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The Worst President in US History

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I beleive that Lyndon B. Jhonson had to of been one of the worst presidents in the United States history for preventing Barry Goldwater from becoming president. If only Goldy got elected, could you possibly imagine how much better things would be today?

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No, I agree, and agree further that in some (most? perhaps, even probably) such cases he did so against the Constitution.

So then the disagreement is about his legacy. Should his legacy be that of the Great President of Liberation or should it be that of the Great President of Centralization and Unification?

All signs that I am aware of point to Lincoln wanting to preserve the Union primarily. Ironically, Lincoln supported West Virginia's secession from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but he didn't support secession from the federal power by a state. At the Hampton Roads Peace Conference toward the end of the war, the conflict was as follows: The South wanted independence, not protection of slavery; and the North wanted union, not abolition of slavery. Before Lincoln would even talk with the Southern leaders, he wanted a guarantee that the South would abandon its attempt to secede.

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So then the disagreement is about his legacy. Should his legacy be that of the Great President of Liberation or should it be that of the Great President of Centralization and Unification?

No, that's not quite how I disagree with you. If you want to give him a "legacy," it would be both--in a long historical view both were significant. For that, keep reading to the end.

All signs that I am aware of point to Lincoln wanting to preserve the Union primarily. Ironically, Lincoln supported West Virginia's secession from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but he didn't support secession from the federal power by a state.

Did he actually actively support it, or did he merely accede to it? West Virginia seceded from lower Virginia on its own by convening a congress of a sort to arrange a vote whether to allow those counties to go their own way, and of course the congress was hardly representative of the entire commonwealth; the vote was heavily in favor of separation but even at the time was viewed as having borderline legality at best--but really, if Virginia could vote to secede from the Union, then by the very same reasoning West Virginia had the right to secede from Virginia, though that's not exactly what they did. (Here's the timeline, since it's not widely discussed. Virginia voted to secede from the Union on 17 Apr 1861 when Lincoln called up troops after the bombing of Fort Sumter. The congressmen from the 25 northwestern counties then assembled on 23 April and voted for each county in the northwest to send five representatives to meet on 13 May. After Virginia voted for secession on 23 May, the northwesterners met on 11 June, on 17 June declared all state offices void, and on the 20th appointed an interim governor and called for new elections to fill the vacant posts on the grounds that the acts in Richmond were null and void. This rival government claiming to represent the will of the entire population of Virginia called itself the Restored State of Virginia and voted on 24 Oct 1861 to approve statehood for the counties of West Virginia, which then petitioned the US Congress for admission, which was heatedly debated until an enabling act was approved on 31 Dec 1862, which Lincoln approved on condition the abolition of slavery be written into the new state constitution.) There's a good article on the legality (or, more likely, illegality) of the secession of West Virginia here; my timeline is condensed from that site.

Two quotes from this article are well worth quoting. First, Thaddeus Stevens: "We may admit West Virginia as a new state, not by virtue of any provision of the constitution, but under an absolute power which the laws of war give us. I shall vote for this bill upon that theory, for I will not stultify myself by supposing that we have any warrant in the constitution for this processing." Second, Abraham Lincoln: "We can scarcely dispense with the aid of West Virginia in this struggle, much less can we afford to have her against us, in Congress and in the field. Her brave and good men regard her admission into the union as a matter of life and death. They have been true to the union under many severe trials. The division of a state is dreaded as a precedent but a measure expedient by a war is no precedent for times of peace...It is said that the admission of West Virginia is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we call it by that name, there is still difference enough between secession against the constitution and secession in favor of the constitution. I believe the admission of West Virginia into the union is expedient."

What is important to keep in mind, however, is that in the one case in which I know Lincoln did have a good deal of influence over a proposed secession, that of East Tennessee, he urged the loyalists not to secede from the rebellious state. (In fact, I've put this point in a separate paragraph to keep it from getting lost in the details above it.)

At the Hampton Roads Peace Conference toward the end of the war, the conflict was as follows: The South wanted independence, not protection of slavery; and the North wanted union, not abolition of slavery. Before Lincoln would even talk with the Southern leaders, he wanted a guarantee that the South would abandon its attempt to secede.

