politics The Worst U.S. Presidents

671k votes 944k views 46 items Embed

List Rules 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.
1
+ - 21,262 16,061

Bill Clinton


Bill Clinton is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

Also Ranked

#3 on The Best U.S. Presidents in the Past 50 Years

#43 on The Celebrities You Most Want To See Play Survivor

#7 on The Best Two-Term U.S. Presidents

#40 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

see more on Bill Clinton
2
+ - 10,309 8,044

Andrew Johnson


Andrew Johnson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Nationality: United States of America

Also Ranked

#43 on The Greatest U.S. Presidents of All Time

#21 on The Greatest U.S. Vice Presidents of All Time

see more on Andrew Johnson
3
+ - 8,771 7,040

Woodrow Wilson


Woodrow Wilson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase

More About

Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Also Ranked

#10 on The Best Two-Term U.S. Presidents

#63 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#28 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#17 on The Best Political Nicknames

see more on Woodrow Wilson
4
+ - 38,680 25,936

Barack Obama


Barack Obama is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

Also Ranked

#96 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

#74 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#43 on Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

#4 on The Best U.S. Presidents in the Past 50 Years

see more on Barack Obama
5
+ - 11,151 9,791

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Elias Goldensky/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: Hyde Park, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Also Ranked

#8 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#18 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#62 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

#8 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

see more on Franklin D. Roosevelt
6
+ - 7,040 5,957

Harry S. Truman


Harry S. Truman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

Also Ranked

#29 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#18 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#5 on The Most Influential People of the Cold War

#14 on The Best Political Nicknames

see more on Harry S. Truman
7
+ - 21,434 16,084

Jimmy Carter


Jimmy Carter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: Plains, Georgia, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Also Ranked

#7 on The Best U.S. Presidents in the Past 50 Years

#5 on The Best One-Term U.S. Presidents

#49 on The Most Influential People of the Cold War

#29 on The Best Political Nicknames

see more on Jimmy Carter
8
+ - 28,807 23,715

1,313 people just voted on George W. Bush


George W. Bush is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

More About

Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Republican Party

Also Ranked

#5 on The Best U.S. Presidents in the Past 50 Years

#53 on Celebrities You Would Not Want as a Stepdad

#13 on The Best Two-Term U.S. Presidents

#92 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

see more on George W. Bush