The top 20 presidents in US history, according to historians
It should come as little surprise to anyone that, for the third time in a row, historians agree that Abraham Lincoln was the best U.S. President.
But what about our newest former president?
As part of C-SPAN's third Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership, almost 100 historians and biographers rated the 43 former presidents on ten qualities of presidential leadership: Public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with congress, vision, pursued equal justice for all, and performance within the context of his times.
Scores in each category were then averaged, and the ten categories were given equal weighting in determining the presidents' total scores.
Notable top presidents include George Washington at No.2, Thomas Jefferson at No. 7, and Barack Obama at No. 12.
While some historians weren't entirely surprised Obama didn't rank higher on the list — "That Obama came in at No. 12 his first time out is quite impressive," Douglas Brinkley of Rice University says — others were surprised by his lower-than-expected leadership rankings, including No. 7 in moral authority and No. 8 in economic management.
"But, of course, historians prefer to view the past from a distance, and only time will reveal his legacy," Edna Greene Medford of Howard University said.
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