Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Look-It-Up Book of Presidents

The Look-It-Up Book of PresidentsThe Look-It-Up Book of Presidents by Wyatt Blassingame
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read book about the Presidents. This book is written for a younger age group (upper elementary) but I still enjoyed it.  We (USA) have the greatest nation in the world. I believe our form of government is one of many reasons. By the way, our form of government is a Constitutional Republic. The way our government is supposed to work is representatives are elected (in Congress and President) and they are to make and enforce laws based on the Constitution. The third branch of government the Supreme Court is nominated by the President and voted on by the Congress. The Supreme Court is to use the Constitution to make sure the other two branches are not making or enforcing laws that go against the Constitution. Well, enough of my rant. The quotes below are from the first few pages of this book and are titled “The Presidents At A Glance.” The three columns for each President are Name, Served, and Achievements.  Enjoy!

1. George Washington  (1789-1797)  The first President, he determined in large measure what the job of President should be. Held the country together during its early days and gave it a chance to grow. Ranked by historians as a “great” President.

2. John Adams  (1797-1801)  Saved his country from an unnecessary war. Ranked by historians as a “near great” President.

3. Thomas Jefferson  (1801-1809)  Bought the Louisiana Territory and doubled the size of the country. Made sure the government stayed in the hands of the people. Ranked by historians as a “great” or “near great” President.

4. James Madison  (1809-1817)  Allowed the country to get into an unnecessary war, but made peace as quickly as possible. Ranked by historians as an “average” President.

5. James Monroe  (1817-1825)  Took Florida from Spain. Created the Monroe Doctrine. Signed the Missouri Compromise. Ranked as one of the best of the “average” Presidents.

6. John Quincy Adams  (1825-1829)  Rated by some historians as a failure because little was done during his term. Some historians rank him as average.

7. Andrew Jackson  (1829-1837)  Did more to show how great the powers of the office were than any President after Washington. Used these powers to help make laws. Ranked by historians as a “great” or “near great” President.

8. Martin Van Buren  (1837-1841)  Was caught in one of the nation’s worst financial depressions. This was unfairly blamed on him. Ranked by historians as an “average” President.

9. William Henry Harrison (1841)  Was President for only one month.

10. John Tyler 1841-1845  Made clear that on the death of a President the Vice President became President with all the powers of the office. Served as President without a party. Ranked by most historians as “below average.”

11. James Knox Polk (1845-1849)  Bullied a small, weak nation (Mexico) into fighting a war it did not want, but added California and much of the Southwest to the United States. Settled the Canadian border without war. Ranked by historians as “near great” President.

12. Zachary Taylor  (1849-1850)  Knew little about the duties of a President, but faced his problems honestly though with little political talent. Served only two years. Ranked by many historians as “below average.”

13. Millard Fillmore  (1850-1853) Sent the U.S. fleet to open trade with Japan. Helped pass the Great Compromise of 1850. Ranked by historians as “below average.”

14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)  Put through the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring what is now southern Arizona and New Mexico. Favored the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the door to the Civil War. Ranked by historians as “below average.”

15. James Buchanan (1857-1861)  Faced the final breakup of the nation over slavery. Tried hard to prevent war, but made matters worse instead of better. Ranked by historians as “below average.”

16. Abraham Lincoln  (1861-1865)  Held the nation together in its most difficult time. In a speech at the Gettysburg battlefield he said it was the people’s duty to make sure “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” More than any other one man, he helped make these words come true. Ranked by historians as a truly “great” President.

17. Andrew Johnson  (1865-1869)  Took office in a time of great trouble. Fought for what he believed was right, but did not have the power to persuade and led men. Was impeached by Congress and came within one vote of being removed from office. Ranked by historians from “near great” to “below average.”

18. Ulysses Simpson Grant  (1869-1877)  Was personally honest, but many men around him were crooks. His administration was one of the most dishonest in American history. One of the two Presidents rated as a “failure.”

19. Rutherford Birchard Hayes  (1877-1881)  Ended the period of Reconstruction. Tried to reform the federal government after the Grant administration. Tried to improve the civil service system, but met with little success. Ranked by historians as “average.”

20. James Abram Garfield  (1881)  Was killed only a few months after taking office. Yet his death may have done more to improve honesty in government than he could have done had he lived.

21. Chester  Alan Arthur (1881-1885)  Helped pass the first effective civil service laws and administered them honestly. Helped develop a modern navy. Ranked by historians as “average.”

22. Grover Cleveland  (1885-1889)  Made needed reforms in the federal government. Helped restore the confidence of the people in their government. His intentions were always good, but his methods sometimes failed. Ranked by historians as “near great.”

23. Benjamin Harrison  (1889-1893)  Favored a strong foreign policy. Enlarged the navy. Wanted a better civil service, but Congress continually opposed him. Ranked by historians as “average.”

