U.S. Presidents Who Were Much Worse Than Barack Obama, Part 2
In the previous article, we took a hard look at five presidents who were much worse than our current Commander in Chief.
Unfortunately, there are five presidents who were even worse than those presidents.
Let's take a look at them.
5. George W. Bush
George "Dubya" Bush had the awful experience of being the country's leader during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but his foreign policy decisions were some of, if not the worst, in American history.
Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was based on the false pretenses of the country possessing weapons of mass destruction.
In October, The New York Times published a series of articles claiming that Bush was right about the WMDs, though several other outlets have denied their relevance.
The decade-plus war in Iraq started by the Bush administration cost the U.S. nearly $2 trillion, more than 4,000 lives of American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, and an Iraq that is more unstable now than it was before the U.S. invaded.
The cost of the war set the American economy back decades, as did Bush's tax cuts for the rich, and a multitude of other problems.
The American economy collapsed shortly after Barack Obama took office thanks to his predecessor, and he's had to spend his entire presidency getting it back on the right track with no help from Congress.
Bush's presidency was catastrophic, and his blunder in Iraq will forever cultivate whatever legacy history has in store for him.
4. Franklin Pierce
Just like Millard Fillmore before him, Franklin Pierce was a northerner who did nothing to slow down the expansion of slavery.
And just like Fillmore, Pierce made the problem even worse with the legislation he helped pass during his presidency.
The most controversial issue of Pierce's administration was the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which re-opened the floodgates for slavery expansion and essentially repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
Violence between pro-slavery folks and ardent abolitionists in Kansas over the issue pushed the country even closer toward the Civil War thanks to Pierce.
His presidency was so bad, that the Democrats refused to re-nominate him for a second term.
3. Warren G. Harding
Warren Harding was not fit to be president, and boy, did it show.
The former newspaper man-turned politician was a gambler, a drinker, and a womanizer who seemed more interested in having a good time instead of leading the United States in a positive direction.
Not only was Harding an ineffectual leader, his cabinet, which composed of several of his cronies, was arguably the most corrupt in American history.
Albert Fall, Harding's Secretary of the Interior, leased the federal Teapot Dome oil fields in Wyoming to private companies where he made approximately $400,000 for himself.
2. James Buchanan
A significant amount of historians regard James Buchanan as the worst president the nation has ever had, but I'll put him as the second-worst Commander in Chief.
Like his predecessor Franklin Pierce, Buchanan was a northern Democrat who helped fuel the slavery fire until it was out of control.
Instead of grasping the immoral consequences of the institution of slavery, Buchanan favored a "states rights" approach to the issue. Unfortunately, his actions were the final straw that led to the Civil War.
He viewed slaves as property and not citizens, and his stance was evident after the Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sanford in 1857.
Buchanan also wanted to bring the Kansas territory into the Union as a slave state, agitating the abolitionists who had been fighting the issue since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
As a whole, Buchanan's presidency was nothing short of miserable. His policies alienated both the North and South to the point of no return, leading to South Carolina's secession just six weeks after Abraham Lincoln's nomination.
1. Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson's actions during Reconstruction changed the course of American history forever, putting him at the bottom as the worst president the country has ever had.
After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, Johnson, the only senator from a southern state not to secede from the Union, was named president.
Johnson ignored almost everything the Civil War had accomplished, essentially forcing the country to the days it endured before the war.
He failed to recognize blacks as free men, and failed to punish the South for seceding from the Union and causing the bloodiest war in American history.
Almost any legislation Congress passed to reform the old South, Johnson vetoed. Johnson was also firmly against the 14th Amendment, which deprived any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
His handling of Reconstruction led directly to "black codes," the Ku Klux Klan, and the rise of Jim Crow laws that plagued Southern blacks for an entire century.
It's impossible to say for sure how history would have fared if Lincoln was never killed, but it's safe to say that the country would be miles ahead of what is today racially had Johnson not been president.
The first president to be impeached, Johnson was just one vote shy of being voted out of office.