39 votes

DP Poll: Who Was Our Best President?

My choices to consider:

George Washington: "Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. "

Thomas Jefferson: "When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

James Madison: "Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.......No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Calvin Coolidge: "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business."

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Wilson may have had some regrets.

He is quoted as saying: "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country."

The recent POTUS' are black hearted and appear to be incapable of pity, sorrow, or regret.

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

It's between him and Bush 2

W got us into war on terror, Homeland Security and no child left behind.

Martin Van Buren

The usuals, such as Jackson and Jefferson, had many flaws, and neither were our best presidents. Jefferson particularly was brilliant and principled outside of office, yet yielded to temptation of executive power in the cases of the Embargo act of 1807 against GB and France (which backfired), the unconstitutional Louisiana Purchase and subsequent sale of public lands, not to mention the way he pressured opinion during the whole Aaron Burr treason trial(s).
Jackson was a war-hawk who had no respect for constitutional limitations. When John C. Calhoun threatened Nullification of the Tariff Of Abominations, Jackson threatened to personally hang him - and let's not get into the Indian Removals. Jackson had one thing going for him, He hated the bank and eventually ended the 2nd Bank of the US.
If Jackson is to be given credit for killing the bank, MVB buried it with the Independent Treasury. This was basically a separation between bank and state. A problem arose when the 2nd bank's charter expired as to where the Federal Gov't would deposit its money. State banks were the first option but it was argued that favoritism was encouraged between the banks, creating a de facto central bank. MVB implemented that the Federal Gov't was never to have anything to do with paper money. The US Gov't was allowed to hold, receive, and pay out only gold and silver.
MVB was Jackson's Sec. of State> VP and then succeeded him as president.

- (He was diplomatic and sought peace in the face of pressure to go to war)Not only did he go against his party and declare neutrality between Texas and Mexico, avoiding war, he also avoided war with GB over the Canadian Border. New Brunswick and Maine Militias had amassed along the border and congress allocated $10million for war, extended the militia draft by 6 months and ordered 50k volunteers. Instead of succumbing to the saber rattling MVB instead simply negotiated a treaty and no lives nor money were lost. His insistence for diplomacy and peace cost him reelection, he could have easily reversed policy and stayed in power.

In Shakespeare's King Henry the IV, where the dying king gives the famous advice to his young prince on how to deal with domestic turmoil by distracting the dissatisfied public and uniting them against a foreign enemy, whether necessary or not... Congress and those surrounding MVB called for these wars particularly for this reason, to distract against the panics of 1837 and 1839.

-In the face of severe recession, MVB remains committed to free market principles and even has some very Austrian comments. He called a special session of congress after the Panic hit in 1827 not to usher in some rush-in-and-save-the-day-price-fixing/regulations-scheme... but instead to say this:

All communities are apt to look to government for too much. Even in our own country, where its powers and duties are so strictly limited, we are prone to do so, especially at periods of sudden embarrassment and distress. But this ought not to be. The framers of our excellent Constitution and the people who approved it with calm and sagacious deliberation acted at the time on a sounder principle. They wisely judged that the less government interferes with private pursuits the better for the general prosperity. It is not its legitimate object to make men rich or to repair by direct grants of money or legislation in favor of particular pursuits losses not incurred in the public service. This would be substantially to use the property of some for the benefit of others. But its real duty--that duty the performance of which makes a good government the most precious of human blessings--is to enact and enforce a system of general laws commensurate with, but not exceeding, the objects of its establishment, and to leave every citizen and every interest to reap under its benign protection the rewards of virtue, industry, and prudence.

I can not doubt that on this as on all similar occasions the Federal Government will find its agency most conducive to the security and happiness of the people when limited to the exercise of its conceded powers. In never assuming, even for a well-meant object, such powers as were not designed to be conferred upon it, we shall in reality do most for the general welfare. To avoid every unnecessary interference with the pursuits of the citizen will result in more benefit than to adopt measures which could only assist limited interests, and are eagerly, but perhaps naturally, sought for under the pressure of temporary circumstances. If, therefore, I refrain from suggesting to Congress any specific plan for regulating the exchanges of the country, relieving mercantile embarrassments, or interfering with the ordinary operations of foreign or domestic commerce, it is from a conviction that such measures are not within the constitutional provinces of the General Government, and that their adoption would not promote the real and permanent welfare of those they might be designed to aid.

