View Full Version : The most underrated and overrated American presidents.


atr94
Jan 25, 2009, 12:12 PM
IMO the most overrated president in American history is Andrew Jackson. He ruined the economy when he got rid of the Bank of the United States. He also created one of the worst tragedies in American history with the Indian Removal Act.

The most underrated president is Hoover. Just because the stock market crashed a few months after he became president, doesn't mean it was his fault. Hoover was a great reformer as president.

Who do you think are the most underrated and overrated presidents?

Dachs
Jan 25, 2009, 12:16 PM
Hoover did his best work before he was President.

I think that John F. Kennedy is a consistently overrated President, and that John Quincy Adams is consistently underrated. Note that these identifiers apply to the thoughts of the population at large, not most historians.

LightSpectra
Jan 25, 2009, 12:39 PM
Underrated, first.

John Adams: Probably not that underrated compared to others on my list, but he's not given the same credit as many of the other Founding Fathers. Although the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional, they ended up preventing a disastrous war with France that would have destroyed the republic. Adams notably was also a strong abolitionist.

John Quincy Adams: He is basically only remembered as being the guy that swindled the presidency from Andrew Jackson, but in reality, he was one of the best presidents of the 19th century. He was a major opponent of slavery, endorsed women's suffrage, and he was probably the most humane president of his time towards the Native Americans. He opened treaties with all of central Europe and Mexico. He also greatly expanded the economy by developing more roads and canals.

Ulysses S. Grant: Although his administration was very corrupt, Grant himself was not, and he was the least racist president of his era. He fought hard for the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and if it weren't for him, many southern blacks would have had no protection from the KKK. Also, a little known fact: he was an excellent fiscal conservative of his day. He reduced the national deficit, lowered taxes, lowered inflation and put us on the gold standard. Very underrated president.

Chester A. Arthur: Ascended to the presidency after Garfield was assassinated. Arthur is clumped together in a sea of awful presidents like Johnson and Hayes, yet he was excellent himself. Through an anti-partisan effort, he lowered tariffs, rebuilt the navy and attacked big business corruption.

Calvin Coolidge: Remembered as the president who did nothing. But this isn't a bad thing; he believed that a society which was going well basically governed itself. He's the only president of the 20th century that did not make his office more powerful, which should be commended in light of some of the things our recent commanders-in-chief have done.

LightSpectra
Jan 25, 2009, 12:44 PM
Overrated.

Thomas Jefferson: Mainly remembered for negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, but this shouldn't be given credit to him; Napoleon would have made the offer to whoever was president at the time. His main legacy was the embargo towards Britain that lead up to the War of 1812, but did nothing to hurt them; it only damaged our own economy. Jefferson was also a blunt hypocrite: he opposed Hamilton's National Bank, but used it to make the Louisiana Purchase; he opposed central government power, but funded the Lewis & Clark expedition; he opposed loose constructionism, but no other Constitutional ideology could justify the Purchase; he (supposedly) opposed slavery but never had any intention of releasing his own; and he supported a foreign policy of non-interventionism, but happily enforced an embargo against Britain.

James Madison: The War of 1812 could have been avoided. Instead, his war killed 10,000 Americans (mainly from a failed invasion of Canada) and caused D.C. to be set aflame. We gained practically nothing from the war in the end. Madison opposed the national bank, but then decided it was necessary for the economy and re-established it. He was also quite inhumane to Native Americans.

Andrew Jackson: Massacred Native Americans, ruined the economy, made the presidency dramatically more powerful (and unconstitutional), bluntly disobeyed the Supreme Court, most of his administration was corrupt, was extremely partisan and made the two parties hate each other and oppose everything each other did, appointed Roger Taney as Chief Justice who was probably the worst SC justice in history, committed federal crimes by ordering postmen to burn anti-slavery pamphlets, blocked John Quincy Adams from a second term, made populism the most important aspect of running for office, and his poor actions during the Nullification Crisis began tensions leading up to the Civil War. He is truly the worst president in the history of the U.S., yet he's considered to be in the top ten. What a crock.

Woodrow Wilson: He embarked a massive propaganda campaign using tax revenues in order to convince the American peoples to enter into World War I, a war we had absolutely no business in whatsoever. He grossly and non-chalantly suppressed the Bill of Rights in order to keep us in the war. Wilson was the most racist president of his century, completely segregating the government and undoing all of the progress of his predecessors. He (reluctantly) caved on women's suffrage after he arrested many of the rights protestors, which essentially cemented him as the most hostile president to Constitutional rights in history. His insistance to lay all the blame of WWI on Germany's hand is what directly lead to World War II. (The Sixteenth Amendment, which authorized income taxes, was ratified under Wilson's administration, but most of the negotiation and handwork was done by the President William H. Taft; so let's not give him credit or blame for this.)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The only thing FDR was actually good for was getting us into WWII and keeping America's hopes up through his speeches. The New Deal did not help to end the Great Depression at all (unemployment never dropped below 14% until the beginning of WWII), and had no constitutional authorization. His agricultural programs suffered from the broken window fallacy and only ended up driving food prices up so that the poor could not afford them. Executive Order 9066 is the worst mistake made by any president of the 20th century (it sent 120,000 Americans to treason camps based on their ethnicity). He is also the most authoritarian president in history; in addition to EO9066, he also tried to dominate the Supreme Court (resulting in horrible decisions such as Wickard v. Filburn), broke the traditional term limits and greatly increased the power of the federal government. Along the same lines, he also sent a million Soviet POWs back to the USSR after the war, and was indifferent to Stalin taking control of Poland (which resulted in the death of 20,000 Poles) and the Baltic nations.

Harry S. Truman: He strangely has a positive legacy, even though he dropped out of the 1952 primaries because of abysmally low approval ratings. Although I believe the bombing of Nagasaki was absolutely unnecessary and morbidly inhumane, I acknowledge that it is a controversial issue and thus will not count it against him. He vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act, which literally prevented trade union monopolies and union shops in 22 states. In addition to this, he tried to continue to expand the New Deal, blocked tax cuts and other bureaucratic regulations; in addition to the Korean War and the Marshall Plan, had he succeeded, our economy would have been ruined. Like his predecessor FDR, he fixed his problems with very inhumane solutions; for example, to end a railroad strike, he drafted everybody involved in the labor union.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: I am much less hostile to Eisenhower than the other presidents on this list, but I still want to attack his flawless reputation. Operation Ajax moronically deposed a democratically elected government in favor of autocracy; not to battle communism or fascism, but to control Iranian oil. Most of his Supreme Court appointments were poor, especially Stewart and Brennan. He is viewed so fondly because he resided over the 1950s, though the inclination of that decade was a result of post-war prosperity, not Eisenhower's machinations. Still, I give him credit for his civil rights activism and the interstate highway system.

carmen510
Jan 25, 2009, 04:28 PM
Overrated: Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Abraham Lincoln, JFK.

Underrated: Calvin Coolidge, Grant, John Quincy Adams, Carter.

My explanations: Like LightSpectra's excellent analysis, I need not explain. Although the following for dissenting/unmentioned:

Lincoln: While a great man, and I do believe he merits a top 10 in Presidents, he is a bit overrated in terms of civil rights. Contrary to popular belief, he DID want to liberate slaves, but did not believe them to be equal citizens. I believe he wished to deport them to Liberia so they could be in the home continent once more.

Carter: While he made several mistakes, he was a great humanitarian, and should be revered as such.

I also dissent with LightSpectra's analysis of Thomas Jefferson. He knew fully well that the Louisiana Purchase would be a hypocritical move, but he decided to go through with it because it would benefit the nation as a whole. Although I do agree the rest of his actions were hypocritical.

Mowque
Jan 25, 2009, 06:11 PM
I like Taft..i don't care what anyone else says

Cutlass
Jan 25, 2009, 07:33 PM
Underrated, Truman. Overrated, Reagan and Kennedy.

eastsidebagel
Jan 25, 2009, 07:44 PM
Overrated: Garfield for being a fat, useless cat.
Frankly, I have no idea.

JBGUSA
Jan 25, 2009, 10:07 PM
Overrated.

Thomas Jefferson: Mainly remembered for negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, but this shouldn't be given credit to him; Napoleon would have made the offer to whoever was president at the time. His main legacy was the embargo towards Britain that lead up to the War of 1812, but did nothing to hurt them; it only damaged our own economy. Jefferson was also a blunt hypocrite: he opposed Hamilton's National Bank, but used it to make the Louisiana Purchase; he opposed central government power, but funded the Lewis & Clark expedition; he opposed loose constructionism, but no other Constitutional ideology could justify the Purchase; he (supposedly) opposed slavery but never had any intention of releasing his own; and he supported a foreign policy of non-interventionism, but happily enforced an embargo against Britain.
I think you have to count his non-Presidential accomplishments as well. The setting up of probably the most successful country in the world is a trial and error process and I would have to say he did rather well in his first term. I think he deserves credit for the farsighted Louisiana purchase.



James Madison: The War of 1812 could have been avoided. Instead, his war killed 10,000 Americans (mainly from a failed invasion of Canada) and caused D.C. to be set aflame. We gained practically nothing from the war in the end.Except for the deep peace that has prevailed on the longest undefended border in the world. That comes only with a show of strength. The British and the Canadians after them didn't want a repeat performance.


Andrew Jackson:......bluntly disobeyed the Supreme Court......I think the Supreme Court had to be shown boundaries. If you like an untrammeled all-powerful Supreme Court you'd love Canada. They're having the time of their lives.

[b]Woodrow Wilson: He embarked a massive propaganda campaign using tax revenues in order to convince the American peoples to enter into World War I, a war we had absolutely no business in whatsoever. He grossly and non-chalantly suppressed the Bill of Rights in order to keep us in the war.I disagree. By then the "Anglosphere" was coming into being. Frankly Pax Brittanica has morphed into Pax Americana. Do you really want shithole countries ruling the world?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The only thing FDR was actually good for was getting us into WWII and keeping America's hopes up through his speeches. Lots of blood on his hands for not letting the (productive and affluent) Jews in.

FDR continued: Along the same lines, he also sent a million Soviet POWs back to the USSR after the war, and was indifferent to Stalin taking control of Poland (which resulted in the death of 20,000 Poles) and the Baltic nations.Agreed but we didn't have the money to fight any longer.


Harry S. Truman: He strangely has a positive legacy, even though he dropped out of the 1952 primaries because of abysmally low approval ratings. Although I believe the bombing of Nagasaki was absolutely unnecessary and morbidly inhumane, I acknowledge that it is a controversial issue and thus will not count it against him.His big decisions: Hiroshima; Nagasaki; Integrating armed forces; Recognizing Israel; Berlin airlift; and Yes, Koreawere great. My views on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are spelled out here, and won't be repeated (link) (http://http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=305214). As far as Korea goes, the Russians and Chinese both learned there were boundaries which they by and large respected.

JBGUSA
Jan 25, 2009, 10:23 PM
Underrated:

John Adams - Had key role in drafting of Declaration of Independence, money-raising for Revolution. As I said above starting a great country is a trial and error process, particularly where the Constitutional Monarchy model was unavailable and the rules had to be more or less made up as they went along.

James K. Polk - Led vitally needed expansion of U.S.

Theodore Roosvelt - Expansion of environmental protections, assertive foreign policy, anti-trust advances; need I say more?

George W. Bush - No one has fought Islamic fanatics successfully. Learning how to do it is a work in progress. Plaudits to him for making attempt. Also, after Clinton years no one wondered what his after-hours activities were.

See post above for my views on Truman and others.

Aegis
Jan 26, 2009, 10:45 AM
George W. Bush - No one has fought Islamic fanatics successfully. Learning how to do it is a work in progress. Plaudits to him for making attempt.

Fighting terrorism = Good.

Invading two nations, turning the world against you and stirring up more terrorist activity than you stop and fomenting jihad against you = Bad.

He may have had the best of intentions, but he went about it in probably the worst ways possible.

Let's not even go into wiretapping, Gitmo, Katrina and wrecking the Federal budget.

Smellincoffee
Jan 26, 2009, 01:16 PM
Underrated:

George W. Bush - No one has fought Islamic fanatics successfully. Learning how to do it is a work in progress. Plaudits to him for making attempt. Also, after Clinton years no one wondered what his after-hours activities were.


Why care about his after-hours activities at all?

say1988
Jan 26, 2009, 03:25 PM
Except for the deep peace that has prevailed on the longest undefended border in the world. That comes only with a show of strength. The British and the Canadians after them didn't want a repeat performance.
No. The British had no interest in attacking the US, and no particular care for North America in general. And being the English speaking countries on a continent would have made us good trade partners so long as we weren't regularly at war.

I think the Supreme Court had to be shown boundaries. If you like an untrammeled all-powerful Supreme Court you'd love Canada. They're having the time of their lives.
Explain please. I can't think of anything that our supreme court did that would warrant this (and little enough that it does).
If you mean the recent proroguement of parliament by the Governor General, I believe it was the best thing for the country and she was in a difficult spot. I have no doubt that if she had allowed the Coalition to govern they would have fell apart withing 6 months (though I believe they should have been given a chance if they had voted Harper out). This gives a second chance to prevent elections so close for no reason that will cost us a lot of money with no change and in a slumping economy.

JBGUSA
Jan 26, 2009, 04:06 PM
Fighting terrorism = Good.

Invading two nations, turning the world against you and stirring up more terrorist activity than you stop and fomenting jihad against you = Bad.

He may have had the best of intentions, but he went about it in probably the worst ways possible.

