#15 - James Buchanan (blame it all on him?)

Nov 2013
588
US
#1
I don't think there is anyone that disagrees with me when I say he was a horrible president and one of the worst. However, is he really THE worst?

He was placed in an impossible situation, to be honest, and I don't think any president could have handled it, though Buchanan did handle it in the worst way possible by acting via referendum, having no moral conviction and interpreting the constitution so narrowly.

Even though it all falled on Buchanan, I think most of the previous presidents had their share of the blame too.

Filmore delayed it. Pierce agitated it. Jackson, Monroe and Polk do have positive accomplishments, but you can't deny the fact that they didn't do anything to improve the conflict either.

They were faced with the same dillemma as Buchanan and they had more time, more convenience to do it, yet they didn't.

So, I do think Buchanan is in the top 5 worst. But does he really deserve the lion share of the blame?
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,099
VA
#2
Buchanan did other nonsensical things besides his stance towards the divide over slavery, such as the Mormon War. He also actively set about making the situation worse by supporting the Lecompton Constitution, which was a blatant fraud and received condemnation even from some pro-slavery leaders. I don't assign a lion's share of blame for the ACW, but I do put Buchanan as one of our absolute worst Presidents.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,653
#4
Filmore delayed it. Pierce agitated it. Jackson, Monroe and Polk do have positive accomplishments, but you can't deny the fact that they didn't do anything to improve the conflict either.
Doing nothing was notably better than what Buchanan did. He secretly influenced the Supreme Court to issue the Dred Scott Decision and supported the clearly fraudulent LeCompton Constitution. Most northerners cared little or nothing about abolition, but they did care about a president who was obviously a tool of sectional interests, the trampling of state and individual rights, and trying to force that sectional position on the majority insetad of seeking another compromise.
 
Feb 2013
1,283
Second City
#5
He was about as effectual as a policeman who, upon witnessing a crime, throws his hands up in despair and cries, "Sure they're breaking the law, but what can I do?"

He was the epitome of a career politician, and would have been far less harmful to the United States if he had never gotten out of the State Department. About the only positive thing accomplished under his tenure was the construction of an ugly brick barn for the White House.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2012
349
Massachusetts
#6
I think Buchanan deserves his blame and that there were better men at the time for being President in handling the situation. Though what he consider good handling of the situation might be different from what they do.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,099
VA
#8
for his overall attitude and competence in equal parts to his policies? right.

also, you say "one of". who is the worst, in your eyes
My historical field of interest biases me here, but I would point the finger at Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Franklin Pierce as the bottom three. Which of the three you consider worst isn't that important in my mind, they're all pretty equally terrible.