Acton Institute Powerblog

Reagan Voted Greatest American

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Ronald Reagan was voted the Greatest American in history by a slim margin by a Discovery Channel program, barely beating out Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin rounded out the top 5.

Of course, I’m not sure how much credence should be lent to a list whose top 100 included such luminaries as Tom Cruise, Ellen DeGeneres, Brett Favre, Dr. Phil, and Michael Moore.

In any case, when Ronald Reagan passed away last year, Acton president Rev. Robert Sirico reflected on Reagan’s legacy, “The Reagan Moral Vision.”

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Robert Patrick Moscato

    I do not know what the criteria was for determing who made the top 100 list of Greatest Americans, however I voted for Ronald Reagan. His optimism and dogged determinaton helped to get this nation out of the darkest days since the end of World WarII.
    It is fitting that the man who had a great deal to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union, was so honored. This honor bestowed to the former President should take absolutely nothing away from Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. There legacy along with Ronald Reagan are ensured for the rest of the history of our country. Thank you Ronald Reagan for your gift to our country and to the world.

  • Ian Wilson

    Reagan as the Greatest American? Who voted? I can name at least 10,000 people who did more for this country than Ron Reagan. How about the 1,700+ soldiers who have died in Iraq so far? Reagan? Please, Franklin, Jefferson, and Jefferson started this country, Reagan put us up to our heads in debt, and his VP and his son are continuing to run us into the ground. Without the founding fathers Reagan would have never been elected as President. Stop pumping up Reagan just because you liked his movies.

  • While I doubt that I would have voted for Reagan as [i]the[/i] greatest American of all time, I think by now it’s pretty clear that he was indeed [i]a[/i] great American, and to reduce his accomplishments in office to little more than running up the national credit card debt is a bit ludicrous.

    And I sincerely doubt that the outpouring of love and respect that occurred upon his passing had very much to do with America’s love affair with [i]Bedtime for Bonzo[/i].