Lincoln ranked best U.S. president by historians |

Lincoln ranked best U.S. president by historians

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON ” Just days after the nation honored the 200th anniversary of his birth, 65 historians ranked Abraham Lincoln as the nation’s best president.

Former President George W. Bush, who left office last month, was ranked 36th out of the 42 men who had been chief executive by the end of 2008, according to a survey conducted by the cable channel C-SPAN.

Bush scored lowest in international relations, where he was ranked 41st, and in economic management, where he was ranked 40th. His highest ranking, 24th, was in the category of pursuing equal justice for all. He was ranked 25th in crisis leadership and vision and agenda setting.

In contrast, Lincoln was ranked in the top three in each of the 10 categories. In C-SPAN’s only other ranking of presidents, in 2000, former President Bill Clinton jumped six spots from No. 21 to 15. Other recent presidents moved positions as well: Ronald Reagan advanced from No. 11 to 10, George H.W. Bush rose from No. 20 to 18 and Jimmy Carter fell from No. 22 to 25.

This movement illustrates that presidential reputations are influenced by present-day concerns, said survey adviser and participant Edna Medford.

“Today’s concerns shape our views of the past, be it in the area of foreign policy, managing the economy or human rights,” Medford said in a statement.

After Lincoln, the academics rated George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman as the best leaders overall. The same five received top spots in the 2000 survey, although Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt swapped spots this year.

Rated worst overall were James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and Warren G. Harding.

The survey was conducted in December and January. Participants ranked each president on a scale of one, “not effective” to 10, “very effective,” on a list of 10 leadership qualities including relations with Congress, public persuasion and moral authority.

How they fared

Presidential rankings according to 65 historians and professional observers.

President 2009 2000

A. Lincoln 1 1

G. Washington 2 3

F.D. Roosevelt 3 2

T. Roosevelt 4 4

H.Truman 5 5

J. Kennedy 6 8

T. Jefferson 7 7

D. Eisenhower 8 9

W. Wilson 9 6

R. Reagan 10 11

L. Johnson 11 10

J. Polk 12 12

A. Jackson 13 13

J. Monroe 14 14

B. Clinton 15 21

W. McKinley 16 15

J. Adams 17 16

G.H.W. Bush 18 20

J.Q. Adams 19 19

J. Madison 20 18

G. Cleveland 21 17*

G. Ford 22 23

U. Grant 23 33

W. Taft 24 24

J. Carter 25 22

C.Coolidge 26 27

R. Nixon 27 25

J. Garfield 28 29

Z. Taylor 29 28

B. Harrison 30 31

M. Van Buren 31 30

C. Arthur 32 32

R. Hayes 33 26

H. Hoover 34 34

J. Tyler 35 36

G.W. Bush 36 NA

M. Fillmore 37 35

W. Harding 38 38

W. H. Harrison 39 37

F. D. Pierce 40 39

A. Johnson 41 40

J. Buchanan 42 41

-Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president.