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Patch Poll: Presidential Popularity Contest

When it comes to favorite American presidents, Washington and Lincoln are on everyone's list.

Presidents Day is the nation's celebration of George Washington's birthday. What? Isn't it the celebration of Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays?

Technically, no.

The confusion began with the enactment of the Uniform Holiday Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, which moved Washington's birthday, Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances to a Monday to create three-day holidays. Washington's birthday became known as Presidents Day, although it is still legally recognized by Congress as Washington's Birthday, Presidents Day has become a day to honor not only Washington, but Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president who was born on Feb. 12, and the lives and accomplishments of all U.S. presidents.

So in the spirit of what has become Presidents Day, the Patch Poll asks: Who is your favorite president, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?

Washington was the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention and gentleman planter.

These were the roles in which Washington exemplified character and leadership, earning the title of “Father of His Country” and a hallowed place in America’s national psyche, according to mountvernon.org. When one of his officers suggested that Washington become king, he firmly put a stop to any further ideas of that sort.

Through it all, Washington advocated for civilian control of the military, and at the end of the conflict, he gave up power, by personally resigning his military commission before Congress.

As president, Abraham Lincoln built the Republican Party into a strong national organization, according to whitehouse.org. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On Jan. 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.

Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. In his planning for peace, the President was flexible and generous, encouraging Southerners to lay down their arms and join speedily in reunion. The spirit that guided him was clearly that of his Second Inaugural Address, now inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South. The opposite was the result, for with Lincoln's death, the possibility of peace with magnanimity died.

In last week's Patch Poll, Should Illinois prohibit all drivers from using handheld cellphones?, 66 percent of respondents said yes, and 33 percent said no.

Howdy999 February 22, 2012 at 06:04 AM
My favorite president is Washington because I was born on February 22nd and all through grade school I got my birthday off because it was a national holiday and I felt very special - that is until 8th grade - which was when the Uniform Holiday Act took effect and I had to go to school on my birthday for the first time ever!
Koshka February 22, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Just to lend a hand to the google impaired, here you go: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/97-936.pdf http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/19147/congressional_authorization_and_appropriation_processes.html http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB210/index.htm
Mark Garrity February 22, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Teddy Roosevelt was very liberal on trust busting, income and inheritance taxes, and conservation, all of which the modern Republican Party opposes these days. He was also very much an imperialist. He virtually gave Korea to Japan and encouraged them to become the major imperial power in East Asia. Just as Eisenhower's CIA engineered coups against elected governments in Iran and Guatemala came back to bite us in the 1960s and 1970s Teddy's lighting the flame of Japanese imperial ambitions came back to bite us in WW11.
Jello March 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Obama is the best one ever! At least he seem's to think so.
Jello March 08, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Or maybe he's the just the 4th best... ‘60 Minutes’ Edits Out Obama‘s Claim That He’s the Fourth Best President http://www.theblaze.com/stories/60-minutes-edits-out-obamas-claim-that-hes-the-fourth-best-president/

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