Commander in Chief | Chief Executive | Chief Diplomat | Ceremonial Head of State | Manager of the Economy | Party Leader | National Leader
Thomas Jefferson | Abraham Lincoln | Theodore Roosevelt | Franklin D. Roosevelt | John F. Kennedy | Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act

Americans ask their presidents to do more than govern; they expect them to lead. No aspect of the chief executive's job is more important than articulating the nation's principles, taking on new challenges, providing comfort and inspiration in times of crisis, and, in Abraham Lincoln's words, appealing to "the better angels of our nature."

Presidential leadership has often been met with contentious political debate. But when Americans look back in history, this is the main quality they use to judge a president's tenure in office.

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National Museum of American History