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Old 22nd February 2005, 11:44 AM   #1
Larspeart
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The GREAT Presidents...

As a fun little topic, and one that may generate some good discussion, I would like yo know everyone's 'Great' presidents. I am not asking you to rank them all. I would just like to know maybe your Top 5 (in order), and any reasoning you would like to add behind your picks.

Mine-

Washington (way, way ahead of anyone else)
Lincoln (comfortably in second)
THEODORE Roosevelt (not the other one)
Andrew Jackson
Reagan
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Old 22nd February 2005, 11:47 AM   #2
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Re: The GREAT Presidents...

Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
As a fun little topic, and one that may generate some good discussion, I would like yo know everyone's 'Great' presidents. I am not asking you to rank them all. I would just like to know maybe your Top 5 (in order), and any reasoning you would like to add behind your picks.

Mine-

Washington (way, way ahead of anyone else)
Lincoln (comfortably in second)
THEODORE Roosevelt (not the other one)
Andrew Jackson
Reagan
Great, how? Great head of hair? Reagan, Jackson and Roosevelt all qualify. This kind of thing is really difficult to measure even with a set of guidelines.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 11:54 AM   #3
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Ah, I purposely left it open so that YOU al could give your OWN reasons. I don't want to limit or subject the rankings.

I know we have all seen the 'Presidential Rankings' papers that come out periodically (or maybe some of your haven't), and they give a myriad of reasons. if you would like, use theirs. If you DON'T and have your own, please use them, and explain yours.

It's my thread. I don't have to explain mine, (although i will later in the thread).
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:02 PM   #4
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Why is Jackson great? I wouldn't call a staunch supporter of slavery who once summarily executed one of his soldiers "great". Why is Reagan "great"? I know why some people think Lincoln is great, but I disagree. My personal favorites are Washington (truly great), Teddy R and Thomas Jefferson. I'd say the vast majority or presidents are span the range from fairly average to insipid to monstrously inept. I mean really, they're almost all polticians, how "great" can they really be?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:05 PM   #5
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You didn't explain your reasons any better then I did, .

Again, the criteria are all for YOU to decide. You gave three (two which were on my list, and one who would be in my top 10 for sure, I might add)... now why?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
Why is Jackson great? I wouldn't call a staunch supporter of slavery who once summarily excited one of his soldiers "great".
How did he excite his soldier?

Tickled him in a sensitive place?

Dressed suggestively?

Talked dirty to him?

Stuck his tongue in the guy's ear?

Jackson. Wow. Who knew?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:12 PM   #7
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Apparently they didn't have 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' back then.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by BPSCG
How did he excite his soldier?

Tickled him in a sensitive place?

Dressed suggestively?

Talked dirty to him?

Stuck his tongue in the guy's ear?

Jackson. Wow. Who knew?
Sorry, typo. I corrected.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:17 PM   #9
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Oh, Lincoln and Washington are 1 and 2, not necessarily in that order. The reasons are, I think, well-enough known.

FDR and Reagan are 3 and 4, again not necessarily in that order.

FDR's success at getting the country out of the Great Depression is debatable, but there's no question he inspired renewed confidence in a country shaken by his predecessor's inability to deal with bad economic times. You can say the same for Reagan.

And FDR led a doubtful country into the fight against the fascist threat to civilization, supporting Britain when it alone stood against Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. And ultimately emerged victorious against that threat.

And Reagan led a doubtful country into the fight against the communist threat to civilization. And ultimately emerged victorious against that threat.

You could make a case for any of a half-dozen for number 5: Truman, TR top the list.

Jefferson was a great man but not so much for his presidency.
And you don't exclude Jackson for what he did before he was president, Tony.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
I wouldn't call a staunch supporter of slavery who once summarily exicuted
Tony, get out your spell-check, man.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
You didn't explain your reasons any better then I did, .

Again, the criteria are all for YOU to decide. You gave three (two which were on my list, and one who would be in my top 10 for sure, I might add)... now why?