Let's not even go into wiretapping, Gitmo, Katrina and wrecking the Federal budget.Fomenting jihad?

September 11, 2001 somehow didn't count as jihad?

Invading two nations? One of those nations, Afghanistan, actively allowed itself to be used as a terror base. The other, Iraq, is a harder case. Many people forget that throughout the 1990's Hussein played "cat and mouse" with U.N. inspectors. Even if Hussein wasn't engaged in aggressive or illicit activities he sure wanted the world to believe he was. He reaped what he sewed; a whirlwind.

Wiretapping? I somehow doubt that the wiretappers wanted to know about your dry cleaning schedule. I assume they knew what they were looking for. The problem with Watergate was not the wiretapping per se but the spying on normal electoral activity in a democracy for strategic reasons.

Gitmo? Obama is soon going to find that he has to put these not-so-nice people somewhere.

Katrina? Did Bush cause Katrina or steer the storm? Isn't disaster management mostly a state/local function (after all the locals know the area, not some Guard troops from some distant state) with the Feds supplying money? Is anyone saying that money wasn't supplied (and squandered by the locasl) in abundant measure?

wrecking the Federal budget - Don't people recognize that the war on terror is a war? How big was the WW II surplus?

In short, Bush Derangement Syndrome is not a substitute for reasoning.

JBGUSA
Jan 26, 2009, 04:31 PM
Except for the deep peace that has prevailed on the longest undefended border in the world. That comes only with a show of strength. The British and the Canadians after them didn't want a repeat performance.No. The British had no interest in attacking the US, and no particular care for North America in general. And being the English speaking countries on a continent would have made us good trade partners so long as we weren't regularly at war.
At that point the British weren't quite done with North America. Both the French and the British, for that matter, were still quite interested, and the U.S. was caught in the middle. The British had not quite reconciled themselves to U.S. independence either. Their shabby treatment of John Adams and his wife during his period as the first U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain showed this, as did other belligerant activities such as impressment.


Explain please. I can't think of anything that our supreme court did that would warrant this (and little enough that it does).
I think the Supreme Court had to be shown boundaries. If you like an untrammeled all-powerful Supreme Court you'd love Canada. They're having the time of their lives.
The U.S. Supreme Court made totally defensible (from an intellectual point of view) rulings in favor of the Cherokees. The problem was that Jackson had no good way to restrain the settlers from encroaching on Cherokee lands, since the U.S. Army in those days was locally raised militias. These militias were not about to fire on their neighbors and friends trying to take Cherokee lands.

The Supreme Court's rulings, then, while defensible, were impractical. Jackson basically said "the Court has made its ruling, now let it enforce the ruling". The result was that the Supreme Court has learned to make a virtue out of necessity and not render rulings that no one will obey and would sap its moral authority. A good example is Brown v. Board of Education. That decision required desegregation "with all deliberate speed", recognizing that nothing would happen overnight. A mandate that desegregation occur "forthwith" would have been a fiasco, and the Supreme Court would have suffered the same fate as the Wizard of Oz, when unmasked.

If you mean the recent proroguement of parliament by the Governor General, I believe it was the best thing for the country and she was in a difficult spot. I have no doubt that if she had allowed the Coalition to govern they would have fell apart withing 6 months (though I believe they should have been given a chance if they had voted Harper out). This gives a second chance to prevent elections so close for no reason that will cost us a lot of money with no change and in a slumping economy. I was referring to the Canadian Supreme Court's relatively untrammeled power. Canada seems to have the worst of both worlds; a Supreme Court that effectively "legislates", but can have its rulings nullified in Quebec under the "notwithstanding" clause.

As fare as proroguement, I agree that the GG did what was best. The "coalition" attempt was in reality an attempted coup. The CPC increased its riding strength from, I believe, 124 to 144 (I am a Yank and know nothing about Canada so I could be totally wrong). This means to me that more people in more ridings approved of the CPC and Harper than in January 2006, and that the ABC (Anything But Conservative) movement was trying to "take a mulligan" on the October 14, 2008 election, and gain by internal maneuvering what the people wouldn't give them. If the powers that be are too juvenile to make Parliament work, which is what the people seem to want, they deserve another election.

Aegis
Jan 27, 2009, 09:18 AM
Fomenting jihad?

September 11, 2001 somehow didn't count as jihad?

Do you not know what "Fomenting" means? :sad:

fo·ment (f-mnt)
tr.v. fo·ment·ed, fo·ment·ing, fo·ments
1. To promote the growth of; incite.



Invading two nations? One of those nations, Afghanistan, actively allowed itself to be used as a terror base. The other, Iraq, is a harder case. Many people forget that throughout the 1990's Hussein played "cat and mouse" with U.N. inspectors. Even if Hussein wasn't engaged in aggressive or illicit activities he sure wanted the world to believe he was. He reaped what he sewed; a whirlwind.

Right. So he ignored the UN, invaded two nations, and dissolved all of the world's good favor towards us gained from 9/11.

Afghanistan, I feel was justified, but he bungled that as well. Instead of tasking the capture of Bin Laden to our troops, he outsourced the job to the local tribal leaders. :thumbsup:

The decision to invade Iraq was flat-out wrong. Sure, getting rid of Saddam was a good idea, but not at the cost it has brought us. There is documentation that his administration misled the American public in an effort to convince us that we were right to invade Iraq. They misconstrued information, or just outright fabricated it, in order to show that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. We know now that they did not. Iraq did have biological weapons (which are still unaccounted for), but our main reason for invading was false. They absolutely knew the US public would not go to war over the violation of UN resolutions, so they purposely made the case to go because of nuclear weapons, despite evidence stating otherwise.

Let's not forget that doing this has spread our forces too thinly, thus weakening our ability to deal with other, more serious, problems. Ie. Iran, North Korea and Pakistan. Oh, and that pesky little "War or Terror."

This isn't even taking into consideration the absolute failure to prepare for the aftermath to the invasion. He ignored advice from Generals who laid out what needed to be done. They half-assed the occupation. The resulting chaos was not surprising.

Wiretapping? I somehow doubt that the wiretappers wanted to know about your dry cleaning schedule. I assume they knew what they were looking for. The problem with Watergate was not the wiretapping per se but the spying on normal electoral activity in a democracy for strategic reasons.

Apparently you haven't heard the news about the Bush Administration spying on journalists. I suppose circumventing the rules is OK in your book so long as the ends justify the means. Sorry, the majority disagrees with you.


Gitmo? Obama is soon going to find that he has to put these not-so-nice people somewhere.


We'll actually have to stop torturing people and give them fair trials now! Dear God, NOOOO! :cry:



Katrina? Did Bush cause Katrina or steer the storm? Isn't disaster management mostly a state/local function (after all the locals know the area, not some Guard troops from some distant state) with the Feds supplying money? Is anyone saying that money wasn't supplied (and squandered by the locasl) in abundant measure?

Bush appointed Michael Brown to head up FEMA who (obviously) had no clue what he was doing. It was cronyism at it's worst, and we paid the price for it. It was also Bush's decision to wedge the Federal Government away from disaster recovery so States could handle it locally, and it was also his decision to have FEMA focus mainly on response to terrorism.

Bush is not responsible for the Hurricane, but he certainly is responsible for the painfully slow response in the aftermath. The response time from the Federal government embarrassed the US in front of the whole world.



wrecking the Federal budget - Don't people recognize that the war on terror is a war? How big was the WW II surplus?


The war on terror would have been better spent by not invading Iraq. Doing so was completely counter-productive to our goals. Instead of focusing on Al Queda and Bin Laden, he decided to topple Iraq.

And WWII brought the nation out of the Great Depression because it was a huge boon to the economy. What has this war done? Help us sink into a recession and pad the wallets of their friends.


In short, Bush Derangement Syndrome is not a substitute for reasoning.

I'm not saying he does nothing right, only that he has some major F-ups that heavily outweigh any good that he has done. I used to be a strong defender of Bush's policies, but after the last four years or so, I have slowly had a change of mind. Thinking he has done a good job with his presidency is absolutely baffling. Stop being an apologist for his complete and utter fecklessness on these issues.

Padma
Jan 27, 2009, 12:19 PM
Seven posts deleted. JBGUSA and say1988: Stop the off-topic bickering about Canada.

If you really want to continue the discussion, I will be happy to move those posts to their own thread in Off-Topic.

xarthaz
Jan 27, 2009, 12:29 PM
Coolidge, hell yeah. It takes a great man to resist the temptation of creating pompous government plans. Few truly realise that the role of the government is to monitor, not to create.

Anyway, likely path for the thread to take: image deleted

Funny, but not appropriate for these forums. --Padma

Luckymoose
Jan 27, 2009, 01:50 PM
Obama is the most overrated and Bush is the most underrated.

Sharwood
Jan 28, 2009, 10:20 AM
Obama is the most overrated and Bush is the most underrated.
How can you possibly say Obama is the most overrated, when he's had the job for about a week? And would you care to let us in on your reasoning, and for that matter point out which Bush?

Personally, I am far from an expert in this field, as my primary knowledge of US Presidents is in the field of foreign affairs. For someone like LBJ, who didn't even run his own foreign affairs, his record is primarily based on domestic reforms and one messy war. I can't judge him on the reforms, but I can on the war. As such, I'll offer my admittedly limited two cents.

FDR is the most overrated President in recent memory. He's considered one step below God, and the man had a terrible foreign policy much of the time - look into his treatment of Charles De Gaulle to find many examples of this - and left absolutely no notes for his successor. If one is a cripple nearing death, it would perhaps be intelligent to leave detailed plans for your successor to follow in case of sudden death. Or better yet, choose a VP with a good understanding of foreign policy to begin with - though all things considered, Truman didn't really do that bad. Didn't do that good either.

The most underrated is definitely Bush Sr. I believe he was a fantastic President when it came to foreign affairs, doubtless due to his extensive experience in the area. I understand his record is not nearly as strong on domestic concerns though.

say1988
Jan 28, 2009, 11:54 AM
How can you possibly say Obama is the most overrated, when he's had the job for about a week?
Exactly. From watching news and stuff a lot of the media seem to think of him as a saviour or something and he hasn't done anything, yet. We will see how he progresses.

Bush, we can't judge. People are too close to the issues still. IMO he will not be a well remembered president, and is not deserving of it. But we don't know what the future will bring. If Obama turns out bad enough it will greatly improve people's views of Bush.
Right now if you go some places he is over-rated, some he is under-rated (he did some decent things and not everything is all his fault), but where he actually is and should be requires time.

Red Door
Jan 28, 2009, 12:05 PM
Exactly. From watching news and stuff a lot of the media seem to think of him as a saviour or something and he hasn't done anything, yet. We will see how he progresses.

Bush, we can't judge. People are too close to the issues still. IMO he will not be a well remembered president, and is not deserving of it. But we don't know what the future will bring. If Obama turns out bad enough it will greatly improve people's views of Bush.
Right now if you go some places he is over-rated, some he is under-rated (he did some decent things and not everything is all his fault), but where he actually is and should be requires time.

We can't judge Bush because it's too close to the issue, but we can for Obama because you have perceived that the Media thinks he is the savior. This is what the real world calls plain stupid logic or a double standard.

Sharwood
Jan 28, 2009, 12:28 PM
We can't judge Bush because it's too close to the issue, but we can for Obama because you have perceived that the Media thinks he is the savior. This is what the real world calls plain stupid logic or a double standard.
Nope, the real world calls that good practice for a career in politics.

_random_
Jan 28, 2009, 01:24 PM
Jimmy Carter is probably the most underrated; he recognized what dependence on foreign oil would do to America and got Arabs and Jews at the same table for the first time. Most of the failures of his presidency can be blamed on an uncooperative congress and some malfunctioning helicopters.

say1988
Jan 28, 2009, 01:45 PM
We can't judge Bush because it's too close to the issue, but we can for Obama because you have perceived that the Media thinks he is the savior. This is what the real world calls plain stupid logic or a double standard.
No, we can't judge Bush's actions. Right or wrong we are too close to the issue.

We can't judge Obama's either, but he hasn't done anything YET. Right now much of the media portrays him as if he has already saved the country, which is a positive opinion, when there is really nothing to base it on, what he said he will (or will not) do in the future doesn't matter. That is my point. Once Obama's government starts doing stuff it will become the same way as Bush.

generalstaff
Jan 28, 2009, 03:55 PM
Underrated: Carter: He had no control over Iran, so he cannot be blamed for that, and even though Volker raised interest rates, which made things difficult for him, the increased interest rates were necessary to fix the stagflation brought on by Nixon from the combination of the oil embargo and closing of the gold window.

Overrated: Wilson: One of the worst presidents IMO for dragging the US into WWI, which turned out to be the greatest foreign policy disaster of the century due to its residual consequences.

Sciguy001
Jan 28, 2009, 07:55 PM
I like Taft..i don't care what anyone else says

Taft is my favorite president, too.

More seriously, I think that Kenedy was overrated. Its just that he didn't realy get the chance to do anything very uselful before his assisination. His succeser actualy did all of the reforms Kendedy came up with but didn't have the time to do.

JBGUSA
Feb 01, 2009, 10:50 AM
Jimmy Carter is probably the most underrated; he recognized what dependence on foreign oil would do to America and got Arabs and Jews at the same table for the first time. Most of the failures of his presidency can be blamed on an uncooperative congress and some malfunctioning helicopters.

