James Buchanan The fifteenth president of the United States, James Buchanan, had only a few positive things during his presidency. Since the country was slowly being split by the issue of slavery, Buchanan appointed both Southerners and Northerners is his cabinet. He also hoped to keep peace between the North and South. Sadly, the tensions only grew higher. Buchanan did not seek re-election, which can also be seen as a positive thing. With many negatives, Buchanan is often considered the worst president in history. He was seen to be sympathetic to the southerners by many. He believed that the issue of slavery was something to be decided by individual states. A few days after being sworn in, the U.S. Supreme Court passed down the Dred Scott decision. The ruling determined that African Americans wouldn’t be recognized as U.S. citizens, nor could they have the same rights of citizens. Buchanan was also known to pressure Northern justices to vote with the Southern majority in the case (History.com). This did anything but resolve the countries issues. He angered Northerners even more when he supported Kansas becoming a slave state. Communication was limited between the president and Congress. Congress would block most of Buchanan’s plans and he would then veto most republican legislation. His terrible decisions caused uprisings. One of the most famous uprisings was lead by abolitionist John Brown. He attempted to lead a slave uprising by taking a federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia and failed. After the conviction and hanging of Brown, tension continued to escalate. James Buchanan had failed to steer the country clear from war. He had left the issue of slavery and war for the next president.Abraham Lincoln By the time Abraham Lincoln was elected, seven states had seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Throughout this difficult time, Lincoln’s presidency remained on the positive side with few negatives. He had made the decision to fight until he preserved the Union. Lincoln proved himself as a strong leader, never giving in to the difficulties of war. Abraham Lincoln persevered and braved the huge loss of life on the battlefield, assassination threats, and opposition groups such as the Copperheads. He put forth the Emancipation Proclamation, which didn’t really free any slaves. It only affected territories that weren’t under his control. The Emancipation Proclamation officially defined the war to be about slavery. He also signed many wonderful domestic policies. One of those policies being a bill that called for the building of the first transcontinental railroad and the protection of American industry. Lincoln supported the Homestead Act which made land in the West more affordable. He also signed the National Banking Act which established a national currency. This act also created a network of national banks. Lincoln gave many speeches during his presidency as well. His famous Gettysburg Address was where he described the War as a test to the public. The War was a test to see if our country could survive such disagreements. He also dedicated part of the battlefield to the many men who fought and lost their lives in the fight. With his admirable leadership qualities, Lincoln is thought to be one of the best leaders and presidents. Many American politicians look up to Lincoln’s abilities and often quote him in speeches. He sets an example for the leaders of our time.Abraham Lincoln While mostly viewed as a fearless leader, it is not always mentioned that Lincoln was sometimes viewed as a tyrant. During the war, Lincoln would violate certain constitutional rights. This lead to controversy among the Union. Lincoln was not one to let things get in his way, but how far is too far? Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus. This is also known as due process of law. He used this to imprison about 40,000 enemies and conspirators. The prisoners were not charged, nor were they tried. He did this to be able to cut corners without anyone speaking out about it. Among these prisoners were quite a few newspaper editors. Not only were they imprisoned, their businesses were wrecked and destroyed. It wasn’t common to have such newspapers and journals shut down by an executive order. Lincoln caught lots of heat due to the removal of such a basic right. Lincoln also reportedly called up state militias. He did this long before there were intentions of war. In order to cover up these actions, it is believed he lied about an invasion the South had no intentions of committing. Long story short, this sparked the war. Lincoln approved of the recruitment of troops and the draft. He also approved the spending of millions of dollars on the war. This gave the people multiple reasons to disapprove of the war. Few actually debate whether Lincoln is a hero or villain. It is often seen that the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. For example, he can be credited with bringing the Civil War to an end. In order to fulfill his intentions of preserving the union, Lincoln had to cut corners.Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson took office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. With few positives, his legacy is often looked down upon. Luckily, he did not seek re-election. As soon as entering office, Johnson focused on restoring the union. At least he had plans for reconstruction, but these plans proved to be bust. His intentions seemed clear in the beginning, but they grew fuzzier with each decision made. Johnson allowed the rebel Southerners back into the United States with no punishment. He also allowed the Southern states to begin forming their own state governments. He caught lots of backlash for being too lenient with the rebels. These newly formed governments immediately enacted black codes. These black codes were made to repress the newly freed slaves. Johnson soon found himself against Congress. Johnson vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill and the Civil Rights bill, which were completely aimed for protecting the freed slaves. At this point, many believed he was sympathetic towards the Southerners. During the 1866 congressional elections, Johnson took a tour attempting the spread his ideas of reconstruction. The whole campaign was a flop, especially after all he’s done. Tensions still began to rise between the president and congress. Eventually the House of Representatives voted to impeach him on account of eleven charges, one of the charges being for suspending the Secretary of War for disagreeing with him.The Senate failed to get enough votes to impeach Johnson. He is on a very short list of attempted impeachments, which shows how poor of a president he was.Ulysses Grant Ulysses Grant held a massive responsibility being elected in the midst of the Reconstruction era. It was a tumultuous period with many important decisions to be made. Most of his decisions deemed positive. He once proved himself as a general on the battlefield, it was now time to prove himself in the White House. Grant attempted to have a peaceful restoration of the North and South. He supported a nice balance between pardons for former southern leaders and protection of civil rights for freed slaves. He also approved ratifying the 15th amendment. This amendment gave black men the right to vote. He even signed legislation that looked to limit the activities of white terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. This terrorist group often used violence to intimidate blacks and keep them from voting. Grant didn’t just focus on reconstruction. “Grant signed legislation establishing the Department of Justice, the Weather Bureau (now known as the National Weather Service) and Yellowstone National Park” (History.com). Among all these other successes was the attempt to make the conditions for Native Americans better. Foreign policy also improved from the negotiated 1871 Treaty of Washington. This treaty settled U.S, claims against England for the British-built Confederate warships that interfered with Northern shipping. Relations between the United States and United Kingdom greatly improved. Ulysses Grant made many strides forward for reconstruction and other legislation. Though the times were hard, he still proved himself as a worthy opponent to the remaining tensions between political parties, the issue of reconstruction, and the opposition of giving freedmen rights.Ulysses Grant Among all of Grant’s wonderful policies are scandals. There were opposition groups and many questioned the rightfulness of his policies. Not to mention the rough second term where he endured both a depression and the issues of reconstruction. Even Grant had to endure his fair share of hardships. A group of Republicans who believed Grant was corrupt and opposed his policies formed the the Liberal Republican Party. They worked with the Democrats and hoped to keep him from winning the election. In the end, their efforts seemed to be insignificant. During his second term, the nation endured a rough depression in 1873. Many miners had taken off to the Black Hills in desperate need of a financial lift. Grant was being pressured to annex the land. There was just one problem, the land belonged to the Lakota Indians. Even though he had promised to improve the Native Americans’ current situation, he decided to seize that land. Grant also had to come up with a decent reason to take the land. Apparently, he had launched an illegal war against the Native Americans and lied to Congress and the public about it. He even promised to keep the West free of war. In 1875, the scandal of the Whisky Ring was exposed. This scandal involved distillers and distributors who planned to defraud the government of millions of liquor in tax revenue. Grant’s secretary, Orville, Babcock, was accused in the scandal. The president still defended him, which caused lots of controversy. Grant had his fair share of wins and losses. Yes, he was able to help the nation in a desperate time of need, but did he take some things too far?