The Worst U.S. Presidents

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List Criteria: The U.S. presidents whose administrations were the worst-run, most ill-fated, or most corrupt.

The worst U.S. presidents of all time, measured by their negative impact on the nation, its citizens health and happiness, and its future prosperity. (In some cases – such as the popular selections of Warren G. Harding and Richard Nixon – the negative view of the president and his administration is due to various scandals and perceived corruption within its ranks. Nixon, of course, remains the only president to step down from the office amidst threats of impeachment.)

Much of a president's job – including serving as the figurative head of the American state and setting the nation's general legislative and diplomatic agenda – is sort of intangible and hard to evaluate in strict "good vs. bad" terms. This makes any list of the "best" or "worst" US presidents essentially subjective, and though there were administrations with a significant series of positive or negative outcomes, it's rarely clear just how much these had to do with the person in office and how many were simply due to accidents of fate or circumstance. Nonetheless, in particularly extraordinary cases – such as the administration of Abraham Lincoln, which kept the nation intact during the Civil War crisis, or the administration of Andrew Johnson immediately after that threatened the entire success of the Reconstruction project – it is clear which presidents did an overall good or bad job.

So who were the worst presidents of all time? We're ranking them here, based on your votes! When you've had enough political negativity, be sure to check out Ranker's ultimate uplifting presidential list: The Best US Presidents.
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  1. 1
    + 20,700
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    Bill Clinton is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Party (if partisan): Democratic Party
  2. 2
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    Woodrow Wilson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: Virginia, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  3. 3
    + 9,938
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    Andrew Johnson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  4. 4
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    Barack Obama is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Party (if partisan): Democratic Party
  5. 5
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    more ABOUT
    • Birthplace: New York City, Hyde Park, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  6. 6
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    Harry S. Truman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Party (if partisan): Democratic Party
  7. 7
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    Jimmy Carter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: Plains, Georgia, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  8. 8
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    George W. Bush is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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    • Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Party (if partisan): Republican Party
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