I assume you're talking to me.

Washington because he set the standard for future presidents (2 terms) and because he didn't declare himself king after he expelled the ruddy red coats.

Teddy R. because he was honest (kept his word and didn't try for a third term), and I think he really believed in making america a better place for all citizens rich or poor.

Jefferson because he played a major role in laying down the ideological foundations of our country (separation between church and state).
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:20 PM   #12
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1. Washington (1): More than any single individual, the man who got the country off to a good start under its new Constitution.
2. Lincoln (16): Brilliant man who kept the nation together in its darkest hour.
3. Jackson (7): Put the concept of checks and balances into practice, often to the annoyance of Congress, by exercising the strength of the presidency and appealing to the people.
4. Truman (33): Had enormous shoes to fill, and unexpectedly found himself in some of the most difficult situations a president must face, yet he managed them well with grit and common sense.
5. F. Roosevelt (32): Truly a leader who saw the nation through some of its most difficult times, a man who foresaw the role of the US government domestically and abroad.

This is tough, because there are some presidents who were independently great outside the presidency [such as Adams (2), Jefferson (3), Madison (4), Monroe (5) and Grant (18)], and some presidents had episodes of greatness [such as Kennedy (35) who spurred the space program, Tyler (10) who defined the role of the vice president becoming president, Lyndon Johnson (36) who was an outstanding consensus builder, and Ford (38) who cleaned up quite a bit of Nixon's (37) mess].
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by BPSCG

And you don't exclude Jackson for what he did before he was president, Tony.
Huh?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:27 PM   #14
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Brown has best demonstrated the intent of this thread. Thanks mate! /clapping


Good, well-thought, yet short answers. I'm happy.


<----- FDR-hater, but we are all entitled to our own opinions. Most people put him in the top-5 (and a lot in their top-3) so I realize i am in a minority on him, haha!
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
Huh?
That's right. This is about the President's DURING their presidency, NOT events that took place before or after.

Were that the case, I would have titled this 'Great PEOPLE'. This is to focus solely on their work while in office.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:43 PM   #16
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Jackson gets some points for number 5 with his handling of the nullification crisis. Threatened to lead the army himself to hunt down and hang any nullifiers. Postponed the Civil War by 30 years.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:51 PM   #17
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(1) Jefferson, because against his political nature, he made the decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory, despite his concerns that this was not in the power of the Presidency...and in doing so, changed the very nature of America.
(2) Lincoln, who faced perhaps the greatest crisis the United States has ever faced, took actions in 1861 while Congress was not in session that probably saved the Union after Ft. Sumter, and managed to successfully negotiate a Cabinet that had at least three members (maybe more) that thought they were more qualified to be President than he was (Seward, Chase, Stanton--any others BPSCG?)
(3) Washington, more for what he didn't do, which was to play partisan politics (he made good use of both Hamiton and Jefferson), overstate the power of the Presidency, and leave after two terms, thus allowing the peaceful transfer of power when many would have been happy to have him President in perpetuity.
(4) TR Roosevelt, for being one of the few Presidents who were both patrician (he came from a very well-to-do family) and yet had worked with his hands and knew the feeling of being personally shot at. Establishing conservation ideals and busting trusts, that "damn Cowboy" ran against the grain and was perhaps the first president elected on his popularity rather than his political connections.
(5) FDR, not because of anything in particular he did, but, to quote an old Jimmy Breslin line about Churchill, "He was there when he was needed". We can argue about Social Security and the NRA (not the gun folks) and Court-packing and any number of things over the 13 years, but looking back it's hard to concieve of anybody else in the role. Willkie? Dewey? Al Smith? All able men, no doubt, but could they have led the nation with the confidence and optomism of Roosevelt?