24. Grover Cleveland   (1893-1897)  See # 22

25. William McKinley  (1897-1901)  Allowed the United States to be pushed into war with Spain, but made the United States a world power. Acquired the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico as United States possessions. Ranked by historians as “average.”

26. Theodore Roosevelt  (1901-1909) Brought tremendous energy and vitality to the office of President. Used the powers of his office to control the power of huge business concerns. Worked to establish national parks and forests and build the Panama Canal. Ranked by historians as one of the  “near great” Presidents.

27. William Howard Taft  (1909-1913)  Worked hard for conservation of natural resources Helped improve the Post Office System. Fought to break the power of the trusts. Ranked by historians as “average.”

28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) Reformed the banking laws. Worked to improve the antitrust laws, to help the American worker, and to lower the tariff. Tried to stay out of World War I, then tried hard to make it a “war to end all wars.” Worked for a League of Nations to keep the world at peace. Failed, but left an ideal of which people still dream. Ranked by historians as a “great ” President.

29. Warren Gamaliel Harding  (1921-1923)  In large measure let Congress and his Cabinet run the nation. Was more loyal to his friends than to his country. His was probably the most dishonest administration in United States history. Ranked by historians as a “failure.”

30. Calvin Coolidge  (1923-1929)  Believed the powers of the President should be very limited and that government should leave business alone. Took very little action, but restored honesty and dignity to the presidency. Ranked by historians as “below average.”

31. Herbert Hoover  (1929-1933)  saw the country plunge into its worst financial depression and was unfairly blamed for it. Tried to improve business, but his efforts were not enough. Ranked by historians as “average.”

32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt  (1933-1945)  Saw the United States through two grave crises: the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II. Promoted laws that changed the course of American government. Ranked by historians as a “great” President.

33. Harry S. Truman  (1945-1953)  Was faced with important decisions and made most of them correctly. Established the Truman Doctrine, by which the United States would help other nations trying to stay free of Communist control. Worked for social welfare and civil rights laws. Ranked by historians as a “near great” President.

34. Dwight David Eisenhower  (1953-1961)  Ended the in Korea. Tried to lesson troubles with the Soviet Union. Sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce school integration. Ranked by historians as “average.”

35. John Fitzgerald Kennedy  (1961-1963)  Worked for equal rights for all citizens. Established the Peace Corps. Forced the Soviet Union to withdraw its missiles from Cuba.

36. Lyndon Baines Johnson  (1963-1969)  Pushed more important laws through Congress than any President since Franklin Roosevelt, including civil rights and antipoverty measures. Tried unsuccessfully to make peace in Vietnam.

37. Richard Milhous Nixon  (1969-1974)   Ended U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Opened relations with Communist China. His administration was caught in one of the worst political scandals in American history.

38. Gerald Rudolph Ford  (1974-1977)  His fair and open administration helped to heal the wounds of Watergate. Improved relations with China. Was the first person to occupy the White House without having been elected either President or Vice President.

39. Jimmy (James Earl) Carter  (1977-1981)  Helped bring about a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Improved relations with Latin America by giving control of the Panama Canal to Panama. Worked to improve human rights throughout the world.

40. Ronald Wilson Reagan  (1981-1989) Built up U.S. military power. Worked to reduce inflation and led the fight to reduce taxes. The national debt increased massively during his administration. In his second term, he began arms-limitation talks with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

41. George Herbert Walker Bush  (1989-1993)  His election marked the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Presidency. Presided during the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communist rule in Eastern Europe. In the Persian Gulf War, led a coalition of nations in driving the Iragi army out of Kuwait.

42. Bill (William Jefferson Blythe) Clinton  (1993-2001)  The first President born after World War II, he took office at the end of the Cold War. Shifted American priorities from maintaining military power to strengthening U.S. economic clout. Second President to be impeached (for lying under oath about a sexual affair and then trying to hamper an investigation). Presided over the longest period of economic prosperity in the nation’s history.

43. George Walker Bush  (2001-2009) The fourth President in American history to take office after losing the popular vote, he defined his Presidency by launching a war on terror, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. He cut taxes at home and significantly increased aid to Africa. After he had won a second term, the situation in Iraq turned more dire, and he committed American troops there through the end of his tenure.

43. Barack Hussein Obama II  (2009-2016)  The country’s first African American president made his name quickly, first at Harvard Law School and then in Illinois politics. After a nearly two-year campaign, he was elected decisively on a platform of change to America’s policies at home and its image abroad.

Please understand that I do not agree 100% with all the author says about the Presidents. The book has a couple of pages devoted to each President from the earlier years and five or six pages for the most recent Presidents. The book also has a page discussing things like: who can be President, what does a President do, how is the President elected, how long is the President in office, and when does the President take office. It also has several pages at the end of the book discussing the 2000 election.

If you enjoy learning about the Presidents or if you have an elementary child I highly recommend this book!

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