Underrated: Carter: He had no control over Iran, so he cannot be blamed for that, and even though Volker raised interest rates, which made things difficult for him, the increased interest rates were necessary to fix the stagflation brought on by Nixon from the combination of the oil embargo and closing of the gold windowI beg to differ.I agree with his bringing in of Volker but by that point he had no choice. The U.S. dollar and stock markets went into free falls during October 1978 and October 1979, and he brought in Volker in order to stop a situation that was rapidly spinning out of control as a result of his own jawboning of the Fed, first under Arthur Burns (yes, the same one as inflated for Nixon during 1971-2 to help him win re-election and then repeated the same for Ford's benefit in 1976, hangover later under Carter) and then more egregiously under the little-remembered G. William Miller. During March 1978 through the summer of 1979 Miller presided over a wildly expansionist monetary policy. This policy started as a result of a momentary slowdown spawned by blizzards during January-February 1978 and continued even as unemployment dropped under 5.5% and gold and oil started skyrocketing during the fall of 1978.

As far as Iran goes, Carter's immediate forewearing of serious force (plus the above-discussed money supply surge in oil prices) ensured that Iran would humiliate him, and more or less ensure his defeat in the upcoming election. And the biggest scream is his "bringing Arabs and Jews" to the "same table". Sadat brought himself to the Knesset in Jerusalem as a result of both Sadat's and Begin's mutual alarm with Carter's unforgivably stupid October 1, 1977 communique with Brezhnev. They panicked into each other's arms rather than face renewed Soviet domination of that region.


Overrated: Wilson: One of the worst presidents IMO for dragging the US into WWI, which turned out to be the greatest foreign policy disaster of the century due to its residual consequences.The U.S. had grown from a pioneer nation to a world power by that point. The U.S. had little choice but to assume its logical role as a key player in protecting the English-speaking world from a major defeat at the Kaiser's hands. It was the Kaiser who was stupid by attacking France and Britain over a Balkan tempest.

Sharwood
Feb 01, 2009, 11:03 AM
The U.S. had grown from a pioneer nation to a world power by that point. The U.S. had little choice but to assume its logical role as a key player in protecting the English-speaking world from a major defeat at the Kaiser's hands. It was the Kaiser who was stupid by attacking France and Britain over a Balkan tempest.
The Kaiser was indeed stupid, but not for the reasons you state. The Kaiser's stupidity came from promising to back Austria-Hungary in case of war with Russia. This gave Austria-Hungary the courage to attack Serbia, knowing Russia would get involved. Wilhelm hadn't thought through the fact that France was a Russian ally, and he'd be fighting a two-front war. So the Scheiflin Plan was executed to knock France out of the war quickly. It failed.

Violation of Belgian neutrality gave the British government the excuse to enter the war - they would have anyway, but Belgium gave them a nice ready excuse. Germany never attacked Britain. And the Kaiser was beaten long before US troops arrived in Europe. The war was essentially over, even with Russia out of the picture. The US didn't need to protect the English-speaking world (:confused: France is English-speaking now?) from anything. Not until 20 years later would that be necessary.


Re: deleted posts - "perilously close". ;) --Padma

Camikaze
Feb 01, 2009, 09:50 PM
I always thought- what did Calvin Coolidge do to piss off historians? I can't really think of any mistakes he made, and he was probably one of the best presidents as a person.

Dachs
Feb 02, 2009, 12:57 AM
I always thought- what did Calvin Coolidge do to piss off historians? I can't really think of any mistakes he made, and he was probably one of the best presidents as a person.
He was a Republican? :dunno:

Camikaze
Feb 02, 2009, 01:13 AM
He was a Republican? :dunno:

Yeah.

How can I bring myself to praise a Republican?:suicide:

Azale
Feb 02, 2009, 07:12 AM
I think libertarians rate him as the best President of all time. Shocking, I know.

Disenfrancised
Feb 02, 2009, 10:54 AM
I always thought- what did Calvin Coolidge do to piss off historians? I can't really think of any mistakes he made, and he was probably one of the best presidents as a person.

He did nothing, which means that all the books they write have a big narrative breaking pause ;).

Sciguy001
Feb 02, 2009, 07:36 PM
He did nothing, which means that all the books they write have a big narrative breaking pause ;).

Hmm, thats strange

Camikaze
Feb 03, 2009, 04:43 AM
More ranting about Coolidge's greatness:

Didn't he not do anything because anything was what needed not doing?

Huayna Capac357
Feb 03, 2009, 02:32 PM
Overrated: Reagan, JFK, Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Polk, Bush (people are already becoming nostalgic about him :rolleyes:)

Underrated: Taft, Carter, John Quincy Adams, John Adams

Also I kind of think Cleveland was underrated because 1) He was the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms 2) He was frank, honest, and matter-of-fact about his illegitimate child. That takes courage now, imagine what it was like in the Victorian era and age of temperance movements!

carmen510
Feb 03, 2009, 03:02 PM
Overrated includes Obama, for now. What he's doing is good, but let's save all those celebrations and praise until he accomplishes something much more meaningful, say solving the credit crisis.

Huayna Capac357
Feb 03, 2009, 03:05 PM
I would rate him as a good president, not the greatest, but certainly good so far.

Red Door
Feb 03, 2009, 03:11 PM
Overrated includes Obama, for now. What he's doing is good, but let's save all those celebrations and praise until he accomplishes something much more meaningful, say solving the credit crisis.

3 weeks. Good god people, get a grip. No one is rating him anywhere yet.

carmen510
Feb 03, 2009, 03:13 PM
3 weeks. Good god people, get a grip. No one is rating him anywhere yet.

Then you have not yet seen the horror which is the Obama zombie horde. Or the 'He is the Messiah' cult.

Sciguy001
Feb 03, 2009, 08:36 PM
Overated: Bush :lol:

Dachs
Feb 04, 2009, 01:12 AM
Overated: Bush :lol:
wut

If that was a joke, it was less than amusing.

Sharwood
Feb 04, 2009, 01:17 AM
wut

If that was a joke, it was less than amusing.
I agree, Bush was a joke, and a most unamusing one. :goodjob:

say1988
Feb 04, 2009, 10:42 AM
But he provided the basis for may amusing jokes.

Sharwood
Feb 04, 2009, 10:49 AM
But he provided the basis for may amusing jokes.
I'm sad now that David Letterman can't play "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" anymore. :(

But, in a completely unrelated incident, I'm very happy I have a great big bowl of warm spaghetti in front of me. :)

Fugitive Sisyphus
Feb 04, 2009, 03:47 PM
Most overrated: Woodrow Wilson. The mind boggles how popular he is despite of how much he reminds me of George W. Bush.

Most underrated: James Polk. I haven't seen his name mentioned yet and he was one of the best presidents for the United States even if not for our neighbors.

Sciguy001
Feb 04, 2009, 03:59 PM
Personaly I think that Woodrow Wilson deserves all the credit he was been given. Without him World War I would have done a lot more damage than it had done and when it was resolved Germany probably would of had to give more to the allies wich would probably make World War II even more devastating.

carmen510
Feb 04, 2009, 04:07 PM
Personaly I think that Woodrow Wilson deserves all the credit he was been given. Without him World War I would have done a lot more damage than it had done and when it was resolved Germany probably would of had to give more to the allies wich would probably make World War II even more devastating.

Or you know, Woodrow Wilson could've not tried inciting war with America and Germany by actively encouraging U-boat attacks and sticking with Britain all the way, such as denouncing the said German U-boat attacks while ignoring the British naval blockade.

And, Germany might've won, considering if America didn't send aid. Also, German loss wouldn't make WW2 worse, if it was so devastating, it may kill many potential Nazi leaders later on or gave the Allies a harder stance on such issues.

generalstaff
Feb 04, 2009, 04:37 PM
I beg to differ.I agree with his bringing in of Volker but by that point he had no choice. The U.S. dollar and stock markets went into free falls during October 1978 and October 1979, and he brought in Volker in order to stop a situation that was rapidly spinning out of control as a result of his own jawboning of the Fed, first under Arthur Burns (yes, the same one as inflated for Nixon during 1971-2 to help him win re-election and then repeated the same for Ford's benefit in 1976, hangover later under Carter) and then more egregiously under the little-remembered G. William Miller. During March 1978 through the summer of 1979 Miller presided over a wildly expansionist monetary policy. This policy started as a result of a momentary slowdown spawned by blizzards during January-February 1978 and continued even as unemployment dropped under 5.5% and gold and oil started skyrocketing during the fall of 1978.

Very interesting, I will have to look more into that. I will admit it was a very chaotic time economically, most of which was inherited.

As far as Iran goes, Carter's immediate forewearing of serious force (plus the above-discussed money supply surge in oil prices) ensured that Iran would humiliate him, and more or less ensure his defeat in the upcoming election. And the biggest scream is his "bringing Arabs and Jews" to the "same table". Sadat brought himself to the Knesset in Jerusalem as a result of both Sadat's and Begin's mutual alarm with Carter's unforgivably stupid October 1, 1977 communique with Brezhnev. They panicked into each other's arms rather than face renewed Soviet domination of that region.

Well, I think the economy had more to do with his loss than Iran.

I also have to admit the peace conference with Sadat and Begin did have problems. Besides what you mentioned, the peace agreement left a big loophole in Israel's favor, which let them administer the occupied Palestinian territory as they saw fit. This may have settled the Egyptian-Israeli problem, but did nothing for the Palestinian-Israeli problem.

The U.S. had grown from a pioneer nation to a world power by that point. The U.S. had little choice but to assume its logical role as a key player in protecting the English-speaking world from a major defeat at the Kaiser's hands. It was the Kaiser who was stupid by attacking France and Britain over a Balkan tempest.

It is hard to judge when the US was considered a world power, but it is likely that it was before WWI by industrial output only, not to mention the US serving as a broker between Latin America and Europe. When the US did get involved in WWI, all it did was allow for the Versailles Treaty, which simply carved up the Ottoman Empire and German colonies in France's and Britain's favor and create a situation where only extremist nationalism would ultimately prevail in the Wiemar Republic. It should also be noted the after WWI, the US went into isolationism. What good is being a pioneer nation if you only enter to make things worse then disappear?

As for WWI, technically, Britain did not get involved until the invasion of Belgium, which was a worse decision than to get involved in the Balkans. As for defending the English speaking world, please say you did not take the Zimmerman Telegram too seriously? For Britain, a German victory would mean decolonization, and considering how inexperienced Germany was at maintaining a world empire, a number of the former colonies would likely end up being independent. A German victory would have been bad for France and Belgium though, I will admit that.

RoboPig
Feb 04, 2009, 06:35 PM
Overrated: Reagan and Kennedy.
Underrated: Lyndon Johnson.

Carter is a great man, but was not a very good President, so I won't classify him as underrated.

say1988
Feb 04, 2009, 07:15 PM
As for WWI, technically, Britain did not get involved until the invasion of Belgium, which was a worse decision than to get involved in the Balkans.
Well, they were getting involved anyways, Belgium was an excuse. They wouldn't let France fall or Germany to upset the balance of power that much (worst of all if Germany won and seized the French fleet).

And, Germany might've won, considering if America didn't send aid.
They wouldn't have. The US said that was going anyways only went because US weapons manufacturers wanted money, most would have sold to Germany if it was possible. Meanwhile, Germany was at the breaking point due to the blockade. But this is with hindsight.
I truly believe Wilson got the US involved in a war that they had no reason to be in, and he had a mandate keep them out of. Much like Roosevelt later, but FDR had a much better excuse. As a Canadian I think the US should have got involved. In the long run I see few advantages the US gained from the War, it didn't even Wilson's League of Nations. In this respect I think he was a bad president for the US, but good for many other countries. I can't comment on anything else he did.

Red Door
Feb 04, 2009, 07:25 PM
Then you have not yet seen the horror which is the Obama zombie horde. Or the 'He is the Messiah' cult.

You mean the same people that say about that about every President that comes into this town? Get a grip of yourself.

Neomega
Apr 27, 2009, 12:51 PM
Overrated:

Woodrow Wilson - racist megalomaniac, promised a lot to demographics to get elected, then stabbed them in the back or ignored them. Also use dhte war as an excuse to suppress labor movements

Andrew Jackson - the only good thing he did was abolish the central bank

LBJ - agreeable domestic policies, horrible foreign policies

Underrated:

Harding - he wasn't a great, but he is constantly rated at the bottom of the list because of corruption, yet he was still quite popular.

Calvin Coolidge - good ol' do nothing president

US Grant - black men were in congress and could vote. A real shame how quickly the freedoms of reconstruction were lost once he left.

Dumanios
Apr 27, 2009, 01:47 PM
Overrated

Andrew Jackson-He abolished the central bank,but he also sent thousands of people to Oklahoma.

Underrated

Bush-He had good intentions when he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dachs
Apr 27, 2009, 02:53 PM
Cool, I mostly agree with Neomega.

Moss
Apr 27, 2009, 03:20 PM
My overrated/underrated is what I think the average, ordinary people think about the particular Presidents, not necessarily historians. Also, there are more, but I'm too lazy to write out all of my reasons for all of my choices, so I picked the top of the list for each category.

Overrated: Reagan - not saying he was a bad President, but his popularity amongst the general population currently is undeserved. Iran-Contra, huge deficits, and a questionable domestic policy don't drown out his foreign policy accomplishments but shouldn't be ignored.

Underrated: James Polk - a good to great President (and ranked in that area by historians, usually) but unknown to most people who aren't Presidential fanatics.

civiijkw
Apr 27, 2009, 06:36 PM
...
Underrated: James Polk - a good to great President (and ranked in that area by historians, usually) but unknown to most people who aren't Presidential fanatics.