Note, I purposely did not tag anybody from the past 40 years, since there is simply too little time for historical perspective on them.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hutch
(2) Lincoln, who faced perhaps the greatest crisis the United States has ever faced, took actions in 1861 while Congress was not in session that probably saved the Union after Ft. Sumter, and managed to successfully negotiate a Cabinet that had at least three members (maybe more) that thought they were more qualified to be President than he was (Seward, Chase, Stanton--any others BPSCG?)
David McCullough, in Ken Burns's Civil War documentary, says that the only thing everyone in Lincoln's cabinet could agree on was that any one of them was better qualified to be president than Lincoln. Presumably that included the estimable Simon Cameron, Lincoln's first secretary of war, who, Lincoln observed, was so corrupt that, "the only thing he wouldn't steal is a red-hot stove."
Quote:
Note, I purposely did not tag anybody from the past 40 years, since there is simply too little time for historical perspective on them.
Yeah, and so you wouldn't have to justify leaving Reagan off your list.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:10 PM   #19
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Re: The GREAT Presidents...

Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
As a fun little topic, and one that may generate some good discussion, I would like yo know everyone's 'Great' presidents.
I made a thread a couple of months ago called "Grade the Presidents." I went through and graded all the Presidents in order; I got up to FDR and then the thread mysteriously disappeared.

Quote:
Washington (way, way ahead of anyone else)
Agreed. I put Polk a close second. Washington and Polk were the only two As I gave.

Quote:
Lincoln (comfortably in second)
>COUGH< >SPUTTER< WHAT???? Comfortably in second? This guy arrests tens of thousands of American citizens in northern states without charge or access to an attorney, shuts down newspapers and puts editors in jail for having the audacity to print articles critical of the war, incites a race riot, ignores posse comitatus and uses the military against his own (again, northern) citizens, declares martial law and suspends habeas corpus, he had no problem dividing the country in half and destroying 600,000 lives to maintain his own megalomaniacal control...just what the ()*&^*% would a President have to do to earn your scorn? How can any honest person of integrity put Lincoln any higher than the bottom of a very putrid dungheap?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
That's right. This is about the President's DURING their presidency, NOT events that took place before or after.
You should have said that in the OP.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brown
2. Lincoln (16): Brilliant man who kept the nation together in its darkest hour.
He didn't keep the nation together; he tore it apart. If he really wanted to keep the nation together he would have dropped his death grip he had on the protectionist tariffs. Read his inaugural address.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by shanek
He didn't keep the nation together; he tore it apart.
That's why I need my passport every time I want to visit my mommy in New Jersey.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
<----- FDR-hater, but we are all entitled to our own opinions. Most people put him in the top-5 (and a lot in their top-3) so I realize i am in a minority on him, haha!
I understand that there are a lot of people who don't think much of FDR.

As it happens, I don't think much of Reagan, and that might put me in the minority.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:46 PM   #24
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What part of Lincoln's illegal and immoral war against the South was good?

The only thing good that came of it was the freeing of the slaves. But I have to say the ends (which wasn't the intention) don't justify the means.

Since we agree that a unified american republic was best suited for dealing with ww1, ww2, and the cold war, we revise history that Lincoln's invasion of the south was a good thing even though it wasn't.

Hey Lincoln, thanks for razing Atlanta to make a better tomorrow buddy!
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Old 22nd February 2005, 01:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tony
You should have said that in the OP.
I thought I did... in the TITLE. You know? Where is says 'Presidents'.

If I wanted a list of 'Great Men' or 'Great Persons', I woulda titled the thread as such.


Shane, while I understand your rebukes to Lincoln, I also disagree. I will never believe (nor does anyone but ardent Southern haters-of-the-north) that he causes the Civil War. ******! It started RIGHT after he went into office. Like, weeks.

