Top 10 Presidents in US History, According to Historians

  1. In a survey of over 100 historians and biographers, Abraham Lincoln was chosen as the best president in US on ten leadership attributes.

 Notable best Presidents in US were George Washington, number two; John F. Kennedy, number eight; and Barack Obama, number twelve.

  1. Although Donald Trump is not included in the poll, prior national surveys show that registered voters see him as enthusiastic but not calm.

 Historians agree: Abraham Lincoln was the best US president.

President in US History

Nearly 100 historians and biographers ranked 43 Presidents in US in C-most SPAN’s recent Presidential Historians Survey, conducted in 2017. Because the survey is published after a serving president’s term ends, C-SPAN will almost certainly include incumbent President Donald Trump in the next round of rankings once he leaves office.

 Even though the COVID-19 outbreak has eclipsed the customary election enthusiasm, President Trump has continued campaigning and hosting reelection rallies around the country. On June 22, 2020, he spoke to an arena of around 6,200 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, followed by a demonstration of 3,000 people in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 23[1].

According to a Pew Research Center national survey released on June 30, the incumbent president is lagging behind his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, with just months until the November election. According to the study, 54% of registered voters prefer Biden or “lean toward voting for him” if the election were conducted right now, while 44% back President Trump.

In terms of personal attributes, Americans questioned believe President Trump is more daring and dynamic than Biden, while Biden is more honest, even-tempered, and a decent role model.

Here are the top 10 presidents in US History, according to historians:

1- George H. W. Bush (41st president) was highly regarded for handling foreign affairs

George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away on November 30 at 94.

 He was the country’s longest-serving president and a statesman whose devotion to his country extended his whole adult life. Before becoming president, he held positions ranging from Navy pilot to CIA director to vice president of the United States.

As president from 1989 to 1993, Bush contributed to the growth of liberty and free markets. The West won the Cold War, and the Berlin Wall was down, resulting in a united Germany. Bush also signed two accords that significantly reduced the risk of nuclear conflict.


Bush’s mastery of international policy was a defining feature of his administration. After Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, Bush formed an influential coalition of nations to uphold international law. When the Gulf War finished in early 1991, with the alliance defeating the Iraqi aggressors, Bush received widespread public support. Later that year, Bush hosted the Madrid Peace Conference to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and he worked closely with foreign colleagues to foster peace and prosperity throughout his presidency[2].

 Domestically, Bush collaborated with Congress to establish the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act, both of which were historic civil rights and environmental measures.

He advocated for volunteers throughout the United States, claiming that “there could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.”

Note: During his presidency, Bush undertook military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf.

2- Bill Clinton (the 42nd President) earned excellent economic management marks

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, born William Jefferson Clinton, was the 42nd President of the United States from January 20, 1993, until January 19, 2001.

 His supporters argue that while his president, the United States experienced the lowest unemployment and inflation rates in recent history, high house ownership, low crime rates, and a budget surplus. Despite dealing with a Republican-controlled Congress, they credit him with eliminating the federal debt and reforming welfare[3].

His opponents argue that Clinton cannot be blamed for the economic prosperity that occurred during his scandal-plagued presidency because other factors caused it. In fact, many blame his policies for the 2007 financial catastrophe.

What was Bill Clinton famous for?

Clinton presided over the country’s longest era of peacetime economic boom in history. He signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act into law but failed to pass his national health care reform proposal.

3- John Adams (the second president) was highly regarded for his “moral authority”

John Adams
John Adams

 John Adams (1735-1826) was a leader of the American Revolution and the second President of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Adams, born in Massachusetts and educated at Harvard, began his career as a lawyer. Adams, intelligent, patriotic, outspoken, and frank, became a critic of British power in colonial America, seeing high taxes and tariffs as an instrument of tyranny[4].

 He was a delegate to the Continental Congress in the 1770s. In the 1780s, Adams worked as a diplomat in Europe, where he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris (1783), officially concluding the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). Adams was America’s first vice president from 1789 through 1797. He then became the country’s second president. Thomas Jefferson defeated him for re-election to a second term (1743-1826). His writings to his wife, Abigail Adams, painted a vivid picture of his time among the Founding Fathers.

What is John Adams best known for?

After serving as the first Vice President under President George Washington, John Adams was elected as the second President of the United States (1797-1801).

4- Barack Obama (44th president) received excellent marks for his commitment to equitable justice

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States and the inaugural African American President. He was elected over Senator John McCain of Arizona. Obama, a former Illinois senator whose campaign slogans included “Change we can believe in” and “Yes we can,” was subsequently elected for a second term against Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

What is Barack Obama well-known for?

During his first two years in office, Obama signed several historic measures into law. The primary changes include the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. 

5- Historians rate Woodrow Wilson (the 28th president) favourably for his “vision”

Historians rate Woodrow Wilson
Historians rate Woodrow Wilson

 Woodrow Wilson was the United States 28th President. He was president for two terms, from 1913 to 1921. Wilson was a Progressive Democrat who believed in the federal government’s ability to uncover corruption, regulate the economy, prohibit unethical corporate activities, and improve society’s overall situation[5].

 What was Woodrow Wilson famous for?

 Woodrow Wilson, a Progressive Movement leader, was the 28th President of the United States (1913-1921). Wilson brought America into Globe Conflict I after a policy of neutrality at the outset of the war to “make the world safe for democracy.”

 The First World War dominated Wilson’s second time in office. Though Wilson ran on the slogan “He kept us out of war,” growing German aggressiveness made it difficult for the US to remain neutral.

