The Instigator
DarthVitiosus
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
lannan13
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

***History Tournament RND 1:"Worse American President, J.Buchanan vs. A.Johnson"

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
DarthVitiosus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,071 times Debate No: 67628
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (2)

 

DarthVitiosus

Pro

Opening debate of the History Tournament.

http://www.debate.org...

The resolution is "Worse American President, James Buchanan(Pro) vs. Andrew Johnson(Con)." I as Pro will be arguing in favor that James Buchanan is the worse American president. The burden of proof is shared.

Round 1-Acceptance & Prep Time
Round 2-Arguments
Round 3-Counter-Arguments
Round 4-Closing Arguments
lannan13

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
DarthVitiosus

Pro

INTRODUCTION & PREMISES:
I as Pro will be arguing that James Buchanan is the worse American president ever. Keep in mind, Buchanan's presidency was riddled with disaster and he was only president for four year years(1857-1861.) I think the primary reason that James Buchanan was the worse president is due to his inaction during "Secessionist Winter." "Secessionist Winter" ultimately lead to the American Civil War taking place in 1861.

ARGUMENTS:
#1. Kansas-Nebraska Act
President James Buchanan held the moderate Democrat view in the 1840s and 1850s that states should allow their citizens to chose whether they were a slave state or not. In 1854, James Buchanan signed into law the Kansas-Nebraska Act once it pass Congress that year[1]. The passing of the legislation did primarily two things and led to a horrible conclusion.

First, the Congress avoided taking stance on the slavery issue at the time. The issue had been boiling since the founding of the United States but started igniting tense debates since the 1830s. The Kansa-Nebraska Act merely prolonged an issue that was inevitably had to be confronted in some capacity due to electoral and moral issues that were being brought forth.

Second, the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act caused "Bleeding Kansas." "Bleeding Kansas" was a low intenseity conflict between pro-slavery settlers and anti-slavery settlers. Buchanan did absolutely nothing to end the conflict in Kansas between the pro-slavery crowd and the anti-slavery crowd.

Finally the Kanss-Nebraska Act lead to two different Constitutions being submitted to Congress, one pro-slavery and the other anti-slavery. Buchanan pushed the pro-slavery constitution to be ratified which it ultimately was ratified[2].

[1]http://www.historyplace.com...
[2]https://historyengine.richmond.edu...

#2. The Utah War

President James Buchanan insitigated the Utah War when he decided to appoint a new territorial governor and new public officials without the people of Utah's consent[3]. The president intervened in Utah because of the dispute with Mormons living in Utah. The conflict had been muted somewhat under President Fillmore who appointed Brigham Young as the territorial governor. Buchanan would disrupt this shaky peace by intervening in Utah. Buchanan was militarily intervened in Utah which lead to an indecisive conclusion.

[3]http://www.historynet.com...

#3. The Four Way Election of 1860

The election of 1860 was a four way election between Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats, Republicans, and Constitutional Unionists. Some of the responsibility of the split between the Democrats was on the head of James Buchanan. Buchanan played a divisive role in the election rather than being the man of peace and reconcilation. buchanan stood solidly behind his Vice President John Breckinridge. Buchanan could of played a better role and united the Democrats in that election rather than intigating more polarization which ultimately lead to the American Civil War in 1861.

[4]http://www.civilwar-online.com...

#4. "Secessionist Winter"
Buchanan was warned several states were going to secede if Abraham Lincoln won the election in 1860. When the secessions did happen, Buchanan did absolutely nothing. Instead, he idly sat by and awaited for Lincon to be inaugurated. Buchanan again could of played a role of reconcilation or a played an iron hand to force the states back into the Union.Instead failed attempts by independent statesmen happened which resulted in nothing as we know now.

[5]http://www.u-s-history.com...

#5. Buchanan Did not Strengthen Southern Fortifications

Buchanan was warned by General Winfield Scott to strengthen troopsin southern fortifications but he did not listen. This made things far more difficult for Lincoln when he became president. Buchanan could of silently fortified federal positions without as much as resistance as Lincoln did when he attempted to aid Fort Sumter.

[6]http://www.presidentprofiles.com...

I cut my arguments down to size so hopefully this works.
lannan13

Con

As Con, I shall be arguing that Andrew Johnson is the worst American President ever. He was highly unpopular due to his scandelous ways and was only President for 4 years (1865-1869). His greatest downfall was that Congress had to strip the President of Consitutional Granted powers and his mistreatment of the newly freed blacks.

