The Instigator
imabench
Con (against)
Losing
23 Points
The Contender
1Historygenius
Pro (for)
Winning
32 Points

Who is the worst U.S. president ever?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,710 times Debate No: 18667
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (120)
Votes (16)

 

imabench

Con

You pick a US president who you think was the worst president in U.S. history,
I will argue why he is NOT the worst president...

5 rounds, 8000 characters a round, go nuts :)

He/She who accepts the debate can state their pick and then proceed on saying why they think that __________ was the worst president ever

P.S. In case your were wondering, I did create one of these before but the person who accepted the challenge never responded after the second round, but that was just for those people who noticed....
1Historygenius

Pro

Hello, I would like to state that I believe the worst president ever was our 15th President James Buchanan. I am guessing round 1 was only an opener so that is all I have to say.
Debate Round No. 1
imabench

Con

Well i stated that you were allowed to begin defending your point because my argument is that he is not the worst president, not a good one. So I will use this round to just give general facts about Buchanan....

By the way, I do like the Pro's picture, I felt that should be said.

James Buchanan was our 15th president who served for four years from 1857 to 1861. He was the president when the election results of 1860 were announced the southern slave-holding states seceded to form the Confederacy States of America. He was also president when the Dred Scott case was announced that overturned the great compromise of 1850. Buchanan was also president when Confederate forces began to siege the northern held Fort Sumter, a battle that would prove to be the opening shots of the Civil War. Buchanan was also president when the states of Kansas, Oregon, and Minnesota were admitted into the union....
1Historygenius

Pro

James Buchanan is often considered the worst president in American history. He is always ranked at or near the bottom in these polls to find out who is the best and the worst president of the United States of America. One of the reasons why almost all the historians says he is a bad president is because of the actions that he took probably hastened the coming of the civil war. When South Carolina seceded from the union James Buchanan only lightly protested it but did nothing to stop it. He could have easily sent federal troops down to South Carolina. In his inaugural address, the 15th president tacitly encouraged the Supreme Court's forthcoming Dred Scott decision, which ruled that Congress had no power to keep slavery out of the territories. Even before he became president, he supported the various compromises that made it possible for slavery to spread into the western territories acquired by the Lousiana Purchase and the Mexican War.

http://www.usnews.com...
http://www.usnews.com...
http://www.americanthinker.com...
http://www.poconorecord.com...
Debate Round No. 2
imabench

Con

The Pro stated that in public opinion polls Buchanan has always ranked near the bottom on lists of greatness of presidents, that is a fact.

The Pro argued that Buchanan's actions hastened the coming of the Civil War, however he provides no examples of how the president hastened the Civil War so as far as anyone is concerned that is a biased opinion.

When South Carolina seceded he took no real action, but how could he? In the 1850's to 1860's the U.S. did not have a standing army, back then it was still an army that would be assembled based on volunteers. When South Carolina seceded Buchanan would have had to create an army from scratch before he could take action, and any action he did take would have caused a conflict and then THAT would have hastened the coming of the Civil War.

The Supreme Court and the executive office are separate powers, Buchanan at the time could have done nothing to encourage the verdict of the Dred Scott decision and its effects....

Buchanan supported such compromises that expanded slavery because he was COMPROMISING, with the southern states. Had he took a stance against allowing slavery to expand at all then that would have also quickly hastened the Civil War.....

The Pro states that the President hastened the coming of the Civil War, however all the evidence suggested Buchanan was compromising with the Southern slave-holding states so as to forestall the coming of the Civil War. Had Buchanan done the opposite of what he did the Civil War would have erupted during his presidency and then he would have had to control the outcome instead of Abraham Lincoln, and that could have been catastrophic to the future of the U.S.A.
1Historygenius

Pro

Con has stated that there was no possible way James Buchanan increased the coming of the Civil War. His decision to endorse the constitution written by the pro slavery settlers in Kansas made him look like a supporter to the south and as traitor to the north. The idea that the president would try to force slavery into a territory where it is clear that the majority of the settlers don't want it would completely discredit any president's administration and James Buchanan did do that so he is not serving the majority of the people as far as the Kansas territory. People were so upset that James Buchanan, being a Democrat, divided his party between northern democrats and southern democrats which added for fuel for the Republicans a completely pro north party to gain control of congress and the executive office.

