"#1 LINCOLN: Lincoln’s life tells a good tale of America: Born in a log cabin to a common family, pursued an education, worked hard, cared about the American ideals, and wielded power in their defense."
"#2 FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: He created the modern presidency. The New Deal sought unemployment RELIEF, economic RECOVERY, and REFORM for a better capitalism. Decades of stable, booming prosperity followed."
"Pulitzer Prize, Francis Parkman Prize, and National Book Award winner. FDR’s great work to save civilization from Hitler and fascism, and build a new post-war world, places him as a giant of history."
"General WASHINGTON almost single-handedly carried the burdens of the Revolutionary War for eight years. He presided over the Constitutional Convention, helping win adoption by his mere participation."
"WASHINGTON won the Revolutionary War despite very unfavorable odds and setbacks at the beginning. Also read Gordon's Wood's brief "The American Revolution" for the ideological side of the revolution."
"Helped win women's voting rights. Led U.S. in WWI but failed to achieve his noble post-war plan to make world 'safe for democracy.' Created League of Nations; U.S. did not join. Won Nobel Peace Prize."
"#7 JEFFERSON: Egalitarian aristocrat. Wrote Declaration of Independence. Architect. Farmer. Scientist. Inventor. Diplomat. Louisiana Purchase. Lewis & Clark Expedition. Opposed slavery yet had slaves."
"JEFFERSON was Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, V.P., achieved Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, championed Bill of Rights, and founded University of Virginia (designing the buildings)."
"#8 JFK: Vigorous. Bright presidency. Moon mission. Peace Corps. Managed Cuban Missile Crisis. Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Great economy. Sought civil rights, War on Poverty, tax cut, Medicare, the arts."
"#10 LBJ: Created Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, EOA, Fair Housing Act, NEA, space programs, Immigration Act, tax cut, economic boom/inflation, War on Poverty (flawed welfare), Vietnam quagmire."
"Pulitzer Prize. LBJ's Great Society created Medicare, huge education funding (K-12, college loans/grants, Head Start), Wilderness Act, clean air/water/soil, consumer protection, PBS, medical research."
"In 1987 REAGAN and Gorbechev peacefully ended the cold war. Gorbechev won the Noble Peace Prize and Ronald Reagan Freedom Award for his lead role. Reagan skillfully applied the pressure and the charm."
"#13 JACKSON: Battle of New Orleans hero. Vibrant leader for the people. 'Jacksonian Democracy.' Strengthened presidential power. Smashed Bank of U.S. Neutralized nullification crisis. Trail of Tears."