Who is the worst U.S. president?

President James Buchanan

President James Buchanan

It’s no secret that many people loathe President Donald Trump (aka 45 for those who can’t bear to say his name). For those who think Trump has to be the worst president ever, you should at least know who many say sets the bar for what a bad president is. 

That honors goes to President James Buchanan (1857-1861), our 15th president.

You’re invited to hear presidential historian Robert Strauss, author of  “The Worst. President. Ever.”, will discuss both Buchanan and the idea of ranking presidents.

The event is Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Haddonfield’s Indian King Tavern Museum at 233 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, N.J.

In 1856, Buchanan, a Democrat from Pennsylvania with an impressive resume, was elected president. He soon became notorious for being a “doughface” – that is, a Northerner who allied with the South.

That notoriety came as a result of Buchanan’s covert interference in the Dred Scott decision and his endorsement of the Lecompton Constitution.

Also during his presidency came the first worldwide economic crisis with the Panic of 1857, armed confrontations during the Utah War and exposed abuse of power within his administration.

But Buchanan’s lasting legacy was that he failed to unify a deeply divided nation, which ultimately lead to secession and the U.S. Civil War.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.