Contention 1: Reconstruction

Andrew Johnson first Executive order in office was to pardon all Ex-rebles and Confederates except those holding property valued over $20,000 and then ordered Constitutional Conventions for all of the Confederate States. This was extremely unpopular due to Lincoln thinking of the 10% plan and the Radical Republicans wanted an Iron Clade Oath of Loyalty for their returns. Johnson also did not back the 14th Amendment which made African-Americans now citizens of the US. He also allowed Southern States to establish black codes which tied down the African-Americans basically to slavery again, except now they were worse off. The Blacks would also be arrested on the streets for not having $20 on them, which back then was a lot of money. They could then be shipped off to the same person they were freed from slavery and then were forced to work for free. (Stewart, “Black Codes and Broken Windows” (1998), pp. 2259–2260.) He also allowed several southern leaders roam free, most notably was Confederate VP Alexander Stephens who was the Georgian Senator. He also didn't recognize their right to vote which lead several people in the north to believe that things would return back to the way they were before the Civil War and instead of slavery they would have Black Codes. (Stewart, David O. (2009). Impeached: the Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy. New York: Simon and Schuster Page 29) He also veto the freedmen's breaual and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which banned things like segrigation. The Freedmen's Breaual was vetoed several times until both the House and the Senate could overide him.

Things had gotten so bad that Congress had labled the 13th-15th Constitutional Amendments that Congress has the Power to enforce and not the President and that was because of the vetoing nature of Johnson and at this point no one could really trust him.



Contention 2: Johnson's "Swing around the Circle"

In the midterm elections, Johnson single handedly costed the Democrats everything for years to come as he would travel to several large northern cities like Chicago and Boston and gave speaches in support for the Democrats. In these speach's he compared himself to Christ. It broke down in Cleveland where the crowd shouted, "Hang Davis." Johnson replied, "Why don't you hang Thad Stevens or Wendell Phillips?" (Foner, p.265) Now both of these men are highly respectable people and highly famous Republicans. Stevens himself would later run for President, but would fail. His failures during the "Swing around the Circle," costed the Democrats 2/3's of their seating in Congress giving the Republicans the greatest lead (excluding the Civil War US) ever in American history.



Contention 3: Impeachment

I will povide a list of Andrew Johnson's Cabinet:

Cabinet:

Secretary of State
William H. Seward (1865-69)
Secretary of the Treasury
Hugh McCulloch (1865-69)
Secretary of War
Edwin M. Stanton (1865-68)
John M. Schofield (1868-69)
Attorney General
James Speed (1865-66)
Henry Stanbery (1866-68)
William M. Evarts (1868-69)
Postmaster General
William Dennison (1865-66)
Alexander W. Randall (1866-69)
Secretary of the Navy
Gideon Welles (1865-69)
Secretary of the Interior
John P. Usher (1865)
James Harlan (1865-66)
Orville Browning (1866-69) (http://www.potus.com...)


Johnson was tried for violating the Tenure of office Act and Johnson came 1 vote away from Impeachment. It was here that they created the process for impeachment and Johnson was the man who did it. Though the House Impeached him before they even had a charge on why they should impeach him. Johnson fired Stanton and then replaced him with intern General Grant, but Congressed denied it and reinstated Stanton. Johnson then fired Staton again and Congress charged him with violation of the Tenure of Office act and the Impeachment began. (Trefousse, Hans L. (1989). Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.)

Debate Round No. 2
DarthVitiosus

Pro

REBUTTALS:
"Reconstruction"

My opponent took this completely out of context. The first question that should come to our minds is how did Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, become Abraham Lincoln's vice president? After all Lincoln was a Republican. The pro-war Democrats and moderate Republicans created a war coalition led by Lincoln. The coalition was based on fighting the Confederacy. Lincoln did not even run in the 1864 election as a Republican[1]. The Radical Republicans weren't even part of this coalition initially. The Radical Republicans nominated Senator John Fremont of California for president in 1864 until he dropped out and endorsed Lincoln. The idea that the Radical Republicans represented Lincoln's views would be incorrect. Lincoln did not have a strong opinion that advocated the end of slavery but the Radical Republicans were fiercely opposed to slavery.

[1]http://publications.newberry.org...
[2]http://www.mapsofworld.com...

