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Top Ten Most Controversial U.S. Presidents

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(Photo by Terry Ashe//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

(Photo by Terry Ashe//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

(CBS Charlotte) — Throughout history, our country has seen it’s fair share of controversy, and that controversy also surrounded a plethora of U.S. Presidents. While many U.S. Presidents spent their time in office represented their country without incident, other Presidents implemented some positive policy initiatives that were largely overshadowed by scandals, cover-ups, and/or questionable leadership. Check out our list of the top ten most controversial U.S Presidents:

10. George W. Bush (43rd President) — GWB was President during 9/11, a day this nation will never forget. Many Americans believe that he did not take the warning signs of an impending terrorist attack seriously, thus allowing the tragedy to happen. Many Americans also question the war in Iraq, and undoubtedly, it will always be known as one of the most controversial wars in history. It was speculated that the war was intended to generate oil money for the President. One thing remains evident after the war in Iraq, our exact purpose there may never be fully known…especially considering the reason we invaded Iraq to begin with was because the country was harboring “weapons of mass destruction.” However, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq.

9. Bill Clinton (42nd President) — Monica Lewinsky…do we need to say more? While there were many positive aspects to Clinton’s Presidency, such as erasing a $250 billion budget deficit and creating a $525 billion surplus, his good-works were largely overshadowed by “alleged” sexual misconduct, a scandal involving shady real estate dealings in Arkansas, and let’s not forget… his impeachment for obstruction of justice and perjury.

8. Richard Nixon (37th President) — Nixon was President during the war in Vietnam. Controversy began to surround him as he tried to play the “peacemaker.” He called for an end to the Vietnam war at the same time that he ordered bombings in Cambodia. Tension was brewing in America due to the wars, and many Americans protested daily in the hopes of ending the violence. Other controversy involved The Watergate scandal. In 1972, the Democratic National Committee headquarters was broken in to, and Nixon’s team tried to cover-up their involvement. Before inevitably being impeached, Nixon resigned.

7. Lyndon Johnson (36th President) — Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to be the “President who helped end war among the brothers of this earth.” The problem was, by the time Johnson took office, America had a reputation for violence that could not be unraveled. On March 31, 1968, Johnson told startled Americans during a nationally televised speech that he would “not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

6. John F. Kennedy (35th President) — Quite plausibly, JFK might be the most well-known President, however, there are definitely two sides to the JFK Presidency. The most known version is that he was a top-notch President who was assassinated, while the darker version is that he was a corrupt leader and an adulterer. His family had ties to the mafia, and it was also speculated that the election was rigged by the mafia.

5. Ulysses S Grant (18th President) — Grant’s administration was caught in the middle of Black Friday, the Financial Crisis of 1869. The crisis, which was set up by Wall Street manipulators, happened right under the Grant administrations nose, and they failed to stop it from taking place…thus angering many Americans.

4. Andrew Johnson (17th President) — Johnson was not popular with Americans. He wanted to bring the southern states back into the union — something that others opposed. Johnson also displayed a considerable amount of defiance while in office. Johnson was impeached in 1868, for charges of violating the Tenure of Office Act, in addition to other charges as well.

3. Zachary Taylor (12th President) — Although Taylor was a slave owner, he did not take a strong stance on the expansion of slavery — which angered Americans. Furthermore, he encouraged California to draft its own constitution. In 1849, a state government took over California, and a new constitution prohibiting slavery was adopted.

2. John Tyler (10th President) Americans thought Tyler was a bit batty. He shocked Americans by vetoing most of the Whig agenda, and drove the country into the Panic of 1837. In 1841, the Whig Party did not want to be associated with Tyler, and he became known as “the man without a party.”

1. Thomas Jefferson (3rd President) — Jefferson was an opponent of slavery. The problem was, the majority of the country favored slavery. He believed that slavery “presented the greatest threat to the survival of the new American nation.” Additionally, he had a relationship with a slave named Sally Hemmings.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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