Who was the most divisive President in history?

Who is the most divisive President?

  • Reagan

    Votes: 3 4.5%
  • Nixon

    Votes: 8 12.1%
  • LBJ

    Votes: 4 6.1%
  • JFK

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • Truman

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • FDR

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • Wilson

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • Jackson

    Votes: 3 4.5%
  • Lincoln

    Votes: 33 50.0%
  • Other?

    Votes: 11 16.7%

  • Total voters
    66
Dec 2011
3,556
#1
Remember 1990 rule!

1. Reagan-the darling of the conservative right, the devil to the left for re-shifting the US back to the right wing after the leftward drift of the 70s.

2. Nixon-a man with many achievements to his name but ultimately always soiled by Watergate and allegations that he tried to 'subvert US democracy'.

3. LBJ-will always be associated with Vietnam but praised for his Great Society

4. JFK-in many ways a great president but marred by Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs and his private life.

5. Truman-dropped the A-bomb, desegregated the military, rowed with McArthur over Korea, what was his legacy?

6. FDR-saviour from the depression for some, proto-communist for others

7. Jackson-ultimate pragmatist or did he sell out reconstruction for his own political advantage?

8. Wilson-helped win the Great War and establish the League of Nations but had racist overtones

9. Lincoln-a man still not popular south of the Mason-Dixon line

10. Other?
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,046
#5
Andrew Johnson was left off and apparently confused with Jackson. John Adams should also be in the poll.

Jackson or FDR might be good for second.
 

RoryOMore

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,394
USA
#6
Lincoln was by far the most empathetic and inclusive President. This passage in his 1858 Ottawa speech is representative of his behavior as President:

"Before proceeding, let me say I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses North and South. Doubtless there are individuals on both sides, who would not hold slaves under any circumstances; and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. We know that some Southern men do free their slaves, go North, and become tip-top Abolitionists; while some Northern ones go South, and become most cruel slave-masters.


"When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia,-to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope, (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery at any rate; yet the point is not clear enough to me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question, if, indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We cannot, then, make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South.


"When they remind us of their constitutional rights, I acknowledge them, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly; and I would give them any legislation for the reclaiming of their fugitives, which should not, in its stringency, be more likely to carry a free man into slavery, than our ordinary criminal laws are to hang an innocent one."
That powerful forces determined to undermine Lincoln's election and create chaos in place of the acceptance of the democratic process in no way renders Lincoln "divisive." The division rests entirely on those who could not reconcile themselves to the will of the people as a whole.
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,818
Dispargum
#7
Lincoln was by far the most empathetic and inclusive President. This passage in his 1858 Ottawa speech is representative of his behavior as President:



That powerful forces determined to undermine Lincoln's election and create chaos in place of the acceptance of the democratic process in no way renders Lincoln "divisive." The division rests entirely on those who could not reconcile themselves to the will of the people as a whole.

A president isn't just a man, he's also a symbol. How he was perceived is just as important as what he did, said, or thought, perhaps more so.
 

RoryOMore

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,394
USA
#8
A president isn't just a man, he's also a symbol. How he was perceived is just as important as what he did, said, or thought, perhaps more so.
This is precisely the thought process that got witches burned at Salem. The weak-minded reduce people to perceptions or symbols. People of integrity try to see thecperson.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,216
Albuquerque, NM
#9
Other Presidents were also "divisive". John Tyler, the first VP to come to the Executive Mansion by death, insisted on being his "own Man". That alienated the Harrison loyalists, and made no friends of the opposition. Why not include Jefferson, who injected partisan politics sabotoging Washington's efforts govern with a Cabinet selected for "merit" rather than politics. Jefferson set the pattern for the "take no prisoner's" approach to American Politics.

Wars have often been fueled with divisive politics. New England threatened seccession during Madison's Administration over the War of 1812, the Mexican War was far from unifying Americans during President Polk's time in Office, and opposition to Teddy's militant internationalism was decidedly unpopular with many.

On the other hand, how can one argue that the election of Lincoln wasn't the most devisive since it actually did result in the Civil War followed by Radical Reconstruction and the dis-infranchisemsment for a time of the Southern States.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,845
US
#10
Lincoln was by far the most empathetic and inclusive President. This passage in his 1858 Ottawa speech is representative of his behavior as President:



That powerful forces determined to undermine Lincoln's election and create chaos in place of the acceptance of the democratic process in no way renders Lincoln "divisive." The division rests entirely on those who could not reconcile themselves to the will of the people as a whole.
His election initiated a civil war. Not saying it would have not happened, but a more amenable (or appeasing; take your pick), president - like His predecessor - Buchanan- might have staved off a war. Or, might have let the South secede without one. His election was divisive, in and of itself.
 
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