Forty years of Bad Governance

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Imagine a Country where, within a  in forty year period,  there were thirteen different heads of state
e, two of whom were  assassinated, two of whom died in office, and a civil war.

This Country is the United States of America, which survived a period of dissension, internecine war
and extremely bad governance beginning with the death of William Harrison, the Ninth President.

Elected in 1840, William Harrison caught pneumonia at his inauguration, and died a month later.

His Vice President, John Tyler, became the 10th President and is known for being the first to rise
by succession

He is also known for turning on his own Party, opposing everything the Whig Party stood for as he was a staunch
supporter of Slavery and had been placed on the ticket as a sop to the South.

The Eleventh President, James Knox Polk, entered office having pledged to serve only one term.

He acquired territory for the United States, attempted to purchase Cuba, but remained unpopular with both pro
and anti slave factions.

He was replaced by Zachary Taylor, (1849 – 1950) who had no learning, nor polish, but was a good soldier.

Taylor was a slave holder who defended the ‘peculiar institution’ in the South but opposed it’s extension
into new states as strongly as he oppossed succession.

He died after a little over a year in office and his Vice President, Milliard Fillmore stepped in.

Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States is credited with delaying the Civil War by his compromises.

Like Tyler, Fillmore was not elected to office but succeeded on the death of the incumbent. After a
little over two years in office he was replaced by Franklin Pierce in 1853.

Pierce tried to hold the Union together by forging compromises between free and slave states and wanted
to annex Cuba to add to the number of slave states.

After one term, he was replaced by Buchanan.

Many consider the Fifteenth President the worst in history, considering the ‘field’ that’s quite
an ‘honour’.

Buchanan could take both sides of an argument and the middle. Religiously opposed to Slavery
he made many compromises which spread it.

Fortunately for the existence of the United States he was replaced by Abraham Lincoln, who is considered
one of the best Presidents.

Unfortunately, actual governance only lasted between 1861 and 1865 when upon assassination, Andrew Johnson
became President.

Johnson was the first President who was impeached and is often argued to be the worst President America
ever had, even worse than Buchanan.

This is because after the Civil War a number of Reconstruction Initives were put in place, and
Johnson opposed and dismantled each one, including fighting against the 14th Amendment.

Johnson’s policies made it seem the South had won the Civil War so getting rid of him was the
highest priority.

He was replaced by U.S. Grant, a war hero who was elected twice, despite the incredible
corruption of his Presidency.

His cabinet did not merely ignore the dishonesty of his Aides, but protected them.

Grant did, however, seek to defend the rights of the freed slaves, suspending habeaus corpus
to do so. This, alas did violate the Constitution.

Rutherford Hayes became the Nineteenth President and was called Rutherfraud due to the interesting
machinations of how he gained office, (not too dissimilar from that which brought George W. Bush
to power twice).

The election of 1876 was decided by congressional commission, as Hayes had lost the popular vote. By
all accounts, the election was not fair as there was fraud and intimidation on both sides.

He ended reconstruction, but is more infamous for calling out the federal troops to end a strike,
killing more than 70 protestors.

He wisely did not seek reelection in 1880.

James Garfield became the 20th President in 1881. He was shot and fatally wounded in July, four months
after his inauguration and died in September.

He was replaced by Chester A. Arthur as the 21st President.

Nothing was expected from Arthur, yet, within four years, he returned good governance to America.


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