US presidents The Worst U.S. Presidents  

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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.
Woodrow Wilson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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1
9,277 7,393

Woodrow Wilson


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Age: Died at 68 (1856-1924)

Birthplace: Staunton-Waynesboro, VA Micropolitan Statistical Area, Staunton city, Contiguous United States, United States of America, + more

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

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

#27 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

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

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Bill Clinton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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2
21,740 16,803

Bill Clinton


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Age: 71

Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas, United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

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

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

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

#38 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

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Andrew Johnson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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3
10,716 8,304

Andrew Johnson


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Age: Died at 67 (1808-1875)

Birthplace: Wake County, Area codes 919 and 984, United States of America, United States, with Territories, + more

Also Ranked

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

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

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Barack Obama is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
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4
39,410 26,698

grelaoer added Barack Obama


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Age: 56

Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

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#54 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

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

#85 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#17 on The Most Trustworthy Politicians

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