Can you imagine the outrage congress and the msm would feel if a POTUS said this following a severe panic in modern times?!?!

How did his whole let-the-market-work plan go? First of all the only gov't revenue of the time was from tariffs and sale of public lands(unconstitutional btw). Total gov't expenditure was $30.9m - he cut it back to $24.3m by 1840. During the 4 years of the recession, the money supply fell by 1/3, the same amount observed during the first years of the Great Depression. Unlike FDR (who is only the second worst president behind Wilson and in front of Lincoln) who fixed prices artificially high, MVB allowed the market to correct. Instead of seeing 25% unemployment and a 30% fall in total output - we instead see a 16% INCREASE in output... a full-employment deflation... aint that something???
If you like Ron Paul, you would have loved MVB.

metalhed19's picture

Have you read that Mises

Have you read that Mises collection of Presidential reviews? It sure sounds like it. Van Buren "The Little Magician" definetly rocked. For others back in the day, look up John Tyler. William Henry Harrison's VP, Harrison died shortly after inauguration, Tyler in, the Whigs figured he would rubber stamp everything, guess again. He vetoed twice bills incorporating the 3rd Bank of the United States, His entire Cabinet resigned, other than D Webster. Tyler had other vetoes including a tariff bill, and an internal improvements bill. ! For the modern era, Calvin Coolidge. Paid off national debt, cut Federal spending, cut taxes for rich and poor, No crazy wars and unpayable social programs. Exactly the kind of President the Founders intended. He also achieved a 3.3% unemployment rate.

*Wisconsin Constitution* Article I, Section 25 "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security,defense,hunting,recreation or any other law-abiding purpose"

van Buren is the president

van Buren is the president who started big government with the spoils system. He is arguably the worst president ever.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.

would you mind expanding this?

Best to worst is a big jump. Didn't Jackson start the Spoils System? Tell me how this spoils system endorsement (or any other aspect of his presidency) makes him perhaps the worst president? I'm honestly curious.

Adam Kokesh

I know I might be getting a head of myself a little but if Rand Paul gets 2016 and then Kokesh is the last president from 2020 to 2024 I think Kokesh would be the best!


William Henry Harrison for dying shortly after taking office.

Thomas Jefferson: Figure it out yourself

Martin Van Buren: Sound money

Grover Cleveland: Fought corruption and sound money policy. The last good Democrat in office.

George Washington

Calvin Coolidge: The last Classical Liberal to be in office

Andrew Jackson: Killed the Fed

The one before George Washington



how bout - any ol soul after Obammy

They all are tyrants

but in the interest of picking one I go with...

William Henry Harrison - he did the least damage.


Liberty = Responsibility

WHH picked a bad cabinet.

WHH picked a bad cabinet.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.

None of those...

It was Jefferson Davis.

Really? Jeff Davis supported

Really? Jeff Davis supported slavery, the military draft, high taxes to pay for his wars, and monkeyed with the currency, plus he fired shots on Fort Sumter.

Thomas Jefferson 1796, 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Ron Paul 1988, 2008, 2012; Rand Paul 2016.

Franklin Pierce steadfastly upheld the Constitution

& classical liberalism. Pierce single-handedly prevented a Federal takeover of health care for about 60 years.

His epic defense to Congress of his decision to veto the bill for the health care for the indigent insane was one of the greatest things ever written about the proper role of the American Republic.


It's a toss up...

between the President without a party, His Accidency :D, John Tyler, and the President who oversaw one of the greatest tax and spending cuts in US history, Warren Harding.

John Quincy Adams is a close 2nd to Washington...

Because Adams made a great speech in 1820 about U.S foreign policy.

Adams said that we should not go abroad searching for "monsters to destroy" but rather mind our own business and let the world act as it may.

We would lead by example, and short of our being aggressed by another nation, wars and interventions would NOT be a part of our policy.

J.Q. Adams was most excellent on this subject.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

You are basing your choices upon QUOTES?

