Who is considered the best president in United States history?

WSYR-TV - One month into his presidency, Donald Trump has the lowest approval ratings in history.

But who's considered the best president in United States history?

On Monday, President’s Day, C-SPAN released its rankings of the 43 people to formerly hold the job.

When President Barack Obama left office, C-SPAN got to work. 91 historians graded the 43 men who've held the office in ten different categories, including handling a crisis, working with Congress and perusing justice.

When the numbers were tallied, Obama landed as 12th best president.

Margaret Susan Thompson, professor of history and political science at Syracuse University says, "I think what he's being evaluated on is Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, which is I think people view a major accomplishment. Presidents since Truman had been trying to accomplish it. And to be honest, I think they're comparing him to the two presidents that surround him.”

Professor Thompson uses rankings like C-SPAN’s in class at SU’s Maxwell school. The consistent list leader: Abraham Lincoln.

"We wouldn't have presidents 17-45 if we didn't have Abraham Lincoln,” Thompson said.

Lincoln was credited with saving the union after the Civil War, which is why the man who served before Lincoln, James Buchannan is named worst president.

"He was responsible for the union falling apart. He was the president right before the Civil War began. And obviously did very little to prevent that,” Thompson said.

When NewsChannel 9 asked Professor Thompson if she disagrees with the list, she looked at eighth place.

"I was surprised by Kennedy being as high as he was. Because I think he is remembered more for what might have been that for what he actually managed to accomplish,” she explained.

While Donald Trump is the 45th president, there are only 43 rankings because Grover Cleveland held the job twice.

Thompson says it's better to grade presidents the longer they're out of office, so she expects Obama’s ranking to go up.

To see the full ranking, click here.


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