In the day he was popular enough that another president was elected with a little help from the slogan "We Polked 'em in '44 and we'll Pierce 'em in '52!"

cubsfan6506
Apr 27, 2009, 10:08 PM
Overrated:
Reagan
Kennedy
Roosevelt: He doesn't deserve most of the credit for the second half of world war Ii.

Sharwood
Apr 28, 2009, 02:29 AM
Overrated

Andrew Jackson-He abolished the central bank,but he also sent thousands of people to Oklahoma.

Underrated

Bush-He had good intentions when he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.
At he risk of becoming a cliche, you do know what they say about good intentions, right?

Fugitive Sisyphus
Apr 28, 2009, 07:57 AM
At he risk of becoming a cliche, you do know what they say about good intentions, right?

Yep, they are what paves the road to hell. I feel compelled to defend Old Hickory though. People complain about forcibly relocating Indians but FDR did much the same thing with Japanese Americans except on a much larger scale a century later and he is always considered one of the very best presidents. Granted, thousands died in the Indian removals but I think much of this can be blamed on the logistics of the time period and simple incompetence.

Sharwood
Apr 28, 2009, 09:34 AM
Yep, they are what paves the road to hell. I feel compelled to defend Old Hickory though. People complain about forcibly relocating Indians but FDR did much the same thing with Japanese Americans except on a much larger scale a century later and he is always considered one of the very best presidents. Granted, thousands died in the Indian removals but I think much of this can be blamed on the logistics of the time period and simple incompetence.
Firstly, I was referring to Bush. Secondly, I consider FDR to be an absolutely terrible president. Thirdly, I find the relocation of both Indians and Japanese despicable. The Japanese moreso, because by then the US should have learnt from its mistakes.

Zack
Apr 29, 2009, 03:45 PM
Old Hickory is by far the most overrated, for reasons the OP stated.

Most underrated: James K. Polk. Manifest Destiny, baby!! :D

JBGUSA
Apr 29, 2009, 04:44 PM
Old Hickory is by far the most overrated, for reasons the OP stated.
What's being lost in the debate about Amerindian removal is the fact that they were reduced, by disease and not slaughter, to about 5% of their original population, once De Soto's pigs spread smallpox and other diseases through the population that had no resistance. The result of this devastation was to leave non-functioning and otherwised demoralized societies behind.

Rather than being coherent, organized civilizations making full and efficient use of North America, they were reduced to struggling, nomadic bands. Frequently, even after treaties were in place that gave the Amerindians ample lands, attacks continued. Lacking political correctness or a United Nations to restrain them, the settlers, backed by local militias, counterattacked. That was the background behind Jackson's much maligned policies. As to the state of Amerindian affairs, at the time, some time ago, Charles Mann wrote an article in Atlantic Magazine destroying many myths about aboriginals. Among those myths that he effectively demolished are:
That the Europeans deliberately killed or subjugated many of the aboriginals;
That there were many thriving and viable aboriginal cultures destroyed by Europeans;
That the aboriginals were "light on the land" and did not effect the "balance of nature" very much; and
That super-abundant numbers of buffalo, wolves and passenger pigeons (now extinct) were the natural state of affairs.
Now that 1491 has come out in book form, I decided that it was time to post the entire Atlantic Magazine preview, from, I believe, the April 2002 issue. It is fascinating and definitely worth the read, even if you have to pay some money to the Atlantic Magazine website for the excerpt.

Better yet, buy the book.

===========================================

1491

Before it became the New World, the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thought—an altogether more salubrious place to live at the time than, say, Europe. New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact

BY CHARLES C. MANN

.....


A few years ago it occurred to me that my ancestor and everyone else in the colony had voluntarily enlisted in a venture that brought them to New England without food or shelter six weeks before winter. Half the 102 people on the Mayflower made it through to spring, which to me was amazing. How, I wondered, did they survive?

In his history of Plymouth Colony, Bradford provided the answer: by robbing Indian houses and graves. The Mayflower first hove to at Cape Cod. An armed company staggered out. Eventually it found a recently deserted Indian settlement. The newcomers—hungry, cold, sick—dug up graves and ransacked houses, looking for underground stashes of corn. "And sure it was God's good providence that we found this corn," Bradford wrote, "for else we know not how we should have done." (He felt uneasy about the thievery, though.) When the colonists came to Plymouth, a month later, they set up shop in another deserted Indian village. All through the coastal forest the Indians had "died on heapes, as they lay in their houses," the English trader Thomas Morton noted. "And the bones and skulls upon the severall places of their habitations made such a spectacle" that to Morton the Massachusetts woods seemed to be "a new found Golgotha"—the hill of executions in Roman Jerusalem.


*snip*

Smallpox was only the first epidemic. Typhus (probably) in 1546, influenza and smallpox together in 1558, smallpox again in 1589, diphtheria in 1614, measles in 1618—all ravaged the remains of Incan culture. Dobyns was the first social scientist to piece together this awful picture, and he naturally rushed his findings into print. Hardly anyone paid attention. But Dobyns was already working on a second, related question: If all those people died, how many had been living there to begin with? Before Columbus, Dobyns calculated, the Western Hemisphere held ninety to 112 million people. Another way of saying this is that in 1491 more people lived in the Americas than in Europe.

His argument was simple but horrific. It is well known that Native Americans had no experience with many European diseases and were therefore immunologically unprepared—"virgin soil," in the metaphor of epidemiologists. What Dobyns realized was that such diseases could have swept from the coastlines initially visited by Europeans to inland areas controlled by Indians who had never seen a white person. The first whites to explore many parts of the Americas may therefore have encountered places that were already depopulated. Indeed, Dobyns argued, they must have done so.

Peru was one example, the Pacific Northwest another. In 1792 the British navigator George Vancouver led the first European expedition to survey Puget Sound. He found a vast charnel house: human remains "promiscuously scattered about the beach, in great numbers." Smallpox, Vancouver's crew discovered, had preceded them. Its few survivors, second lieutenant Peter Puget noted, were "most terribly pitted ... indeed many have lost their Eyes." In Pox Americana, (2001), Elizabeth Fenn, a historian at George Washington University, contends that the disaster on the northwest coast was but a small part of a continental pandemic that erupted near Boston in 1774 and cut down Indians from Mexico to Alaska.

Because smallpox was not endemic in the Americas, colonials, too, had not acquired any immunity. The virus, an equal-opportunity killer, swept through the Continental Army and stopped the drive into Quebec. The American Revolution would be lost, Washington and other rebel leaders feared, if the contagion did to the colonists what it had done to the Indians. "The small Pox! The small Pox!" John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail. "What shall We do with it?" In retrospect, Fenn says, "One of George Washington's most brilliant moves was to inoculate the army against smallpox during the Valley Forge winter of '78." Without inoculation smallpox could easily have given the United States back to the British.


*snip*

The question is even more complex than it may seem. Disaster of this magnitude suggests epidemic disease. In the view of Ramenofsky and Patricia Galloway, an anthropologist at the University of Texas, the source of the contagion was very likely not Soto's army but its ambulatory meat locker: his 300 pigs. Soto's force itself was too small to be an effective biological weapon. Sicknesses like measles and smallpox would have burned through his 600 soldiers long before they reached the Mississippi. But the same would not have held true for the pigs, which multiplied rapidly and were able to transmit their diseases to wildlife in the surrounding forest. When human beings and domesticated animals live close together, they trade microbes with abandon. Over time mutation spawns new diseases: avian influenza becomes human influenza, bovine rinderpest becomes measles. Unlike Europeans, Indians did not live in close quarters with animals—they domesticated only the dog, the llama, the alpaca, the guinea pig, and, here and there, the turkey and the Muscovy duck. In some ways this is not surprising: the New World had fewer animal candidates for taming than the Old. Moreover, few Indians carry the gene that permits adults to digest lactose, a form of sugar abundant in milk. Non-milk-drinkers, one imagines, would be less likely to work at domesticating milk-giving animals. But this is guesswork. The fact is that what scientists call zoonotic disease was little known in the Americas. Swine alone can disseminate anthrax, brucellosis, leptospirosis, taeniasis, trichinosis, and tuberculosis. Pigs breed exuberantly and can transmit diseases to deer and turkeys. Only a few of Soto's pigs would have had to wander off to infect the forest.


*snip*

Throughout eastern North America the open landscape seen by the first Europeans quickly filled in with forest. According to William Cronon, of the University of Wisconsin, later colonists began complaining about how hard it was to get around. (Eventually, of course, they stripped New England almost bare of trees.) When Europeans moved west, they were preceded by two waves: one of disease, the other of ecological disturbance. The former crested with fearsome rapidity; the latter sometimes took more than a century to quiet down. Far from destroying pristine wilderness, European settlers bloodily created it. By 1800 the hemisphere was chockablock with new wilderness. If "forest primeval" means a woodland unsullied by the human presence, William Denevan has written, there was much more of it in the late eighteenth century than in the early sixteenth.

*snip*

Guided by the pristine myth, mainstream environmentalists want to preserve as much of the world's land as possible in a putatively intact state. But "intact," if the new research is correct, means "run by human beings for human purposes." Environmentalists dislike this, because it seems to mean that anything goes. In a sense they are correct. Native Americans managed the continent as they saw fit. Modern nations must do the same. If they want to return as much of the landscape as possible to its 1491 state, they will have to find it within themselves to create the world's largest garden.



Most underrated: James K. Polk. Manifest Destiny, baby!! :DNo question, Polk is overlooked by many.

Sharwood
Apr 30, 2009, 05:18 AM
The reasons said Native societies were non-functioning - and they weren't, but let's just pretend for the sake of not getting into an argument you'll refuse to acknowledge you're completely wrong about that they were - had a large part to do with the fact that you stole their best land and wiped out their major source of... Well, everything. The buffalo gave the Indians, food, clothing, shelter, etc.

JBGUSA
Apr 30, 2009, 09:42 AM
The reasons said Native societies were non-functioning - and they weren't, but let's just pretend for the sake of not getting into an argument you'll refuse to acknowledge you're completely wrong about that they were - had a large part to do with the fact that you stole their best land and wiped out their major source of... Well, everything. The buffalo gave the Indians, food, clothing, shelter, etc.Actually, buffalo and wolf numbers exploded with the demise of 95% of the Amerindians. The swarms of buffalo seen by Lewis and Clark were a lot smaller pre-1491.

Huayna Capac357
Apr 30, 2009, 03:47 PM
The reasons said Native societies were non-functioning - and they weren't, but let's just pretend for the sake of not getting into an argument you'll refuse to acknowledge you're completely wrong about that they were - had a large part to do with the fact that you stole their best land and wiped out their major source of... Well, everything. The buffalo gave the Indians, food, clothing, shelter, etc.

But buffalo hunting was actually decreasing at a surprising rate before the Europeans came. Agriculture was spreading along the major river systems all the way to the mountains. But, as 95% of Indians died of smallpox, the extra food provided by agriculture did not make up for the effort exerted over buffalo hunting. So they reverted, thinking that, since nearly everyone they knew died, what was there to lose?

Sharwood
May 01, 2009, 10:15 AM
But buffalo hunting was actually decreasing at a surprising rate before the Europeans came. Agriculture was spreading along the major river systems all the way to the mountains. But, as 95% of Indians died of smallpox, the extra food provided by agriculture did not make up for the effort exerted over buffalo hunting. So they reverted, thinking that, since nearly everyone they knew died, what was there to lose?
That doesn't really discount my point. They were functioning fine by reverting to buffalo hunting when the buffalo was wiped out and they were forcibly removed from their hunting grounds. Of course, many of them had already been forcibly removed from their farming lands, and those that hadn't had a nasty habit of dying from disease and/or bullets.

Masada
May 01, 2009, 10:57 AM
Frequently, even after treaties were in place that gave the Amerindians ample lands, attacks continued.

Ever asked what the Amerindians thought about your treaties? I can guess there reactions were mixed at best.

# That the Europeans deliberately killed or subjugated many of the aboriginals;

Question: At the point of European face to face contact with some of the more distant Amerindians groups (i.e those with time to reconstitute to some extent and which had a degree of isolation) what was the population. What was the population some hundred years after? You can directly apportion the intervening years to Europeans. At a guess it wouldn't be all that hard to infer that at given points in time Europeans probably had indeed, deliberately killed or subjugated many of the aboriginals. You can't start with a standing start of say a 100 units of population, reduce it to 5 units (a reduction in percentage terms of 95%) then argue that Europeans did not kill or subjugate many of the aboriginals simply because you can't even get close to the 95 units that died from disease. Instead you should reset the 5 units as a new baseline for population. So each loss of a unit represents a 20% decline in adjusted population units instead of a 1% decline. That is much better way to apportion blame rather than talk in absolute numbers which don't reflect reality after the initial round of diseases. Disease killed the majority initially what happened after it petered out is entirely on your conscience.

North King
May 01, 2009, 11:16 AM
Question: At the point of European face to face contact with some of the more distant Amerindians groups (i.e those with time to reconstitute to some extent and which had a degree of isolation) what was the population. What was the population some hundred years after? You can directly apportion the intervening years to Europeans. At a guess it wouldn't be all that hard to infer that at given points in time Europeans probably had indeed, deliberately killed or subjugated many of the aboriginals. You can't start with a standing start of say a 100 units of population, reduce it to 5 units (a reduction in percentage terms of 95%) then argue that Europeans did not kill or subjugate many of the aboriginals simply because you can't even get close to the 95 units that died from disease. Instead you should reset the 5 units as a new baseline for population. So each loss of a unit represents a 20% decline in adjusted population units instead of a 1% decline. That is much better way to apportion blame rather than talk in absolute numbers which don't reflect reality after the initial round of diseases. Disease killed the majority initially what happened after it petered out is entirely on your conscience.

