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Letter: Historians rank former presidents

Published: 7/8/2021 8:00:07 AM

Abraham Lincoln retains the top spot. Barack Obama comes in at #10. Ulysses S. Grant rises the most (from #33 in 2000 to #20 in 2021). Donald Trump scores near the bottom at #41. These are just a few highlights from the survey on presidential leadership released by C-SPAN.

The survey was completed by a cross-section of 142 historians and professional observers of the presidency. Each president received an overall rank, based on rankings for each president in 10 separate leadership characteristics. (Trump, for example, was ranked last among former presidents in moral leadership and administrative skills, and second to last in international relations.) Complete survey results are online, along with the survey’s methodology, leadership characteristics, and participating historians. There’s analysis and commentary there too at

Dan Adams



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