Who Were Some of the Worst United States Presidents?

Some of the worst U.S. presidents in history include Andrew Johnson and Millard Fillmore, according to a U.S. News and World Report analysis of five polls. Richard Nixon and George W. Bush were two other unpopular presidents.

History remembers Andrew Johnson, who served as president from 1865 to 1869, for his opposition of the 14th Amendment and the creation of the Jim Crow laws that oppressed black Americans. As a result of his unpopular policies, Johnson goes down in history as the president impeached by congress.

Like Johnson, Millard Fillmore was also unpopular among pollsters due to his pro-slavery stance. Although Fillmore purported to be against slavery, he supported the Fugitive Slave Act in 1853 requiring free states to return former slaves to their masters. Failing to do so was a federal crime. His policies also oppressed Irish Catholic immigrants.

In the U.S. News and World Report analysis of the worst presidents, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon tied in 10th place. Bush, who served two terms in the Oval Office from 2001 to 2009, began his first term in office under a vote-counting controversy, with his opponent winning the popular vote. Bush became the center of controversy after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent deployment of troops to Afghanistan. Detractors allege that Bush’s claims that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction – the premise for the U.S. going to war – was false.

History sees Richard Nixon, who served as president from 1969 through 1974, as one of the worst presidents due to his part in the Watergate scandal involving his campaign operatives attempting to burglarize the Democratic National headquarters. Nixon resigned as a result of the scandal, sullying his reputation forever.