From George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States has had many influential presidents. Yet, as the country faces ongoing economic instability, it’s important to look back at which of these chief executives have had the most significant impact on our nation’s economy. An important caveat: each did not face the same challenges when sworn into office. However, some moved the nation forward during very tumultuous times. Here is a list of five of the best American presidents in history for the economy.
As president during the Civil War Era, Abraham Lincoln championed several policies that were instrumental in strengthening and stabilizing the US economy. He signed into law legislation like the Homestead Act that encourage westward expansion and enabled citizens to purchase land at a low cost. His support of the Pacific Railway Acts led to the building of the transcontinental railroad connecting the east coast to the west with more than 1,700 miles of track.
Furthermore, he issued greenbacks, a national currency backed by no gold or silver—which allowed for more flexible money circulation during a time when gold and silver coins were scarce.
During his presidency from 1901-1909, Teddy Roosevelt drastically reformed American industry with trust-busting laws that severely limited monopolies and ensured competition amongst businesses in different markets.
On top of this, his administration pursued numerous progressive reforms such as protecting forests from over-logging and establishing regulations over banking practices nationwide. Thank you, Teddy, for our national parks!
All these efforts helped steer America’s economy away from dangerous exploitation while providing citizens with more job opportunities and better wages. I wonder what he would do with Apple and Meta today.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR’s New Deal is well known for helping to end The Great Depression through relief programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance. It was the first time the government offered direct help to the elderly and provided unemployment benefits to those who had lost their jobs.
Massive unemployment, reaching as high as 25% had occurred due to failing businesses caused by large-scale speculation crashes in banking stocks during 1928-1929. Black Tuesday, as it became known led to the depression period of 1930s U.S.
President Roosevelt (Teddy’s fifth cousin) also implemented higher taxes on top-income earners. At the same time, he created public works projects such as watershed protection programs that increased employment opportunities all around America. This was further relief for poverty-stricken areas across the country.
His efforts not only saw America emerge from near-total economic collapse but also set a precedent for modern economic policy formulation which remains firmly present throughout U.S. federal governance today.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Under Ike’s leadership in the post-war 1950s, America experienced one of its longest periods of economic growth. His presidency saw major developments in infrastructure like building interstate highways along with home loan guarantees that guaranteed Americans access to home ownership.
He managed inflation rates throughout his tenure carefully, leading to a steady recovery even after several years under recessionary pressure.
Lastly, Eisenhower was responsible for signing several laws protecting labor rights enabling fair treatment & pay standards at workplaces all over country, and playing major part towards sustainable economic growth in subsequent decades after World War 2 ended.
President Eisenhower enabled our returning soldiers to find jobs, marry and buy homes. This led to the birth of lots of babies creating a Baby Boom. When it comes to best president for the economy President Eisenhower is a shoe-in.
John F. Kennedy
When JFK took office, he made it clear that commitment towards strong investments in education & research would be cornerstones of his term. The Space Race with the Soviet Union also created his aspirations towards putting a man on the moon by the end 1960s. This goal led to lots of money flowing into science programs throughout the U.S. education system.
His initiatives helped breathe new life into many languishing industries and created huge job opportunities. As a result, the United States enjoyed rocketing Gross Domestic Product figures.
The ensuing increase in tax dollars were channeled into robust social welfare systems. His Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) provided aid and job training to millions of Americans. It gave many access to a stepladder out of poverty & onto the path of prosperity.
Who is the Winner?
As I said earlier these chief executives did not face a level playing field. Each took advantage of progressive ideas to move our country forward. So who is the winner, the big cheese the economic dynamo?
If you’re a fiscal conservative your answer will be very different from an economic progressive. This means it’s up to you to decide!