The Worst US Presidents Ever (Pierce, Buchanan and Johnson)

Robert Allison
Robert Allison
Suffolk University

Robert Allison is a professor of history at Suffolk University and teaches in the Harvard Extension School.  He has received the Extension School’s Petra Shattuck Award for teaching and has been awarded the Suffolk’s Student Government Association award for teaching three times. Professor Allison has written books about the American Revolution, the history of Boston, and the Barbary Wars, and is co-editor of The Essential Debate on the Constitution. He is an elected Fellow of the American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society, and President of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

 

Overview

Worst US Presidents of All Time

Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, and Franklin Pierce–were they the worst Presidents ever?  Why have historians consistently placed them at the bottom of Presidential rankings?  Those are two different questions: one is about these three individuals and other Presidents; the second is about historians.  But even in their own time, two of these Presidents were dumped by their own party after one term, and the other was impeached (but not convicted).

Pierce, Buchanan, and Johnson: Were They Worst Presidents in American History?

And yet, Franklin Pierce’s campaign biography was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne; James Buchanan, as a former Secretary of State, Ambassador to Russia and England, and United States Senator, was possibly the best-prepared person ever to be elected President; and Andrew Johnson, a self-made man, had been chosen for his position by Abraham Lincoln. Who would have predicted their catastrophic failures?  What were the consequences of their colossal ineptitude?

Learn More About the Worst US Presidents of All Time

Curious about the rest of our rankings of worst US Presidents? Sign up for One Day University Membership today to access our full 1-46 rankings of the worst US presidents. You’ll also gain access to hundreds of talks and online lectures. For more great lectures like ‘Ranking the Top 10 US Presidents’ check out our American History lectures today!

 

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