Most influential president: George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? | The Tylt
Most influential president: George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?
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 first president of the United States, George Washington took his oath of office in 1789 after having commanded the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. Washington was a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention, and when the Constitution was ultimately ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President.
With the exception of foreign policy, Washington allowed Congress to be the primary policy makers during his presidency. In his farewell address, Washington warned of the dangers of political parties and hyper-partisanship:
“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
Washington voluntarily retired after his second term, beginning the tradition of president's serving no more than two terms which would continue until Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four terms.
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.