Yesterday, we celebrated one of our nation's most famous federal holidays- President's Day.
Although this holiday may not be one that inspires reflection in many of us, I found myself wondering about the many men who have found themselves in this position. I found myself wanting to learn about the unique legacy (or lack thereof) that these men have left on our country.
My President's Day led to me reading as much material as I could find about each president, from Obama all the way back to George Washington. I also spent time watching a documentary aired on the History Channel about the presidents.
The presidency is less than 300 years old, yet the amount of personalities that have occupied the office has been fascinating to me from the time I first learned about presidents in the second grade.
I have learned that history often repeats itself when it comes to the men who are elected president. Most of us remember the 2000 election, when George W. Bush lost the popular vote, but ended up becoming president over Al Gore because he won the votes from the Electoral College.
However, Bush was not the first president to be elected this way. Back in 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes, an Ohio politician and former Civil War soldier, won the election thanks to votes from the electoral college. This election remains one of the most controversial elections in American history, right alongside the 2000 election.
While most of us agree that the presidents who have had the strongest influence on our country to this day are Washington and Lincoln, our country might not have been as large as it today without the influence of James Polk, the 11th president, who believed that the country should be expanded. He acquired lands such as California and Oregon. He was a one-term president, whose name is not widely known today, however his achievements of expansion are what have earned him the title of "the least known consequential president" as one documentary stated.
Of course not all presidents leave behind a substantial legacy. Not many of us can recall the achievements of presidents like Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, or William Henry Harrison. However, President's Day is a day to celebrate every man who has take office thus far- no matter how small or great their achievements may seem.