10 John F. Kennedy
He was not as great as many made him out to be, but the good he did outnumbers the bad. He makes the list for a few reasons. First, he did not allow the Soviets to set up a missile system in Cuba. This was an important tactical victory, but an even great physiological victory. I also give him high marks for daring to curtail the powers of the Federal Reserve. Many feel this is why he was killed, but we will likely never know. His greatest accomplishment was his vision for our space program. Without Kennedy I doubt there would have been a moon landing.
9 Abraham Lincoln
Some list put him at one, not mine. I'm a big states rights guy and Lincoln was no friend of the states. Never the less, he inherited a nightmare situation. The dirt bag Buchanan had run the nation into the ground. Many lesser Presidents would not have done what Lincoln did. Ultimately, he is Abe Lincoln; of course he is on the list!
8 Zackary Taylor
The hero of the war with Mexico was a solid supporter of states rights. He went so far as to let western territories govern themselves. Many criticize him from for not dealing with the slavery issue. They fail to realize that died early in office. No president in his right mind would push hard on such a divisive issue early in his presidency.
The 1950's were one of the most prosperous times in American history, and Eisenhower helped create this prosperity. He ended the Korean War with honor and kept us out of war. He (the general) warned of the dangers that would come from America’s creation of the growing military industrial complex. My only knock on Ike is the covert action in third world nations. These operations had long term negative consequences in many Muslim nations.
6 James Madison
The father of the Constitution did not disappoint as Commander and Chief. The War of 1812 (also known as the Second War for Independence) set him apart as one of our best. Once again America stood up to the most powerful nation on earth and did not flinch. While the war was not the complete victory many think it was, without Madison's leadership the Republic may not have survived.
5 James Monroe
A very famous town is named after him! He also sought to end political parties (one of the noblest things attempted by any President) but it did not occur. Like Coolidge he took a hands of approach in dealing with the economy. He also limited slavery in the western territories.
4 Calvin Coolidge
The man did everything right. Under his leadership America recovered from the depression created by Woodrow Wilson's policies. He oversaw the greatest standard of living increase of any nation in recorded history. The radio, refrigerator, and telephone became common household items. He lowered taxes, and oversaw a budget surplus. In policy, he was the most conservative President of the past 100 years.
3 Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson sought peace with the Native American's. Through the Louisiana Purchase he greatly expanded the borders of the nation. He fought hard to keep America free from a pernicious central banking system. He believed in the power of the state, and the rights of the individual. Policy wise he may have been the soundest president.
2 Ronald Reagan
I was torn about whom to put at two and three. In the end, it came down to having grown up with Reagan. I was a child during his presidency; it was like having a grandpa in the White House. He restored honor to the White House, and reversed many of Carters nightmare policies. Most of all he was known for standing up to the Soviets. He showed us exactly what Barry Goldwater mean when he called for peace through strength. He only did two things wrong: One record deficit spending, and amnesty for illegals.
1 George Washington
Without the other men on this list, America would be a very different nation. Without Washington, America is not a nation. If he is not one or two on your list, you need to learn more about him. I don't just view him as our best president; I think he is the greatest political leader in world history.
I would be interested to see who is in your top ten.