"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

The National Mood Through History

First posted at The Smirking Chimp, March 9, 2009.

I made the contention on another thread that the United States is not, and never really has been, a liberal country. It was founded largely by wealthy libertarians. Conservatives have occupied the Oval Office more often than not.
American Presidents are not dictators (although several have certainly tested those waters), but who we elect says a lot about the national mood. So let's take a stroll down our national memory lane. I've divided the 44 Presidents (actually 43 men, since Grover Cleveland counts as both 22 and 24) into four groups:
Authoritarian--sometimes bordering on fascist, these men were representative of, and pursued the policies of, the far right of their day.
Conservative--basically, right-leaning centrists.
Pragmatists--left-leaning centrists.
Liberals--idealists who actively promoted agendas that went counter to the conservative interests of their day. I can't say that we've ever actually had a far left President.
Here they are. Feel free to disagree. That's what Democracy is all about, right?

George Washington--Conservative
John Adams--Authoritarian
Thomas Jefferson--Liberal
James Madison--Pragmatist
James Monroe--Conservative
John Quincy Adams--Conservative
Andrew Jackson--Authoritarian
Martin Van Buren--Pragmatist
William Henry Harrison--Conservative
John Tyler--Conservative
James Knox Polk--Authoritarian
Zachary Taylor--Conservative
Millard Fillmore--Pragmatist
Franklin Pierce--Conservative
James Buchanan--Pragmatist
Abraham Lincoln--Liberal
Andrew Johnson--Pragmatist
US Grant--Pragmatist
Rutherford B Hayes--Pragmatist
James Garfield--Authoritarian
Chester Arthur--Conservative
Grover Cleveland--Conservative
Benjamin Harrison--Conservative
William McKinley--Authoritarian
Theodore Roosevelt--Liberal
William H Taft--Conservative
Woodrow Wilson--Pragmatist
Warren Harding--Conservative
Calvin Coolidge--Authoritarian
Herbert Hoover--Conservative
Franklin D Roosevelt--Liberal
Harry S Truman--Conservative
Dwight D Eisenhower--Pragmatist
John F Kennedy--Pragmatist
Lyndon Johnson--Liberal
Richard Nixon--Conservative
Gerald Ford--Conservative
Jimmy Carter--Liberal (?)(a real hard call)
Ronald Reagan--Authoritarian
George HW Bush--Authoritarian
Bill Clinton--Pragmatist
George "The Smirking Chimp" Bush-Authoritarian
Barack Obama--Pragmatist
For most of this country's history, it's really been a bitch to be a liberal. Most of the periods of liberal or pragmatist Presidencies came during tough economic times.
Which, of course, means that now is not the time to quit. Just bear in mind that when the economy improves, the right will rise again.