Massive population loss did not "peter off" after the first few epidemics.

However, to JBGUSA, the fact remains that European genocide did occur in addition to "natural" epidemic disease, sometimes utilizing that disease but often not doing so as well.

vogtmurr
May 01, 2009, 07:25 PM
95% ! So what is the estimate of Amerind population before to after the epidemics, and when is 'after', say 1750.

Huayna Capac357
May 01, 2009, 07:26 PM
That doesn't really discount my point. They were functioning fine by reverting to buffalo hunting when the buffalo was wiped out and they were forcibly removed from their hunting grounds. Of course, many of them had already been forcibly removed from their farming lands, and those that hadn't had a nasty habit of dying from disease and/or bullets.

That's true, I agree. We still stucked.

JBGUSA
May 02, 2009, 07:44 PM
95% ! So what is the estimate of Amerind population before to after the epidemics, and when is 'after', say 1750.I read the book a while ago. I found a PDF of the April 2002 issue of Atlantic which contained a preview of the book. This excerpt is from that article:

In 1966 Dobyns's insistence on the role of disease was a shock to his colleagues. Today the impact of European pathogens on the New World is almost undisputed. Nonetheless, the fight over Indian numbers continues with undiminished fervor. Estimates of the population of North America in 1491 disagree by an order of magnitude—from 18 million, Dobyns's revised figure, to 1.8 million, calculated by Douglas H. Ubelaker, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian. To some "high counters," as David Henige calls them, the low counters' refusal to relinquish the vision of an empty continent is irrational or worse. "Non-Indian 'experts' always want to minimize the size of aboriginal populations," says Lenore Stiffarm, a Native American-education specialist at the University of Saskatchewan. The smaller the numbers of Indians, she believes, the easier it is to regard the continent as having been up for grabs. "It's perfectly acceptable to move into unoccupied land," Stiffarm says. "And land with only a few 'savages' is the next best thing.

Sharwood
May 03, 2009, 12:34 PM
The idea that North America contained only 1.8 million people when Columbus arrived in the Americas is absolutely preposterous, and is solely designed to give the illusion that the genocide was not nearly as brutal or prolific as it truly was. The estimate of Egypt's population at the time of Herodotus is 3 million.

Huayna Capac357
May 03, 2009, 12:35 PM
North America had about 12-ish million people. (above the Rio Grande)

North King
May 03, 2009, 08:00 PM
95% ! So what is the estimate of Amerind population before to after the epidemics, and when is 'after', say 1750.

I won't disagree with Mr. Dobyns; his estimate of around 18 million works fine for me. The nadir population was around 1890, under a million if I recall correctly. Only by then can you really say large scale epidemics stopped; they were extremely potent well after 1750; the famous smallpox blankets used by the British were used around 1760, I think (been a while since I looked at the actual dates), and there was a massive, continent-wide epidemic around 1783. Many smaller ones were still wiping out whole tribes well into the 1800s.

JBGUSA
May 03, 2009, 08:50 PM
The idea that North America contained only 1.8 million people when Columbus arrived in the Americas is absolutely preposterous, and is solely designed to give the illusion that the genocide was not nearly as brutal or prolific as it truly was. The estimate of Egypt's population at the time of Herodotus is 3 million.How about just saying it's wrong as opposed to it's racist or otherwise poorly motivated?

Sharwood
May 04, 2009, 11:44 AM
How about just saying it's wrong as opposed to it's racist or otherwise poorly motivated?
Because the sole motivation for such a totally wrong result is what I said it is. It is impossible to look at the facts and reach that conclusion unless you are actively trying to belittle the suffering of the Indians.

JBGUSA
May 04, 2009, 08:17 PM
Because the sole motivation for such a totally wrong result is what I said it is. It is impossible to look at the facts and reach that conclusion unless you are actively trying to belittle the suffering of the Indians.It is far easier to prove someone factually wrong than to prove they were factually wrong with evil intent. To prove intent you have to get into their brain; not always easy or rewarding.

Antilogic
May 04, 2009, 08:29 PM
At the risk of not contributing to the current discussion but going back on topic: Chester Arthur. Underrated. I think only one other poster mentioned this guy back on the first page and he didn't get much attention.

President Arthur is often given a rough pass in American history, one of those post Civil War guys who are supposedly all corrupt that most readers just page through before they get to the big fights in the 20th century. However, I give him serious credit for being reform-minded when the Republican party was heading on the crazy train towards cronyism. He passed the Civil Service Act, although not many modern Americans even know what that means. Also, he helped refit the American fleet and started converting over to a steel navy instead of a wooden one. David McCullough's Mornings on Horseback talked briefly about President Arthur and how he influenced the future President Roosevelt.

He only served one term though, because he fell out of favor with his own party for being a little too different and willing to challenge the party line. James G. Blaine from Maine beat the sitting president in the primary and then went on to lose to his Democratic challenger. It's a funny story of a moderate, civil-minded person getting shoved to the back of the party by the screams of the party's core...a lesson that might need to be remembered today.

civiijkw
May 04, 2009, 08:34 PM
Because the sole motivation for such a totally wrong result is what I said it is. It is impossible to look at the facts and reach that conclusion unless you are actively trying to belittle the suffering of the Indians.

Laziness and indifference are also motivations.

Simply copying a previously incorrect number does not require any other motivation.

Generating that incorrect number in the first place by looking only at the first contact numbers (after disease already hit) is lazier and more indifferent than figuring out what the number was prior to disease hitting.

Sharwood
May 04, 2009, 08:55 PM
It is far easier to prove someone factually wrong than to prove they were factually wrong with evil intent. To prove intent you have to get into their brain; not always easy or rewarding.
It is impossible to be that wrong without either having evil intent or being among the most grossly incompetent individuals that have ever lived. If someone has managed to gain a position at the Smithsonian, I would imagine they are at least moderately competent.

From your own article:

To some "high counters," as David Henige calls them, the low counters' refusal to relinquish the vision of an empty continent is irrational or worse. "Non-Indian 'experts' always want to minimize the size of aboriginal populations," says Lenore Stiffarm, a Native American-education specialist at the University of Saskatchewan. The smaller the numbers of Indians, she believes, the easier it is to regard the continent as having been up for grabs. "It's perfectly acceptable to move into unoccupied land," Stiffarm says. "And land with only a few 'savages' is the next best thing.

Sharwood
May 04, 2009, 08:57 PM
Laziness and indifference are also motivations.

Simply copying a previously incorrect number does not require any other motivation.

Generating that incorrect number in the first place by looking only at the first contact numbers (after disease already hit) is lazier and more indifferent than figuring out what the number was prior to disease hitting.
Not when the resources exist to reach a different conclusion, and are actually easier to come across than the tripe that says otherwise.

vogtmurr
May 04, 2009, 10:30 PM
At the risk of not contributing to the current discussion but going back on topic: Chester Arthur. Underrated. I think only one other poster mentioned this guy back on the first page and he didn't get much attention.

President Arthur is often given a rough pass in American history, one of those post Civil War guys who are supposedly all corrupt that most readers just page through before they get to the big fights in the 20th century. However, I give him serious credit for being reform-minded when the Republican party was heading on the crazy train towards cronyism. ...... It's a funny story of a moderate, civil-minded person getting shoved to the back of the party by the screams of the party's core...a lesson that might need to be remembered today.

I haven't much knowledge of this era of presidents between Grant and Roosevelt, so its good to get a few glimpses. What was Millard Fillmore about ?

Dachs
May 04, 2009, 11:36 PM
I haven't much knowledge of this era of presidents between Grant and Roosevelt, so its good to get a few glimpses. What was Millard Fillmore about ?
Fillmore is before that era. :p It's a frequent joke that Fillmore's presidency was notable for its president's almost total lack of action. The 1850 Compromise was passed largely on the initiative of Stephen Douglas, for example, and the Army was more instrumental in resolving the Utah situation than he was. Matthew Perry was also sent off to Japan but didn't get there until Fillmore's Presidency was over. Single term, didn't even serve the whole time because he was sworn in as a replacement for the dead Zachary Taylor.

vogtmurr
May 04, 2009, 11:43 PM
I knew there was something about Fillmore - the absence of something. Is Gerald Ford a little more immortalized 'cause he restored faith after Watergate ? So what do y'all think about Calvin Coolidge ?

JBGUSA
May 05, 2009, 12:05 AM
I knew there was something about Fillmore - the absence of something. Is Gerald Ford a little more immortalized 'cause he restored faith after Watergate ? So what do y'all think about Calvin Coolidge ?Now Ford is an underestimated President. He imposed enlightened energy policies such as an oil import tariff which would, if given a chance, have helped the environment and eased the U.S. off some foreign oil. He did help reduce inflation fromthe chaos-engendering 13% to 6%. There were some real positives.

vogtmurr
May 05, 2009, 12:20 AM
Yup - Ford is definitely underrated by some generations, who only remember that he had to wear a happy face after Watergate, even when he occasionally tripped or stumbled.

Antilogic
May 05, 2009, 01:09 PM
I knew there was something about Fillmore - the absence of something. Is Gerald Ford a little more immortalized 'cause he restored faith after Watergate ? So what do y'all think about Calvin Coolidge ?

I'm not impressed with the post-WW1 Republicans. However, many historians (unless you talk to libertarians) aren't either, so I think they are rated about where they should be.

I think the Republican party had their best leaders a generation or more before this time, and they have yet to attain the same status again. When I think of awesome Republican leaders, I think of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. I'm also backing Chester Arthur...a couple days ago, somebody asked me a similar question to this thread, and didn't know that Arthur was a president (and actually I was laughed at for thinking the King of Camelot led the United States...). I was thinking he wanted me to back him when he was saying Reagan was the greatest man to ever exist.

Speaking of which, Reagan is totally overrated. But that's been said already.

Dachs
May 05, 2009, 03:03 PM
Coolidge was the Clinton of the 1920s minus the sex scandals and Whitewater and Bosnia and healthcare.

vogtmurr
May 05, 2009, 05:06 PM
Coolidge was the Clinton of the 1920s minus the sex scandals and Whitewater and Bosnia and healthcare.

Not sure if that sounds very good.

Sharwood
May 06, 2009, 12:43 AM
Coolidge was the Clinton of the 1920s minus the sex scandals and Whitewater and Bosnia and healthcare.
Those were the best damn parts.

Antilogic
May 06, 2009, 11:16 AM
Coolidge was the Clinton of the 1920s minus the sex scandals and Whitewater and Bosnia and healthcare.

I'll be honest, the only picture of Coolidge I have in my head is the picture of him golfing. But there's my crummy American education for ya. I haven't gotten around to his administration yet in my own reading.

Sharwood
May 06, 2009, 09:00 PM
I'll be honest, the only picture of Coolidge I have in my head is the picture of him golfing. But there's my crummy American education for ya. I haven't gotten around to his administration yet in my own reading.
Hey, I'm doing a class on US history right now. We're up to Coolidge's time as president, and I think there's maybe half a page on him in the book, and no pictures. That's quite an impression.

Masada
May 06, 2009, 09:57 PM
Hey, I'm doing a class on US history right now. We're up to Coolidge's time as president, and I think there's maybe half a page on him in the book, and no pictures. That's quite an impression.

History dealt him a cruel hand. That's also pretty typical - he was not the ultra capitalist that people seem to make him out to be.

Dachs
May 06, 2009, 09:58 PM
Hey, I'm doing a class on US history right now. We're up to Coolidge's time as president, and I think there's maybe half a page on him in the book, and no pictures. That's quite an impression.
History dealt him a cruel hand. That's also pretty typical - he was not the ultra capitalist that people seem to make him out to be.
Dunno if this has occurred to anybody yet, but Interesting Times really are a curse. The Coolidge years' unremarkability makes them probably some of the better in American history.

Sharwood
May 06, 2009, 10:10 PM
Dunno if this has occurred to anybody yet, but Interesting Times really are a curse. The Coolidge years' unremarkability makes them probably some of the better in American history.
I happen to agree with you. He's hardly mentioned because there's little reason to mention him. He was a competent president living in fairly uneventful times.

Antilogic
May 07, 2009, 08:52 AM
I happen to agree with you. He's hardly mentioned because there's little reason to mention him. He was a competent president living in fairly uneventful times.

This all might be true. However, this pegs him as high as good on my scale. To be a great president, stuff has to go horribly wrong and you have to fix it. If everything is humming along nicely and you mess it up, then you go down as a really bad president.

If everything is going fine and its still going fine when you left...congratulations! You are officially a decent president. But not a great one.

EDIT: Although, one has to wonder if the seeds of the Great Depression were sown under his feet. Not that he or anyone else could have predicted the worst economic disaster in US history coming, though.

Sharwood
May 07, 2009, 03:46 PM
This all might be true. However, this pegs him as high as good on my scale. To be a great president, stuff has to go horribly wrong and you have to fix it. If everything is humming along nicely and you mess it up, then you go down as a really bad president.

If everything is going fine and its still going fine when you left...congratulations! You are officially a decent president. But not a great one.

EDIT: Although, one has to wonder if the seeds of the Great Depression were sown under his feet. Not that he or anyone else could have predicted the worst economic disaster in US history coming, though.
Actually, the Great Depression could have been predicted. Black Thursday was not the cause of the GD, it was just a nice little scapegoat. Something like that was bound to happen, due to the horrendously stupid economic activities at the time.

