I've been meaning to make this thread a while ago back during the 2012 Election. So Obama has been elected, and I watched the movie, Lincoln
, about a week ago. Made me think about our presidents and how well/badly they've done. So I thought it'd be nice to discuss and rate these presidents and maybe even learn a thing or two about American history.
The rules are as simple as the American grading system for secondary schools: you vote and give the president an A, B, C, D, or F. The criteria for the grading are indefinite but should include major ones like handling of foreign and domestic political affairs, handling of the economy, handling of the American people and society, overall legacy on America, etc. If criteria such as personality, wit, fashion, etc have to be counted, then please have them counted in only a minor way because the grade should be about how well the president did his job, not so much about what kind of person he was/is. And try to give some explanation for your final grade.
So, first up is Abraham Lincoln, whose recent biopic I actually enjoyed. But the obvious problem with Lincoln is that he's romanticized to such an extent that the real person is lost and replaced by an idealized image of him. Only a few Americans actually know that Lincoln was not the savior-saint that media paints him to be. He was incredibly shrewd and therefore hated by his enemies and some of his friends (Frederick Douglass even "hated" him). His initial, sole purpose for the Civil War was to preserve the Union, not to free the slaves. In fact he expressed his racist views many times before his election and stated that he would've preserved slavery or shipped all the slaves back to Africa if that meant preserving the Union. And the legality of his war against the Confedaracy is a whole 'nother, complicated issue.
However, I still think that he eventually grew into a good person and president. As a smart, strong, and tactical commander-in-chief, he did succeed in preserving the Union and abolishing slavery, which was seen as an impossible feat by many. He was also merciful and understanding (as opposed to being a brutal dictator) to the Confederate States, which could've helped the healing process for the Union if it wasn't for John Wilkes Booth's dumb ass. I'm guessing that the war also stimulated the economy. And lastly, he was one of the few presidents to start out poor and politically disadavntaged. He lived the American Dream (from rags to riches) and showed that the American president could be a "common man."
My Final Grade: A