As per some historians and political scientists if we rate all the Presidents through Jimmy Carter in five categories like leadership qualities, accomplishments/crisis management, political skills, appointments, and character/integrity, then at the top of the list we would find the name of Abraham Lincoln. Next to him will follow Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman.
None of these Presidents could compete with Lincoln in any category according to the rate scale. Roosevelt was given the second place because he could not match up to the character of Lincoln. Washington, ranked third as he lacked in political skills. There is no doubt that the average Americans would probably put Lincoln at the top of the list. Overall, it can be seen that historians and the public’s combined judgment tells us that, however, it is the general opinion of pollsters that the average American would probably also place Lincoln at the top. In other words, the verdict of historians and the public shows us that, by any measure, Abraham Lincoln was our nation’s greatest President.
Even a year later, when Lincoln was in a doubt if he would win or lose his bid for re-election not much could be said about him. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse and a week later Lincoln died.
Lincoln’s canonization began immediately. Within few days of his death, his life was being compared to that of Jesus Christ. Lincoln was portrayed as a self-made man, the liberator of the slaves, and the savior of the Union who had sacrificed his life to make others free. President Lincoln got the name Father Abraham, a mythological hero, a protector to African Americans, and a child of God sent to save the Union. His humor represented as an example of his humanity; his uncountable pardons showed his great soul.
Historians, keeping in mind Lincoln’s mythic place in American culture, praise him for what he accomplished and for how he did that. He was so much committed in preserving the Union and its people. He understood if we want to cut slavery from its roots, we required patience and wise calculations. Lincoln managed and balanced the whole process of saving the Union and killing slavery to create a more perfect Union in terms of liberty and economic equality.
No president like Lincoln in American history has turned the role of the president as chief commander and chief executive into a potentially powerful position , making the president supreme across both Congress and the courts. He called out state militias, enlarged the army and navy, spent $2 million without Congressional appropriation, demilitarised Southern ports, closed post offices for treasonous communications, suspended habeas corpus in some areas, ordered the arrest and detention of the of suspected traitors and Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day 1863 was issued. Immediately his activism began like this after Fort Sumter.
He made war without any declaration of war, not even summoning Congress into special session. He went against the Supreme Court by affirming his own version of judicial review that made the President the final interpreter of the Constitution. As per Lincoln, it made no sense “to lose the nation and yet preserve the Constitution.”
He showed that the President had a special responsibility beyond the duty of Congress and the courts, a duty which in times of crisis requires regular executive action. Lincoln’s words show that he understood that the President alone is sworn to preserve, secure, and defend. The other branches of government will uphold the Constitution. This authority in times of war makes the President responsible for the nation’s survival. No President in the history of America ever faced a greater crisis or ever accomplished as much.