Now, picture how many presidents have had to reside over such crisis. I can think of none that come close (Washington didn't preside over a crisis. He was a general at the time of the Big War. I could also rate Washington as one of our greatest generals if i wanted to, but... and pay attention here Tmy... this thread is about presidents). I disagree with a lot of Lincoln's policies, but based on difficulty of term, what was gained, and most importantly, HIS IMPACT ON THE FUTURE/THE WORLD FOR POSTERITY, I gotta rank him pretty damn high, whether you or I like it or not.

I DO like your ranking of Polk as high. I liked Polk too. Most people forget about all but 10-12 presidents, and never bother to count them. i am glad you brought him up.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:02 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by BPSCG
That's why I need my passport every time I want to visit my mommy in New Jersey.
Show that people needed passports to travel from state to state before the Civil War and you might have some kind of point...
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:09 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by corplinx
What part of Lincoln's illegal and immoral war against the South was good?

The only thing good that came of it was the freeing of the slaves.
Which might be a point if a) Lincoln didn't come up with this "we're waging the war to free the slaves" claim until late in 1862, and b) a war was in any way needed to free the slaves, which it wasn't.

Quote:
Since we agree that a unified american republic was best suited for dealing with ww1, ww2, and the cold war, we revise history that Lincoln's invasion of the south was a good thing even though it wasn't.
Oh?

Posit:

1) If the Civil War hadn't happened, or if the southern states had gotten what they wanted, we would be more federalist than nationalist; if we did split and stayed separate countries, both countries would have been smaller.

2) If the country was smaller, either literally or in the size of government, we wouldn't have been able to fund WWI, and if we were federalist we most likely wouldn't have even entered the war to begin with.

3) If we hadn't entered WWI, the victory would not have been as decisive, therefore, Britan and the allies wouldn't have been able to pass the horrible Treaty of Versailles; it's also less likely the Russian Revolution would have happened, or if it did, had been a victory for the Communists.

4) Without the Treaty of Versailles, the economic conditions which allowed the Nazis to come to power would not have existed. With no Communism in Russia, no Soviet Union would have been created.

Therefore:

If Lincoln hadn't invaded the Confederacy, then we very likely wouldn't have gone into WWI, and that would have likely meant no Nazis, and therefore no WWII, and no Communists in Russia, and therefore no Cold War (and no Korean War, Vietnam, no arming of Afghanistan and other places where the terrorists ended up popping up from...). It all goes back to Lincoln.

Man, was I channelling James Burke there or what?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:12 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
Shane, while I understand your rebukes to Lincoln, I also disagree. I will never believe (nor does anyone but ardent Southern haters-of-the-north) that he causes the Civil War. ******! It started RIGHT after he went into office. Like, weeks.
Without getting into the reasons why this is a specious argument, how does any of this excuse the blatantly tyrannical acts I mentioned?

Quote:
I disagree with a lot of Lincoln's policies, but based on difficulty of term, what was gained, and most importantly, HIS IMPACT ON THE FUTURE/THE WORLD FOR POSTERITY, I gotta rank him pretty damn high, whether you or I like it or not.
See the above post for how I see his impact on the future and the world for posterity. He caused a lot of misery for almost a century and a half, and maybe even more...

Quote:
I DO like your ranking of Polk as high. I liked Polk too. Most people forget about all but 10-12 presidents, and never bother to count them. i am glad you brought him up.
Thanks! Hey, another Polk man!
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:17 PM   #29
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See, I see where Shane is coming from. He is looking at it in terms of 'impact DURING term'. I look more in terms of both that AND 'impact to posterity'. Imagine the world (and America) today had Lincoln NOT done what he did. I think it looks bleak and scary.

I see a Confederate States of America (crumbling), full of slaves, and as (at best) a '2nd world country'. And I see the north as a more insignificant, 'superfilous' nation.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:23 PM   #30
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Therefore:

If Lincoln hadn't invaded the Confederacy, [/b][/quote]



Whoa. See, now, you have stepped WAY over the line into 'Shane is a moron and a dumba$$'.