Just because he does not have an immediate army does not still mean he can raise one. He should have immediately as 6 other states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) got encouragement from South Carolina to secede. If James Buchanan crushed South Carolina and its forces then the war may had ended far more quicker. If James Buchanan sent an army before the bombing of Fort Sumter then North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas would had not been encouraged to secede as well.

One of the reasons why he had no federal troops was because Buchanan had downsized the federal military earlier in his term and lacked the resources to mount an effective defense. Faced with the disintegration of the nation he had sworn to protect and defend, he sat out the remainder of his term as one fort after another fell to the rebels.

One of the reasons why he has a last place rating is for near treason. Most of the things James Buchanan does from the last part of the presidency is so pro southern that he does not do in the presidential oath preserve, protect, and defend the United States.

http://www.washingtonpost.com...
http://washingtonexaminer.com...
Debate Round No. 3
imabench

Con

Buchanan was concerned primarily with admittance of Kansas as a state into the Union when he was president, and as president he had no power in forcing Kansas to be admitted into the Union as a slave holding state. Only Congress can authorize bringing states into the Union, and they only did after they reviewed the state constitution that was submitted. President Buchanan could not have forced Kansas into the Union as a slave state under any jurisdiction.

It would be impossible for the president to create an enormous standing army in 1859 and then march through the slavery supporting states of Virginia and North Carolina to stop South Carolina and then hope that the states of Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, AND Alabama did not retaliate. That would have been catastrophic because that could have triggered the southern states to unite while the Union army was trapped deep in the South behind enemy lines, and that could have completely changed the outcome of the war.

Even if Buchanan had not decreased funding to the military, the current military at the time would probably still have been far too small to try to prevent half of the entire nation from seceding....

James Buchanan at the end of his term could only choose the lesser of two evils in issues that he faced. The final confrontation between slavery and emancipation was bound to happen sooner or later, Buchanan did all he could to preserve what the Union was but he was simply President at the wrong time. No one could have kept peace in the Union because the pro slavery and anti slavery forces had finally grown in size so to the point where Civil war was inevitable.
1Historygenius

Pro

My opponent has stated James Buchanan could not stop congress from making Kansas a slave holding state, when it is true he could have repealed the Missouri Compromise or take the case to the supreme court.

The 1860 National Census shows:

North Population: 22 million and 4 million men of the combat age.

South Population: 9 million and only 1.2 million of the combat age.

So I do believe that James Buchanan could raise a large enough army of the 4 million men to take out the south's 1.2 million (or less if he ended the war by conquering South Carolina) men. Whoever said he had to go down through Virginia and North Carolina? My opponent most likely fails to understand simple military actions such as a naval transportation convoy to South Carolina and into Charleston when they could reinforced Fort Sumter and take over the city and then march on the state capital.

James Buchanan could have possibly passed a bill to let slaves free at later time than the 1860s to gain a peace between the north and south. Several countries eventually abolished slavery so why not the US without taking military action? It would be better to end the war quicker than just sitting and watching things happen wouldn't it?
Debate Round No. 4
imabench

Con

The Missouri compromise was repealed because of the Dred Scott case, but that led to ALL lands in the west being available to slavery, which would have the opposite effect of what the Pro believes would happen had the compromise been repealed by Buchanan.

Buchanan could only have had his 4 million man army had he created a military draft to force ALL men of combat age into the war. 4 million people in the north werent waiting for war to break out just because they wanted to go fight, these men were merchants, carpenters, teachers, sailors, farmers, etc. who had their own aganda and families to care for. Also a loss four million men enlisted into the army would leave quite a nice hole in the manpower availablea for the north to then manufacture the guns, munitions, cannons, weapons, medicines, and other such materials needed to supply a 4 million man army. Also the 4 million man army would have required enormous amounts of supplies that would take weeks to reach the front lines, whereas the south would be fighting the war on their own soil and available supplies needed for the war could easily be moved to where they were needed. The south wasnt just farmland and plantations it was a very large country where railroads connected many states together that could movie supplies miles away in a fairly short time.

