Who was the most divisive President in history?

Who is the most divisive President?

  • Reagan

    Votes: 4 4.0%
  • Nixon

    Votes: 10 9.9%
  • LBJ

    Votes: 5 5.0%
  • JFK

    Votes: 3 3.0%
  • Truman

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • FDR

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Wilson

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Jackson

    Votes: 4 4.0%
  • Lincoln

    Votes: 50 49.5%
  • Other?

    Votes: 19 18.8%

  • Total voters
    101

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,702
San Antonio, Tx
I think he carried 48 states, but still, three voters here have him as most divisive.

Maybe they can explain it. For me, Lincoln is an easy call, and I wouldn't know who to put second. The first thing that comes to mind is with Nixon hated. Even his friends didn't like him.
There were many Southerners who supported Lincoln. Southern hotheads manipulated votes in the South and engaged in massive chicanery. The South could NEVER have won the Civil War: not enough railroads; not enough arms; not enough population and the southern planters who were the cause of this war didn’t even have to serve at the Front. The most shamelessly useless war in our history. The South needed to be crushed and beaten badly. It was.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,702
San Antonio, Tx
Ironically with Lincoln once the South seceded he technically became one of the least divisive Presidents and the Whig economic agenda(that the Republicans supported) that had been stagnated for decades was pushed through with ease subsequent Presidents could only dream of. If most of your enemy's leave the country, I mean are you really divisive anymore?:)
No. The South started this idiotic war and got what it deserved.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,702
San Antonio, Tx
It was well known that as soon as Lincoln was elected states in the South would secede. Would another candidate have prevented that? Who knows. Was Lincoln in an untenable position? Perhaps. That doesn't change that he was literally divisive.

Are you kidding? Lincoln did not secede from the Union, the South did. The South started the war by firing on Ft Sumter. The South started the Civil War and the South started it because they wanted to protect their “peculiar institution” (slavery). The North raised armies to take back what it already owned and which unscrupulous southerners stole in plain sight.
 
Jul 2019
113
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
There were many Southerners who supported Lincoln. Southern hotheads manipulated votes in the South and engaged in massive chicanery. The South could NEVER have won the Civil War: not enough railroads; not enough arms; not enough population and the southern planters who were the cause of this war didn’t even have to serve at the Front. The most shamelessly useless war in our history. The South needed to be crushed and beaten badly. It was.
There is no denying that slavery was an ugly thing and had to go one way or another. But the South did not need to “defeat” the North any more than George Washington needed to subdue England or Ho Chi Minh needed to defeat the United States.

The Confederacy just needed to persevere long enough. And they might well have come closer to that than is generally assumed.

Just 6 weeks before the 1864 election Lincoln was deeply negative about his reelection chances. Lincoln had a problem - or at least thought he did and he was a master politician.

The war had persisted longer than many had anticipated, and the Union army’s efforts in early 1864 had provided little hope for a quick conclusion. The cost in human life had been unprecedented in American experience - to say nothing of the financial costs.

In addition, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 looks far better today than it did at the time since racism was rampant in the North as well as the South and the idea that slaves’ rights had also become a principal objective of the war was far less popular than is often assumed.

Then Jefferson Davis, frustrated with the tactics of General Joseph E. Johnston who was a defensive master who had repeatedly retreated from General William T. Sherman's superior force and thus kept his army in the field, relieved Johnston of his command and replaced him with John Bell Hood - the youngest soldier on either side of the war to be given command of an army.

The dismissal and replacement of Johnston remains one of the most controversial decisions of the Civil War. Hood, who was a hard core fighter, recklessly lashed out at Sherman's army at Peachtree Creek, got his head handed to him, and eventually proved unable to defend Atlanta – from where Sherman started his march to the sea. Sherman capturing Atlanta and carving up the South provided Lincoln with what he needed for reelection.

This is not to say that Johnston would have been able to hold off Sherman until Election Day or that Lincoln would have lost the election had he done so - those are both speculative notions.