On this particular point, I have to say it's not probative. With independence they could have chosen whatever they would on the question of slavery, but as part of a restored union it was clear they would lose both independence and the right to own slaves. Mind you, I'm not saying there weren't some Confederate leaders willing to recruit slaves into the army and end slavery if that would secure Southern independence. There were--Jefferson Davis himself came to hold these views by the end of the war (or something like them; it's been a while since I read it so I don't remember the details, but if you're curious about the CSA simply as a nation, Clement Eaton's A History of the Southern Confederacy (1965) is very good and goes into this issue at least a bit, and there's at least one later book on the history of the CSA distinct from the war effort that I have seen but not read). A number of Southern leaders saw the CSA as a distinct nation with its own culture, ethos, and political ideals (including but not necessarily founded upon slavery--many pro-slavery thinkers wholeheartedly disagreed) that would have been (and indeed, the last were) destroyed by surrender to the Union. They might not have existed as a majority (if there was a majority, it was probably a majority fighting for home and hearth and a native culture that included slavery but extended far beyond it), but one should keep in mind they did exist.

And that is what you have to keep in mind when you discuss whether union or abolition was more fundamental in the North, or states' rights or slavery in the South. Many, perhaps most, on each side viewed their respective pair as a whole--union assuring freedom for all, states' rights assuring freedom for all (white) Americans, particularly property rights (including property rights in slaves). This includes many political leaders on each side. Some leaders considered--and more importantly, under the force of daily events came to see clearly and forthrightly--one or the other as more important and more fundamental, and followed the working out of the logic of competing and colluding ideas, if you will. My view of Lincoln is that his views changed in that very way; he ran in 1860 to preserve the Union and prevent the spread of slavery, which he perhaps saw as a co-equal whole, but came to see complete abolition as the only fully moral justification for the slaughter of the war and the preservation of the Union, and the acceptance of free blacks (and all blacks as forever free) as basic citizens of a sort (if not yet prepared for full citizenship) of the only land they and their ancestors had known for at least 50 years and often much longer than that (rather than as aliens to be shunted off to Liberia on a government-paid ticket). His view of the positive powers of the state was rather more inclusive than the positive powers enumerated in the Constitution allowed and in this regard certain of his policies were the culmination of decades of pro-statist thought. (Similarly, some Southern leaders seem to have came to see the freedom espoused by the Southern cause as extending to all Southerners reardless of color.) And this is why Lincoln has a dual legacy--his administrations put paid to the earlier arguments over states' rights and federal power and swept aside the old views of politics and constitutional law to usher in a new era of centralization, state co-ordination, state monopoly, patronage, and the wrangling of power blocs and factions. Both abolition (and the demise of the old system in whose terms it was debated) and centralization (and the new system of the federal octopus in whose terms most everything has been debated ever since) are Lincoln's legacy. Choosing only one or the other or reducing one to the other distorts the past and oversimplifies history.

Edited by Adrian Hester

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Adrian: Thank you for the post, it sounds like you are very well educated on matters pertaining to this time period. I have learned a lot from your posts. Keeping your point in mind that Lincoln's figure has dual legacies, would you not choose one over the other as more important? The educational establishment of America attributes one legacy to Lincoln, so they are guilty of oversimplification as well.

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I consider Lincoln responsible for the enlargement of the powers of federal government, most specifically the executive branch.

In my estimation Lincoln is the man who initially set the office of President and the executive branch into its never-ending expansionary phase, which it is still undergoing.

I didn't quote the entire post, but these sentences are where I think Lincoln's legacy draws the majority of it's misunderstandings as I highly disagree. Lincoln's legacy may be responsible, but that's only because later men used it to further their goals. Lincoln himself did not seek to expand the powers.

While there's no arguing that Lincoln committed many questionable acts during the Civil War, including some that outright conflicted with the Constitution, he also clearly stated that he felt he was responsible. His writings show that he believed the Constitution granted the President the powers to do whatever he felt was necessary for the good of the country in times of emergency. However, after the conflict was resolved, he felt all of the President's actions should not only be reviewed and critiqued, but that accountability should be maintained. If the courts or Congress found his actions to be criminal, the President should take full responsibility and serve the punishment.

If people want to hate on Lincoln because of his actions during the Civil War or his perception of expanding the Executive branch, I'd suggest taking a look at Nixon instead. He, like Lincoln, believed that the Constitution granted the President excess powers in time of emergency. Yet Nixon tried to argue that any act taken by the President inherently made it legal. Nixon saw the President as a figure who could do no wrong and who thus effectively could rewrite the "Rule Book" whenever he felt like it with no consequences.

