The presidents that have drawn the highest attention due to the various estimations are Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin Roosevelt. It is important to look at the reasons for their respective rankings and the powers they enjoyed, whether formal or informal.
Abraham Lincoln is ranked by most historians as the best president that America ever had. This high position is usually accorded to particularly to this personality because of a number of leadership skills that he demonstrated exemplarily. First, Lincoln had a strong ability to offer leadership in the time of the crisis. He served as the president during the American Civil War where he showed extraordinary skills of managing the difficult conditions. He did not compromise when there were numerous casualties on the battlefield and the strong opposition from the peace-making Democrats. Lincoln pursued justice for all. He demonstrated this by signing the first Homesteads Act that enabled the poor citizens of the USA to receive the land. It allowed anyone who had attained the age of 21, was heading a family, and had not fought against the state to be given a piece of land, though this person was required to show improvement on it in five years. Lincoln also made the proclamation of emancipation that ended the slave trade and the slavery in the USA and, in turn, contributed to the same outcomes in the whole world. In fact, this achievement of Lincoln is most remembered outside the country.
Lincolns administrative skills were also exemplary. He assembled a cabinet of great minds and motivated them to work. He visited the soldiers in hospitals and at the battlefield where he was encouraging them and boosting their morale. Other achievements that make Lincoln ranked as the best president include establishing the US progressive income tax system. He did this by facilitating the procedures of taxpaying, namely by signing an act that categorized the citizens into different groups according to their income, thus taxing them accordingly. He also created the first department of agriculture in the USA and signed a land act that led to the establishment of several universities and colleges in the country.
Another highly raked president is George Washington who became the founding president of the USA after leading the American forces in winning the decisive American Revolutionary War. Currently, the majority of presidential historians rank him as the second best president that the USA ever had. One of the outstanding leadership traits that Washington possessed is the moral authority. Washington had the chance to overthrow the British government but rejected to do so even when he was approached by the generals. He was elected as the president by all the electorates who voted; he remains the only president of the USA that has ever been elected unanimously. In the same manner, he was reelected for his second term but refused to serve the third one even though it was clear that he could still win, thereby setting the two-term limit tradition in the state.
Washington is credited with initiating foundational governance systems in the USA, which still exist today. For instance, he established a strong judicial system through a judiciary act, which also enforced the Supreme Court, which still functions. He also nurtured the principle of democracy in the United States by tolerating the opposition and dissenting voices, even though many people feared that this would cause political violence.
Other achievements of Washington include the declaration and the enforcement of the principle of neutrality that indicated that the USA was not partisan in the European wars, hence enabling to have economic relations with any side of the European powers. It also protected the country from unnecessary wars when it was still a young nation. Washington also maintained good relationships with Great Britain even after independence proclamation, hence showing humility, which is a rare but very important skill among powerful leaders. He achieved this by negotiating and entering into peace treaties. Finally, Washington managed to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion against taxation. It showed that his government was able to enforce its policies.
Finally, the other highly ranked personality is Franklin D. Roosevelt, who is popularly referred to as FDR and is the 32nd president of the USA. No other president has been able to serve for over two terms in the history of the country as he did. Most presidential historians rank FDR as the third best president in the history of the state. His most notable and celebrated leadership traits are public persuasion and international relations.
One of the skills that great leaders possess is the ability to inspire and give hope to people during the times of hardships. It was demonstrated by FDR when he led the USA through the World War II. He joined the war on the side of the allied powers and granted the victory, hence bringing the war to an end. FDR led the Americans against the Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany after the former attacked the Pearl Harbor. The USA had earlier held the principle of neutrality and, therefore, Roosevelt had to persuade the Congress, the Senate, and the citizens to accept the course of action that he had chosen to take. He also led the country through the Great Depression and was able to spread hope and confidence among the citizens. Many people refer to the management of the two crises as his best achievement.
Another remarkable achievement that makes FDR a great leader is the way he reduced the unemployment rate in the USA from 25% to 2%. When he took office, there was the high unemployment, the low industrial production, and banks were experiencing tough times. He managed to amend the situation through the assorted economic strategies that were popularly referred to as the new deal. Roosevelt worked together with George Norris to create the basis for the largest government enterprises in the USA. They created the Tennessee Valley Authority that worked to bring electricity to the Appalachian Mountains and built dams that enabled modernization of agriculture in that area. It, in turn, provided the employment to many citizens of the country.