But there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis screwed up when he replaced Johnston with Hood and thereby completely snuffed out any chance the South might have had to keep Atlanta and maybe confront someone other than Lincoln.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,776
American debt in the time of Buchanan was minuscule and had been falling since the 1820’s – there was absolutely no threat of American bankruptcy. Buchanan’s deficits were falling during his presidency. The explosion in indebtedness during the Lincoln Presidency makes it clear that the US was in no danger of “going bankrupt.”
The only time the US National debt was minuscule was in 1835 and 1835, when it was less than $40,000.

National Debt rose sharply during the Buchanan administration.

In 1857, the total US debt was $28.7 million.
In 1858, the total US debt was $44.9 million.
In 1859, the total US debt was $58.5 million.
In 1860, the total US debt was $64.8 million.


That's a 260% increase in the National Debt in just 3 years.

To meet this financial crisis, the Buchanan Administration took out 6 different emergency loans. Lack of faith in government credit plummeted to the point that public lands had to be pledged as collateral. Throughout this time, Southern Senators repeatedly blocked and attempt to increase Federal income by raising tariffs.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,776
Who actually “owned” the forts in Southern harbors after secession was determined by war and nothing else. But why was Fort Sumter so critical to the North?
“Resolved, That this state do cede to the United States, all the right, title and claim of South Carolina to the site of Fort Sumter and the requisite quantity of adjacent territory" - South Carolina Legislature, December 1836.

And the Civil War started because the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis ordered Confederate troops to fire on Union troops in a Union fort on Union soil. After which, the Confederate Secretary of War announced Confederate intentions to invade and seize the Union capitol.

"No man can tell where the war this day commenced will end, but I will prophesy that the flag which now flaunts the breeze here will float over the dome of the old Capitol at Washington before the first of May. Let them try southern chivalry and test the extent of southern resources, and it may float eventually over Faneuil Hall itself." - Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker, April 12, 1861
 
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Aug 2018
554
Southern Indiana
There were many Southerners who supported Lincoln. Southern hotheads manipulated votes in the South and engaged in massive chicanery. The South could NEVER have won the Civil War: not enough railroads; not enough arms; not enough population and the southern planters who were the cause of this war didn’t even have to serve at the Front. The most shamelessly useless war in our history. The South needed to be crushed and beaten badly. It was.
I've heard that when Lincoln's plans for reconstruction after the war were rather generous to the South.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Are you kidding? Lincoln did not secede from the Union, the South did. The South started the war by firing on Ft Sumter. The South started the Civil War and the South started it because they wanted to protect their “peculiar institution” (slavery). The North raised armies to take back what it already owned and which unscrupulous southerners stole in plain sight.
Comprehension troubles? That's exactly what I said, but thanks for the elementary history lesson. :eek:
 
Last edited:
Jul 2019
113
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
The only time the US National debt was minuscule was in 1835 and 1835, when it was less than $40,000.

National Debt rose sharply during the Buchanan administration.

In 1857, the total US debt was $28.7 million.
In 1858, the total US debt was $44.9 million.
In 1859, the total US debt was $58.5 million.
In 1860, the total US debt was $64.8 million.


That's a 260% increase in the National Debt in just 3 years.

To meet this financial crisis, the Buchanan Administration took out 6 different emergency loans. Lack of faith in government credit plummeted to the point that public lands had to be pledged as collateral. Throughout this time, Southern Senators repeatedly blocked and attempt to increase Federal income by raising tariffs.

There was bank panic in 1857 brought about like all bank panics by reckless loaning that creates easy profits for banks expanding credit by creating bank notes out of thin air.

The South’s agrarian economy and more level headed approach to banking and credit booms escaped was largely unscathed. This was a Northern problem brought on by Northern business practices for which the South had little use anyway.

So, as the North had been doing consistently since Alexander Hamilton, it concluded that the tariff which fell so heavily on Southern planters while it protected Northern industry should fill the gap left by reckless Northern banks – an inflamed debate that had being going on since 1820. It is hard to blame the South for not wanting to bail out the North’s foolish banks.