Lincoln was fully ready to accept responsibility for any of his actions that were later deemed to be criminal by his peers, the courts, or the nation. Nixon cheery-picked Lincoln's beliefs to serve his own and has thus set a dangerous precedent that we've seen called into play (Executive Privilege anyone?) time and time again over the past few decades.

It's almost as if Lincoln is being faulted due to his assassination. It's not his fault he was never able to face his possible vindication or punishment. It would have been interesting to see how Lincoln's life and legacy would have played out had he not been killed.

The argument given for crushing the seceding states is to end slavery, but the continuing constitutionality of slavery makes that justification moot, doesn't it? The fact that certain areas of the seceding states, which had been recaptured by the Union were exempted from the 100 day moratorium on slavery (not to mention the fact that it was temporary) puts the lie to the argument that expropriation was punishment for rebellion. Was all property of the rebels forfeit then? Or just the slaves? The proclamation says nothing about the other property owned by the southern rebels, only their slaves, which were still allowed to be owned by northerners. So there is no "rebellion" principle behind the proclamation, only a slavery principle, but apparently, not a universal principle. EP was an executive order on the legality of owning slaves, which order could have been issued for all states, but for the need to maintain support of critical areas of the Union.

This, to me, is the perfect example of Historical hindsight. At the time Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, this would have been a perfectly good argument for any pro-slavery proponents. However, we can see that this was simply a move to ensure the greatest chance of victory in the war. It's not pretty, but you have to pick your battles. And again, thanks to hindsight, we can see what occurred soon-thereafter. Had Lincoln drug his feet and not pushed the issue of freeing every slave in the nation, I would agree. But that's not what happened, as the states that had been given a previous pass were ordered to follow suit and release their slaves. The main objective of the war had been achieved and as soon as that occurred, he turned to the slavery objective. Yes, he was killed 8 months before the 13th Amendment was ratified, but he put it into motion as quickly as possible.

Had Lincoln seen the end of the war coming and then dropped the slavery issue, it would be a valid argument to say that slavery wasn't a major concern of Lincoln's and that he'd only used it as a ploy for his goals. But the speed and urgency he used to make sure all the slaves were freed even when it didn't bring him any distinct rewards should speak to his dedication to the issue.

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Goob wrote:

Lincoln himself did not seek to expand the powers .

How is that? Did the expansion happen independently of Lincoln’s will? Did Lincoln’s hand rise to sign papers without the consent of his brain? Or do you mean that Lincoln thought he was justified in expanding the authority of the executive branch, but presumed that none of his successors would think to do the same thing?

While there's no arguing that Lincoln committed many questionable acts during the Civil War, including some that outright conflicted with the Constitution, he also clearly stated that he felt he was responsible.

So? Countless criminals have taken responsibility for their actions. Accepting responsibility does not reduce the enormity of a crime.

His writings show that he believed the Constitution granted the President the powers to do whatever he felt was necessary for the good of the country in times of emergency.

Again, so what? If Lincoln had read the Constitution and truly believed it permitted the President to do whatever he wished as long as he thought it was necessary, then perhaps the 16th President did not possess the genius people give him credit for. Furthermore, there is not a single violation of constitutional law that has not been defended on the grounds that 1) it really was not a violation of the Constitution or 2) the “good of the country” justified such measures.

If people want to hate on Lincoln because of his actions during the Civil War or his perception of expanding the Executive branch, I'd suggest taking a look at Nixon instead.

Why can’t we do both?

He, like Lincoln, believed that the Constitution granted the President excess powers in time of emergency. Yet Nixon tried to argue that any act taken by the President inherently made it legal. Nixon saw the President as a figure who could do no wrong and who thus effectively could rewrite the "Rule Book" whenever he felt like it with no consequences.

How do we know that Nixon did not believe he acted “for the good of the country” too? And if he so believed, is he not entitled to the same constitutional prerogative that Lincoln seized, “the powers to do whatever he felt was necessary for the good of the country in times of emergency”?

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In my lifetime, Bush is the worst president. My lifetime does not span the 230 plus years of this country, but began in 1948. So it is not easy fo me to pass judgment regarding presidents like Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt who existed prior to my lifetime.

I have to admit my opinion here is based upon my own adjustments in philosophy, as I grew older.

