Unsurprisingly, George Washington is famous for being the first president of the United States. Though that in itself is more than enough for him to win over the poll’s last question, he is also famous for his farewell address when it was time for him to leave office. He started the tradition of a farewell address. People are still amazed at how relevant the speech is to our nation today, even though it was written over 220 years ago. The video below goes into more depth on why Washington’s speech is still relevant today.
The third question that was on the sheet that I passed out was:
In your opinion, which one of the following presidents has the greatest impact that we can still very much feel today?
John F. Kennedy
Franklin D. Roosevelt
For this question, the most two frequent answers that I received (not surprisingly) were George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. George did beat Abe out though by only three votes. The least circled option on this list was Kennedy, with only one vote.
Since it seems from the questionnaire that Chester Arthur is one of the most forgotten (or lesser know) presidents, it’s time to ask why? Did he not do anything so great or terrible to leave a lasting impact on us today?
Chester Arthur was one of only five presidents who have not actually been elected into office. Instead, Arthur took office after James Garfield was assassinated. He did however almost serve a full term, so it wasn’t like he was only in office for a year and couldn’t get anything done. One reason he might be lesser known is because of his health. In 1882 Arthur was diagnosed with Bright’s disease, which was a terminal condition in their time and which he died from in 1886 after his years in office (NCC Staff, 2018).
In order to learn a little bit more about our 21st president here is an informational video. To quote a line in the video, “He proved to be not an inspiring president, not an innovative president, but quite surprisingly an upright and competent president.” Considering that “upright” and “competent” are simply two basic characteristics that we need in a president, this could be why he is one of the lesser know ones.
On the same questionnaire, the second thing that I asked goes as follows:
To what degree do you think presidents from years ago have an impact on us today?
1- No impact at all
4- They do still impact us today
5- We can definitely still feel the impact
Write your own answer
I gave the option for people to write their own answer just because I did not want to limit them to the five traditional options, and to my surprise, most chose that option. The most frequent answer that I received written in was “It depends on the president.” They thought that some lesser known presidents had (and still have) a smaller impact on us today than some of the more well known presidents, which is understandable to think so.
The first thing on the sheet that I handed out to people was a question that would show how well people knew past presidents. I asked them to circle the name/names of who they believed was not a president fo the United States:
Who on this list was not actually a president of the U.S?
George C. Santis
If you don’t know, like many of the people who I questioned, John Bishop and George C. Santis were never president. John Bishop is an English comedian, and George C. Santis is a name that I made up. Of the 20 people that I asked, the most two circled answers were Chester Arthur and George C. Santis.
I have often wondered to what extent presidents from years ago continue to affect us today. I firmly believe that they will always have an impact, big or small, on our country in ways that we probably can’t even understand at times. It is undeniable that presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln continually have an impact on us as a nation, but what about the lesser known past presidents? Do people think that we can still fell their impact today? To find out, I put out a questionnaire in order to get some other opinions. This week’s blogs will go over each question and analyze why people responded the way that they did.