Wikipedia Sortable List of Presidential Rankings
And this, from Lawyers, Guns, and Money
This is an Easy One
Ta-Nehisi Coates points us to this President’s Day question, and also gives us the right answer. I’ve discussed this before, but Grant is extremely underrated.
Teaching the Presidency this semester, I spent some time with my students going over this handy sortable list of presidential rankings by historians. Grant’s reputation is improving. But it’s hard to get a better example of the pernicious influence of the Dunning School than the fact that in the first Schlesinger poll in 1948, Grant ranked 28th out of 29 — below Buchanan, below Pierce — with Andrew Goddamned Johnson, the man who tried to govern as a Confederate after the Civil War despite not being elected, ranking 19th.
…Good point in comments about LBJ; I suppose it depends on the audience, but my sense (generally confirmed by the polls) is that LBJ is getting more of his due from historians. Incidentally, in the informal poll of my students, LBJ was only mentioned a couple times out of 15. JFK ranked 4th, behind Lincoln, FDR, and Washington.
This post was also published on MUSE '13