I originally thought that Nixon deserved this dishonor, since he cut the student loan guarantees, forcing myself and my peers into greater debt. But, I realized later in life that the government had no business whatsoever to participate in the student loan business. The free market had always worked out financial assistance to worthy students in the form of privately sponsored grants, scholarships and fellowships. My other arguments against Nixon revolved around his administrations mishandling on foreign policy, and his trip to China.

The America of today is a lousy compromise of socially-oriented government and free enterprise. There is so much wrong with the American government from a capitalist point of view that I'd need volumes to synopsize what I thought. But given the sharp decline in the state of America from 2001 to today, I offer the opinion that the Bush administration has been an abject failure in virtually every respect.

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This is just a trivia question. As this country selects its leaders nowadays by popularity contests, what matters is the state of mind of the people. By and large the leaadership is representative of the country, or at least its major factions. The closet the US has been to totalitarianism was Wilson's war socialism. (source Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg). We have quite a way to go before it gets that bad again.

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How is that? Did the expansion happen independently of Lincoln’s will? Did Lincoln’s hand rise to sign papers without the consent of his brain?

No, no, I'm not saying Lincoln was a zombie :rolleyes:

Or do you mean that Lincoln thought he was justified in expanding the authority of the executive branch, but presumed that none of his successors would think to do the same thing?

Yes, this! Lincoln obviously and consciously expanded the powers himself, but this was accompanied with the expectation that when the war was over, the powers would dissipate. He never envisioned, let alone planned for, his successors to artificially keep the expanded powers for no reason, since he deemed the powers only necessary during time of war.

It's like blowing up a balloon and not tying it. You expect and articulate that it'll deflate in the near future. But you don't expect somebody to come along (your successors) and keep blowing into it so it never deflates.

For instance, here's a portion of a letter written by Lincoln in 1863 in response to criticism over the expanding powers he was overseeing:

You ask, in substance, whether I really claim that I may override all the guarantied rights of individuals, on the plea of conserving the public safety when I may choose to say the public safety requires it. This question, divested of the phraseology calculated to represent me as struggling for an arbitrary personal prerogative, is either simply a question who shall decide, or an affirmation that nobody shall decide, what the public safety does require, in cases of Rebellion or Invasion. The constitution contemplates the question as likely to occur for decision, but it does not expressly declare who is to decide it. By necessary implication, when Rebellion or Invasion comes, the decision is to be made, from time to time; and I think the man whom, for the time, the people have, under the constitution, made the commander-in-chief, of their Army and Navy, is the man who holds the power, and bears the responsibility of making it. If he uses the power justly, the same people will probably justify him; if he abuses it, he is in their hand, to be dealt with by all the modes they have reserved to themselves in the constitution.

I'm not arguing that Lincoln was correctly interpreting the Constitution, but it is clear that he viewed the expansion as a gamble and his gamble to take. He doesn't see the expansion of powers as something permanent he can put into place for years to come, but as something granted to him by the Constitution he was sworn to uphold and trying to protect. At the same time, he expects the public to put his actions in context, which they can only do by knowing all the facts: ie, what actions the President took, why he took them, and what the law says about it. Nixon (and future administrations) tend to completely skip over that second portion

So? Countless criminals have taken responsibility for their actions. Accepting responsibility does not reduce the enormity of a crime.

It's not so much the acceptance of responsibility that I meant to get at. What Lincoln expected was for his actions to be reviewed and absorbed into the nation's collective intelligence, for lack of a better term. When the war ended, he expected the courts and Congress to look at what he did and say yea or nay. If they deemed that what he did was criminal, then Lincoln (realistically in my view) expected that future Presidents would thus have a precedent to follow and know where the line was. If his actions were deemed in the right, he still didn't think the expanded powers would be permanent, only that he would be vindicated and a little more clarity to the Constitution would be made.

How do we know that Nixon did not believe he acted “for the good of the country” too? And if he so believed, is he not entitled to the same constitutional prerogative that Lincoln seized, “the powers to do whatever he felt was necessary for the good of the country in times of emergency”?

Let me quote part of Nixon's interview with David Frost from 1977

FROST: So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

FROST: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.

Nixon never expected to be held accountable. Thus, if he can't be held accountable, neither can any future President for their subsequent actions as well. It's a fine line, but an extremely important one to me. He's arguing that if the President does an action, it's inherently legal. He does later say that the President can't "run amok in this country and get away with it," but his version of consequences for that are not getting re-elected. Lincoln's were impeachment, criminal prosecution, or jail time.

