The Greatest Presidents

mtrushmore.jpgWhich American Presidents were heroes? I don’t know much on this subject, being an Australian-educated person. I’ve heard of the big ones and know a little about them, but it wasn’t until I wrote about FDR recently that I realised how little I knew. With Presidents Day happening, I figured I’d look at some more to see where I could find heroic attributes.

Abraham Lincoln was the first I went to. He definitely qualifies, so his profile has been posted. He had courage, vision, perseverance.

George Washington was the second. There is an impressive man. His selflessness, humility, vision, and courage were amazing. His profile is now in the Gallery of Heroes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly these two and Franklin Roosevelt are consistently ranked the top three presidents. I obviously went to the right men.

I could read about Jefferson and the other Roosevelt, but most of my readers are American, so I thought I’d ask you. On this Presidents Day, which president was the most heroic to you and why?

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3 Responses to The Greatest Presidents

  1. Adam Resh February 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    I would have to say the most heroic to be, besides the ones you already mentioned, is John F. Kennedy. I can’t really describe why he was a hero any better than what his biography would tell you so here are a few pieces from a biography I have read of his.

    “Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.

    His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.

    Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society.

    He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.”

    We recently talked about people in the service being heroes, which he was. We also talked about soldiers not thinking of themselves as heroes, but their teammates risk themselves to help others, which you can read he did. He believed in equal rights and did what he could to make the United States the country it was meant to be. He was a man, much like other presidents, died because of what he believed in. So this is why I believe John F. Kennedy should be mentioned when talking about heroic presidents.

  2. Kit February 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    Sorry to be a pain, but the popular perspective on JFK and equal rights is a little skewed in his favor. He certainly had an external perception of being for civil rights and he did defend them to a point, but he didn’t do as much as he could have in the time he was President. His successor was far a bigger and more overt proponent than he was…Lyndon B. Johnson…Having said all that he was a model leader in a lot of respects and does deserve a mention.

  3. Adam Resh February 17, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    You’re such a pain, Kit.