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Most Influential Presidents in US History

Of all the men who have run this country, it is a tough choice to rank presidents. Based on the mark that they left on the American timeline, here are the top most influential presidents in US history.

By Sherry CampbellPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

A very popular debate among historians and Americans alike comes the discussion on who are the best and the worst of US presidents. American presidents have proved that with much power demands courage.

Modern history highlights those individuals who held the power of the presidency. Most people have their favorite, is yours on the list? Achievements, qualities, failures, and recoveries all come into considering with which presidents rank among the rest.

Though many of these presidents will come with no surprise, historians have ranked the most influential presidents in US history. But why?

Abraham Lincoln

One of the most influential presidents in US history, the 16th president was an extremely dominant political leader as he lead the United States through the Civil War. Not only did he develop banks, canals, railroads, and the economy, but he began the journey to the end of slavery.

Some may even argue that he was the most influential president in US history. He served his country until his assassination on April 14, 1865. He is remembered with American icons such as the Lincoln Memorial and the five dollar bill. President Grant took over the position for the remainder of the term.

Franklin Roosevelt

The 32nd president led America during an economic depression that was worldwide. He led the Allies during World War II against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin aided him in his position as leader. However, he died just before the end of the war in 1945. Federal programs such as Social Security were introduced under her term. He was also the president to serve for the longest time, being elected four times.

George Washington

Of course our first to take office was one of the most influential presidents in US history. George Washington was commander in chief throughout the American Revolution. Considered one of the founding fathers, Washington wanted to create a strong national government that was financially stable. He also changed the Articles of Confederation with the United States Constitution draft.

His legacy is still strong with memorials like the Washington Monument, the one dollar bill, Mount Rushmore, and many more.

Thomas Jefferson

One of the main authors of The Declaration of the Independence, Thomas Jefferson is clearly one of the top most influential presidents in US history. Before even taking office he was America's first secretary of state. As a founding father, he created the Democratic-Republican Party with James Madison. The third president also began the Revolution of 1800, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Louisiana Purchase. And finally, the first foreign war was fought under his power.

Harry S. Truman

Originally Franklin Roosevelt's vice president, Harry S Truman took the 33rd term as America's president. During his time, Truman successfully lead the United States through the end of World War II. This included the introduction of the atomic bomb, using them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After this, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe was created as well as the introduction of the Korean War. He was one of the most influential presidents in US history.

John F. Kennedy

As the second youngest and 35th President of the US, John F Kennedy was the only president to win the Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage. Kennedy might have been known for being a narcissist, but this isn't uncommon among politicians.

Works including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Apollo project, and the African-American Civil Rights Movement were all initiated under the Kennedy term. He was also the first Catholic president. Kennedy served his country until his assassination that shocked the world in November 1963.

Theodore Roosevelt

At 42 years old, Theodore was not only one of the most influential presidents in US history, but the youngest. He founded the Progressive Party and was a very influential leader to the Republican party under his two terms. His Pure Food and Drug Act helped with consumer protections. He also created the first of national parks and pursued a foreign policy.

Woodrow Wilson

While leading the country into World War I, Woodrow Wilson campaigned to create a global alliance. As a leader of the Democratic Party, he began the Progressive Movement, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Federal Reserve Act, and the Federal Farm Loan Act. The 28th President of the United State was re-elected in 1916 as he declared war against Nazi Germany.

Ronald Reagan

As one of the most influential presidents in US history, Ronald Reagan's policies were often known as Reaganomics. This included reduced tax rates and controlled money supply. He helped end the Cold War after countless years, led an invasion in Grenada, and increased the War on Drugs.

Reagan also elected for a second term with his slogan "Morning in America" which symbolized the country's brand new beginning. Reagan also made nuclear weapon cuts and took on the PATCO by firing over 11,000 controllers of the federal air traffic controllers union.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama was elected as the first black president in November 2008. Though he did not bring the country from a world war, depression, or civil war, he is still considered one of the most influential presidents in US history.

Obama conducted a health care reform with 7 to 10 million American able to acquire health insurance, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, shrunk the military-industrial complex, and took huge stances on human rights problems like marriage equality and gun control. He also set up the Democratic Party for success after his terms came to a close.

Though he was considered one of the most polarizing presidents to take office, this does not stop him from remaining influential in history.


About the Creator

Sherry Campbell

Second grade teacher by day, at home therapist for two middle school daughters by night.

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    Sherry CampbellWritten by Sherry Campbell

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