President John F. Kennedy once said, “There is no experience you can get that can possibly prepare you adequately for the presidency.”
Kennedy was right in that there is no job in the world more difficult and demanding than the presidency, and there is no “how-to” guide for being a success. As powerful as the office of the presidency is, it nevertheless has its limitations. Some presidents were sunk by the circumstances of their times, some became great because of their circumstances, and a few even rose to the challenge of their time and placed America and the world on a path of their choosing.
Although Americans love to trash their most hated presidents, this list is dedicated to appreciating the men who very capably served as president, but have been criticized or under-appreciated by both historians and modern Americans. Each man on this list has warts and flaws, but all strengthened and improved his country in at least one key way.