FDR is #1

By Roosevelt Institute |

smiling-fdr-profile-150It should come as no surprise that FDR is pretty popular around here. But you don’t have to take our word for it. A new poll by the United States Presidency Center in the UK found FDR topped academics’ ranking of 40 US presidents, beating them out in in three of the five assessment categories: vision and agenda setting, domestic leadership, and foreign policy. He was only outranked in two categories — George Washington was first for moral authority and Abraham Lincoln was first for the legacy with the most positive historical significance.

And they’re not the only ones who feel this way. A group of American academics came to the same conclusion last year. For the fifth time in a row, that group picked FDR over all the faces on Mount Rushmore. He ranked first in overall accomplishments and topped the categories of party leadership, handling the US economy, and foreign policy accomplishments.

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In a time when the entire world is still badly hurting from a financial meltdown and brutal recession, it’s no wonder that FDR’s long and historic presidency stands out as one that got the job done. He led the country out of the Great Depression with bold legislation and steady leadership. And he was committed to economic and social equality throughout the world.

But what does our current president think of FDR? Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Thomas Ferguson has noticed something odd in how Obama speaks of the former leader — a rewriting of history that distorts some of his accomplishments. Maybe Obama should talk to the hundreds of historians who voted FDR #1.

The Roosevelt Institute brings together thousands of thinkers and doers—from emerging leaders in every state to Nobel laureate economists. We reimagine the rules that guide our social and economic realities. Follow us on Twitter @rooseveltinst and like us on Facebook.