Loaning money to Europe, then raising tariffs so that they couldn't actually trade with the US to get the money to pay the loans back. Under-cutting those same Europeans in other markets, including their own nations, thus rendering ineffective any other means of getting the money back. Allowing people to buy stocks on credit, for Christ's sake. It doesn't take hindsight to realise that this is a recipe for disaster. What no-one could have predicted was how long it would take to fix, and that was due to the incompetence of the Presidents during that time period.

Antilogic
May 07, 2009, 10:56 PM
I agree, in hindsight it was perfectly obvious, but most of the modern financial institutions were quite new at the time. There were probably a handful of guys who saw it coming and were denounced as communist doomsayers. And I'd bet they had conversations just like the one Jon Stewart had with Cramer, with exchanges like "In what world is this remotely sane?" "When you are gaining 10% annually between these two dates."

I'll have to find a good book about the 1920's and catch up on some reading.

Sharwood
May 08, 2009, 04:32 PM
I agree, in hindsight it was perfectly obvious, but most of the modern financial institutions were quite new at the time. There were probably a handful of guys who saw it coming and were denounced as communist doomsayers.
You know, that's exactly what happened. It's so accurate it's both funny and sad.

Masada
May 08, 2009, 09:05 PM
Loaning money to Europe, then raising tariffs so that they couldn't actually trade with the US to get the money to pay the loans back. Under-cutting those same Europeans in other markets, including their own nations, thus rendering ineffective any other means of getting the money back. Allowing people to buy stocks on credit, for Christ's sake. It doesn't take hindsight to realise that this is a recipe for disaster. What no-one could have predicted was how long it would take to fix, and that was due to the incompetence of the Presidents during that time period.

That isn't that scapegoat Smott Hawley coming into the argument is it? Its generally accepted in economics circles that it was only a minor contributor to the Great Depression and realistically only exacerbated the recovery period. The rest of the argument is stock standard "Keynesianism" and I use that term with care, Keynes repudiated and refined his thesis greatly in the later years of his life, it is a shame that the majority of economists were to ignorant, willful or prone to misunderstanding to grasp more than the fundamentals of what he laid out.

In short, buying on credit was not the major cause of the Depression, tariffs were not a major cause (Dachs could probably clear up the historical situation with regards to tariffs) and the stock market was not a major cause. The major cause was likely a persistent asset bubble, which was exacerbated by the Federal Reserves efforts to deflate it through deflationary measures and capped by the Federal Reserves refusal to function as a lender of last resort when required, the Depression only became Great when large segments of the banking sector collapsed and bought waves of foreclosures and other associated dislocation. Inno is likely to disagree with the causes I've put out and will likely see it more than likely as a systemic failure than I do but is likely to agree with the point at which it became Great.

Sharwood
May 09, 2009, 02:38 AM
That isn't that scapegoat Smott Hawley coming into the argument is it? Its generally accepted in economics circles that it was only a minor contributor to the Great Depression and realistically only exacerbated the recovery period. The rest of the argument is stock standard "Keynesianism" and I use that term with care, Keynes repudiated and refined his thesis greatly in the later years of his life, it is a shame that the majority of economists were to ignorant, willful or prone to misunderstanding to grasp more than the fundamentals of what he laid out.

In short, buying on credit was not the major cause of the Depression, tariffs were not a major cause (Dachs could probably clear up the historical situation with regards to tariffs) and the stock market was not a major cause. The major cause was likely a persistent asset bubble, which was exacerbated by the Federal Reserves efforts to deflate it through deflationary measures and capped by the Federal Reserves refusal to function as a lender of last resort when required, the Depression only became Great when large segments of the banking sector collapsed and bought waves of foreclosures and other associated dislocation. Inno is likely to disagree with the causes I've put out and will likely see it more than likely as a systemic failure than I do but is likely to agree with the point at which it became Great.
No disagreement from me, everything I mentioned was a contributing factor, not the major one. But buying stock on credit had to be seen, even at the time, as incredibly stupid by anyone with a modicum of sense, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Masada
May 09, 2009, 08:58 PM
No disagreement from me, everything I mentioned was a contributing factor, not the major one. But buying stock on credit had to be seen, even at the time, as incredibly stupid by anyone with a modicum of sense, so it holds a special place in my heart.

People buy houses on credit I fail to see a significant difference ;)

Sharwood
May 09, 2009, 10:38 PM
People buy houses on credit I fail to see a significant difference ;)
I don't agree with that either. The difference is you can live in a house, you can't live in Telstra shares. Liquid assets aren't as vital to survival as hard ones, so you should expend your cash on the latter first, and spend on liquid assets only if you have enough to back yourself up if they fail.

Antilogic
May 09, 2009, 11:25 PM
It might show a little bit of my upbringing here, but I was taught, firmly, the only things its legitimate to purchase on credit are a home, a mode of transporation (conditional--are you in a city?), and an education.

That's it. I know I hurt the economy every time I don't max out my mighty 2 credit cards with a combined limit of pennies compared to what some people have, but that's something I'll just have to cry about into a pillow at night. ;)

Sharwood
May 09, 2009, 11:28 PM
It might show a little bit of my upbringing here, but I was taught, firmly, the only things its legitimate to purchase on credit are a home, a mode of transporation (conditional--are you in a city?), and an education.

That's it. I know I hurt the economy every time I don't max out my mighty 2 credit cards with a combined limit of pennies compared to what some people have, but that's something I'll just have to cry about into a pillow at night. ;)
The only thing I've ever paid for on credit is my electricity bill every month, and that's just because I couldn't remember my Branch number when I was filling out the form. I don't believe in going into debt, ever.

civiijkw
May 10, 2009, 03:25 AM
The only thing I've ever paid for on credit is my electricity bill every month, and that's just because I couldn't remember my Branch number when I was filling out the form. I don't believe in going into debt, ever.

My wife and I use credit cards all the time and have occasionally maxed them out. Oh wait, you were talking about maxing out the credit line. We pay everything off every month (avoiding interest charges) and have maxed out the rewards.

say1988
May 10, 2009, 07:00 AM
I use my credit card just to establish a credit rating. I pay it off immediately.

I don't see a problem with buying anything on credit, if you are intelligent enough to know what is within your means and recognize how vulnerable your income may be.
Granted stocks completely on credit is pretty bad idea, just because how vulnerable to change their prices are.

donsig
May 11, 2009, 10:09 PM
Most underrated: James K. Polk. Manifest Destiny, baby!! :D

Polk did accomplish what he set out to. So did Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. I can say I agree with the direction any of these three took the US. I think Carter is the most underrated. He isn't given enough credit for the things he tried to do nor for those he actually did. Getting Isreal and Egypt to talk was a great feat.

I don't think Kennedy was overrated. He was, and still is, an inspiration to many. I think the most overrated was Reagan. Sure, he defeated the evil Soviet empire but it cost us a pretty penny.

Sharwood
May 11, 2009, 10:51 PM
Too bad Reagan didn't actually defeat that "evil empire."

Funnily enough, just yesterday I was reading about the Republican Presidents heading into the Great Depression. Some of what they said was incredibly similar to things Reagan said, and a graph showing the growth and subsequent collapse of the US economy in both periods was shockingly similar. They were almost identical.

Cutlass
May 12, 2009, 07:39 AM
Too bad Reagan didn't actually defeat that "evil empire."

Funnily enough, just yesterday I was reading about the Republican Presidents heading into the Great Depression. Some of what they said was incredibly similar to things Reagan said, and a graph showing the growth and subsequent collapse of the US economy in both periods was shockingly similar. They were almost identical.

History repeats, first as tragedy, then as farce. ;)

Gooblah
May 12, 2009, 02:56 PM
James Madison: The War of 1812 could have been avoided. Instead, his war killed 10,000 Americans (mainly from a failed invasion of Canada) and caused D.C. to be set aflame. We gained practically nothing from the war in the end. Madison opposed the national bank, but then decided it was necessary for the economy and re-established it. He was also quite inhumane to Native Americans.

War of 1812 established American independence - I think that's a pretty big gain. By being able to stand down the Brits twice, we established ourselves as a nation - not a major one, but one that would remain independent of European authority.

and his poor actions during the Nullification Crisis began tensions leading up to the Civil War. He is truly the worst president in the history of the U.S., yet he's considered to be in the top ten. What a crock.

'Poor actions'?! He put down the embargo in South Carolina and delayed the inevitable Civil War for years. His appropriate usage of force saved the union from collapsing in his terms. Also, he helped push through constitutional amendment to let the people vote for their Senators, and political reforms enacted during his presidency helped shape America to be what it is today. Definitely not the worst in my book (though I agree, he is overrated).

Woodrow Wilson: He embarked a massive propaganda campaign using tax revenues in order to convince the American peoples to enter into World War I, a war we had absolutely no business in whatsoever. He grossly and non-chalantly suppressed the Bill of Rights in order to keep us in the war. Wilson was the most racist president of his century, completely segregating the government and undoing all of the progress of his predecessors. He (reluctantly) caved on women's suffrage after he arrested many of the rights protestors, which essentially cemented him as the most hostile president to Constitutional rights in history. His insistance to lay all the blame of WWI on Germany's hand is what directly lead to World War II. (The Sixteenth Amendment, which authorized income taxes, was ratified under Wilson's administration, but most of the negotiation and handwork was done by the President William H. Taft; so let's not give him credit or blame for this.)

Do you honestly believe the US would have stayed out of WWI? Really? With so many markets, trade routes, and opportunities at stake? The population was gearing up for war anyways, Wilson just rode popular opinion. Also, I would advise you to read up on the Treaty of Versailles - Wilson took the most conciliatory approach to German reparations (the US was sidelined on this issue by the Brits and France), he supported the League of Nations (it was the Senate's fault we weren't in it, not his), and wanted to avoid future wars.

Harry S. Truman:In addition to this, he tried to continue to expand the New Deal, blocked tax cuts and other bureaucratic regulations; in addition to the Korean War and the Marshall Plan, had he succeeded, our economy would have been ruined. Like his predecessor FDR, he fixed his problems with very inhumane solutions; for example, to end a railroad strike, he drafted everybody involved in the labor union.

Again, really? The Marshall plan helped bring Western Europe back (otherwise, they would still be floundering) to the world stage. Truman desegregated the armed forces. His tactics were dishonorable, but they got the job done in a turbulent time for the country.

Just wondering...are you a strict constitutionalist + isolationist?

say1988
May 12, 2009, 04:52 PM
War of 1812 established American independence - I think that's a pretty big gain. By being able to stand down the Brits twice, we established ourselves as a nation - not a major one, but one that would remain independent of European authority.
It didn't do anything. Maybe a slight moral boost for Americans, but nationalism was already very strong. And after the war Europe thought the same thing about America it had before. Not much.

Cutlass
May 12, 2009, 05:04 PM
It didn't do anything. Maybe a slight moral boost for Americans, but nationalism was already very strong. And after the war Europe thought the same thing about America it had before. Not much.

Maybe so, but they didn't think it worthwhile to attack us again.

say1988
May 12, 2009, 06:06 PM
Where is this "again" coming from?

The US started the war by invading Canada. The British didn't want a war, the US wasn't worth it and all Europe cared about was Europe and Nappy and the aftermath. There is a reason the US attacked in 1812.

The US wasn't worth attacking in 1812, it still wasn't worth attacking in 1815. If hte US hadn't started things, the British wouldn't have bother doing anything.
It wasn't until after this time that the US became important, with the development of the Louisiana Purchase, annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American War.

Padma
May 12, 2009, 07:14 PM
Where is this "again" coming from?

The US started the war by invading Canada. The British didn't want a war, the US wasn't worth it and all Europe cared about was Europe and Nappy and the aftermath. There is a reason the US attacked in 1812.

The US wasn't worth attacking in 1812, it still wasn't worth attacking in 1815. If hte US hadn't started things, the British wouldn't have bother doing anything.
It wasn't until after this time that the US became important, with the development of the Louisiana Purchase, annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American War.

If Britain didn't want a war, why were they doing everything in their power to precipitate one? They seized US citizens at sea, impressing them into the Royal Navy. They tried to restrict the new country's trade with France (because the British were at war with them). They tried to prevent the US expansion to the west, by arming the Indians and provoking fights. The US just got fed up, and decided that maybe a war while Britain was looking elsewhere (France) might be a good time.

North King
May 12, 2009, 07:20 PM
The natives did include some traditional British allies. One could argue that the British supplying them with arms was only a reasonable thing for them to continue to do.

vogtmurr
May 12, 2009, 09:43 PM
Not only reasonable in self-interest but on humanitarian grounds....and something they failed to do when Tecumseh put the confederacy of the 'Northwest' tribes on the line. They were teetering on the brink of the abyss forever, after smallpox and cheap liquor had their way, but succeeded admirably in surprising a few Yankee forts and columns. Isaac Brock was with him all the way but Procter ? Pfft !

Having seen that biography recently after Tecumseh's name came up on another thread, I think it was quite shameful how he was left to hang in the wind after the Battle of Thames, and the Brits conveniently forgot to negotiate for Huronia (northern Michigan) as the agreed homeland at the Treay of Ghent.

Antilogic
May 12, 2009, 09:59 PM
It didn't do anything. Maybe a slight moral boost for Americans, but nationalism was already very strong. And after the war Europe thought the same thing about America it had before. Not much.