Nixon might have very well thought anything he did was in the "nation's best interest," as Lincoln did, but again I'd argue that the distinction is he never expected to be held accountable. If later on his actions were judged to be criminal, oh well, big deal. And THIS interpretation is not only much more dangerous, but as we've seen over the last 2 decades, much more commonly used through "Executive Privilege" and the such.

What I'm trying to get at, the Nixon part aside, is that Lincoln is often blamed for the actions his successors took despite his clear expectations for the contrary. Lincoln had very little precedent to go on, knew his actions were a gamble and expected that after the war there would be some sort of oversight, review, and a clearer interpretation of the Constitution to help guide future generations. The fact that this didn't happen because of his untimely death isn't his fault. You can argue that he could have set up some sort of official court to make sure the review took place just in case he wasn't around, but then you're simply arguing that he didn't plan for his death well enough.

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A quick "plus-minus" list of the first fifteen Presidents (for quick reference for discussion):

Washington-

PLUS: Founding Father and Revolutionary War hero

MINUS: Put down Whiskey Rebellion

John Adams-

PLUS: the XYZ Affair (I say this because it showed that America could stand up for itself, and wouldn't buckle under pressure)

MINUS: the Alien and Sedition Acts

Jefferson-

PLUS: notably supported the separation of church and state

MINUS: purchased Louisiana without due process

Madison-

PLUS: principal author of the Constitution

MINUS: briefly resurrected the Embargo Acts

Monroe-

PLUS: [NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION]

MINUS: Monroe Doctrine

John Quincy Adams-

PLUS: [NEI]

MINUS: developed the American system (supported high tariffs)

Jackson-

PLUS: Jacksonian democracy (for the most part; having any explicit philosophy is a plus in itself)

MINUS: utilized "Manifest Destiny" as a means for expansion

Van Buren-

PLUS: generally followed Jackson's footsteps; i.e. supported a laissez-faire approach to economics

MINUS: created the idea of an "Independent Treasury", a precursor of the Federal Reserve

William Henry Harrison-

Harrison was only president for 31 days, but it can be judged by his inaugural address that he would be working against the policies of Jacksonian democracy and supporting the American System.

Tyler-

PLUS: worked against Whig policies, which were generally of the American System persuasion

MINUS: had no serious political affiliation or agenda

Polk-

[Possibly the first "bad" president.]

PLUS: generally followed Jacksonian policies

MINUS: established an Independent Treasury (see Van Buren), started the Mexican War (disputable)

As for the last four, Taylor, Pierce, Fillmore, and Buchanan, each took office during times of extreme turbulence in the relationship between the North and the South; the "slavery issue" dominated their presidencies and limited their political capital, so I couldn't find pluses for them, only minuses in regards to their compromises over slavery. Therefore, these four should, I think, be discounted from the race for "worst" president.

As noted above, of the first fifteen, Polk was the worst. He paved the way for the statist policies so popular today. Jackson would have been much better than he was, was he not a warmonger.

Hm... I hope this list is useful.

Let me know if I made any mistakes!

[NOTE: When I say "NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION", I mean my source (which was Wikipedia, for its ease of use), didn't supply me with enough facts about the presidents for me to post about. With a bit more research, I'm sure I could find something.]

Edited by Inertiatic

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Let me know if I made any mistakes!

I haven't been following this thread in detail, so this may have been discussed earlier, but I think identifying the Monroe Doctrine as a negative for James Monroe requires some defense. I think the Monroe Doctrine was probably the most well-formulated, most principled, most long-reaching and overall best foreign policy the United States ever had. It properly identified a key element of the national self-interest of the nation -- remaining independent from European interference -- and it identified a principled means of pursuing this interest over the long term and committed the nation to following it.

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I suppose you're right. I think I looked at it out of context and said, "Hey wait, didn't Theodore Roosevelt use this to springboard his own warmongering campaigns?" And he did- see The Roosevelt Corollary. So I struck it against Monroe.

Obviously, I am horribly incorrect.

I'll fix it- thanks for pointing that out!

But as for Monroe, do you think the Missouri Compromise would be a negative? My source doesn't really have much else for me to go on.

Edited by Inertiatic

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From a laissez-faire perspective one could argue that the more famous a president is, the more likely they are to be bad.