Buchanan had a problem, but the deficits were shrinking as the economy recovered - and the debt levels were far from unprecedented (sorry for the formatting):

Year President Debt Added(Subtracted) Cumulative Debt
1791 George Washington $75,463,476.52 $75,463,476.52
1792 George Washington $1,764,448.14 $77,227,924.66
1793 George Washington $3,130,709.38 $80,358,634.04
1794 George Washington ($1,931,229.27) $78,427,404.77
1795 George Washington $2,320,182.62 $80,747,587.39
1796 George Washington $3,014,584.68 $83,762,172.07
1797 John Adams ($1,697,692.74) $82,064,479.33
1798 John Adams ($2,835,950.21) $79,228,529.12
1799 John Adams ($819,859.35) $78,408,669.77
1800 John Adams $4,567,624.58 $82,976,294.35
1801 Thomas Jefferson $61,756.45 $83,038,050.80
1802 Thomas Jefferson ($2,325,418.55) $80,712,632.25
1803 Thomas Jefferson ($3,657,945.85) $77,054,686.40
1804 Thomas Jefferson $9,372,434.48 $86,427,120.88
1805 Thomas Jefferson ($4,114,970.38) $82,312,150.50
1806 Thomas Jefferson ($6,588,879.84) $75,723,270.66
1807 Thomas Jefferson ($6,504,872.02) $69,218,398.64
1808 Thomas Jefferson ($4,022,080.67) $65,196,317.97
1809 James Madison ($8,173,125.88) $57,023,192.09
1810 James Madison ($3,849,974.57) $53,173,217.52
1811 James Madison ($5,167,629.76) $48,005,587.76
1812 James Madison ($2,795,849.86) $45,209,737.90
1813 James Madison $10,753,089.67 $55,962,827.57
1814 James Madison $25,525,018.67 $81,487,846.24
1815 James Madison $18,345,813.91 $99,833,660.15
1816 James Madison $27,501,273.59 $127,334,933.74
1817 James Monroe ($3,842,968.58) $123,491,965.16
1818 James Monroe ($20,025,331.33) $103,466,633.83
1819 James Monroe ($7,936,985.55) $95,529,648.28
1820 James Monroe ($4,514,082.13) $91,015,566.15
1821 James Monroe ($1,028,138.49) $89,987,427.66
1822 James Monroe $3,559,249.32 $93,546,676.98
1823 James Monroe ($2,670,799.70) $90,875,877.28
1824 James Monroe ($606,099.51) $90,269,777.77
1825 John Quincy Adams ($6,481,345.06) $83,788,432.71
1826 John Quincy Adams ($2,734,372.72) $81,054,059.99
1827 John Quincy Adams ($7,066,702.79) $73,987,357.20
1828 John Quincy Adams ($6,512,313.33) $67,475,043.87
1829 Andrew Jackson ($9,053,630.20) $58,421,413.67
1830 Andrew Jackson ($9,856,007.17) $48,565,406.50
1831 Andrew Jackson ($9,442,214.82) $39,123,191.68
1832 Andrew Jackson ($14,800,956.50) $24,322,235.18
1833 Andrew Jackson ($17,320,536.35) $7,001,698.83
1834 Andrew Jackson ($2,241,616.75) $4,760,082.08
1835 Andrew Jackson ($4,726,349.03) $33,733.05
1836 Andrew Jackson $3,780.00 $37,513.05
1837 Martin Van Buren $299,444.78 $336,957.83
1838 Martin Van Buren $2,971,166.24 $3,308,124.07
1839 Martin Van Buren $7,126,097.07 $10,434,221.14
1840 Martin Van Buren ($6,860,877.32) $3,573,343.82
1841 William Henry Harrison / John Tyler $1,677,531.72 $5,250,875.54
1842 John Tyler $8,343,605.19 $13,594,480.73
1843 John Tyler $19,148,441.27 $32,742,922.00
1844 John Tyler ($9,281,269.50) $23,461,652.50
1845 James Knox Polk ($7,536,349.49) $15,925,303.01
1846 James Knox Polk ($375,100.04) $15,550,202.97
1847 James Knox Polk $23,276,331.80 $38,826,534.77
1848 James Knox Polk $8,218,327.46 $47,044,862.23
1849 Zachary Taylor $16,016,996.46 $63,061,858.69
1850 Millard Fillmore $390,914.86 $63,452,773.55
1851 Millard Fillmore $4,852,022.47 $68,304,796.02
1852 Millard Fillmore ($2,105,454.31) $66,199,341.71
1853 Franklin Pierce ($6,396,224.01) $59,803,117.70
1854 Franklin Pierce ($17,560,895.28) $42,242,222.42
1855 Franklin Pierce ($6,655,265.86) $35,586,956.56
1856 Franklin Pierce ($3,614,418.66) $31,972,537.90
1857 James Buchanan ($3,272,706.05) $28,699,831.85
1858 James Buchanan $16,212,049.18 $44,911,881.03
1859 James Buchanan $13,584,956.85 $58,496,837.88
1860 James Buchanan $6,345,450.00 $64,842,287.88
1861 Abraham Lincoln $25,738,585.84 $90,580,873.72
1862 Abraham Lincoln $433,595,538.41 $524,176,412.13
1863 Abraham Lincoln $595,595,726.50 $1,119,772,138.63
1864 Abraham Lincoln $696,012,231.94 $1,815,784,370.57
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,776
When the Confederate Constitution was adopted on March 11, 1861 (just a week after Lincoln took office) stated in part:

