As I was scrolling through my Insta stories the other day, I saw a long rant about how President Donald J. Trump was “The WORST President in the history of The United States.” Now, I’m sure that even if you’re Donald Trump’s biggest fan, we could find something he has done that you wouldn’t be a fan of (he has quite the track record), but the “WORST” president in history? The worst out of 44 leaders over the course of nearly 250 years? I don’t know about that.
Today I will be showing you three whom I believe to be the worst Presidents in history and I’ll let you decide if you still think our current POTUS trumps them all.
Lets start with James Buchanan. He was the 15th President of The United States, making him the president directly before Abraham Lincoln as well as the president right before the Civil War. While many argue that the Civil War was inevitable, Buchanan certainly did his part to make an already bad situation worse.
For starters, the Dred Scott Case, which proclaimed that escaped slaves who made it to free states and were then captured must be returned to their masters, happened during his presidency. President Buchanan ended up backing up this decision. On top of this, despite being from the northern state of Pennsylvania, Buchanan decided to join southern Democrats in attempting to expand slavery into new states such as Kansas. These decisions caused further tensions between the south and the north. President Buchanan may have had a chance to calm the tensions that sparked the civil war, but instead, by the time he left office, seven states had already seceded. (Click here if you want an even stronger opinion on President Buchanan)
Since we’re on the topic of Civil War, lets talk about Andrew Johnson. President Johnson was the 17th U.S. President, taking the title after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Lincoln was killed shortly after the end of the Civil War, leaving Andrew Johnson to deal with the aftermath. And he did a pretty terrible job.
During the reconstruction, southern states began making laws known as the Black Codes. Johnson, being a southern democrat from Tennessee despite being Lincoln’s running mate, did nothing to stop discriminatory laws like this from being passed. In fact, he did quite the opposite. He repeatedly vetoed reconstruction legislation that was against the racist southern agenda, and was even an outspoken opposer of the 14th amendment, which ensured that former slaves would become citizens of the United States. The boggling of the reconstruction period has been marked as a leading cause to the race relations problems in the United States, much of which can be attributed to Johnson.
This on top of abuse of power allegations, that ended up getting him impeached, makes Andrew Johnson a pretty bad president (Here’s out article on all impeached Presidents!). But at least he’s not the worst from the state of Tennessee, right? Right…?
Andrew Jackson was an accomplished military man and politician by the time he left his beautiful plantation home in Nashville, Tennessee to become the seventh President of the United States. While many commend a large amount of Jackson’s decisions as president, his lasting legacy as POTUS is wrapped up in the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
This act, which Jackson pushed for and championed, called for the forceful removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans to lands out west. This event is often known as the trail of tears and resulted in the death of thousands of natives adding to the long lasting Genocide of Indigenous People in the Americas. Not all tribes were willing to be exiled without a fight, leading to the Florida War (Also known as the Seminole War) that lasted over 6 years and lead to the death of further thousands. These events were part of The Genocide of Indigenous people. The genocide of these natives in the Americas is one of the largest, yet least recognized genocides to ever be committed, with up to 11 times as many people killed than in the Holocaust. If you want to look into it more, there’s some great sources here and here.
So what’d you think? Still sure we’re living under the worst POTUS this country has ever seen? Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. I haven’t even discussed a few that some historians would claim are the worst of them all! Let me know if you need more convincing or would just like a follow up article. Thanks! 🙂