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The Forgotten American Presidents

With the Presidential election coming in November the timing of the release of a new book called ‘Don’t Know Much About American Presidents’ is perfect. Most people know the first and sixteenth Presidents, Washington and Lincoln, and more recent Presidents, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama, but there are a lot of Presidents that have been forgotten. Some don’t get as many mentions in history books as others but some are truly forgettable.

Grover Cleveland is the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms which makes him the only individual to be counted twice in numbering Presidents. Cleveland is more over-looked than forgettable. His administration did a great job while he was in office winning him praise for his honesty, integrity and commitment to his principles.

James Buchanan was our 15th President who had a chance of avoiding the Civil War but chose to try to find a compromise between the two sides on slavery instead of ending it. Buchanan tried to maintain peace between the North and South on the slavery issue and was often called a ‘doughface’, a Northerner with Southern sympathies. His effort to maintain peace between the North and the South just alienated both sides and the Southern states declared their secession.

Another forgotten President, and rightfully so, is our 14, Franklin Pierce, who is the only President from New Hampshire. Many of his decisions were criticized and earned him the label as one of the worst Presidents in American history. Pierce like Franklin had a chance to stave off the Civil War as expansion of slavery in the American West came about, but declined to do so. Franklin’s reputation was damaged even more when he declared support for the Confederacy during the Civil War. You have to feel sorry for Franklin though, he suffered many tragedies in his personal life, all of his children died at a young age, he had a lifelong struggle with alcoholism and his marriage fell apart.

Millard Fillmore our 13th President and last from the Whig Party was Zachary Taylor’s Vice President, when Taylor died in office Fillmore took over.  He, like our 13th and 14th Presidents, could have done something to prevent the Civil War but chose to sign into law the Compromise of 1850 which included the Fugitive Slavery Act.  Fillmore is widely considered one of the ten worst Presidents in American history.

The most forgotten President is William McKinley who ushered in the 20th century but had the misfortune of being assassinated in office and was followed by Teddy Roosevelt who was larger than life.

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