The idea that Radical Republicans represented Lincoln's views is wrong. Johnson was considered a moderate during that time period.The idea of hammering the South and making people be punished was a Radical Republican view. Most Republicans did not hold these views at the time. The idea that Johnson should of came down heavy handed onto Southern states was a radical view during that time period. The idea that the Black Codes should be stopped with force was a Radical Republican view. More moderate Republicans like Charles Addams and Horace Greely wanted to cooperate with southerners in helping to rebuild the South after the war. Johnson wanted to reconcile the North with the South without punishing the South as Republicans wanted to.Let us, remember President Andrew Johnson was a Democrat, not a Republican. Knowing that we should recognize the House and Senate was dominated by Republicans. John's agenda and Congress' agenda were entirely different.

[3]http://www.jstor.org...
[4]http://blueandgraytrail.com...

"Johnson's "Swing Around the Circle"

I would state this was of little consequence. The Democrats already performed poorly in northern states. The base of Democrats historically, was in the South, hence why Breckenridge had far more electoral votes than Douglas in the 1860 election. With the loss of the South, Democrats did not stand a chance to take Congress at all. Democrats just performed well in cities in the north historically but performed poorly in statewide in the 1850s and in the 1860s. The idea that Democrats should of taken the Congress without the South is ungrounded.Either way, how is this relevant to Johnson's duties as president? Perhaps it may has to do with him being a Democratic leader but it has nothing to do with Johnson's duties as the president.

"Impeachment"

I will explain this better than Con. Since Con, clearly took it out of context completely.

Secretary of State
William H. Seward (1865-69)-REPUBLICAN
Secretary of the Treasury
Hugh McCulloch (1865-69)-REPUBLICAN
Secretary of War
Edwin M. Stanton (1865-68)-REPUBLICAN
John M. Schofield (1868-69)-REPUBLICAN
Attorney General
James Speed (1865-66)-REPUBLICAN
Henry Stanbery (1866-68)-REPUBLICAN
William M. Evarts (1868-69)-REPUBLICAN
Postmaster General
William Dennison (1865-66)-REPUBLICAN
Alexander W. Randall (1866-69)-REPUBLICAN
Secretary of the Navy
Gideon Welles (1865-69)-REPUBLICAN
Secretary of the Interior
John P. Usher (1865)-REPUBLICAN
James Harlan (1865-66)-REPUBLICAN
Orville Browning (1866-69)-REPUBLICAN

39th CONGRESS-US SENATE-REPUBLICAN

-US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-REPUBLICAN

40th CONGRESS-US SENATE-REPUBLICAN

-US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-REPUBLICAN

I ask my opponent, is there any real surprise that President Andrew Johnson was impeached? After all he was a Democrat firing a Republican cabinet member. How could Johnson have an adequate functioning admininistration when he is surrounded by Republicans in his own cabinet as well as in Congress?

[5]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6]http://en.wikipedia.org...

lannan13

Con

I cannot finish this debate due to personal matters. Pro wins.
Debate Round No. 3
DarthVitiosus

Pro

It appears Con has forfeited. Though I am not sure based on his comments in the comment section. Either way if Con is unable to continue, it was a fun debate on the part of Con. Thanks for playing the game. Now it is time to sum up:


President James Buchanan insitigated the Utah War. Buchnanan did nothing to stop the Civil War from taking place. Buchanan did nothing to build up Federal fortifications in the South knowing that the Southern states ad begun to start seperating from the Union. Versus Andrew Johnson who was a president by cicrcumstance rather than choice. Johnson became president when Lincoln was assassinated. As such, Johnson was stuck with a Republican cabinet and a Republican Congress which were uncooperative with him. Johnson himself, did not make any significant poor decisions as president compared to Buchanan. I would state that I have come the conclusion that Buchnan was by far the worse president compared to Johnson. Buchanan was actually responsible for the actions or I pointed out versus Johnson who had to deal with uncooperative Republicans.

If you have to the conclusion that Buchanan was the worse president, vote Pro.
lannan13

Con

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
What is Buchanan? I have always wondered since all of the presidents(including Obama) are related to King John except him.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
I'm related to Buchanon :D
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
Actually I didn't read what you said the last round. I will probably put together a conclusion or something. It depends on how I feel tonight.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
That's okay you can pass the next round and I'll respond. It'll be like a 2 round debate.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
Sorry, I may not be able to post the next round because I have a serious fever.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
(FACE PALM) It feels like a Thursday to me but you are right lol
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
December 31st is Wednesday.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
Where would that be? I know not in the United States because I have EST lol
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
It's Wednesday here.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
DarthVitiosus
Today is not Wednesday, at least not according to my time.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
DarthVitiosuslannan13Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I was going to vote for Con due to his impeachment argument, but since he conceded, I will honor his wishes and vote Pro.
Vote Placed by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
DarthVitiosuslannan13Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Con.