History The Worst U.S. Presidents  

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Originally by Ranker Community
739.3k votes 79.1k voters 1M views 44 items

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.
Andrew Johnson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
1 20,742 VOTES

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

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

11,703 9,039
Was he the worst?
see more on Andrew Johnson
Woodrow Wilson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase
2 18,759 VOTES

Age: Died at 68 (1856-1924)

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

Also Ranked

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

#26 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

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

#23 on The Best Political Nicknames

10,077 8,682
Was he the worst?
see more on Woodrow Wilson
Bill Clinton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo:  Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
3 41,625 VOTES

Age: 72

Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas, United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

Also Ranked

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

#3 on Famous Politicians You'd Want to Have a Beer With

#40 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#38 on The Hottest Silver Foxes

23,025 18,600
Was he the worst?
see more on Bill Clinton
Barack Obama is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst U.S. Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
4 70,422 VOTES

grelaoer added

Age: 57

Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic Party

Also Ranked

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

#50 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

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

#31 on The Most Trustworthy Politicians

41,342 29,080
Was he the worst?
see more on Barack Obama