Worst President ever?! That would be Warren G, according to historian Korpela

November 11, 2016

Craig W. Korpela, a Ph.D. historian and professor at Olivet College was interviewed on whom he felt was the worst president in United States history. Being a historian, Korpela provided an eye opening history lesson on one former U.S. president during a recorded interview.


Question: In your opinion who was the worst president in United States history?


"A consensus is elusive in a way because you have so many bad presidents as well as so many good presidents to choose from. So we have any number of really terrible presidents, we could argue that Buchanan (James Buchanan, U.S. president from 1857-1861) who was there just before the Civil War started and he did little to try to stop the war from coming. You could really say that he was perhaps the biggest failure, because the country basically parted ways under his watch. Then you have Warren Harding (Warren G Harding, U.S. president from 1921-1923) who was post World War I. He didn’t believe in government doing much nor he himself doing much. He did little to stop, for instance, a lot of the nativism that we see today. You know the anti-immigrants or anti whatever outgroup we’re talking, about whether it’s African Americans or if it’s Jewish Americans or Catholic Americans, whoever it might be. He did not do what he should have done, which was to protect a lot of our minority populations at the time. So I tend to think of Harding as being at the top of my list or close to it," said Korpela.


What was the public’s general perception of Harding during and after his presidency?


"So they liked him, he said lets return to normalcy. He was catchy, charismatic and they were more than happy to think everything’s going to go back to normal. It’s only in retrospect that historians look at this and say this guy was not doing his job. That, and you had a massive recession after the war," said Korpela. 


In your opinion, how did this president win the election? 



"Well, he promised the return to normalcy, so America is all upset about what’s happening in World War I and what’s happening with the economy, so his promise of a return to normalcy that he would restore America to the way it was before the war. The other way he won the election was because the Republican Party actually came back together. During the time leading up to the War, you had the