By Unknown – White house, Public Domain, Link

When it comes to political discourse, it appears that we have become a nation of extremes. Many have taken the statement “If you’re not for us, you’re against us” into the political realm and then multiplied it to the extreme. With this type of approach to American politics, anyone who even remotely disagrees with you is obviously anti-American and full of hate. And if the conversation shouting match goes on for any length of time, one side is sure to accuse the other side of sounding like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.

Of course, it is inevitable during conversations like this that someone eventually accuses a recent president of being the “worst president ever.” They rarely give many valid reasons why he was the worst president in the history of the US. They just make the blanket statement that he was obviously the worst president we’ve ever seen.

Both of them can’t be the worst. So which one is it? Who is the worst president ever? Is George W Bush the worst president ever with the Patriot Act, and his handling of the economy that led to the Great Recession? Or is Barrack Obama the worst president ever with the ramrodding of the Affordable Care Act on the American public, a poor foreign policy that led to the rise of the Islamic State, and the least transparent administration since Nixon?

I guess one of these presidents could be a candidate for worst president ever. But it’s hard to judge. Actually, it’s impossible to judge how good or bad these presidencies were. We’re still too close to the events. I’m not even sure we can fully judge Clinton’s presidency yet. We have to judge them with the long view in mind. And it’s just too soon to make a statement like this. I know that doesn’t stop people. I’m pretty sure critics called the Bush’s presidency the worst ever within the first few days of his administration. And I know people called Obama the worst president ever…on Inauguration Day! That isn’t partisan or anything. And it isn’t shortsighted at all.

Who is the worst president ever?

There are several candidates for this title. It’s popular to say that Harding’s presidency, marred by the Teapot Dome scandal, was the worst. Of course, Nixon’s fall from grace requires that he be a candidate. Some argue that Woodrow Wilson’s post-World War I policies paved the way to Hitler’s rise to power. When you include his segregationist views, perhaps he should be considered as the worst president ever.

Some say that Andrew Jackson was one of the greatest presidents in our history. He certainly changed things. Some for the better, to be sure. His populist views resonated with the people and ushered in the age of Jacksonian Democracy, which lasted for several election cycles. But he was also responsible for the Trail of Tears. And he blatantly disregarded the separation of powers as outlined in the Constitution. He is even quoted as saying “(Chief Justice) John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it!” I’ve heard it said that he was the worst “great” president. Whatever that means.

While a case could be made for these men to be named the Worst President Ever, there’s one man whose presidency rises above (or sinks below…however you want to phrase it) the rest. People like to say that “(Insert current president’s name here) wants to see this country torn apart. He wants nothing but division.” I heard that about Bush. I heard it about Obama. I’m sure I’ll hear it about Trump. It’s some pretty powerful rhetoric, but I believe the worst president ever actually watched the country tear apart. And he did nothing about it.

James Buchanan is the Worst President Ever.

James Buchanan - Worst President Ever
By From Brady daguerreotype (Mathew Brady) (1822-1896) – Library of Congress, Public Domain, Link

I’m sorry. It’s not even close. The country was falling apart and he did nothing. The Panic of 1857? Nothing. The spread of slavery? Nothing. In fact, he said it was “a matter of but little practical importance” during his inaugural address. He also welcomed the Dred Scott decision. You know, the decision that could possibly be the worst decision the US Supreme Court has ever made. And Buchanan thought it was a good thing.

It wasn’t.

It drove the wedge between the North and the South even deeper. The country was literally tearing apart.

And James Buchanan did nothing.


In fact, he thought history books would look kindly upon him for doing nothing because he thought he was following the Constitution. He was wrong.

While the fire that was about to consume our nation continued to spread, James Buchanan did nothing. He might as well have played a fiddle while the hurled towards disaster.

You want to name someone Worst President Ever? James Buchanan rightfully holds that title. Hands down. No question about it. It’s not even close.

If you want to claim someone else is the worst? That’s your right. But it’s hard to argue against the guy who actually watched our country tear apart.

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Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

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