Also a draft of 4 million working men into an army against his own country would probably have made Buchanan look like a military dictator to his own countrymen. Not everyone in the north was enthusiastic about putting their lives on the line to fight against their fellow countrymen for the freedom and rights of the few...

Furthermore, Only Congress can declare war, not the president. The President may authorize a declaration of war, but Congress would have to approve of it, and I doubt that the representatives of the southern states would authorize a war against themselves.....

Next the Pro argues that Buchanan could have launched an invasion by sea to seize South Carolina, but that would require far more supplies pull off such an invasion. For one they would need thousands of ships and this was at a time when The US navy was still in its infancy. The naval blockade of the South was not due to an enormous armada of naval ships the north just had lying around, usually it was a few decent sized warships blocking the harbors of major cities lying on the coast. Should the invasion even have been successful that would not necessarily mean that all the other states in the South would surrender. Hell, most of the states probably would have seen this as their call to battle and they would have put together armies quickly to fight the northern invaders. Then Virginia and North Carolina, who were unscathed because the invasion now took place by sea, could then create their own massive armies and then once again the entire Northern army would have been trapped behind enemy lines with the North lying open to invasion as well....

The President cannot force Congress to pass a bill, the President could only propose a bill to Congress and then they would have had to pass it. Such a bill would never pass though because in the alone Senate each state gets two representatives, and with half of the states supporting slavery while the other half did not, no anti slavery bill could have been passed through Congress because the southern states could simply boycott it and then no majority would be available to pass the bill.

The Pro seems to be forgetting just how valuable slavery was to the south. The southern states relied extensively on slave labor to grow cash crops, particularly cotton, which they could export to Europe and make huge sums of money. In the 1860's Cotton exports alone made up 60% of US exports, and all that money went into the southern states.
http://www.slaveryinamerica.org...
The reason several countries had abolished slavery was because those countries could do without slavery while not damaging their own economy to a significant degree. The southern states though built their entire economy off of slave labor, and they were making enormous profits from it, so you could assume that the southern states would never have given up slavery by themselves.... That is why the only way slavery could have been extinguished in the south was through military action, and thats exactly what happened now isnt it.....

The Pro lastly states that Buchanan simply allowed the war to happen and took no action to prevent it. Slavery became an issue as early as the 1820's when the abolitionism movement started, However it was in everyones interests to keep the peace rather than solve the problem of slavery completely, so for years and years and years the government created compromises that gave concessions to both sides to preserve peace. For example, states at the time were often admitted into the union in pairs, one would be a free state, the other a slave state. This compromise system worked for years and whenever the issue heated up, a compromise would be made to settle the issue. Buchanan was simply the president at the wrong time when compromises could no longer keep peace in the union, and acts of war did not take place until only After Lincoln was elected president. It was the period from Lincolns victory in 1860 to his entering the office in 1861 that the Southern states started to act hostile, and since such events were only taking place literally at the very end of Buchanan's term, he could not do much to prevent the eventual breakout of all out war....

As my last argument let me state this...... I do not believe Buchanan was a god president, I just think that he was an unlucky man who became president at a time when the US was on the brink of Civil War because of factors he could neither prevent nor control. History has vilified the man as one of our worst presidents simply because he was the last sitting president before the outbreak of the costliest war in US history in terms of casualties..... He was not our worst president, he was simply the most unfortunate one......

I would like to thank everyone for their patience and desire to read this argument, I hope you learned something valuable while you read :)
1Historygenius

Pro

I never said Buchanan needed 4 million men. I said he had enough to create a size able force of 4 million men that can occupy South Carolina. Also you can have women or men under that are not of the recruitment age to join the jobs that 4 million men would take. Is that not possible? How would Buchanan look like a military dictator by preserving the union and keeping it united?

In closer how was James Buchanan the worst president? Well lets compare him to other presidents.

George Washington - Father of our country, kept the country together during its birth, I think he is better than Buchanan.

