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

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,445
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
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.
If it has been the people as a whole (including Southerners) then they wouldn't have seceded would they?

Don’t know if it was already mentioned by other user, but Simon Bolívar was quite relevant.
I think the intent was to debate American Presidents, but sometimes our American friends forget that they're not the only country with a President, nor the only country with a Civil War. :suspicious: :D
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,739
Dispargum
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.
You're assuming most people are not weak-minded and do have integrity. If we're assessing a president's impact on history, we must consider his effect on the weak-minded as well as upon those with integrity. One job of a president is to lead and build consensus. That means he has to lead the weak-minded as well as people with integrity.

I think the rest of us are considering each president's effect on his own times, not his reputation among modern historians.
 

RoryOMore

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,398
USA
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.
You're misreading the question: it's about the most divisive President, not the most divisive election or reaction to an election. The divisiveness of people who won't accept an election result should not be imputed to the person who was elected.
 
Jan 2013
1,082
Toronto, Canada
I voted for Andrew Jackson because the Whig Party was formed specifically to oppose him.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,855
At present SD, USA
In many ways Lincoln...

This isn't to say that he was the only "divisive" President, or that he was wrong to take the stances he did. In fact, a real decision with regard to slavery was LONG overdo, after nearly a hundred years of independence with slavery larger than it was at the revolution and the American people beginning to kill each other over the issue... ANY man that gets elected on a platform to restrict slavery, as Lincoln did, would be bound to face major trouble... and trouble that would HAVE to be faced eventually.

The 1860 election bringing Lincoln to office remains the only election that Americans have gone to war with each other over... if only to move toward the better angels of our nature... and become the kind of nation that cannot imagine HOW the Civil War was possible...

Reagan isn't particularly liked by Democrats today, and a fair number of them in 80s probably didn't like him then, either, but the Democrat lead states didn't secede from the Union over Reagan. The same cannot be said for southern Democrats (with a few exceptions) in 1860-1861.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,140
Portugal
I think the intent was to debate American Presidents, but sometimes our American friends forget that they're not the only country with a President, nor the only country with a Civil War. :suspicious: :D
:D

Maybe. The OP never mentioned that the thread was exclusive for USA presidents and this sub-forum is for: American History Forum - United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,625
Las Vegas, NV USA
For US presidents and regarding Lincoln as a special case; Andrew Johnson who opposed the 14th and 15th amendment, and reconstruction (1865-1869).
 
Last edited:

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
For US presidents and regarding Lincoln as a special case; Andrew Johnson who opposed the 14th and 15th amendment, and reconstruction (1865-1869).
I would agree that Jackson is a very good choice for 2nd. He divided the "civilized" from the frontiersmen. He also shut down the Bank of the U.S. and the Indian removal Act.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,432
Caribbean
You're misreading the question: it's about the most divisive President, not the most divisive election or reaction to an election. The divisiveness of people who won't accept an election result should not be imputed to the person who was elected.
Why not?

Even if one stipulates for purpose of discussion that Abe was reasonable and the Slavocracy were psychos, fear of a Lincoln Presidency divided the country in two. It's like Sun Tzu - wining without fighting is the supreme art of war? Dividing the country without even being inaugurated is the supreme art of divisiveness. It's not blame.