17 Notoriously Negative Legacies of U.S. Presidents

Sharon
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The role of a United States President comes with great responsibility and power. Every decision they make has the potential to impact the nation, sometimes for better and other times for worse. 

Throughout history, presidents have left behind positive legacies that are still celebrated today. However, on the flip side, some left behind notoriously negative legacies filled with controversy and criticism. 

Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears

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Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl via Wikimedia Commons.com

Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, is known for his aggressive policies toward Native Americans. His forced removal of Native American tribes from their ancestral lands, known as the Trail of Tears, resulted in thousands of deaths and displacement.

Franklin Pierce and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

During his presidency, Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed new territories to vote on whether or not they would allow slavery. This decision intensified tensions between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups, ultimately leading to the start of the Civil War.

James Buchanan’s Inaction on Slavery

The 15 Most Divisive U.S. Presidents, Ranked By Political Scientists
George Peter Alexander Healy via Wikimedia Commons.com

Despite being a Northerner and opposing slavery personally, President James Buchanan did nothing to address the issue during his term. His inaction further divided the nation and set the stage for the Civil War.  

Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment

18 Notoriously Negative Legacies of U.S. Presidents
Mathew Brady

Andrew Johnson, who became president after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, was impeached by the House of Representatives for violating the Tenure of Office Act. Although the Senate ultimately acquitted him, this scandal marred his presidency.

Ulysses S. Grant and Corruption

Ulysses S. Grant
Brady-Handy Photograph Collection/Wikimedia Commons

While Ulysses S. Grant is remembered for his role in winning the Civil War, his presidency was tainted by numerous corruption scandals involving his administration and close associates. This damaged public trust in the government and led to calls for reform.

Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression

US President Herbert C. Hoover in 1928
Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Herbert Hoover’s presidency will forever be associated with the Great Depression, one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history. Despite his efforts to address the issue, his policies ultimately failed, and he was heavily criticized for handling the situation.

Richard Nixon and Watergate12 Hated Figures Who Were Actually Good People

Richard Nixon’s legacy will always be marred by the Watergate scandal, where he was accused of abusing his power and obstructing justice. He resigned from office in disgrace, and this scandal is a cautionary tale for future presidents.

Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra Affair

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Ronald Reagan’s presidency is often remembered for his conservative policies, but the Iran-Contra affair also marked it. This involved secret deals with Iran and illegal funding of Contras in Nicaragua, leading to criminal charges against some members of his administration.

Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky Scandal

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Bob McNeely via Wikimedia Commons.com

Despite being a popular president, Bill Clinton’s legacy was tarnished by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. This resulted in his impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice, causing a huge divide among the American people.

George W. Bush and the Iraq War

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Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons.com

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, initiated by George W. Bush, remains a topic of profound debate and criticism that endures to this very day. The war resulted in thousands of American casualties and continues to have lasting impacts on both the United States and the Middle East.

Barack Obama’s Controversial Drone Strikes

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Image credit: Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons.com

Despite receiving praise for his progressive policies, President Obama faced heavy criticism from human rights organizations due to his use of drone strikes. These strikes resulted in civilian casualties and were seen as a violation of international laws.

Donald Trump’s Controversial Immigration Policies

Donald J. Trump by Michael Vadon via WikiCommons

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump implemented various immigration policies that sparked substantial controversy. Included in these were the highly debated practice of family separation at the Mexico border, along with the implementation of a travel ban targeting nations with predominantly Muslim populations. Consequently, these policies ignited widespread protests and garnered condemnation from numerous human rights organizations.

George H.W. Bush and the War on Drugs

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Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

George H.W. Bush’s “War on Drugs” policy is still heavily debated today, with some arguing that it disproportionately targeted minority communities and led to mass incarceration.

Lyndon B. Johnson and the Vietnam War

The 15 Most Divisive U.S. Presidents, Ranked By Political Scientists
Arnold Newman via Wikimedia Commons.com

Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency will always be associated with the Vietnam War. This conflict resulted in thousands of American casualties and sparked nationwide protests against U.S. involvement.

His decisions and handling of the situation continue to be heavily criticized.

John F. Kennedy’s Assassination

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State Library and Archives of Florida

The assassination of John F. Kennedy reverberated across the nation, leaving an indelible mark on American history. The enigma surrounding his untimely demise has given rise to countless conspiracy theories, adding layers of complexity to his already profound legacy. Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome Scandal

Warren G. Harding’s presidency was overshadowed by the infamous Teapot Dome scandal, where his administration was found to be involved in corrupt oil deals. This scandal damaged public trust in the government and led to calls for reform.

James Madison and Slavery

James Madison
John Vanderlyn/Wikimedia Commons

Despite being known as the “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison also enslaved people. He did not actively work to abolish slavery during his presidency. This has been a point of criticism and debate regarding his legacy.

Abraham Lincoln’s Suspension of Habeas Corpus

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IceKoldKube via Wikimedia Commons.com

Abraham Lincoln, known for his role in abolishing slavery, also suspended the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War. This decision was controversial and remains a debated aspect of his legacy.

Experts rank the best US presidents of all time

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Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Presidents may linger in the collective American consciousness for many reasons. Perhaps they were embroiled in controversies like Nixon, Clinton, or Trump. Maybe, like Kennedy, their time in office was defined by the tragedy that occurred to them, as humans tend to remember negative events more accurately than positive ones.

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“The Most Morally Upstanding Presidents in US History: Did Trump Make the Cut? Quora Users Share Their Opinions!”

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It’s a question that’s been on the minds of many Americans for decades: which president in US history was the most morally upstanding? Based on responses from Quora users, it’s clear that a few U.S. presidents stand out as shining examples of ethical leadership.

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15 U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

From mastering multiple languages to holding law degrees, these brilliant women have left indelible marks on America’s canvas. So, sit back, grab a cup of tea (or a glass of wine – no judgment here), and get ready to be astonished and amused as we lift the curtain on the First Ladies, who were probably a step or two ahead on the IQ ladder!

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The 13 Most Divisive U.S Presidents, Ranked By Political Scientists

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Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

Diverse in their approach, policies, and overall legacies, several U.S. Presidents have left their mark as some of the most polarizing figures in history. We delve into these influential leaders’ backgrounds, accomplishments, and controversies.

The 13 Most Divisive U.S Presidents, Ranked By Political Scientists

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  • Sharon

    Sharon is a dynamic contributor to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrates her expertise in business information technology with her love for reading, blogging, traveling, and volunteering, adding depth to her articles.

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