The Instigator
imabench
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
shipman37
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Who is the worst president ever? YOU DECIDE :D

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 909 times Debate No: 18641
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (6)

 

imabench

Con

Hello fellow debaters :D

I am having a very good day and have been lounging around watching the history channel and I have decided to challenge YOU to think who you believe was the worst US President ever, and I will be arguing why he is not the worst.

Maximum number of rounds and max character limit, get ready to go all out for why you think _______________ is our worst US president ever...

Go crazy ;D
shipman37

Pro

ANDREW JOHNSON

"This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."
-- Andrew Johnson, 1866

Johnson was the worst president in U.S. history. It's not because he created Jim Crow, although he did. It's not because he fought passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, although he did. And it's not because he failed to create a way forward for Southerners of all races, condemning the South to over a century of poverty--though he did that, too.

No, it's because he did all of this because he could. He wasn't a wartime president; he faced no new terrorist threats. He just inherited the presidency and used it to push his own prejudices. History has never forgiven him for that, nor should it.
Debate Round No. 1
imabench

Con

Andrew Johnson did not create the Jim Crow laws. The Jim Crow laws lasted from 1876 to 1965, but Johnson's presidency only lasted four years from 1865 to 1869, his presidency ended a full 6 to 7 years before the Jim Crow laws became law.

http://en.wikipedia.org... <- Time period of Jim Crow Laws
http://www.whitehouse.gov... <- Johnson's term as president

He did veto the passage of the 14th amendment, i will admit that is a fact.

You claim that he failed to pave the way forward for southerners of all races, which I am guessing suggests he failed to help former slaves become equal in US Society. Following the Civil War and the assassination of the great president Abraham Lincoln, Reconstruction of the southern confederate states, which were in ruin, was not carried out by the president. At the time southern democrats were not admitted back into Congress until a few years after the Civil War ended, and when they did re-enter the Republican party still controlled Congress with a majority large enough to pass any bill they wanted. This means that Congress had to play the biggest role in paving the way to equality for newly freed slaves, not the president.

Also implying that the president was solely responsible for why the south endured gripping poverty for years to come is laughable. The South had just gone through total war and much of the country, infrastructure, and even its class system lay in ruin. It would be pathetic to place the burden for rebuilding an entire economy completely on the president for two reasons. One is that at the time Congress had the most power regarding reconstruction of the south, and two is that the biggest issue following Lincolns death was readmitting states back into the union. Equality for former slaves and reconstruction and repairing the economy were secondary issues that would have to wait to be addressed, and many of them were handled only AFTER Johnson's presidency ended.

You base most of your argument on the fact that president Johnson did all of this out of spite and on the fact that he did it because he wanted to abuse his powers bestowed on him now that he was president. He was not a wartime president but he was a wartime vice president, he never apposed Lincoln on any of his actions during the war either.

There were no terrorist threats but everyone at the time wanted to restore the states to the union before any foreign nations in Europe or even Mexico could take advantage of the weakened United States.

To argue that president Johnson had prejudices is impossible, he owned slaves and did oppose the 14th amendment. And I will admit that he did try to use his presidential authority to push his prejudices...... But should he be as vilified as much as you think he should be?

Keep in mind that despite the man's prejudices, they never did win out. Congress did pass the 14th amendment over his veto, they also passed the freedman's bureau act over his veto. History should condemn presidents who used their power to enforce their prejudices AND SUCCEEDED IN DOING SO. No matter what Johnson did the Republican controlled Congress had the power to do what was right and repaired the country as best they could during his term in office. Many presidents used their presidential authority to enforce their will over everyone else, Andrew Jackson used his presidential authority to relocate native American's out of their homelands even though the Supreme Court passed legislation denying him the right to do just that.

President Johnson was not the worst president in history, he was one of the most prejudiced president but he was also one of the weakest presidents in our history. The fact that he did not succeed in preventing historic legislation from passing should not make him the worst president ever, it should simply be made an interesting note in the history books in my opinion.
shipman37

Pro

He allowed the Southern states to replace slavery with "Black Codes", which furthered the discrimination against the former slaves by reaffirming the notion that they were inferior and had essentially no civil rights. He was against them when the north had a whole war just to free the slaves. With reconstruction, he barley did anything when the U.S needed him the most, He also tried to pass a law that would send money to help reform the confederacybut here are some more aruments for Johnson.He failed, and failed utterly; failed so miserably that, in the last weeks of his Administration, he could only revenge himself by absurd attempts wantonly to vex his successor. He nominated to the Senate for consul to Havana a soldier who was conspicuously the enemy of General Grant, and for minister to Chile, General Grant's brother-in-law and friend. Mr. Johnson's Administration has had, however, the good result of proving the character of the people. At every moment of his evil career it has been evident that the country condemned him; and undoubtedly it anticipated his removal when he was impeached. There verdict against him failed of the necessary two-thirds vote.
Debate Round No. 2
imabench

Con

You start out saying that President Johnson allowed states to enforce the Black Codes. Black codes did come into his existence under his presidency, but he did not allow them to be created. The codes were adopted by the southern states one by one, it did not come up as a bill in congress that president Johnson had to then sign into law.

He was not against the North declaring War on the South to end slavery. He was a senator from Tennessee prior to the Civil War, a state that joined the Confederacy and supported slavery. When the South did secede he did not go with them, he chose to remain with the North and became a War Democrat, a southern Democrat who believed that the North should declare War on the South and restore the Union. He showed patriotism for the United States when he could have easily shown loyalty to the Confederacy at a time where EVERY OTHER SENATOR IN THE SOUTH DID JUST THAT.

You then mention about some of his presidential appointments being evidence of why he was a dreadful president. Any person that is appointed by the president always has some skeletons in their closet or something that makes them controversial. The men you picked who were appointed by Johnson was a soldier who had troubles with general Grant, known for pushing his soldiers hard and suffering many casualties while in the war. Another was a relative and friend of general Grant, but that really scandalous enough to condemn Andrew Johnson for being the worst US president ever?

You also say that the entire country condemned president Johnson, but accurate public opinion polls have only been around since the 1950's so if you do have evidence of his approval ratings during his term please state your source.

President Johnson was not impeached because allegedly the entire country despised him. President Johnson wanted to replace one of his cabinet secretary of war, Congress then passed a bill saying that he must inform congress before he does so and then they must approve of his decision. The bill was passed and President Johnson still disposed of ONE of his secretaries, and that was what triggered his impeachment.

He missed being impeached by one vote, and the law he violated that triggered his impeachment was later disbanded in 1887 by both Republican and Democratic senators.

I fail to see why an unjust impeachment process qualifies Andrew Johnson as the worst president ever
shipman37

Pro

shipman37 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
imabench

Con

......... Ok, I guess i will just state that Andrew Johnson was not our worst president for the reasons stated above........
shipman37

Pro

shipman37 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
imabench

Con

Vote Con :D
shipman37

Pro

shipman37 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mharman 3 months ago
Mharman
I would say Bill Clinton.
Posted by jerrywu1206 2 years ago
jerrywu1206
It should be Andrew Jackson
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by paintballvet18 2 months ago
paintballvet18
imabenchshipman37Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by Mharman 3 months ago
Mharman
imabenchshipman37Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
imabenchshipman37Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
imabenchshipman37Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: ff. The sources Con gave really drove home his point empirically, so points go to him on that.
Vote Placed by STALIN 3 years ago
STALIN
imabenchshipman37Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con definitely won this.
Vote Placed by Spritle 5 years ago
Spritle
imabenchshipman37Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits.