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Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : US Presidents

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  1. George Washington

    The United States’ first president George Washington (1789–97) was never greater than when he refused to interpret the position of president as equivalent to “king.”

    George Washington
  2. John Adams

    Adams (1797–1801) was among the young nation’s most experienced diplomats, having managed affairs in Europe. He was the first US vice president, under Washington.

  3. Thomas Jefferson

    Jefferson (1801–09) is remembered for his embrace of democracy and his opposition to federal power.

  4. James Madison

    Madison (1809–17) demurred when he was called “the Father of the Constitution,” stating that many minds had contributed, but there is little doubt that the Federalist Papers, which he co-authored, helped gain its ratification.

    James Madison
  5. Andrew Jackson

    The success of Jackson (1829–37) as a leader in the Battle of New Orleans in 1814–15 made him a national hero. His popularity helped him win battles with Congress and with private business interests over issues such as banking and tariffs.

  6. Abraham Lincoln

    Unquestionably one of the greatest ever political leaders in any nation, Lincoln (1861–5) overcame inexpressible odds in preserving the Union and beginning the process of freeing slaves.

    Abraham Lincoln
  7. Theodore Roosevelt

    The dawning of the 20th century brought an energetic and activist president to the helm. Roosevelt (1901–09) became famous for his military exploits in the Spanish-American war, but is best known for his opposition to business monopolies and pursuing a strong foreign policy. He also established the US national parks system.

  8. Woodrow Wilson

    Wilson (1913–21) was a quiet academic who faced the greatest foreign task the nation had seen – participation in World War I. Wilson successfully promoted a legislative program that controlled unfair business practices, reduced tariffs, forbade child labor, and improved the banking system.

  9. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Roosevelt’s (1933–45) efforts to overcome the Great Depression never succeeded in the broadest sense, but they inculcated the federal government with a respect for the rights and needs of the common man and the poorest of the poor. He led valiantly during World War II.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
  10. John F. Kennedy

    Kennedy (1961–3) brought an unprecedented style and flair to the presidency and can be credited with possibly the most important action of the 20th century – the prevention of nuclear war over Soviet missiles placed in Cuba. His assassination cut short his pursuit of a plan for progressive social programs, including more freedom and justice for African-Americans.

    Funeral of John F. Kennedy

Top 10 First Ladies

  1. Martha Washington

    Martha established the role of the First Lady imitated by her successors. She was famous for accompanying George on military campaigns.

  2. Dolley Madison

    Dolley’s social appeal helped her slightly awkward husband tremendously.

  3. Sarah Polk

    The wife of James K. Polk (1845–9) was a strong force in the administration, writing speeches for the president.

  4. Mary Todd Lincoln

    Mary’s pleasure at being First Lady was marred by the Civil War and her husband’s assassination in 1865.

  5. Caroline Harrison

    The wife of Benjamin Harrison (1889–93) founded the Daughters of the American Revolution.

  6. Grace Coolidge

    The wife of Calvin Coolidge (1923–9) had a charm and tact that made her one of America’s best-loved women.

  7. Eleanor Roosevelt

    Eleanor’s interests were equal rights and social justice. She greatly increased the diplomatic role of the First Lady.

  8. Jacqueline Kennedy

    A stylish socialite, Jackie was an instant hit with the public and visiting diplomats.

  9. Hillary Clinton

    Her early activism created friction with Congress, but her public popularity gave her influence. In 2000 she was elected to the Senate.

  10. Laura Bush

    A former librarian, the current First Lady has made universal literacy and funding of libraries a national goal.

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