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.”
2. JOHN ADAMS
Adams (1797-1801) was among the young nation's most experienced diplomats, hav-
ing 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.
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 pro-
cess of freeing slaves.