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Brion McClanahan, 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her

Who have the greatest American Presidents been? Who are the worst? The answers may surprise you.

As the author says, the problem with academic polls on this matter isn't the questions, but rather the perception of the executive office, a perception that has been skewed by the success of the United States in the 20th century and the growth of the power of the executive branch relative to the other branches and levels of government. The historians who usually participate in these polls lack an originalist perspective of the Constitution, and thus rank the presidents based on the outcome of their policies, not on how they upheld the oath they took when sworn into office, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. It is on the latter basis that the author ranks the best and worst US Presidents.

Among the worst, those who screwed America up, are Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Barack Obama. Among the best are Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, and Calvin Coolidge. Those judgments depend on whether a given President upheld his oath of office or not, not on the results of his time in office. The Founders of this nation were terrified of untrammeled executive power unchecked or poorly checked by other branches of the government, and set up the new nation's government to provide checks and balance that would keep any one branch of the government, especially the executive branch, from seizing and wielding inordinate power not granted by the Constitution.

Not that any given President in the "Naughty" list was or is a bad man or a disliked one; nor were those in the "Nice" list necessarily "great" in the normal sense, that is, the sort of people about whom spectacular movies are made and that sort of thing. "Did they uphold the Constitution during their term in office, or not?" is the one measure by which Brion McClanahan ranks the Presidents, which is also a measure of the degree to which Presidents have protected our liberties or damaged them.

This book is an eye-opener. These days, thanks to rapidly declining standards in public schools and our colleges and universities, the average American citizen is not learned in Constitutional law and its applications. This book is a great introduction to that subject, in terms of both its history and the men charged with upholding and applying it, and a way for repairing the shameful gaps in our education when it comes to civics and American history.

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