Once George Washington succeeded at leading the Continental Army to victory during the American Revolution, he played a major hand in setting the United States for limited government and the pursuit of liberty. By shunning outside attempts to turn him into a monarch, Washington promised that the American experiment would be a democratic nation. According to Washington, “The Constitution is the guide, which I never will abandon.”
The Cold War lasted a long 45 years, until Ronald Reagan while standing in front of the Berlin Wall, uttered the words “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Finally, the war had been brought to an end. To continue with his success, Reagan called out for free markets and a limited government. Also, Reagan’s across-the-board tax cuts created a new life for a failing economy. As Reagan constantly preached that the United States was a “shining city on a hill,” the American people were reminded that the possibilities in America were exceptional.
If you’re a conservative, then you might not be the biggest fan of Abraham Lincoln, especially when you take his total disregard for states’ rights into consideration. It’s well-known that Lincoln was for a united government, as opposed to individual states’ rights, and he did suspend habeas corpus during the Civil War, but the fact that Lincoln preserved the Union is why he is included in this list. Lincoln showed his eloquence when he stood at Gettysburg and said: “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.”
During “Silent Cal’s” stint in the White House, he slashed income and corporate taxes, retired a major part of the national debt, and limited regulations on private business. Needless to say, the economy was booming. As Coolidge once said, “Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It doesn’t appear to belong to anybody,” and his time on the White House is definitive proof of how thrifty the government can be.
Grover Cleveland was a Democrat who was all for business. During his presidency, he supported lower tariffs, while he battled patronage, high taxes, and government corruption. Cleveland was responsible for putting an end to the Pullman Strike of 1984, which was quickly on its way to paralyzing the transportation system in the United States. He also vetoed 584 bills during his eight years as president in order to cut excessive spending. Only seven of those vetoes had been overridden.
While Eisenhower was president, the country’s postwar economy was booming. Ike stood in firm opposition to the harm posed by the Soviet Union and he repeatedly warned the country against deficit spending. After the Depression and war turned into two decades of heartache, Eisenhower brought an era of peace and prosperity, which is exactly what the country needed at the time to come out as a global superpower. One of the greatest things that Eisenhower accomplished during his presidency was the construction of the interstate highway system, which we can all be grateful for today.
Thomas Jefferson may have become president, but he served the country better before he was elected when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. During his second term, Jefferson left the country’s military unprepared for the War of 1812. Jefferson was in favor of states’ rights and a limited federal government. He was also a fierce opponent of government debt and repealed many federal taxes.
When James Monroe introduced the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, he sent a warning to the European powers to keep out of the United States. It also kept the United States from getting involved with foreign affairs for most of the rest of the century. Monroe stood in opposition to excessive government spending. He also vetoed a bill to repair the national Cumberland Road, saying that “Congress does not possess the power under the Constitution to pass such a law.”
President Harry Truman brought an end to World War II when he approved the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. He then implemented the Marshall Plan, which helped to rebuild Europe after the war. Truman also began the transition from a wartime economy and stood firm against the continuous threats of communism.
There are plenty of mixed opinions about George W. Bush from conservatives, especially when you take his spending into consideration. Despite that, Bush can be applauded for his tax cuts, his strong response to 9/11, and his Supreme Court nominees.