Are you ready for some history lessons with a twist? Today we’re going to rank the top 10 most badass presidents (and their badassery) of the United States of America! These are the leaders who faced challenges, dangers, and enemies with courage, skill, and style. Let’s get started!
10. Lyndon B. Johnson
He may not be the most popular president, but he sure had some guts. He escalated the Vietnam War, passed landmark civil rights legislation, and famously showed off his scar from a gallbladder surgery to reporters. He also had a habit of intimidating people by getting very close to them and towering over them, which was dubbed “the Johnson treatment”. His relentless pursuit of civil rights reform led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, forever transforming the landscape of racial equality in America.
9. Ulysses S. Grant
He was the general who led the Union army to victory in the Civil War, and then became the 18th president. He was known for his bravery and determination in battle, as well as his drinking and smoking habits. He once said, “I know only two tunes: one of them is ‘Yankee Doodle’, and the other one isn’t.” As the commanding general of the Union Army during the American Civil War, Grant led the Union forces to victory, ultimately bringing an end to the Confederacy and preserving the Union.
8. Ronald Reagan
He was the actor-turned-president who survived an assassination attempt, ended the Cold War, and boosted the economy with his “Reaganomics”. He was also famous for his wit and humor, often cracking jokes and delivering memorable lines. One of his best quotes was, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
His charisma and communication prowess allowed him to effectively convey his vision for a stronger and more prosperous America.
7. Franklin D. Roosevelt
He was the only president to serve four terms, and he did so while suffering from polio and using a wheelchair. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, displayed unparalleled courage and determination during one of the most challenging periods in American history – the Great Depression and World War II. His New Deal policies helped pull the nation out of economic despair, and his steadfast leadership guided the country through the tumultuous war years. He also had a pet dog named Fala, who accompanied him everywhere and received fan mail from around the world.
6. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is widely regarded as one of the greatest presidents in American history. He was also a skilled wrestler, a self-taught lawyer, and a master of storytelling. He once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
5. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was a badass in both military and political arenas. As the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during World War II, Eisenhower played a pivotal role in the successful invasion of Normandy, leading to the liberation of Western Europe. He launched the Interstate Highway System, created NASA, and warned against the “military-industrial complex”. He also liked to play golf, paint, and cook.
4. George Washington
George Washington, the first President of the United States, personified the essence of revolution and independence. He not only led the Continental Army to a resounding victory against the British during the American Revolutionary War but also safeguarded the nation’s freedom, establishing the bedrock for the democratic principles that define the United States today. As a true pioneer, he not only held the distinction of being the inaugural president but also stood as one of the most badass figures in American history. He also had wooden teeth, crossed the Delaware River on a boat, and refused to be king.
3. John F. Kennedy
He was the youngest elected president, and also one of the most charismatic. He faced off against Cuba, Russia, and Vietnam, initiated the Peace Corps, and supported civil rights and space exploration. He inspired the nation with his ambitious goal of landing a man on the moon, which ultimately became a reality during the Apollo 11 mission. Kennedy’s leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis also showcased his cool-headedness and resolve in the face of nuclear brinkmanship. He also had a glamorous wife, Jackie, a secret affair with Marilyn Monroe, and a bulletproof rocking chair.
2. Andrew Jackson
He was nicknamed “Old Hickory” for his toughness and temper. He fought in the War of 1812, where he defeated the British at New Orleans with a ragtag army of pirates, slaves, and Indians. Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, earned his badassery through his bold and unconventional approach to politics. Known as the “People’s President,” Jackson championed the interests of the common man and fought against political corruption. He also survived several duels, beat up an assassin with his cane, and paid off the national debt. His military background and fearless personality only added to his reputation as a true frontier hero.
1. Teddy Roosevelt
He was the ultimate badass president. He was a cowboy, a soldier, a hunter, a naturalist, a writer, a reformer, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He led a volunteer cavalry unit called “the Rough Riders” in the Spanish-American War, where he charged up San Juan Hill on horseback. He was a man of action, known for his adventurous spirit, physical prowess, and fearless pursuit of justice. Roosevelt’s conservation efforts, trust-busting actions, and his role in the construction of the Panama Canal solidified his place as one of the most badass presidents in history. He also survived a gunshot wound to the chest during a speech, which he finished before seeking medical attention.