The "historical rankings" are included here and placed appropriately with the chart of Zodiac birth signs because we consider them in the same category of arrant nonsense. However, they are fun to read. The importance of either chart ranks well below rumor or trivia.
The Survey polled historians. Why historians? We have no clue. I can vouchsafe that we have no spiritual knowledge or insights that raises our judgement above others. Why some arrogant historians believe otherwise befuddles me. Why not engineers, farmers, truck drivers, teachers, the clergy, housewives?
Knowledge of the historical record does not translate into superior judgement of importance.
Those who doubt the last statement need only look at the survey. We love Teddy Roosevelt and think he is one of the great Presidents, but look at the chart. He is ranked higher than George Washington! Even the most outrageous elevation of importance does not raise Teddy Roosevelt to the same level, much less a higher ranking, than Washington.
Another example of the ridiculous -- William H. Harrison. Harrison was, no doubt, a great American with a superb military and public service record. His aspirations for the future may have been of the highest caliber; but he died. He was President for only one month. His wife was just packing to join him in the White House when he died. How can he be ranked at all? -- He can't.
If historians want to establish rank based on past, non-Presidential achievements and sincerity of purpose, they must move Herbert Hoover much higher up the list. On the other hand, if they only want to consider the political party, they should label the results accordingly.
The answer became pretty clear when historians marched before Congress during impeachment hearings of President Clinton and espoused all manner of malarkey to support a clearly biased political agenda. If Accountants ever behave that way there would be a woeful mess.
As one might expect, highly biased academic settings, combined with historians who want to advance agendas, will most certainly produce awful results. The surveyors would be well advised to conduct future surveys across a more general base and leave the historians to piddle around in their labyrinth of make believe and revisionism.
However, we don't want to be a spoil-sport. To help other historians we have developed our own rankings. ... Ed.