The True Top 10 Worst American Presidents List that is 100% Accurate (You won’t believe #1!!!)

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The True Top 10 Worst American Presidents List that is 100% Accurate (You won’t believe #1!!!)

Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Michael Finnen, Staff Writer

Every nation has its fair share of great leadership. Unfortunately, you will not be seeing any of that on this list. Welcome to the Oratory Prep Omega, and today we will be counting down the top 10 worst American Presidents of all time. These presidents range from mediocre at best, to downright atrocious at worst, and this list will be highlighting some of the darkest times in American History. This list will focus much on not only who the president was as a person, but also how his policies and leadership lacked. Without further ado, let’s get right into it:


  1. George W. Bush

Hear me out, please!!! George W. Bush is probably one of the greatest men to ever serve as president. He had a very strong moral compass and truly did his best to be a great president. However, no matter how much credit we can give him for his personality, Bush’s presidency is one of the worst in terms of actual accomplishment. Both times Bush was elected president, the results were heavily disputed and controversial. While he handled 9/11 in the best way that he possibly could, Hurricane Katrina was a totally different matter. The federal government was caught completely unprepared for the devastating disaster, and it was clear that the agency in charge was poorly run and under incompetent leadership. Bush also oversaw some very unpopular wars like the Iraq War. The Great Recession (AKA, Almost Great Depression II), happened during the end of the Bush presidency. While this was not Bush’s direct fault, his response to it was shaky and struggled to restore confidence in the economy. Bush also created the largest federal deficits in American history by cutting taxes and simultaneously increasing government spending. Overall, his presidency was bogged down by these things. While the shady and powerful Vice President Dick Cheney was partially to blame for his influence on the inexperienced president, Bush’s personal blunders are very important, too.


  1. Andrew Johnson

Next on our list at #9 we find Andrew Johnson, who constantly battled with Congress over how the South should be Reconstructed after the Civil War. Surprisingly quite racist, Johnson often tried to block measures from Congress to aid the suffering African Americans. He pardoned many ex-Confederate leaders, even allowing them to take up political power again, basically securing racism in the South. Johnson came within one vote of impeachment, as he consistently fired White House cabinet members who did not agree with him. This Vice-President turned president certainly had his darker moments.


  1. Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon may have been one of the greatest politicians to ever serve as president, but his good qualities cannot outweigh his bad ones. Nixon was perhaps the most borderline, and oftentimes actually, criminal president in all of American history. Labeled by many as “Tricky (insert expletive here)”, Nixon was incredibly insecure about his own leadership and felt that everyone was out to get him. Thus, he often resorted to “dirty tricks”, to ruin his opponents. He had an enemies list, and he sought to ruthlessly destroy the careers of everyone on it. He put together a team to ruin many opposing Democrats, accusing them of banalities, forging press releases, placing illegal wiretaps and spies, and even breaking and entering, such as what happened in the Watergate Scandal. Nixon encouraged everyone involved to lie, even under oath, about their involvement in the scandal, especially those in the White House. Had he not resigned, he certainly would have been the only American president to ever be impeached. This is to say nothing about his racist “Southern Strategy,” which sought to secure the South for the Republican Party by secretly playing to racism in those areas. Sadly, this is not the worst it gets, it’s all downhill from here…


  1. Warren G. Harding

If Nixon’s presidency was bogged down by a scandal, then Harding’s was bogged down by multiple. Harding himself was not actually involved in them, it was his group of drinking buddies that he chose as his officials who were, and this severely hurt the reputation of the administration, especially because many of these scandals were not revealed until after his death. The Teapot Dome Scandal is the most famous, in which public oil fields were loaned out to companies in exchange for gifts and bribes. This is just one of many scandals that his administration was involved in. Harding himself was not much better; he allegedly had a 15-year long extramarital affair and drank illegal alcohol in the White House during the time of the Prohibition.


