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Old April 17th, 2013, 07:47 PM   #31

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Originally Posted by Meriwether Lewis View Post
I also concur with others that Jefferson was very intelligent and shrewd. Sure, he made a miscalculation with the Embargo Act in his second term, but it was a gamble anyway. Madison was cerebral, too, but his role in the context of the presidency isn't quite as luminous as his integral work on the Constitution decades prior. John Quincy Adams was another intelligent man.
I put my listing together based on the proof of a high intelligence,
an inquisitive mind, reading and writing. How many presidents after
J. Q. Adams could read, write and understand Latin or Greek and
include it in their letters to other former presidents, or readers,
and fully expect them to know the meaning? The Founding generation
of presidents were so vastly schooled differently than later executives.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 08:10 PM   #32

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"intelligence" and "smartness" are really hard to define, but in your opinion which president do you view as the most intelligent, in terms of policy, history, important aspects of politics, and maybe even philosophy as well..

who do you view as the smartest president of all time?
That's hard, considering the qualifications we use to define intelligence...

Are we talking about an intellectual... someone who learns and understands things for the sake of learning?

Are we talking about someone with practical intelligence, who studies for the purpose of putting it a practical use?

Are we talking about a philosophical intelligence... which doesn't necessarily mean the person knows a lot, but has a deep understanding of things and can thus place them in a fairly well designed viewpoint?

Are we talking about simple cunning... isn't necessarily "book smart" but knows how the system works and is thus able to manipulate it?
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Old April 17th, 2013, 08:28 PM   #33
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Definitely not the one who thinks that we have 57 states,or cannot pronounce "corpsman".or who claimed that his father helped liberate Auschwitz.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 12:39 PM   #34
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He's the only President to have completed a doctoral degree, to my knowledge.
I wouldn't necessarily agree that makes him more intelligent than any other President. Infact, I think you could make an argument that he was nothing more than remedial when compared to other Presidents. The arguments for his great intelligence are soft, lack specifics and instances where it was employed compared to the far greater and damning number of faults you can find in the man. It's almost to the point of some urban legend now, the way it is retold by so many who know so little.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 12:48 PM   #35
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Thomas Jefferson, hands down. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, was the mastermind behind the Revolution and he was the one who never gave up hope, even at times when Washington's army was taking a heavy beating from the British, which was basically 90% of the time.

Plus, Mr. Jefferson had written soooo many books and I have reasons to believe he had read nearly all the published books in America by that time. He just loved reading so much!
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Old April 18th, 2013, 12:50 PM   #36
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Thomas Jefferson, hands down. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, was the mastermind behind the Revolution and he was the one who never gave up hope, even at times when Washington's army was taking a heavy beating from the British, which was basically 90% of the time.

Plus, Jefferson had written soooo many books and I have reasons to believe he had read nearly all the published books in America by that time. He just loved reading so much!
mastermind behind the revolution? care to elaborate? I think you are giving him far more credit in the Revolution than he actually earned, which is hard to do considering he wrote the Declaration of Independence as you pointed out.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 02:59 PM   #37

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You guys have really hit some good ones (glad someone finally mention JQA).
Rather than be redundant because I agree with you guys, I'll add a new name that I think could rank in the top 5-10:
James A. Garfield.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 03:01 PM   #38

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Originally Posted by A. Lincoln View Post
You guys have really hit some good ones (glad someone finally mention JQA).
Rather than be redundant because I agree with you guys, I'll add a new name that I think could rank in the top 5-10:
James A. Garfield.
I agree with this. Garfield was extremely intelligent, and clever to the point of deviousness when it came to his own career advancement.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 04:03 PM   #39

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Plus, Mr. Jefferson had written soooo many books and I have reasons to believe he had read nearly all the published books in America by that time. He just loved reading so much!
Not to put words in your sentence, but I think you mean he actually
only wrote one book, Notes on the State of Virginia, and wrote more than 20,000 letters.
and knew how to speak and write in six languages.
In 1770 a fire at his home of Shadwell burned most of his personal papers and books.

After the War of 1812, he had amassed probably the largest
private library in the US (9,000 to 10,000 books) which allowed him to sell most of his personal collection, over 6,000 books, to the Library of Congress who had lost their 3,000 book inventory in a fire. In a letter to Mr. Samuel Smith, he even tells him that Congress can have his collection at whatever price they wanted to pay:

"It is long since I have been sensible it ought not to continue private property, and had provided that at my death, Congress should have the refusal of it at their own price....I do not know that it contains any branch of science Which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer. But such a wish would not correspond with my views of preventing its dismemberment. My desire is either to place it in their hands entire, or to preserve it so here. I am engaged in making an alphabetical index of the author's names, to be annexed to the catalogue, which I will forward to you as soon as completed. "
Jefferson to Samuel H. Smith, 21 September 1814.

Jefferson then began collecting books again for the next eleven years. Today
Jefferson and John Adams, each have an entire building of the Library of
Congress, named after them.
Click the image to open in full size.
Jefferson Reading Room
Click the image to open in full size.
Thomas Jefferson Building.

Last edited by tjadams; April 18th, 2013 at 04:07 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 05:28 PM   #40
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