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Quick – name your favorite president.


You probably said Washington or Lincoln, right? C’mon. You can be more original than that.

Well, Brion McClanahan is original. He gladly tells people that the greatest president in American history was John Tyler. Confused looks then follow, usually with a question of “Who was that again?”

On the other hand, we all have presidents whom we think were terrible. You can point to a Jimmy Carter, a Herbert Hoover, a Warren G. Harding, or (if you’re an insufferable history nerd like me) Millard Fillmore.

But Abraham Lincoln?

Brion McClanahan—again, being original here—makes the argument that Lincoln, far from being America’s savior, may have done her irreparable harm. But he is not making this argument for the sake of being a contrarian. Rather it’s a position grounded in thorough research an consideration of what the real responsibility of a president is. After all, he wrote a book called 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America: And Four Who Tried to Save Her. I can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to guess who he names as the good and bad presidents.

In this episode we discuss who they were, why they were so good or bad, and whether Brion has seen Hamilton on Broadway (he has a book on him coming out later this year).

McClanahan argues that…

  • Lincoln violated the Constitution because as commander in chief he believed he had to “subdue the enemy,” no matter the collateral damage. His violations created a blueprint for more executive abuse in the future.

  • By the time Obama left office earlier this year, Americans suffered under twenty-eight consecutive years of unconstitutional executive usurpation of power.

  • Over a two-year period, the Obama administration delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act twenty-eight times, ostensibly to give employers time to comply with the law. This was a blatantly unconstitutional power grab by the executive office.

  • History has shown that presidents tend to abuse their power in their second term, and that the best presidents tend to serve less than eight years in office.


Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of four books, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012).

He has written for TheDailyCaller.com, LewRockwell.com, TheTenthAmendmentCenter.com, Townhall.com, and HumanEvents.com. McClanahan is a faculty member at Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom, has appeared on dozens of radio talk shows, and has spoken across the Southeast on the Founding Fathers and the founding principles of the United States. If you would like to book Dr. McClanahan for a speaking appearance, please email him.


Brion’s website

Brion’s podcast

Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom

Brion’s Book: 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America: And Four Who Tried to Save Her


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Cite This Article
"#3: Why Your Favorite Presidents (Lincoln, Washington) Actually Screwed Up America—Brion McClanahan" History on the Net
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June 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/why-your-favorite-presidents-lincoln-washington-actually-screwed-up-america-brion-mcclanahan>
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