Most influential president: Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt? | The Tylt
Most influential president: Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt?
The President of the United States is the most powerful political figure in America, and throughout history, presidents have shaped the very fabric of our nation. As we approach President's Day 2018, we are asking Tylters to tell us which president they believe had the biggest impact—positive or negative—on America.
Presidents have led us through global conflict, civil war, economic crises and cultural revolutions. From George Washington to Donald Trump, which president do you believe was the most influential?
Be sure to vote on our other President's Day matchups below!
The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln saw America through the most contentious time in our history—the Civil War. As president, Lincoln preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government and built up the Republican Party.
Lincoln served in the Illinois House of Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming president in 1861. Lincoln's victory immediately led to the secession of seven southern slave states who formed the Confederate States of America. The Civil War would be America's bloodiest wars, killing an estimated 620,000 men, or 2 percent of the entire U.S. population.
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 by actor John Wilkes Booth while watching a play.
The 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt was also a transformative figure. Assuming power at the depth of the Great Depression, Roosevelt led the country to economic recovery, presided over the majority of WWII and implemented The New Deal which gave us programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps of 1933 created to combat unemployment and the Social Security Act of 1935 which protect senior citizens to this day.
Roosevelt famously created a Second Bill of Rights which he read to Congress during his State of the Union address in 1944:
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job... The right of every family to a decent home... The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health... The right to a good education.
America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was famously elected to four terms, which eventually led to the 22nd Amendment that limited presidents to two terms. Roosevelt died suddenly in 1945, only a few months into his fourth term, of a cerebral hemorrhage.