I would question that nationalism was strong in America at this point. I think I read this in Six Frigates by Ian Toll; he seemed to think the War of 1812 was something that unified the American people after a series of very hostile political campaigns and the weakening of the Federalist party (their main leaders like Hamilton and Adams were dead or retired by this point, and support was limited to a few bastions like Massachusetts and Conneticut...of course the final nail in the coffin comes in 1815 and with the threat of secession). Before this point, he argues that Americans still thought in regional patterns (I'm a Georgian or a New Yorker) instead of nationally.

Ironic this great unification comes through the party that opposed centralized state power. :p

@Padma: I don't think Britain cared one way or another. France and Britain were two giants slugging it out on the world stage, and if those pesky little upstarts across the pond got in the way, so be it. They impressed US citizens because they didn't care about American sovereignty. Just like how they agreed to abandon forts along the Canadian border as part of the peace treaty ending the American Revolution and then ignored the agreement.

Masada
May 13, 2009, 12:25 AM
If Britain didn't want a war, why were they doing everything in their power to precipitate one? They seized US citizens at sea, impressing them into the Royal Navy. They tried to restrict the new country's trade with France (because the British were at war with them). They tried to prevent the US expansion to the west, by arming the Indians and provoking fights. The US just got fed up, and decided that maybe a war while Britain was looking elsewhere (France) might be a good time.

It shows how serious they took you.... not very.

Dachs
May 13, 2009, 09:40 AM
It shows how serious they took you.... not very.
The Thirteen Lolonies.

Padma
May 13, 2009, 11:31 AM
... they didn't care about American sovereignty.

It shows how serious they took you.... not very.

The Thirteen Lolonies.

Exactly my point. They didn't respect American sovereignty. America finally got fed up. Admittedly, it was fought to essentially a "draw" - the peace treaty gave back whatever little bits each side had gained, and Britain was basically fighting with its hands tied (it considered, rightly so, that the war with France was more important). But it did make everyone at least start to understand that we were a "sovereign nation", just like them, and we weren't going to stand for being treated like "a little kid".

It is often referred to as "the Second War for Independence", because it was basically a way of saying, "Hey! We meant it the First time!" ;)

Antilogic
May 13, 2009, 12:07 PM
Exactly my point. They didn't respect American sovereignty. America finally got fed up. Admittedly, it was fought to essentially a "draw" - the peace treaty gave back whatever little bits each side had gained, and Britain was basically fighting with its hands tied (it considered, rightly so, that the war with France was more important). But it did make everyone at least start to understand that we were a "sovereign nation", just like them, and we weren't going to stand for being treated like "a little kid".

It is often referred to as "the Second War for Independence", because it was basically a way of saying, "Hey! We meant it the First time!" ;)

For some reason, I read your post as they had an active intent to violate American soil/shipping. I don't think that was the case; they had a bullseye on Napoleon and damage to America was just collateral.

We are probably saying about the same thing, just in different ways. In any case, I'm not picking a fight.

say1988
May 13, 2009, 12:10 PM
If Britain didn't want a war, why were they doing everything in their power to precipitate one? They seized US citizens at sea, impressing them into the Royal Navy. They tried to restrict the new country's trade with France (because the British were at war with them).

The British wanted to suppress trade with their enemy. The impressment of American sailors was to help fight Napoleon and because they didn't care about the Americans, not because they wanted war. Every action the British took in those periods was to protect themselves and/or to kill the French.

Just like the Germans weren't trying to start a war with the US with their submarine warfare, they wanted to stop the British.

Exactly my point. They didn't respect American sovereignty. America finally got fed up. Admittedly, it was fought to essentially a "draw" - the peace treaty gave back whatever little bits each side had gained, and Britain was basically fighting with its hands tied (it considered, rightly so, that the war with France was more important). But it did make everyone at least start to understand that we were a "sovereign nation", just like them, and we weren't going to stand for being treated like "a little kid".
The British didn't stop interdicting American shipping and impressing sailors because of the war. They stopped because they had beaten Napoleon. Europeans didn't attack the US ater the war of 1812 for the same reason as they never had, the US wasn't worth any effort. They didn't care about the US.

Before you go into the Monroe doctrine, note how it was benficial to the British (they could better trade with independent countries than Spanish colonies). And if the British wanted something in the Americas, or anywhere off continental Europe, in 1815 no other European could do anything about it.

The most important event for the US in the Napoleonic period was the Louisiana Purchase. That is what, in the future, would make the US important.

It is often referred to as "the Second War for Independence", because it was basically a way of saying, "Hey! We meant it the First time!"
Or, perhaps, because people really don't want to lose thousands of me in a pointless, failed, war.

Antilogic
May 13, 2009, 12:20 PM
@say1988: Exactly what I wanted to communicate with ten times the clarity. I agree. :)

Gooblah
May 13, 2009, 01:00 PM
It didn't do anything. Maybe a slight moral boost for Americans, but nationalism was already very strong. And after the war Europe thought the same thing about America it had before. Not much.

It reinforced American sovereignty and dismissed prevailing European notions that America would remain a third- or fourth-class power that was not worth dealing with as a relative equal, and that America would stick around for a while to come.
Where is this "again" coming from?

The US started the war by invading Canada. The British didn't want a war, the US wasn't worth it and all Europe cared about was Europe and Nappy and the aftermath. There is a reason the US attacked in 1812.

I'm not saying the United States didn't start the war. I'm saying that British actions were aggressive and against American economic interests and national sovereignty (forcing soldiers to fight for them? Yeah, not exactly recognition of sovereignty), precipitating the conflict. And I agree, there is a reason the US attacked: the American people were fed up with insults to their nations' honor, eastern merchants were pissed with loss of trading, and both parties made this clear to the President and to Congress.

The US wasn't worth attacking in 1812, it still wasn't worth attacking in 1815. If hte US hadn't started things, the British wouldn't have bother doing anything.
It wasn't until after this time that the US became important, with the development of the Louisiana Purchase, annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American War.

Again, I agree that the US wasn't worth starting a war with - however, the British provoked one by disregarding our sovereignty.

say1988
May 13, 2009, 01:25 PM
I'm not saying the United States didn't start the war. I'm saying that British actions were aggressive and against American economic interests and national sovereignty (forcing soldiers to fight for them? Yeah, not exactly recognition of sovereignty), precipitating the conflict. And I agree, there is a reason the US attacked: the American people were fed up with insults to their nations' honor, eastern merchants were pissed with loss of trading, and both parties made this clear to the President and to Congress.
Ok, but the war did not stop British actions against US shipping. Napoleon was gone (he did return, but that only lasted a few months) and the British had no need to continue. The British would have continued to interdict US shipping if Nappy was still around, or they were trading with any other country that Britain was in a major war against.

Your arguement as to the value of the War of 1812 is that Europeans didn't mess with the US anymore, but the fact remains that they had no reason to. The same as before the Napoleonic Wars.

Masada
May 14, 2009, 02:46 AM
Exactly my point. They didn't respect American sovereignty. America finally got fed up. Admittedly, it was fought to essentially a "draw" - the peace treaty gave back whatever little bits each side had gained, and Britain was basically fighting with its hands tied (it considered, rightly so, that the war with France was more important). But it did make everyone at least start to understand that we were a "sovereign nation", just like them, and we weren't going to stand for being treated like "a little kid".

You lost and continued to be irrelevant to British concerns in North America ergo you were still "a little kid".

It reinforced American sovereignty and dismissed prevailing European notions that America would remain a third- or fourth-class power that was not worth dealing with as a relative equal, and that America would stick around for a while to come.

No if anything it confirmed that you were a third or fourth class power militarily with a navy which was not up to facing even a small part of the Royal Navy and with an army which couldn't even invade an easy mark like Canada.

I'm not saying the United States didn't start the war. I'm saying that British actions were aggressive and against American economic interests and national sovereignty (forcing soldiers to fight for them? Yeah, not exactly recognition of sovereignty), precipitating the conflict. And I agree, there is a reason the US attacked: the American people were fed up with insults to their nations' honor, eastern merchants were pissed with loss of trading, and both parties made this clear to the President and to Congress.

Britain was enforcing a blockade. Your merchants broke it. They were therefore liable to be interdicted. End of story. It also didn't help that you sheltered deserting sailors....

Your arguement as to the value of the War of 1812 is that Europeans didn't mess with the US anymore, but the fact remains that they had no reason to. The same as before the Napoleonic Wars.

Quite.

Sharwood
May 14, 2009, 03:39 AM
You lost and continued to be irrelevant to British concerns in North America ergo you were still "a little kid".



No if anything it confirmed that you were a third or fourth class power militarily with a navy which was not up to facing even a small part of the Royal Navy and with an army which couldn't even invade an easy mark like Canada.



Britain was enforcing a blockade. Your merchants broke it. They were therefore liable to be interdicted. End of story. It also didn't help that you sheltered deserting sailors....



Quite.
:goodjob:

Well said, my good man.

@Dachs: If there was official British correspondence with that written on it, I'd probably be so awestruck I'd become aroused.

Antilogic
May 14, 2009, 11:27 AM
You lost and continued to be irrelevant to British concerns in North America ergo you were still "a little kid".

Hey, the United States won a fantastic victory against the British. Oh wait, that happened after the war was officially over. Never mind.

No if anything it confirmed that you were a third or fourth class power militarily with a navy which was not up to facing even a small part of the Royal Navy and with an army which couldn't even invade an easy mark like Canada.

The US Navy didn't have a single big ship at this point, just 44-gun large frigates. And only 4 of those. The rest of the fleet was made up of ordinary frigates and smaller brigs and sloops. The 44-gun frigates were awesome though; they were more than able to take out smaller British ships up to frigate-sized but could flee from the ships of the line. As the war goes on, a couple American ships were captured and the rest were just blockaded in harbor. However, for every US ship that was blockaded in port, the British had to use at least four (three or so to blockade, plus a supply ship to run back and forth, sometimes they posted more ships to the blockade).

Your statement also implies the United States had an army. In fact, there wasn't a strong standing army in the US, only militias raised for the purpose of this war.

Britain was enforcing a blockade. Your merchants broke it. They were therefore liable to be interdicted. End of story. It also didn't help that you sheltered deserting sailors....

While the rest of my post was kind of a support to your argument, this needs some examination. Both sides, Britain and France, had declared blockades on the continent against each other. A temporary embargo against the warring powers was put in place by Jefferson but it was repealed a year later because (suprise!) it was very unpopular because "dem govurnment types wur messin' wid our business!" and the government couldn't enforce it. Probably because they didn't have enough ships. :rolleyes:

Also, is the punishment for sheltering deserted sailors killing and impressing American sailors? Take a look at the engagement between the USS Chesapeake and the HMS Leopard: 3 Americans killed, ~20 wounded, 3 Americans taken by the British, and 1 British sailor was recovered.

In any case, this part of the story isn't so simple.

say1988
May 14, 2009, 12:04 PM
Anti-logic, the point was that the US wasn't capable of defeating a small fraction of the British Army and Royal Navy, when there was a major war waging in Europe.

I agree that many British actions were questionable at best, the thing is that the war didn't stop them (well it kind of did, but only in the sense that instead of blockading Europe and impressing some sailors, they blockaded the US and killed or captured every American they could), they would have actually ended earlier without the war.

But the start of the war doesn't really affect what benefits were gained through it.

Antilogic
May 14, 2009, 12:09 PM
Anti-logic, the point was that the US wasn't capable of defeating a small fraction of the British Army and Royal Navy, when there was a major war waging in Europe.

I agree that many British actions were questionable at best, the thing is that the war didn't stop them (well it kind of did, but only in the sense that instead of blockading Europe and impressing some sailors, they blockaded the US and killed or captured every American they could), they would have actually ended earlier without the war.

But the start of the war doesn't really affect what benefits were gained through it.

I wasn't disagreeing with you, at least on the army part. However, the naval story is fascinating. No, the US didn't have enough ships to fight off the British navy, but they tied down part of Britain's fleet.

Plus, the USS Constitution captured or sunk 5 British warships and many more merchant vessels. I'd say it achieved cost-effectiveness. ;)

mrt144
May 14, 2009, 12:21 PM
The only thing I've ever paid for on credit is my electricity bill every month, and that's just because I couldn't remember my Branch number when I was filling out the form. I don't believe in going into debt, ever.

That might be nice but I have some arb trades going on right now where the margin is increasing the yield on them by 30-40%.

All consumer purchases are debit first and foremost though.

Masada
May 15, 2009, 06:52 AM
Hey, the United States won a fantastic victory against the British. Oh wait, that happened after the war was officially over. Never mind.

How long after the war :p

The US Navy didn't have a single big ship at this point, just 44-gun large frigates. And only 4 of those. The rest of the fleet was made up of ordinary frigates and smaller brigs and sloops. The 44-gun frigates were awesome though; they were more than able to take out smaller British ships up to frigate-sized but could flee from the ships of the line. As the war goes on, a couple American ships were captured and the rest were just blockaded in harbor. However, for every US ship that was blockaded in port, the British had to use at least four (three or so to blockade, plus a supply ship to run back and forth, sometimes they posted more ships to the blockade).

I should have said fifth rate navy which would technically have been accurate (although the 44 gunners were fourth raters by some navies standards). In any case your ships were blockaded, your merchant vessels were liable to depredations and by the end of the war your economy was beginning to suffer seriously. That was a great result by any measure for Britain considering the technical difficulties inherent in enforcing a close in blockade in the Age of Sail.

Your statement also implies the United States had an army. In fact, there wasn't a strong standing army in the US, only militias raised for the purpose of this war.

