Down history lane, the U.S has had so many outstanding presidents. Among them are George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harry S Truman, George Bush and the current president Barack Obama. In their arrival to power, different administrations find that the socio political and economic issues of the nation differ. Examples of issues include the need for freedom of independence, world wars, world economic depression, cold wars among others.Thus the president will be considered strong or weak basing on how his admistration handled both the domestic policies in the state and foreign policies in the international arena. The president that leaves a legacy by offering a great credit in terms of preserving or protecting the U.S national interests be it domestic or the international arena through adopting relevant mechanisms or policies that suit the needs of the nation, is credited as the strong leader and vice versa. Consequently, this paper is largely going to look at one of the U.S’ strongest presidents and one who has been considered weakest basing on various assessment criteria that would be given in this paper. This paper will first kick off by looking at the strongest president and the assessment of why he is considered strong then later look at the weakest president and the basis of this consideration.
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As one of the world’s greatest orators, Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘’With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations” (Hanser 32). Therefore I will look at Abraham Lincoln as the strongest U.S president and the assessement of him being considered strongest president in the U.S.The assessment will look at how his administration managed the domestic and international affairs. A quick history reminds us that Abraham Lincoln was a self made leader who struggled to seek for knowledge until he became the country lawyer. Thus it is quick to note that during the Abraham Lincoln administration the United States was experiencing the problem of internal crisis of cession which was particularly manifested in the American civil war, his effort of uniting the union of the member states and the efforts of ending the slavery in the United States.
The Abraham administration focused politically as well as militarily dwelt in re examining the strategies of how to unite the country due to effects of the threats of eleven members to the union wanted to secede from the union.Through the powers vested in him by the constitution unprecedentaly quashed the secessionist movements which was culminated through the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that paved way for the amendment of the constitution of the united states that abolished the slavery in the U.S.The amendment that gave to that effect was a 13th one ever so made on supreme law of the United States of America. That amendment helped Abraham Lincolns administration to deal with the issue of ending the expansion of slavery in the United States at the border slave states by ensuring that senior and top military command generals were commissioned with heavy defence mission to control such slave border states. He controlled those states by appointing the generals who were to man such states (Hanser 75). For instance Abraham Lincoln appointed general Ulysses Grant among other prominent military generals were appointed to control and capture the confederate capital at Richmond during the American civil war.Importantantly we learn that Abraham Lincoln ensured that his cabinet were coerced in implementing the policies of his government especially when the Union was facing the secession from the confederate southern states which complained that they were being over exploited by the well industrialized northern states which were well vast with minerals and well established industries (Flaxman 72).
Thus the assessment of Abraham Lincoln as the strongest president that United states remains cemented in place in the sense that he overcame all criticisms from the left wing radical republicans who were against his moderate faction. Republicans had wanted a harsh action to be taken against the south democrats who were yarning for a compromise in the handling of the southerners who viewed the president as their stambling block in dealing with the secessionist. Abraham Lincoln reacted to such issues by taking a patronage view through the use of his gifted power of speech to appeal to his fellow country men and women to avoid pitting each other. Instead, he urged them to put the matters of national interest first and disregard racial and personal and selfish interest. Thus in his speech addressed at Gettysburg in 1863 showed how the U.S had embraced the focus on sound democratic principles like equal rights, freedom of liberty and the meaning of democracy were famous. The introduction of the policy of reconstruction in a moderate approach in order to heal the past injustice by encouraging the Americans to forget their past war experience and focus on the nation building made him to ranked as the best U.S president by the scholars of political scientists.
Next the paper now focuses on the weakest U.S president through the assessment in terms of how the domestic or foreign policies were managed. Before being elected as the 18th president of the United States Ulysses S. Grant had some great achievement in his military. For instance, during an early outbreak of the American civil war he was a colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry that gave him victory in the capture of Fort Donelson,in Tennessee in 1862. As a major general he emerged in other battle victories.He became the commander of all union forces and after which in 1865 he served as the secretary of war (1867-8).During the ascend to higher office Ulysses Grant as the president was considered as the poorest president in U.S by the historian scholars. It was noted that Ulysses Grant government involved in the scams that greatly affected the management of his government the examples of the scandals include Belknap bribery of 1876 which was initiated by Grant’s secretary of war who took money at Indian posts from the Indian traders ,Black Friday scandal (1869) whereby Jay Gould and James Fisk bought large stocks of gold in the market reducing its value.This forced the Grant government to add more gold on the market economy with the soul purpose of reducing the price which affected many business in the country.
On the other hand Ulysses Grant administration failed in the reconstruction policies like for instance the federal troops occupied the South which was renowned for their attempts to pull away from the other confederal member states that formed up the union whose reason ranged from economic, social and political factors (Carpenter 27). He also launched war on states that denied the black race from voting.His administration made amendments that equipped people with voting rights despite the race. Further more in 1875, the Civil Rights Act came into effect enabling African Americans the freedom to access freely the social utilities However, the law was ruled unconstitutional in 1883.Lastly Grant administration was hit severe economic depression which led many businesses to collapse hence creating un employment crisis in the country during that period.
In conclusion it is quite clear to note how the two presidents handled the domestic affairs of the state. The proper management depends on the political will of the leader which gives a stronger president and vice versa.
Carpenter, John A. Ulysses S. Grant. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1970
Flaxman, Andrew. Great Thinkers of American History: A Study of the Spirit of Freedom and Liberty Through the Lives of Franklin and Lincoln. New York: Gifted Education Press, 1989.
Hanser, Richard. Meet Mr. Lincoln. Golden Press, 1960