By Gary North
August 6, 2013
In American history, there have been two Presidents who have been perceived as time-servers who knew that a crisis was coming: James Buchanan and Calvin Coolidge. Buchanan did not get out in time. Coolidge did.
Buchanan is generally rated by American historians as among the worst Presidents in American history. This has been true ever since 1948.
Credit, or blame, for the first scholarly ranking of the presidents usually goes to Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr., who conducted a poll for Life magazine in 1948. He asked 55 specialists in American history to rate the presidents as great, near great, average, below average, or failure. Abraham Lincoln topped the list, followed by George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Claiming the cellar of that list were Warren G. Harding and, in ascending order, Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge, John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and Herbert Hoover.
U.S. News updated this in 2010. The bottom: Andrew Johnson. The next-to-last: Buchanan.