I would have used standing army if that was my intention. In any case wasn't there a Continental Army during the Revolutionary War? So stop splitting hairs in the context of early American history the use of army when referring to the land portion of your military was appropriate. It certainly wasn't called "something approximating to any army composed of militiamen without a significant amount of standing troops." The "kind of support" [below] is rubbish you are supporting my argument :p

While the rest of my post was kind of a support to your argument, this needs some examination. Both sides, Britain and France, had declared blockades on the continent against each other. A temporary embargo against the warring powers was put in place by Jefferson but it was repealed a year later because (suprise!) it was very unpopular because "dem govurnment types wur messin' wid our business!" and the government couldn't enforce it. Probably because they didn't have enough ships.

Doesn't really matter. The simple fact is that Britain had decided to enforce a blockade and accordingly did so your reaction and indeed compliance was not required. It wasn't intended to be popular, it wasn't intended to please the American electorate, it was simply intended to strike at Napoleon, American considerations were secondary to a far greater threat.

Also, is the punishment for sheltering deserted sailors killing and impressing American sailors? Take a look at the engagement between the USS Chesapeake and the HMS Leopard: 3 Americans killed, ~20 wounded, 3 Americans taken by the British, and 1 British sailor was recovered.

You sheltered deserters. The simple fact that USS Chesapeake refused a hail to be boarded and searched for deserters doesn't bother me all that much. You had absolutely utterly no right to shelter Royal Navy deserters (which all four of them were irregardless of three of them being American citizens). If a foriegn vessel knowingly sheltered American deserters I'm fairly sure the American navy would hail and ask to board it and recover its crew and if they they didn't reply the American navy would be obliged to recover them by any means necessary. I don't think it was worth risking American public opinion over but an incident like it was inevitable considering the blockade and already growing tensions in any case it was a bad principle for the Royal Navy to simply allow its sailors to desert free of consequence.

In any case, this part of the story isn't so simple.

Yes it is. Don't shelter criminals.

I wasn't disagreeing with you, at least on the army part. However, the naval story is fascinating. No, the US didn't have enough ships to fight off the British navy, but they tied down part of Britain's fleet.

Not really. They tied down squadrons which had already been deployed to defend the Caribbean. Other assets were pulled in as time went on but it was more a matter of knocking out or rendering the rest of your token naval strength irrelevant. The rest was simply a matter of enforcing the blockade which had effectively hamstrung and pinioned you so badly that you couldn't effectively access the sea.

Plus, the USS Constitution captured or sunk 5 British warships and many more merchant vessels. I'd say it achieved cost-effectiveness.

Sure if you look at it in at the individual level. Collectively you got served. How many ships did you lose cumulatively? How many were covered by underwriters (because Lloyd's certainly wasn't doing it)? What was the economic cost to America in terms of lost trade and revenue? What was the cost to Britain to maintain the blockade? However you spin it overall the conflict was not cost-effective and probably ended up costing far more than it was worth. ;)

civiijkw
May 15, 2009, 12:34 PM
...
Yes it is. Don't shelter criminals.
...
If it were that simple then why was there an international incident when a British ship carrying rebels (US Civil War) was boarded by an American ship and the Confederates were taken off?

If it hadn't been for the "peculiar instititution" then I would have anticipated a European attempt to run the Union blockade of the Confederacy, with a very similar reaction in response to actions taken by blockading ships to keep that blockade.

I am always skeptical when seeing something related to war called "simple".

civiijkw
May 15, 2009, 06:17 PM
How long after the war :p

... You had absolutely utterly no right to shelter Royal Navy deserters (which all four of them were irregardless of three of them being American citizens)...


On the first search of the Chesapeake even the Royal Navy captain admitted that the three Americans had originally been wrongfully impressed into the British navy.

For some reason, Americans didn't think much of Britain seizing native-born American citizens into its navy and then labelling them deserters when they had the presumption to flee such enforced servitude.

Gooblah
May 15, 2009, 07:27 PM
Ok, but the war did not stop British actions against US shipping. Napoleon was gone (he did return, but that only lasted a few months) and the British had no need to continue. The British would have continued to interdict US shipping if Nappy was still around, or they were trading with any other country that Britain was in a major war against.

Your arguement as to the value of the War of 1812 is that Europeans didn't mess with the US anymore, but the fact remains that they had no reason to. The same as before the Napoleonic Wars.

What did the US gain from the War of 1812:
1) New Orleans, and, by extension, control of the Mississippi (gained through lack of communication ability between government and military)
2) Recognition of American sovereignty by Europe.
3) Good relations with Britain, both economically and politically (which is why they enforced the Monroe Doctrine while we were still growing)

Before the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was screwing with the United States. For example:
1) Reluctance of British soldiers to evacuate forts in the Northwest territory and along Appalachia and Maine.
2) The XYZ Affair with Talleyrand of France, and the subsequent Quasi-War.

And there are many other examples. The point is that Europe stopped screwing with the United States after the War of 1812, not just because the Napoleonic Wars were over and they didn't have to jostle for control for America, but because America was now a nation powerful enough to have withstood British invasion twice, and to have rebounded successfully both times.

You lost and continued to be irrelevant to British concerns in North America ergo you were still "a little kid".

Sorry, we lost the War of 1812? :eek: If we had, there would be a Union Jack over Washington right now, dude.

No if anything it confirmed that you were a third or fourth class power militarily with a navy which was not up to facing even a small part of the Royal Navy and with an army which couldn't even invade an easy mark like Canada.


If we were so weak, why were the British unable to maintain control of the US? If we were so weak, why didn't the British army subjugate the colonists once more to regain control of North America?

say1988
May 15, 2009, 07:42 PM
If it were that simple then why was there an international incident when a British ship carrying rebels (US Civil War) was boarded by an American ship and the Confederates were taken off?
That is a different situation. A deserting sailor is clearly criminal (impressed Americans is another story), while the right for a State to secceed from the Union, and the federal government's right to use force against such attempts, is still debateable.

Yes there were wrong people taken, but the Chesapeake was a single incident. Yes there were others, but many of the "American's" impressed, were by British law, British. Impresment on its own was valid as it was just a form of conscription.
And it didn't just go the one way, the Little Belt Affair was at least as much American fault as the British.

Not to mention that those most in support of the war were the ones facing the least direct impact from these events.

say1988
May 15, 2009, 07:54 PM
If we were so weak, why were the British unable to maintain control of the US? If we were so weak, why didn't the British army subjugate the colonists once more to regain control of North America?
Because it wasn't worth the expense and there was no political will to fight the war after Napoleon. If you honestly think the US military could have resisted the full force of the Royal Navy and British Army, you are delusional.

3) Good relations with Britain, both economically and politically (which is why they enforced the Monroe Doctrine while we were still growing)
The Monroe doctrine was enforced because it was good for Britain.

1) New Orleans, and, by extension, control of the Mississippi (gained through lack of communication ability between government and military)

The Americans had it before the war. The whole situation wouldn't have arisen without the war.

Sorry, we lost the War of 1812? If we had, there would be a Union Jack over Washington right now, dude.
Says the aggressor. The US certainly didn't win the war. That is like saying North Korea won the Korean War because it still exists. And even if the British did conquer it, the US would be independent by now, along with every other significant part of the Empire.

Huayna Capac357
May 15, 2009, 07:55 PM
Monroe is a pretty underrated president.

Masada
May 15, 2009, 08:56 PM
If it were that simple then why was there an international incident when a British ship carrying rebels (US Civil War) was boarded by an American ship and the Confederates were taken off?

Hmmm lets see because Britain didn't recognize them as criminals?

Britain's proclamation of neutrality was consistent with the position of the Lincoln Administration under international law—the Confederates were belligerents—giving them the right to obtain loans and buy arms from neutral powers, and giving the British the formal right to discuss openly which side, if any, to support.[

The reverse isn't true, deserters are deserters navies routinely handed over other navies deserters. It was a done thing.

On the first search of the Chesapeake even the Royal Navy captain admitted that the three Americans had originally been wrongfully impressed into the British navy.

The fourth wasn't I presume. With regards to actions like this its up to the letter of the law not up to the individual oversight of the captain in question he has to obey his orders.

For some reason, Americans didn't think much of Britain seizing native-born American citizens into its navy and then labelling them deserters when they had the presumption to flee such enforced servitude.

Citizenship was the key issue, who was what.

Sorry, we lost the War of 1812? If we had, there would be a Union Jack over Washington right now, dude.

I didn't see Whitehall being razed by American soldiers.

If we were so weak, why were the British unable to maintain control of the US? If we were so weak, why didn't the British army subjugate the colonists once more to regain control of North America?

There were Caribbean islands which paid more in taxes to Britain than America. The whole of Quebec was traded for some small flyspeck islands if that gives you an indication of your relative worth. Not to mention that keeping America cost the British more than you gave them back. Adam Smith was the first to recognize the future potential strength of America, something you didn't realize for almost a hundred years after.

Everything just said in the last two posts.

Word.

civiijkw
May 15, 2009, 10:05 PM
Hmmm lets see because Britain didn't recognize them as criminals?



The reverse isn't true, deserters are deserters navies routinely handed over other navies deserters. It was a done thing.



The fourth wasn't I presume. With regards to actions like this its up to the letter of the law not up to the individual oversight of the captain in question he has to obey his orders.



Citizenship was the key issue, who was what.



I didn't see Whitehall being razed by American soldiers.



There were Caribbean islands which paid more in taxes to Britain than America. The whole of Quebec was traded for some small flyspeck islands if that gives you an indication of your relative worth. Not to mention that keeping America cost the British more than you gave them back. Adam Smith was the first to recognize the future potential strength of America, something you didn't realize for almost a hundred years after.



Word.


Taking them in sequence:

1 & 4) Britain didn't recognize the Confederates as criminals, and America didn't recognize American-born sailors forcibly impressed by Britain to be deserters once they escaped their enforced servitude. If there was an international incident over the first then why should people be surprised that the was an international incident over the second. Such sailors were never citizens of the British empire so even Britain's refusal to recognize nationalization (once British - forever tied to Britain even if a person emigrates to another country) is not significant in their case.
Also, Britain was willing to attempt to violate the Union blockade of the Confederacy and yet some are surprised that America saw a problem with the British blockade of the continent. Again, if there was an international incident over one then why be surprised with the other.

2 & 3) The one formerly British sailor supposedly on the Chesapeake was not found even though the ship was searched by the first Royal ship to reach it. If Monroe had been president at the time instead of Jefferson then it is quite possible that we would be discussing the War of 1807 (though the US was probably even less prepared then). Firing a sudden broadside into a ship of a nation that was at peace was not considered a particularly friendly act. After that tensions were such that war was eventually almost certain (barring major policy changes).

5) That would have been a bit unlikely (outside of alternate history books even more one-sided than Stars and Stripes Triumphant).

6) Underestimating self-worth wasn't really a major problem in a country that (soon afterward) touted Manifest Destiny. The reverse of that is one thing that helped give the country the chutzpa to make the initial declaration of war (helped by the outcome of the war against the Barbary pirates after the European nations were seen by some as being too timid or corrupt to stand up to them - even today people remember the phrase "millions for defense and not one cent for tribute"). I'm not sure how much the Battle of New Orleans had to do with promoting that feeling of destiny. Rather than an inferiority complex, the US seemed more to be annoyed by not being given the respect it felt was its due (I'm reminded of the Mark Twain response to a French politician's comment about the comparitively slim American history).

The early statesmen did recognize that America needed to obtain some of the British technology secrets and offered rewards to emigrating engineers (I think Slater was the name of the first engineer to take a false name and pretend to be a farmer in order to circumvent the security that would have otherwise prevented him from leaving Britain).

Sharwood
May 16, 2009, 04:20 AM
This is why I don't argue with Americans about the War of 1812. They can't grasp the simple concept of "if you start a war with the intention of conquering a nation, and don't conquer that nation, or even part of it, you've lost said war."

civiijkw
May 16, 2009, 07:03 AM
This is why I don't argue with Americans about the War of 1812. They can't grasp the simple concept of "if you start a war with the intention of conquering a nation, and don't conquer that nation, or even part of it, you've lost said war."
I didn't say anything about winning or losing 1812, but was rather arguing against somebody who indicated there was absolutely no justification for the declaration.

It is a bit funny that our national anthem came from that war, particularly when it includes phrases like "their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution" and "no refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave" (written after Washington was burned, if I remember correctly - and I think slavery was more common in the surrounding countryside than in the British army). The lyrics are fine but you'd think it would be more appropriate if the anthem had been chosen from a more successful war.

Masada
May 16, 2009, 07:06 AM
I didn't say anything about winning or losing 1812, but was rather arguing against somebody who indicated there was absolutely no justification for the declaration.

Whose that?

This is why I don't argue with Americans about the War of 1812. They can't grasp the simple concept of "if you start a war with the intention of conquering a nation, and don't conquer that nation, or even part of it, you've lost said war."

Quite.

say1988
May 16, 2009, 09:19 AM
The one formerly British sailor supposedly on the Chesapeake was not found even though the ship was searched by the first Royal ship to reach it.
One unquestionably British subject was taken (later hanged) and an American who had served in the Royal Navy was taken, whether he served by choice or deserted I do not know.

Also, Britain was willing to attempt to violate the Union blockade of the Confederacy and yet some are surprised that America saw a problem with the British blockade of the continent. Again, if there was an international incident over one then why be surprised with the other
You have every right to try and violate a blockade you disagree with, they just have the right to shoot you if you do.

There is no question, the US had reasons to oppose Britain, though.