Which presidents were fighters? In which wars? Which presidents were delicate diplomats? Which presidents were both warriors and diplomats? What were their personalities, their philosophies? Alliances are allowed, so which ones would band together? Which ones would indulge a grudge? Against whom? The entries on Tyler and Polk alone have great research potential:
10) John Tyler – No one liked John Tyler, especially Team Jackson-Van Buren. Not only would he be hunted down, but he would have an unmemorable death unless Van Buren tries to go for style points. Five minutes into the scrap, people would ask each other, “Who was that again? Why is Jackson wearing his scalp as a beret?”
11) James Polk — I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. That man had some grit and gumption and more than his share ofcharacter. He said what he meant, and he did what he said. He will not be one of the early deaths, although I think the Top 10 escapes him for a simple lack of ambition. Promising to serve a single term and then following through on that promise? He doesn’t dream big enough to escape the knives of the Holy Trinity.
With vivid context like this, kids might actually remember Tyler and Polk, who are part of the Jackson to Roosevelt forgotten presidential chain because U.S. federalism had not yet been compromised and the U.S. had yet to be a world power, so the U.S. president was just a chief executive of a successful enterprise, a man of middling import. And that’s just the boring ones.