I remember George Bush frequently referring to himself as a wartime president. The point being that he had hard decisions to make. He was a serious president. He could not be held accountable for what he did. He was above it all; he was a wartime president. I understand that we have never voted a president out of office with soldiers in a combat zone. Although, LBJ would have been the first had he run. When Plutarch chose to write about a great Roman leader he identified Numa Pompilius. Of him, Plutarch wrote:
[The] temple at Rome has two gates, which they call the gates of war, because they stand open in the time of war, and shut in the times of peace; of which latter there was very seldom a . . . But, during the reign of Numa, those gates were never seen open a single day, but continued constantly shut for a space of forty-three years together; such an entire and universal cessation of war existed. For not only had the people of Rome itself been softened and charmed into a peaceful temper by the just and mild rule of a pacific prince, but even the neighbouring cities . . . began to experience a change of feeling, and partook in the general longing for the sweets of peace and order, and for life employed in the quiet tillage of soil, bringing up of children, and worship of the gods.
I love the phrase pacific prince and will try to remember it for a brief some time.
My question: Who is our pacific prince? Who is the greatest American peacetime president, and behind how many wartime presidents does he rank? And, I guess, why is this so?