Concerning powers, the U.S. Presidents office is indeed forceful and influential. The powers of the president refer to the functions that the latter is supposed to perform while in office. Some of them are clearly identified in the constitution, especially in the Article 2 of the Constitution of the USA, while others are inherent and come with the latitude of decision making on behalf of the country that is given to the president.
Formal powers of the president refer to those functions that are granted by the Constitution and are clearly outlined, particularly in the Article 2. Some of the duties are exercised solely and expressly by the president while others are checked and approved by the Senate and the Congress. The first formal power implies that the president is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the USA. The U.S. Armed Forces are composed of the army, the navy, and the air force. The first includes the troops operating on land, the navy is those who protect the country on the waters while the latter are the soldiers who serve on air. In this field, the president is the single highest person leading all three wings. He is the final authority when it comes to issuing orders and command in the military of the US.
The power of the vetoing the Congress laws is the other function that has been granted to the presidency by the Constitution. Whenever a law has successfully been passed by the Congress, the president enjoys the power to veto it. This power has enabled the smooth coexistence between the executive branch and the parliament when it comes to the enactment of laws in the USA. Even though the veto power can be overridden by two-thirds majority in the Congress and the Senate, it is usually difficult in the context of US politics for either the Democrats or the Republicans to gather such a number of votes in both houses. The existence of the provision of presidents veto power implies, therefore, the cooperation between the executive authority and the more polarized Senate and Congress when it deals with passing laws for the benefit of the US citizens.
The US president also has the power to appoint people into political offices. It means appointing cabinet secretaries, diplomatic envoys, and heads of state corporations among other political positions. The appointees of the president under this function are usually subjected to the scrutiny and the approval by the Congress and the Senate. This function gives the president the latitude to assemble a cabinet that he or she can work with to rule the country. It, therefore, helps to minimize the opposition and the poor work relation that could arise from politics if the president was not able to appoint own cabinet secretaries. In turn, it ensures the ample atmosphere for the functioning of the government. The president also has the power to fill federal judges positions.
The president possesses the capability to negotiate treaties on behalf of the country. This function gives the president legitimacy before leaders of other nations. It is also usually subjected to the approval of the Senate. The other constitutional power of the president is adjourning the Senate and the Congress and calling them to sessions. Depending on the need of the country, the president can set both houses for sessions and interrupt them in consultation with the speakers. This provision helps to ensure that presidential decisions that require the approval of both houses are not jeopardized by the absence of the parliament, especially in times of the crisis that require quick decision making. Finally, the president of the USA has the power to grant clemency to offenders who have committed federal crimes.
On the other hand, informal powers are those that are not expressly defined in the Article 2 of the Constitution but are inherent to the office of the president. They are usually inferred and exercised alongside the formal powers under specific circumstances when they are deemed proper and necessary.
One of such powers is sending out troops without declaring the war. The US president can expedite the army to a foreign country even if the state is not directly involved in the war but its interests are threatened. The presidency can also initiate or enact legislation. This function, although not expressly identified in the Constitution, enables the president to fulfill those promises that can be delivered through legislation. An example is the Obamacare Health Bill that was initiated by the office of the president. Other examples are associated with the economic development promoted by President Roosevelt under the slogan the new deal. In fact, before Roosevelt, the earlier presidents had very little involvement in legislation.
The other informal function of the president is the power to issue executive orders. For instance, in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson declared the order that is popularly referred to as Order 11246, which stated that the companies that were awarded government contracts were to employ people from minority groups through deliberately created programs in those companies. It is regarded as an executive order because its enforcement was processed by the president without the Senate approving it.
In conclusion, the performance of a president is majorly the measure of his or her ability to understand the delegated formal and informal powers and put them into practice. Somehow, presidents who are able to infer their informal powers from the Constitution and utilize them perform better than their counterparts who are just focused on the expressed formal powers. For example, Abraham Lincoln who is ranked as the best president exercised many informal powers to make decisions and keep the union during the American Civil War. Similarly, Roosevelt was doing the same during his time, which is the reason he is ranked as the third best president.