Ted Widmer, a historian at the City University of New York, explains why James Buchanan is considered by many to be the worst president in American history. Here is a taste of his piece at The Washington Post:
As the secession crisis deepened throughout the winter of 1860-61, Buchanan was utterly incapable of meeting it. Sarcastically, a leading Republican, William Seward, remarked that Buchanan’s policy was that no Southern state had a right to secede … unless it wanted to. When a newspaper reported that he had gone insane, stocks actually rose. Buchanan was looking worse, too; his strange hair even more angular than ever, his complexion sallow and strange honking sounds coming from blocked nasal passages.
That was the situation Lincoln inherited, and it remains a small miracle that the United States survived what Henry Adams called “the Great Secession Winter.” That phrase feels resonant again, in the wake of Dr. Rick Bright’s prediction that “2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history” and the increased possibility of President Trump joining the bottom of the presidential ranking list.
Read the entire piece here.