Ulysses S. Grant rode his popularity to political power.
Madison gave no sign in his pre-presidential career that he would flourish in the chief magistracy, and he lived up to expectations.
Lincoln’s navigation of the secession crisis and ensuing Civil War can legitimately be described as unprepared at best, and at moments susceptible to severe strategic missteps.
In foreign affairs, the Arthur administration was as devoid of accomplishment as almost any in American history.
Johnson’s actions in Southeast Asia are undoubtedly the most notorious aspect of his presidency, both in popular memory and mainstream histories.
Monroe was not a deep thinker, as were Jefferson and Madison, nor was he the charismatic leader that Washington was.
Grover Cleveland was undoubtedly the most classical liberal President the United States has ever had, but even he still committed many blunders.
Hailed at his passing as “the most successful one-term president in the nation’s history,” George H.W. Bush has a far better claim to being the most destructive.
Although Van Buren himself was an effective politician, his years as president prompted scholars to rank Van Buren’s presidency as average, grouped among some of the least-effective and forgettable presidents in U.S. history
Clinton was an internationalist and believed in an activist American presence abroad, but he was unable to create a comprehensive doctrine to guide the United States into the 21st century.