John Adams - Adams helped in diplomatic relations in France so we would not go to war with them, I think that is better than Buchanan.

Thomas Jefferson - Expanded America with the Louisiana Purchase, he is no doubt better than Buchanan.

James Madison - President during the War of 1812 and he saved our country, better than Buchanan still.

James Monroe - Made the Monroe doctrine to keep European interests in colonization out, better still.

John Q. Adams - Urged the United States to take the lead in art an culture, Buchanan seemed to not do that, better still.

Andrew Jackson - He sent armed forces to South Carolina to keep order due to the protest of high tariffs and he succeeded in doing so, better still.

Martin Van Buren - Van Buren devoted himself to maintaining the solvency of the national Government, Buchanan dealt with a house deeply divided.

William Henry Harrison - We can leave Harrison out since he never had a chance to do anything due to his death.

John Tyler - Despite their differences, President Tyler and the Whig Congress enacted much positive legislation, it seems that Buchanan's attempts to compromise failed.

James K. Polk - Won the Mexican-American War and gained California, better than Buchanan.

Zachary Taylor - Taylor urged settlers in New Mexico and California to draft constitutions and apply for statehood and said that if the south seceded he would personally lead the army, but they did not secede during his presidency, maybe if Buchanan said that the civil war would had ended quicker.

Millard Fillmore - He abolished the slave trade in the District of Columbia. Better than Buchanan.

Franklin Pierce - Pierce was blackmailed during the Kansas - Nebraska Act by Senator Douglas to pass the bill so he was forced and we can leave him out. Better than Buchanan.

Abraham Lincoln - Lincoln ended slavery and united the union again, better than Buchanan.

Andrew Johnson - Johnson's reconstruction of the south made it better to live in, better than Buchanan.

Ulysses S. Grant - Grant allowed Radical Reconstruction to run its course in the South, bolstering it at times with military force. Better than Buchanan.

Rutherford B. Hayes - Hayes pledged protection of the rights of Negroes in the South, but at the same time advocated the restoration of "wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government." Better than Buchanan.

James Garfield - He can also be exempt because he died in office. Better than Buchanan.

Chester A. Arthur - The Arthur Administration enacted the first general Federal immigration law. Arthur approved a measure in 1882 excluding paupers, criminals, and lunatics. Better than Buchanan.

Grover Cleveland - In December 1887 he called on Congress to reduce high protective tariffs. Better than Buchanan.

Benjamin Harrison - Substantial appropriation bills were signed by Harrison for internal improvements, naval expansion, and subsidies for steamship lines. Better than Buchanan.

William McKinley - In the 100-day war, the United States destroyed the Spanish fleet outside Santiago harbor in Cuba, seized Manila in the Philippines, and occupied Puerto Rico. Better than Buchanan.

Theodore Roosevelt - Father of the Panama Canal and his big stick diplomacy helped the country a lot in foreign policy. Better than Buchanan.

William Howard Taft - Taft did not believe in the stretching of Presidential powers. Better than Buchanan.

Woodrow Wilson - Won us World War 1. Better than Buchanan.

Warren G. Harding - He also died in officer so we can spare him.

Calvin Coolidge - Enjoyed time through economic prosperity. Better than Buchanan.

Herbert Hoover - he would keep the Federal budget balanced, he would cut taxes and expand public works spending. Better than Buchanan.

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Won us World War 2 in Europe and helped us in the Great Depression. Better than Buchanan.

Harry S. Truman - Won us World War 2 in Japan. Better than Buchanan.

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Made the interstate highways. Better than Buchanan.

John F. Kennedy - Took missiles out of Cuba. Better than Buchanan.

Lyndon B. Johnson - Gave us large amounts of civil rights. Better than Buchanan.

Richard M. Nixon - Opened relations with China and Russia. Better than Buchanan.

Gerald Ford - Helped the country forget about Watergate by pardoning Nixon. Better than Buchanan.

Jimmy Carter - Increased relations with Israel and the Middle East. Better than Buchanan.