  1. Andrew Jackson

The man representing the 20 dollar bill sadly does not leave the best reputation behind. Jackson was a popular war hero, the first-ever president to be born into poverty. However, he was also a literal murderer (he frequently dueled in the time before his presidency, even surviving being shot and actually killed a man once), a horrible racist against Native Americans, and was almost directly the cause of the Panic of 1837. Jackson oversaw the Trail of Tears, the forced migration of thousands of Native Americans, many of whom died along the way due to the horrible conditions. He also vetoed the bill to recharter the National Bank of the United States, essentially killing it. In doing this, however, Jackson severely crippled the economy, leading to a dramatic downturn. Jackson may have completely redefined the Democratic Party, but he certainly had his fair share of irreconcilable issues.


  1. Herbert Hoover

Hoover makes it this high on the list mainly not for his direct action but for his inaction, namely that he did almost nothing to help the United States reverse the Great Depression, in many cases he actually made it worse. As the worst economic downturn in the entire world’s history unfolded, Hoover stood by, believing firmly in his stance that the government should not intervene in much. In fact, Hoover even thought it to be a good idea to raise taxes, in a time when nearly ¼ of Americans didn’t even have a job to pay the bills. He believed that it was the role of private charities to help with welfare programs, leading to mass unpopularity by those who were struggling. Homeless people even formed shanty communities which they called “Hoovervilles” to mock and lambast the president. Maybe in a different time, Hoover would have been more popular, but his inability to act in the worst of times, the sign of a truly good leader, reveals him to the truly weak.


  1. Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore is probably the most racist man on this list. He is not only ranked the highest on the “most forgotten presidents list,” but even worse than that, the only thing that I can remember about him is his involvement in the xenophobic (anti-immigrant), anti-Catholic, anti-basically everything Know-Nothing Party. The Know-Nothings were a political party, originally a shady secret organization, of racist nativists and anti-Catholics. Fillmore conveniently kept quiet about his involvement in this party, and despite it dissolving shortly thereafter, its stances certainly leave a lot to be desired.


  1. William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison ranks this far up on the list simply because he literally did nothing in his presidency. You may be saying this is unfair because the man died just 31 days into his presidency and did not get the chance to impress us. However, his death was entirely his own fault. Harrison was 68 when elected, the oldest man until Reagan, and his inaugural address, the longest in history, was delivered in bitterly cold, rainy weather. However, Harrison opted not to wear a coat or hat for his entire speech, and died of pneumonia shortly after. A decision like that definitely shows some bad signs, and we never know what kind of decisions he would have made as president should he have lived longer. However, speculation is not a great tool for list building, and as it stands, Harrison is the least accomplished president, and thus sits at #3.


  1. James Buchanan

James Buchanan is one of the worst, very close to the worst, president of all time. He was elected in the first place purely because he had been away from the United States, and was not well versed in all of the issues of the time, not a very good sign. However, Buchanan sits this high on the list because he literally allowed 8 states to leave the United States and then left the presidency, having done nothing to get them back. It is this utter incompetence that leads him to top many other worst president lists. However, there is one worse than Buchanan that every other list always misses…


  1. George Washington

Come on, did you really expect anything different? George Washington is undoubtedly the worst president in American history. With no redeeming qualities whatsoever, this man was truly horrible. Washington’s supposedly illustrious military career was full of blunders, especially during the French-Indian War, and even during the Revolutionary War, he was almost fired many times. His men were starving and dying as he lost battle after battle. Washington did not even want to be president in the first place; how could he possibly have been a good leader when he did not even want the job? Washington also refused to provide aid for the French, who had helped him during the Revolutionary War. He was definitely lacking in the friendship department. Many lies have been made up about his life; he never chopped down a cherry tree. The worst part of all, Washington is idealized as some kind of perfect being as our first president. He was human just like everyone else, he made mistakes, and it is wrong to look at him and completely ignore his mistakes. We may have had bad presidents, but none worse than old George Washington.