I prefer celebrating Lincoln’s birthday, but the federal government has opted for a generic “Presidents Day” in honor of all former occupants of the office, both good and contemptible. So, for the sake of not repeating past mistakes, why not remember the worst Presidents America has had the misfortune to endure? After all, the tendency to focus on Presidents who had a generally positive impact creates a bias in the teaching of history that distorts our understanding of how the American government relates to its people.
My personal list of the worst Presidents includes:
5. Woodrow Wilson
4. James K. Polk
3. George W. Bush
2. James Buchanan
1. Rutherford B. Hayes
Elected in 1876, Hayes hailed from Ohio, the land of mediocre Presidents. He lost the popular vote and the disputed election was thrown to Congress. At least Congress followed the Constitutional way of dealing with contested elections, as opposed to the Supreme Court’s illegal usurpation of power in the Bush v. Gore decision that stole the 2000 election for George W. Bush.
To secure office, Hayes made an unholy alliance with conservative Southern Democrats in Congress. He agreed to end the reconstruction policies of U.S. Grant, effectively giving control of the South to vigilante terrorist groups and the old plantation aristocracy. Hayes ended federal protection of voting rights and allowed former traitorous Confederates to usurp states from legitimately elected reconstruction governments.
Not until Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson would America return to the sort of policies Grant used to secure the individual rights and liberties of all Americans, regardless of race. By prematurely cutting reconstruction short, Hayes ushered in generations of political fascism in the South. The stratification of wealth, concentration of power, and denial of basic human rights would keep the South in poverty for generations.
But, that’s not all! Continue reading Celebrating Rutherford B. Hayes on Presidents Day!