Ronald Reagan - Took down the Soviet Union and cut waste in domestic policy. Better than Buchanan.

George Bush - Won the Gulf War. Better than Buchanan.

Bill Clinton - Surplus. Better than Buchanan.

George W. Bush - Entered Afghanistan after 9/11 and helped Hurricane Katrina victims. Better than Buchanan.

So I just compared every president (Obama has not finished his presidency) to Buchanan and as you can see Buchanan is worse than all of them.

http://www.whitehouse.gov...
Debate Round No. 5
120 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PatriotPerson 3 years ago
PatriotPerson
Imabench, you are pretty funny. I looked at the imabench intervention forum, and your cocaine addiction bit was hilarious.
Posted by PatriotPerson 3 years ago
PatriotPerson
I don't really know. Imabench got all butthurt over one comment and that started. I think we've made up now, but every time I try to be cool with him, he throws out some other rude thing.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
wtf is going on?
Posted by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
Good one. Anyways I'm talking to history now
Posted by PatriotPerson 3 years ago
PatriotPerson
Oh, I'm not handled.
Posted by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
Now that that idiot's been handled, History, How can you honestly say that every vote is legit when half of them are sh*tty votes or counter votebombs??
Posted by PatriotPerson 3 years ago
PatriotPerson
It was.
Posted by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
Well that was a hysterically bad judgement on your behalf
Posted by PatriotPerson 3 years ago
PatriotPerson
It was not 30 minutes ago. It was before the fight part 2 started. I sent you a request because I thought we could get over part 1 and be friends.
Posted by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
Thats why you sent me a friend request 30 minutes ago right? because you DONT want to be friends?
16 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by ndedo 3 years ago
ndedo
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: All Con had to do to win would have been to submit a convincing case for a particular president being worse than Buchanan, which he never did. Also Con barely used sources.
Vote Placed by PatriotPerson 3 years ago
PatriotPerson
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: agreements to neither because I never changed and there was no way to agree with anyone at the beginning. Conduct tied because they both acted well. Everything else is tied because they seemed equal on all remaining matters.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I was going to counter someone, then everyone removed the counters and now I am literally lost. It is really late over here and I read the vote backwards so I am just going to vote off the topic itself. Saying the "Worst in history is entirely subjective", There can be a lesser of evils in this scenario but for someone to claim that a president is the worst is just an opinion. If it was whom had policies that hurt the economy more, or who had made choices that negatively impacted the us more, I can see buchanan as being someone to fit that title. All Pro had to do was show that this is subjective and there is no way to defend the BOP, primarily because of the word "better"
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Well if Mikal wants to counter DeFool...
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: CV Patriot... "a" is not a suitable RTF on a conduct vote.
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Of course James Buchanan was the worst of all US Presidents, and it is rewarding to see this fact become more known. As it pertains to this debate, supporting facts were presented, and the closing round saw him compared to all other attempts to be the worst Chief Executive. The combination of sound, well researched facts and clear presentation wins arguments and sourcing.
Vote Placed by JustinAMoffatt 3 years ago
JustinAMoffatt
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: C'mon guys. History... that was not very nice at all to say about Ima. No matter what your personal opinions are, you don't insult someone like that. Ima, I just didn't like how you reacted. I'm sorry. I know you were angry, and had every right to be so. However, I just can't give you conduct when you retaliated like that. I feel for you, though. I feel like squabbles like this will give new people the wrong impression though... but I'll leave this now as a matter between you two. I personally enjoyed the debate, though. I thought you both did fine.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments. Good debate.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Con because Pro failed to state a case in round 1. Pro wins arguments because in order to even argue, Con would have had to provide an example of a worse President than Buchanan. As it is, Con merely explained that Buchanan was not so bad. Well, if we accept that, then it's gotten Con nowhere because it would technically be possible for a great President to be the worst ever if, say, all other Presidents were at least as great. Indeed, it's arguable that this very case happened. John Adams is remembered today as a very good President, but after 1809 he was the worst President in history because his competition was Washington and Jefferson.
Vote Placed by Marauder 5 years ago
Marauder
imabench1HistorygeniusTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments section