I’ve been thinking lately at the Presidents who are carved into Mt. Rushmore. I started wondering, “Hmm, if I had my pick, which Presidents would I put on Mt. Rushmore?”. So, I decided to come up with my own list of four. You may agree or disagree. Feel free to comment below.
First of all, to refresh everyone’s memory (I had to do this when I first started thinking about it), the four Presidents depicted on the side of Mt. Rushmore are, in chronological order, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Second of all, my list includes none of these Presidents. I was tempted to include George Washington, simply because he had so much to do with our victory in the Revolutionary War, and because he was opposed to political parties. I was also tempted to include Thomas Jefferson, because he authored one of the greatest documents in human history, the Declaration of Independence.
But, I had to exclude both of them because I decided to set certain criteria for my list — 1) I would choose 4 Presidents based strictly on their performance in office, not on any achievements prior to taking office. 2) How well did the President stick to the Oath of Office, which reads: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Notice that the Oath says to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. It does not say that the President should stick his nose into the business of every other Nation on the planet. That would be (and is) unconstitutional. It does not say to get the US involved in or start any wars in which we have no business, which includes the majority of wars in American history. There’s no room for that in the Constitution, either. 3) Even though the work on Mt. Rushmore was started in 1927, and finished up in 1939, I decided that I would consider all Presidents for the purpose of my list.
So, my list includes Presidents who, in my opinion, stuck to the Constitution better than either Washington or Jefferson, and certainly better than Lincoln or T. Roosevelt. I will include some basic information about each President, including a very brief reason why he’s on my list. I will also include each President’s rank according to 65 historians and professional observers of the presidency surveyed by the cable channel C-SPAN (Their rankings are as of 2009). So, without any fanfare or drum rolls, my list appears below (in chronological order), so get ready to send your hate mail!
- Martin van Buren (8th President, 1837-1841, Democratic) — President van Buren avoided war with Canada over the border with Maine, supported gold and silver standards, and generally stayed out of the People’s way, which is a good thing. He is ranked 31st on the C-SPAN list.
- Chester A. Arthur (21st President, 1881-1885, Republican) — President Arthur was a non-interventionist who balanced the budget during his term in office. Generally speaking, he accomplished very little as President, which I think is a good thing, because it means he really didn’t screw anything up! He is ranked 32nd on the C-SPAN list.
- Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President, 1885-1889, 1893-1897, Democratic) —President Cleveland was the only President to serve 2 non-consecutive terms. He was Mr. Veto, because he vetoed a ton of legislation. He didn’t feel it was right to spend the People’s money on things not authorized in the Constitution (quite a novel idea, considering what our government has become!). He also supported the gold standard, another good thing. In my opinion, he’s the best President in American history. He is ranked 21st on the C-SPAN list.
- Calvin Coolidge (30th President, 1923-1929, Republican) — President Coolidge, like President Arthur, didn’t try to accomplish too much. He did grant citizenship to Native American Indians (about time!). He also paid off federal debt (another novel idea considering that now we’re constantly increasing the debt limit, and leaving horrific bills for our great-grandchildren!). In my opinion, he’s the best President of the 20th century. He is ranked 26th on the C-SPAN list, behind Jimmy Carter and in front of Richard M. Nixon. He certainly deserves better than to be sandwiched between those two!
So, there you have it — my list of Mt. Rushmore Presidents. What does your list look like? Would it be the same as it currently stands, even if you could include any President on the list? Feel free to comment and let Bohicaville know what you think.
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Chester A. Arthur, constitution of the united states, George Washington, Grover Cleveland, Martin van Buren, Mt. Rushmore, oath of office, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, US Presidents |