I believe the SOUTH fired on and attacked Fort Sumpter, without provocation, and without any advanced attack. That is a BLATANT declaration of war by ANY terms.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:26 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
See, I see where Shane is coming from. He is looking at it in terms of 'impact DURING term'. I look more in terms of both that AND 'impact to posterity'. Imagine the world (and America) today had Lincoln NOT done what he did. I think it looks bleak and scary.

I see a Confederate States of America (crumbling), full of slaves, and as (at best) a '2nd world country'. And I see the north as a more insignificant, 'superfilous' nation.
Except that at the time of the Civil War, slavery was on the way out, even in the south. Mechanization was making it obsolete, and since the north mechanized first, it stands to reason they would abolish slavery first. The more agrarian south didn't start receiving the benefits of technological innovation until decades later, but it was beginning to happen. In fact, you could argue that slavery would have already been made obsolete by 1960 had it not been for the Fugitive Slave Act, which meant that government was then spending taxpayer money to catch fugitive slaves and bring them home and so the slave owners never had to incur the costs of chasing down runaways.

The main rift between the north and the south was essentially that the south were mostly federalists and the north mostly nationalists. All of the issues of the civil war&mdash;slavery, the protectionist tariffs, secession, etc.&mdash;were a result of this rift. Since history tells us that our country has prospered more under federalism than nationalism, it seems clear to me that, if anything, the CSA would have been more prosperous than the USA once they caught up in technology. The USA, previously dependent on the protectionist tariffs, would likely have not had the funding or the infrastructure to support their nationalist ways for long. They would likely have moved back to federalism.

In short, I think both countries would have ended up prospering and may have even reconciled.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:27 PM   #32
shanek
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Originally posted by Larspeart
I believe the SOUTH fired on and attacked Fort Sumpter, without provocation,
Without provocation? If another country occupying your fort isn't provocation enough, what about them blockading ships to collect the tariffs?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:30 PM   #33
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I thought I did... in the TITLE. You know? Where is says 'Presidents'.
No you didn't. As you pointed out, it says "Presidents" NOT "years in office".

Jackson was a President, therefore, judging anything he did before he was President is ok. You should have made it part of the criteria that you only wanted people to base their opinions on the years in office.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:33 PM   #34
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What OTHER country are you talking about???

There was no 'other' country at the time. There was ONE country, which had a fort, to protect ITS (the ONE country's) own ports, waters, and harbors.

Look, I am as libertarian as your average libertarian (small l) but what you say is a sense of unspeakable anarchy. That ********** fort was US PROPERTY, filled with US soldiers, defending it's own (and that includes South Carolina's) waters, you nut.

Since when did a FEDERAL US FORT become property of a State, even if that State 'went renegade'?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:45 PM   #35
shanek
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Originally posted by Larspeart
What OTHER country are you talking about???

There was no 'other' country at the time.
Uh, no, there were two. The duly elected legitimate governments of the south broke with their VOLUNTARY Union with the northern states to form one of their own. The Union had already given up almost all of their other ports in the South; why did they hold on to Sumter?

Quote:
Look, I am as libertarian as your average libertarian (small l) but what you say is a sense of unspeakable anarchy.
How is it anarchy? It was a legitimate action by the legitimate governments of the time.

Quote:
That ********** fort was US PROPERTY, filled with US soldiers, defending it's own (and that includes South Carolina's) waters, you nut.
No, it was "defending" the port of Charleston from ships that didn't pay the tariffs. Learn from history.

Quote:
Since when did a FEDERAL US FORT become property of a State, even if that State 'went renegade'?
They didn't "go renegade." The Federal government only owns property in states at the will of the states. The Constitution only allows the Federal government full ownership of the ten-mile-square area for its own seat. It has bases and forts in states at the suffering of the states. There's just no other way they can Constitutionally own property in a state.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:46 PM   #36
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1. TBE
2. TBE
3. TBE
4. TBE
5. TBE

*TBE: To be elected.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 02:58 PM   #37
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Originally posted by shanek

No, it was "defending" the port of Charleston from ships that didn't pay the tariffs. Learn from history.