Washington gave us Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Chief Justice John Marshall, two of the greatest enemies of liberty of that generation.

I like Jefferson (and would select him among the bunch), but I think he should have hanged John Adams for the Alien and Sedition acts.

James Garfield attacked the banks and was assassinated for his trouble.

As someone else said, Coolidge did nothing to stop the growth of power by the Federal Reserve.

As have others, I would also pick Grover Cleveland as one of our best presidents, even though he apparently didn't do much for native Americans. Besides, how can you fault a morbidly obese, homely man who still manages to marry a hot wife, 32 years his junior (the first time he held her, Francis Cleveland was two weeks old.) Though forgotten, Francis Folsom Cleveland is also considered one of our greatest First Ladies.

The best non-president

Ron Paul is my president, though never elected to the Oval Office.

"I don't have the authority to run your life."—Ron Paul

Abraham Lincoln and FDR

These two presidents are considered by the main stream academia to be the number 1 or 2 or 3 presidents besides George Washington. Why is that?

For one, Abraham Lincoln is like the First Emperor of China, he united these States of the Americas and it became THE United States of America.

FDR on the other hand, is the founding father of the modern United Socialist States of America. So like George Washington, the first president of the once existed united States of America, they deserve special respect and memorial.

I am going with Washington

He was not perfect, but for all the standard reasons, he would be my pick. And as I commented below

And as you can see from my other comment here:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER has any major revolutionary leader (who won) other than Washington voluntary given up power. Caesar could not do it. Cromwell could not do it. Later the likes of Bonaparte could not do it. Lenin could not do it. Bonaparte even at some point asked something like "Did you expect me to be another Washington?"

And Washington did it not once but on multiple occasions.

Grover "Freaking" Cleveland

Libertarians love of Silent Cal is perplexing. This guy allowed the Central Bank to keep growing even though it was in its infancy and was directly responsible for the brutal enforcement of Prohibition laws.

Jefferson and Madison were definitely the best of the founders. Jackson was good... but he did kill a ton of Indians... And the last great president was Grover Cleveland - hands down.

The past hundred years have produced nothing but socialist, keynesian, tyrants.

So I only have four options?

I don't think there is only one anyway.

Each had their strong points and their weak moments.

Of the Founders and Framers, I'd say Jefferson and Madison were the best, in the next class, I'd say Jackson fits the bill. After that, probably only Coolidge merits any praise. The rest are either mediocre or down right horrendous.

No president is the best

So The one before Washington was the best.


There were 8 Presidents before Washington.

Try again.

But these were not the same thing

They were Presidents of Congress. More along the likes of the Speaker of the House.

Consider John Adams...over Washington?

Yes indeed. Here is a new look at why he could be more respected than Washington.

History justly gives enormous praise to George Washington for leaving office after 2 terms, when he could easily have been President for Life.

Everyone has a successor, even Turkmenbashi had a successor.

Why I really respect President John Adams is because he left office after being defeated. Not to make light, but anyone could leave like Washington did. But Pres. Adams PEACEFULLY LEFT OFFICE after being DEFEATED in the 1800 Election. Handed over the keys to the White House to Jefferson, and that was that. Back to Boston with you Old Farmer John!

HOLY WTF!?!?! A Head of State just up and leaves office and hands ultimate power over to his political rival and no heads were severed. The Adams-to-Jefferson transition alone puts Adams in the Top 10 for me. I know about Alien & Sedition, but I think its the most underrated gifts to America is Adams transition of power after being defeated in an election of paper slips filled out by farmers, I mean that is astonishing historical milestone for not only America, but Mankind.

"First rule of Government Spending: Why build one when you can have 2 at twice the price?"
-S.R. Hadden

Truly cool, but really tiny compared to Washington

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER has any major revolutionary leader (who won) other than Washington voluntary given up power. Caesar could not do it. Cromwell could not do it. Later the likes of Bonaparte could not do it. Lenin could not do it. Bonaparte even at some point asked something like "Did you expect me to be another Washington?"

And Washington did it not once but on multiple occasions.

Why would i consider the man

Why would i consider the man responsible for the Alien & Sedition act.

You a Correct Sir

I would put John Adams in a list of the worst 50 Presidents.