6- John F. Kennedy (35th president) was highly rated for public persuasion

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963) was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from 1961 until his murder towards the conclusion of his third year in office. He was frequently referred to by his initials JFK and the nickname Jack. Kennedy was the youngest person to be elected president. At the end of his presidency, he was also the youngest president.  Kennedy was president during the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his time in office was spent dealing with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Before becoming president, he served as a Democrat in both chambers of the United States Congress[6].

What is John F. Kennedy most known for?

 John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States from 1961 to 1963 and was the youngest person elected to the position. JFK was killed in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, just through his first thousand days in office, becoming the youngest President to die. 

7- Harry S. Truman (33rd president) was commended for his crisis management and pursuit of fair justice for all

Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman

After Franklin D. Roosevelt died in April 1945, Harry S. Truman became the 33rd President of the United States after just 83 days as Vice President. Martin Luther King lauded Truman’s civil rights accomplishments until 1960 when Truman made slanderous accusations tying sit-in protests to communism.

Truman was Famous for?

The Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884. Truman worked several jobs after graduating from high school in 1901. When his family could not afford to send him to college, until serving in the Missouri National Guard in 1907. Truman was released as a corporal in 1911. Shortly after the United States entered World War I, he volunteered in the Missouri Field Artillery, serving in France and earning the lieutenant colonel[7].

8-  Andrew Jackson (the seventh president) had considerable public persuasion during his presidency

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the first president to be elected from a state west of the Appalachian Mountains. He benefited from and was ostensibly the leader of a key political movement afterwards dubbed “Jacksonian Democracy” to describe the shift from gentry dominance of American politics to greater citizen involvement. With his unique use of the veto power as president, Jackson expanded the authority and scope of the office.

What did Andrew Jackson know for?

He was the first Tennesseean elected to the House of Representatives and served briefly in the Senate. Jackson, a critical general in the War of 1812, became a national hero after defeating the British at New Orleans.

9- Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd president) received great marks for public persuasion and foreign relations management

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elect as the nation’s 32nd president in 1932, he was in his second term as governor of best news for New York. With the country in the grip of the Great Depression, Roosevelt stepped quickly to restore public confidence, declaring a bank holiday and communicating directly to the people through radio broadcasts or “fireside chats.” His ambitious New Deal initiatives and reforms reshaped the federal government’s position in Americans’ lives.

FDR was re-elected by wide margins in 1936, 1940, and 1944, leading the United States from isolationism to World War II triumph over Nazi Germany and its allies. He was the driving force behind the victorious wartime alliance of Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. He helped build the framework for the post-war peace organization that would become the United Nations. Roosevelt, the first American president to be elect four times, died in office in April 1945.

 What is Franklin D. Roosevelt best known for?

As the dominant leader of his party, he established the New Deal Coalition, which defined contemporary liberalism in the United States for the next three decades. World War II dominated his third and fourth tenures, which concluded shortly after he died in office.

10- Abraham Lincoln (16th president) is known for his crisis leadership, administrative abilities, vision, and pursuit of fair justice for all

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught lawyer, lawmaker, and outspoken opponent of slavery. They was elect as the 16th President of the United States in November 1860, just before the Civil War broke out. Lincoln prove to be an astute military strategist and astute leader: his Emancipation Proclamation cleared the ground for eradicating slavery, and his Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous pieces of oratory in American history. Abraham Lincoln was kill by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth in April 1865, with the Union on the verge of victory. Because of his assassination, Lincoln became a martyr for the cause of liberty, and he is primarily recognize as one of the greatest Presidents in US history.

What is Abraham Lincoln most well-known for?

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln was elect as the 16th President of the United States. In 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all enslaved people in the Confederacy free for all time.

Best (And Worst) Presidents in US In History According To Historians

According to historians, here is a comprehensive ranking of US presidents[8].

Top 5

  1.     Abraham Lincoln (Consensus)
  2.     George Washington
  3.     FDR
  4.     Teddy Roosevelt
  5.     Dwight D. Eisenhower

Bottom 5

  1. James Buchanan
  2. Andrew Johnson
  3. Franklin Pierce
  4. Donald Trump
  5. William Henry Harrison

Notable Names

  1. Thomas Jefferson
  2. JFK
  3. Ronald Reagan
  4. Barack Obama
  5. Bill Clinton
  6. Jimmy Carter
  7. Richard Nixon


  •   US Grant
  •   George W. Bush
  •   Dwight D. Eisenhower


  •   Zach Taylor
  •   Woodrow Wilson
  •   Grover Cleveland
  •   Rutherford B. Hayes
  •   Andrew Jackson


According to a Pew Research Center national survey released on June 30, the incumbent president lags behind his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, with just months until the November election. According to the study, 54% of register voters prefer Biden or “lean toward voting for him” if the election were conduct right now, while 44% back President Trump.

George Washington was rank second, and Franklin D. Roosevelt was ranked third. George H. W. Bush was rank No. 20, ahead of his son George W. Bush, who was rank No. 33. Other prominent commanders in chief were John F. Kennedy at number eight, Ronald Reagan at nine, and Barack Obama at twelve.

While some historians were unsurprised that Obama didn’t rank higher on the list — “That Obama came in at No. 12 his first time out is quite impressive,” Rice University’s Douglas Brinkley said. 


[1] Rachel Gillett, Laura Casado, Top 25 US presidents Jul 2, 2020, by Insider []

[2] George H.W. Bush, president of the United States, 2020 BY Britannica[]

[3] Bill Clinton summary by Britannica,2020[]

[4] John Adm Bigraohy by Hisotry 2009 []

[5] Woodrow Wilson Biography by Britannica, 2021[]

[6] John F. Kennedy Biography by Britannica, 2021[]

[7]  Alfred Steinberg, Harry S. Truman president of United States,2020 by Britannica[]

[8] Grant Piper, The Best (And Worst) Presidents In History According To Historians by 2019[]

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