised Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for calling him the greatest president in American history.

“Orrin is—I love listening to him speak…he actually once said I’m the greatest president in the history of our country and I said, ‘Does that include Lincoln and Washington?’ He said yes. I said, ‘I love this guy,'” 

…A spokesperson for Hatch told Newsweek that the senator “has said that he would like to work with the president to make this the greatest presidency in history for the American people.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Trump’s statement.  – Newsweek, February 1, 2018

The historical surveys should be read with a sense of skepticism.   President Kennedy voiced his concerns for such rankings,

…Kennedy voiced his deep dissatisfaction and resentment with historians who had rated some of his predecessors. Kennedy said: “No one has a right to grade a President—even poor James Buchanan—who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that came across his desk, and learned why he made his decisions”  — Wikipedia 


Presidential Rank_Feb29

See here for a matrix of presidential historical rankings over time.

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