Was Andrew Johnson the Worst U.S. President?

The National Constitution Center asked that question yesterday, the anniversary of Johnson's birth in 1808. Nothing in the linked piece changed my mind. In fact, was there one decision that Johnson made while president that most would agree was a positive contribution? Nothing comes to mind, but I'm open to suggestions. As they say where …

Was Calvin Coolidge a Klansman?

I recently came across the photo to the left, which purports to show Calvin Coolidge marching with several Klansmen in Washington. A look at several Klan websites revealed that the picture, Coolidge's membership, or both were included on many. (See examples here and here.) One website that appears to be a major source for the Coolidge-Klan …

Debunking the Lincoln-Kennedy Federal Reserve Meme

There is a meme circulating on Facebook that seems to be based on the conspiracy theory that Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were assassinated by the Rothschilds because they wanted to "end the federal reserve banking system." Let's pick this meme apart to see how historically accurate it is. 1. There was no federal …

John F. Kennedy and Presidential Polling Popularity

The build-up to the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination has produced renewed interest in the 35th president. PBS showed an interesting two-part series on him last week, and John Kerry believes that Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone. I'll confess that I've never thought much of Kennedy as president, which, according to a recent poll, …

Presidents Say the Most Interesting Things

R. Luke DuBois has created a fascinating visual representation of presidential State of the Union addresses (also known as annual messages until FDR's administration). HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20 takes the State of the Union addresses from each presidency and sorts them according to word frequency, generating a Snellen eye chart for each president, with the …

Songs about Presidents

In honor of Presidents' Day, listen to some songs about the presidents, including Johnny Cash singing about James Garfield and Electric Needle Room's tribute to Jimmy Carter. (Speaking of Jimmy Carter, and unfortunately for you, I don't have a way to share Kirk and Preston's "We Love You Jimmy Carter." Apparently, I am the only person …

Nate Silver Predicts President Obama’s Future Reputation

Nate Silver, who won accolades for his electoral predictions during the 2012 presidential election, has analyzed and predicted where Barack Obama will place in future presidential rankings. Longtime readers may remember my discussion of these rankings here and here, and my students in the American Presidency courses that I've taught hopefully recall that our initial …

Yay, Adams! Boo, Jackson!

Tony Petersen, editor-in-chief of the CSU Fresno Collegian, has given his opinion on some of the best and worst U.S. presidents. Petersen's favorite president is John Adams, who had a distinguished pre-presidential career but wasn't so great as chief executive, if you ask me. The XYZ Affair, the Quasi-War with France, and the Alien and …

The British Rank the U.S. Presidents

The Institute for the Study of the Americas recently conducted a survey of U.S. presidents: Through the agency of its United States Presidency Centre [USPC], the Institute for the Study of the Americas (located in the University of London’s School of Advanced Study) has undertaken the first ever UK academic survey to rate US presidents. This polled the opinion …