Even still, it couldn't have been an act war on behalf of the confederacy. Perhaps Carolina vs. USA. That was what made the confederacy a confederacy.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 03:06 PM   #38
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Originally posted by kalen
1. TBE
2. TBE
3. TBE
4. TBE
5. TBE

*TBE: To be elected.
I am not so optimistic.

Random quotes from others:

Quote:
And FDR led a doubtful country into the fight against the fascist threat to civilization, supporting Britain when it alone stood against Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. And ultimately emerged victorious against that threat.
Besides WWII being an interesting set of circumstances world-wide, FDR wasn't exactly a voice of freedom.

Utterly horrible president. The New Deal has (probably permanently) scarred the nation. FDR was a closet socialist...

Also, this is the horrible, horrible president is the man who ORDERED THE JAPANESE (and other minorities in some places, I've heard) into CONCENTRATION CAMPS, making them lose their homes and their livelihood. Strange, I can think of German dictators who did something remotely similar, although obviously on a worse scale... FDR was a horrible, horrible president. Of course, I'm bound to hear some pathetic excuse about this. Worst excuse I've heard was that he was protecting the Japanese from racism (yeah right).

If you think Lincoln's intent was to free the slaves, I doubt it. Personally, if that was truly what the civil war was all about, I would sympathize with him moreso, even if slavery was becoming economically much less viable (things like this I am not very gradualistic about). I disagree with Shane on this; I feel the rights of the slaves outweigh the lives of the governments allowing them to be enslaved, which would be the states. It was on the way out, but I feel "on the way out" isn't a good excuse to let it die a natural death.

Lincoln didn't "free the slaves", in fact, the emancipation proclaimation didn't apply to the states in the Union that still had slavery... huh, what do you know? Lincoln's intent was simply to hold the union together. I don't think it's any more elegant than that, it's just "unity" mentality that people have; today people think union was great because he "kept the union together" as if going to war against unsatisfied states was a good way to keep them together.

Also, as Shanek already clarified, Lincoln's actions during the war were also inexcusable.

Quote:
Teddy R. because he was honest (kept his word and didn't try for a third term), and I think he really believed in making america a better place for all citizens rich or poor.
Teddy tried a third term, I believe, under the Bull Moose Party since he was unsatisfied with Taft.

Also, he was quite populist, if I recall correctly, so he, too, was not so great of a president.

I'm not so good at saying who I like, it's more of an issue of who I don't hate as much.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 03:17 PM   #39
shanek
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Originally posted by corplinx
Even still, it couldn't have been an act war on behalf of the confederacy. Perhaps Carolina vs. USA. That was what made the confederacy a confederacy.
The Confederate Constitution went into effect on March 26, 1861, with the fifth ratification (Mississippi's, as it turned out). South Carolina ratified it on April 3rd. Since Ft. Sumter was attacked on April 12th, then yes, the Confederacy was in force and South Carolina was a part of it. The attack began on the orders of Brig. Gen. Beauregard of the Confederate army.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 03:18 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larspeart
See, I see where Shane is coming from. He is looking at it in terms of 'impact DURING term'. I look more in terms of both that AND 'impact to posterity'. Imagine the world (and America) today had Lincoln NOT done what he did. I think it looks bleak and scary.

I see a Confederate States of America (crumbling), full of slaves, and as (at best) a '2nd world country'. And I see the north as a more insignificant, 'superfilous' nation.
Well, if the holocaust hadn't happened none of us here would have been borne due to history being altered greatly; does that excuse the holocaust?

Oh yeah...:

Quote:
Which might be a point if a) Lincoln didn't come up with this "we're waging the war to free the slaves" claim until late in 1862,
Hmm, what does this remind you of?

Going to war to supposedly free the Iraqi people...

When you lose support over the original cause of the war, make a new one.
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