…nor shall any duties or taxes on importations from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry; and all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the Confederate States…


The Confederacy did forbid import tariffs be used to protect industry, but the phrase "all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform" was copied word for word from the US Constitution. The other major change about tariffs was that, unlike the US Constitution, the Confederacy allowed tariffs on exports.

That Confederate Constitution created what was essentially a free trade zone in the South, in contrast to the new high-tax, protective zone in the North, that had sweeping implications for the whole Republican Party conception about what they thought the Federal government should do; its plan for an industrial giant; its visions of subsidized continental railroads tying the nation together, and it vision of national greatness
Taxes and government loans increased significantly in both the Union and the Confederacy. "The USA was able to use borrowed funds and monies raised from taxes to supply almost 90% of its financial needs." "The CSA was able to borrow a bit more than one-third of its financial needs, it was forced by circumstances to print and issue promissory notes (money) for slightly more than half of its war-related expenditures." The Confederate preference in funding led to spiraling inflation and a ruined economy.

The South’s free trade zone would mean dramatically lower tariffs in Hampton Roads, Charlestown, and New Orleans than would be the case in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Since the South exported and the North imported, there would be no reason whatsoever for European merchants to call in those Northern ports with their much higher tariffs. They would become pretty much ghost towns from a shipping perspective.
European importers were not paying theses tariffs, US or Confederate citizens were paying these tariffs. The US Customs data for 1855-59 shows that in 1859, 91.2% of all customs duties were collected in the free states. Since both the importer and the buyer benefit from minimizing transportation costs, that shows the vast majority of imported goods were being purchased by people from free states. US citizens would have the choice of buying imported goods directly, paying the US import tariff, or buying goods trans-shipped though the Confederacy, where in addition to paying the US import duty they would also pay the Confederate import and export duties. Those additional taxes mean no one would be transshipping through the Confederacy, so there would be no decrease in the imports coming into Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

Thus the Confederate Constitution imperiled the entire Republican vision of Northern-controlled industrial subsidy. In 1860 tariff receipts made up 95 percent of all federal revenues and had been over 90 percent much or the time since 1845. It had been 98 percent in 1825 just before the Tariff of Abominations had erupted.

The entire financial structure of the Northern states would have to be reworked once the wealth transfer from South to North inherent in the existing policy was stopped by the Confederacy’s position on tariffs. And that would mean taxes in the North – taxes on the wealthy people and businesses that made up much of the support for the Republican Party. Fort Sumter would be the focus of this new realization.
Antebellum southern politicians claimed that the existing financial structure resulted in wealth transfer from South to North. They provided no evidence to back their claims. Since then NeoConfederates and some Libertarians have echoed these claims, but they have also provided no evidence that the postebellum financial structure resulted in wealth transfer from South to North. The free states were expanding faster than the slave states, but that was due to greater willingness to invest in infrastructiure and public education, as well as being more welcoming to immigrants. (In 1860, about 1 person in 40 in the future Confederate states was an immigrant, as opposed to about 1 in 6 for the states that stayed with the Union.)