A good laissez-faire president is unlikely to have done much that would merit going down in history (i.e. they spent less time interfering in things), and so such a president has been conveniently forgotten.

On the other hand a president that gets into the history books beyond a footnote likely meddled in things, and so was probably bad.

Thus the most famous president is a good candidate for the worst.

I dunno...I mean George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are/were pretty famous/well known. ;)

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John Quincy Adams-

PLUS: [NEI]

MINUS: developed the American system (supported high tariffs)

[NOTE: When I say "NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION", I mean my source (which was Wikipedia, for its ease of use), didn't supply me with enough facts about the presidents for me to post about. With a bit more research, I'm sure I could find something.]

Wow. Wikipedia does him no justice. While his presidential achievements may not be great (it's hard to achieve anything when you have such an opposition-based congress), his political achievements as a whole are astounding. For instance, look into his diplomatic efforts in the Jeffersonian era. Look somewhere other than Wikipedia, apparently, as they don't do his service justice there. His dedication to his country and liberty in general is quite possibly the most impressive of any president we've ever had. Ex: he went back to COngress after the presidency; no one else has done that. He believed in his philosophy and efforts so much, he was willing to continue offering them.

I love the Adamses. While I concur the Alien and Sedition acts of Adams sr were a blunder, he had to make a decision for which there was no precedent, and he himself quickly became aware of the mistake he had made. Both John ADams and John Quincy Adams were monumental in their political philosophy and their understanding of indiv rights (again, A&S acts aside...). It is unfortunate that their presidencies were so uneventful, but they were uneventful precisely because they were so steadfast and stubborn in their beliefs. They were members of their parties, yes,but only begrudgingly so on and on paper only for all practical purposes. They didn't have many allies in Congrsss while either of them was President, and that because they were unwilling to sell their beliefs in exchange for power.

In my opinion, my list of great presidents ends with John Quincy Adams. But maybe I am basing my opinion more on the character of the individuals, rather than the achievements of the office. Is that improper? I think of the Presdency as a job, yes, but doesn't any employer also hire and judge their employees based on character, too? Is assessing the Presidents by their character unobjectivist?

Edited by softwareNerd
Fixed QUOTE tag

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But maybe I am basing my opinion more on the character of the individuals, rather than the achievements of the office. Is that improper? I think of the Presdency as a job, yes, but doesn't any employer also hire and judge their employees based on character, too? Is assessing the Presidents by their character unobjectivist?

It's one thing to say something, then act completely opposite of it.

For example: George W. Bush-

WHAT HE SAID: "I will protect the free market."

WHAT HE DID: Destroyed the free market.

Employers hire employees based on character, as that's really all they have to go by. However, employers don't have that leeway. If they go into business, they have to make sure they can handle it, or because of them, the entire project will fail. The President is more of an employer than employee. Sure, he "gets" a job, but really, he's the boss.

What I gathered from the topic was that it was judging the president by how they acted as president. Therefore, I could call my favorite president the worst president in my above list (yes, I am a fan of James K. Polk's).

(I don't really know how to end this post, so I'll just stop it here.)

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I suspect that five minutes into Obama's inauguration, the answer to this question will have become all too obvious...

I just found out that his celebration for the inauguration is called the "We Are One" Inaugural Celebration. HBO bought rights to it!

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It is hard to beat Buchanan for the worst United States President. It is one thing to erode your nation with incompetence (George W. Bush) or with secretiveness and acting like a jerk (Richard Nixon), but it is an entirely different matter to do nothing and simply watch your nation waste away. Taylor, Fillmore, and Pierce are included in this category.

John Tyler also deserves shameful regegnition for being the only President to commit treason, supporting the Confederacy and becoming elected to the Confederate House of Represenatives.

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The inept:

Carter

Hoover

Tyler

The most overrated:

Reagan

JFK

Bill Clinton

The worst of the worst:

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

FDR

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I suspect that five minutes into Obama's inauguration, the answer to this question will have become all too obvious...

I don't know... he's got a lot to screw up to even come close to equaling the ineptitude and evil nature of FDR, Wilson and Lincoln in my book. But who knows... the term is still young. He reminds me of FDR a lot, and that can't be a good sign :( The more I learn about FDR the more I wonder about Obama... I am reading a book called "New Deal or Raw Deal" about FDR and I keep finding argument after argument of his that Obama seems to be rehashing. Bleh! :wacko:

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