Historians rate Jefferson seventh-best president

He may be #1 in Charlottesville's heart, but there are six others ahead of Thomas Jefferson when it comes to asking historians to rank the 43 Presidents of the United States. According to a new survey of American academics from C-SPAN, Mr. Jefferson comes in at #7, just ahead of Dwight D. Eisenhower and behind John F. Kennedy. Staunton native Woodrow Wilson comes in at #9, Albemarle resident James Monroe gets the #14 slot, and Orange's own James Madison cracks the top half at #20. Abraham Lincoln tops the list, while the profs rated James Buchanan the worst of all time.


Didn't Jefferson grow cannabis???

Dear Mike,

According to the folks at Monticello, Jefferson grew hemp for its utility as a fabric:


Thanks for reading.

Lindsay Barnes

Hey thanks man!
I actually did some research of my own on the subject and ran across something quite interesting...


This ranks up there with the snub of Leroi at the Grammies! How dare these "academics" downgrade TJ's rightful spot at the Pinnacle of Greatness!

I can't imagine why JFk is 6th unless the space program got him huge increase. He got us into Vietnam for goodness sake.

Kennedy dealt with a number of crises with aplomb and, had he survived, he probably would have managed the crisis in Vietnam with far more finesse than LBJ did. However, it is his early death that helps explain his lofty rating. I agree that he probably shouldn't be higher than Jefferson.

Had he lived longer there is ample evidence and speculation that his reputation would have been severely damaged by revelations of his lifestyle; a lifestyle that was severely whitewashed in the immediate aftermath of his early death.

Really? We can't think of ANY reason why TJ's reputation is in decline? There's practically an industry now devoted to representing him solely as a horny slave-schtupper. We're lucky he even made the top ten considering.

Then again, Steven Spielberg is making a Lincoln pic with Liam Neeson in the main role and Sally Field as nutty ol' Mary Todd. If Harvey Fierstein appears as Joshua Speed - LOL - we'll definitely topple Lincoln.

Historians are already beginning to judge President G.W. Bush's presidency. 7th worst president of all time, worst president since Warren G. Harding, and 25th best at crisis management. Ouch.

Of course, there seem to be ample contemporary reasons why Dubya will likely go down in history as an inept, incompetent, bad president. First, there's the squandering of the budget surpluses to pay for tax breaks to benefit the wealthy (a resumption of Reagan's supply-side economic policies). Then, there are the big budget deficits that followed....in eight short years, Dubya more than doubled the national debt. The there is the failure to act on the PDB of August, 6, 2001 ("Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US"), manufacured intelligence, and the contrived war in Iraq (no trace of WMD). Next, the convoluted Justice Department legal memos redefining torture (it's not torture unless it causes organ failure or death). And illegal spying on American citizens. And the firing of federal (and Republican!) prosecutors for not engaging in political persecution. And the rewriting or deletion of scientific data (especially in regard to endangered species and global warming). And botching the war in Afghanistan...and in Iraq. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there's the utter mismanagement of the economy; never submitting a balanced budget, deregulating big business, and acting too little and too late to confront the rising tide of recession. If there were a Comedy & Tragedy category for ranking presidents, perhaps Bush would be #1.