Answer This: What Makes a Great President?

Looking deeply into the legacy of presidents to see which ones may not be as great as some supporters think.

Take a look at some of the presidents who are considered "great" by historians. Certain of their actions may have you rethinking their inclusion on the country's honor roll.


Andrew Jackson is considered by some historians as one of our greatest presidents, but he managed with an economy of effort to leave a legacy that included vetoing the recharter of the Bank of the United States. This set off a chain reaction of economic instability culminating in Jackson issuing an order that required buyers of public land to pay in gold, thereby precipitating the Panic of 1837.

Jackson's most notorious act in eight years of the presidency was his support of The Indian Removal Act. Jackson was responsible for the forced march of 15,000 Cherokees from Georgia to a reservation in Oklahoma. One out of four died en route on what is called the "Trail of Tears."

Thomas Jefferson said it well when he stated that Jackson “is a dangerous man.” But Jackson defined himself more specifically in 1821: “ I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way; but I am not fit to be president.”


After his inauguration, President Ronald Reagan placed a portrait of Calvin Coolidge in the Oval Office. He praised Coolidge’s political style andhands-off leadership for producing seven years of prosperity, peace, and balanced budgets.

This symbolic act foretold both the style and legacy of the Reagan presidency. In his first Inaugural Address, regarding the country's economic malaise Reagan stated, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”


Indeed, Coolidge’s policies were based on an almost religious belief in
doing nothing. Coolidge said it best: “It is much more important to kill bad bills
than to pass good ones.” “Don't you know that four fifths of all our troubles in
this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?”

Coolidge was also a worshipper of capitalism. Again, he said it clearly,  “The man who builds a factory builds a temple, that the man who works there worships there, and to each is due, not scorn and blame, but reverence and praise.” ,  and, “Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”

The economic collapse of the Great Depression were directly related to Coolidge’s
policies; a familiar recipe of tax cuts for the wealthy leading to an uneven
distribution of wealth, failure to aid the agricultural sector, the resultant bankruptcy of thousands rural banks, the loss of land by thousands of farmers and an adamant refusal to regulate business inevitably led to disaster.


Herbert Hoover, who followed Coolidge as president, reacted to the October 24 1929 stock market crash stating that, "the fundamental business of the country, that is production and distribution, is on a sound and prosperous basis.”

Hoover’s actions in the wake of the stock market crash were premised on his
belief that the economy faced a mere downturn rather than the prospect of
complete collapse. Likewise, Hoover's actions accorded with his faith in
voluntarism and rejected calls for more aggressive government actions (like relief bills or bond sales to fund unemployment benefits.) He opposed federal intervention in the economy or the construction of a welfare state.

Hoover wanted to close the federal government's budget deficit, which had grown during his presidency, by raising taxes. Hoover and his advisers did not want to raise taxes primarily on wealthy Americans and businesses because they were the job creator. Instead he wanted to spread tax increases between rich and poor Americans.

Congress passed (over Hoover's veto) the Bonus Bill in the winter of 1931.
The bill allowed veterans to borrow up to one-half the value of life insurance
policies that Congress had purchased in 1924; with the policies set to mature
in 1945. Early access to these funds came to be regarded as a

In the summer of 1932, several thousand unemployed men, many of them veterans of World War I, gathered and camped in Washington to demand immediate payment of war bonuses amid widespread sympathy for their plight.

On July 29, Hoover issued written orders to Chief of Staff MacArthur to clear and destroy the camp. The military led by MacArthur, and his assistant Dwight Eisenhower, attacked the veterans with tanks, tear gas, bayonets, and guns and burned the camps killing one bonus army member. Americans from around the nation saw the horrific images of the attack in their newspapers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Matt July 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Actually it is to generate advertising revenue. Every time one of these people comes back here to continue arguing, it increases the advertising income for Patch. These people are sitting at their desks hitting refresh over and over to see who has replied, and adding their own. The cash flow increases exponentially. For those of us who do not care about politics, it ruins the website. We have to sift through hundreds of these comments to find the one story we care about.
sebastian dangerfield July 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Mike atkins... Ill ne here waiting for your correcting links with respect to my contention that 50 ish % of americans dont pay taxed. If you discover im correct, and feel as though principles like honesty are something to vale ( liberals always want to assume the moral high ground...yet mysteriously vanish when personal morality is required)...you can issue an apology or acknowledgement. Im no fox news follower....but just because fox teports it doesnt mean its wro.g.
MAC July 11, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Michael shows blatant hypocrisy to write this: "Good job Russ. This site has long been a place you can bring facts or fears to the debate. I am with you. I sleep better with the facts no matter what they bring." He flatters his fellow traveler leftist, but totally ignore the "FACTS" he claims to want when they are posted by Donald, in much greater abundance, no less! Michael and his cohort do NOT really want facts, the TRUTH, such as that every big socialist, 'cradle-to-grave NANNY state' country is now BANKRUPT (such as Italy, Spain, and Greece) or soon to arrive there! If people really do not fear truth and facts, then they would read/listen to alternate sources instead of media matters, think progress etc. and turn to, for instance, TheBlaze.com, The American Spectator, Canada Free Press, TownHall.com, Breitbart.com and so many more on line sources of info which the msm totally igores.
MAC July 11, 2012 at 05:05 PM
More hypocrisy from the Obama acolytes: Jacobo wants "honesty and accountability" while slanderously accusing Romney of tax evasion and criminal activity. Romney has paid all of the taxes owed, wherever his investments are. He is a man of integrity, and his investments are in a "blind trust." Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on the other hand, is an angry hypocrite who herself has investments in Switzerland, and Valerie Jarret has money in Bermuda. Much more significantly, Obama has lied many times about his background and other promises he has made, and his STIMULUS sent 39 BILLIONS of our TAX $$$$ to FOREIGN countries!!!! His campaign has also outsourced jobs to India!!
Brigid July 11, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I continue to be amazed at how childish and churlish many of the comments in here are. Several of you folks would do well to go back to kindergarten and re-learn your manners. And Mr. Borsch, you are quite full of yourself.


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