Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt are generally regarded as the best American presidents of the 20th century.
Theodore Roosevelt served as the first president in the new century. He embodied the ideal of a robust and masculine leader who advocated honor and chivalry in the modern age. He had a number of natural reservations and forests established, helped ensure peace in Russo-Japanese War and remained immensely popular through his two terms.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only American president to be elected four times in a row. This was simply because he was immensely popular. He formulated policies to tackle the Great Depression, led the nation through World War II and is regarded as one of the most brilliant statesmen in American history.
Warren G. Harding is generally considered one of the worst presidents of 20th century America. He has earned this historic reputation for a number of reasons. He appointed his relatives to several senior government positions, was known for his womanizing and many of his cabinet numbers actively took bribes in return for doing illegal jobs.
Much of this remained under wraps during Harding’s presidency and most came to light after he had died two years into his presidential term.
Richard Nixon is also regarded among the worst 20th century presidents. Although he did have good political acumen and was elected the president a second time, his presidency was rocked by the Watergate scandal.
He was found guilty of taping the telephones of political opponents and using government machinery for illegal purposes. Nixon is the only president who resigned when faced with the threat of certain impeachment.
A number of 20th century American presidents served in the military. These included Theodore Roosevelt who fought in the Spanish-American War and commanded the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry. Harry S. Truman served in active combat during the World War I.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II. John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush served in minor capacities during the World War II.
Two American presidents were assassinated during the 20th century. These include President William McKinley who was assassinated in 1901 by an anarchist. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was the second president in the 20th century to be assassinated.
He was shot by a purported Marxist while visiting Texas. Assassination attempts were also made on the lives of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Both were wounded but survived the attempts on their lives. Franklin D. Roosevelt was shot at just before he could begin his first presidential term but he remained completely unharmed.
The only 20th century American president who faced impeachment by the U.S. Congress was Bill Clinton. President Clinton attracted notoriety after his affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, was revealed. He then spoke incorrectly about this affair in front of a grand jury. When this was revealed, the U.S. Congress decided to impeach the president. However, Clinton was acquitted by the U.S. Senate and survived the impeachment.
The second 20th century President who came very close to impeachment was Richard Nixon. During his second term as President, the Watergate scandal surfaced and it shook the Nixon government to its foundations. The scandal shows the presidency as endorsing thugs to tape and intimidate political opponents.
The immediate aftermath of the scandal was that Nixon’s popularity plummeted. At the same time, he no longer had the support of the Congress and faced the threat of both impeachment and prosecution for his alleged crimes. In the face of this, Nixon decided to resign before the Congress could impeach him. He was later granted a presidential pardon by his successor.
Ronald Reagan served as the 40th President of the United States. Before he became a politician and was elected President, he was a Hollywood actor. As an actor, Reagan starred in more than 50 films. He was also the host of a number of shows and was the President of the Screen Actors Guild.
Law has remained a popular occupation for American politicians and statesman. With many of the Founding Fathers being well-versed in the law, legal qualifications have become somewhat of a staple for the true American statesman. Many 20th century American presidents followed in the footpaths of this tradition.
The 20th century presidents who had passed the bar before achieving presidency include William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton. Of these, William Taft went on to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after his presidency ended.
Nearly two decades have passed since the end of the 20th century. Although the achievements of all 20th century American presidents still remained etched on the nation’s history, only a very few of these former presidents are still alive today.
The 20th century American presidents who are still alive include Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Of these, Jimmy Carter holds the record for the being the longest-retired American president. More than 37 years have passed since his presidency ended.