The Worst President: Assessing the Failure of James Buchanan’s Administration

The Worst President: Assessing the Failure of James Buchanan’s Administration


In light of current weather conditions, this evening’s event has been modified.
Instead of a lecture, Dr. Thomas Balcerski will be in conversation with Patrick Clarke, Director of President James Buchanan’s Wheatland, about “The Worst President.” Those able to attend are still welcome to come to at 4:30pm. However, if you are unable to come or wish to stay in the safety of your home, please tune in to our Facebook at 4:30pm to watch the conversation via Facebook Live and submit your questions to the speakers. Take care, be safe, and we’ll see you at 4:30pm, whether in person or via Facebook Live!

Join on Thursday, November 15, 2018 for The Worst President: Assessing the Failure of James Buchanan’s Administration, featuring Dr. Thomas Balcerski. Since the first presidential rating conducted in 1948, James Buchanan has consistently been rated “below average” or a “failure” as president.  In recent years, the assessment has grown even more dire—he now regularly ranks last among the 45 U.S. Presidents.  But why is this so?  Does Buchanan deserve the title “the worst president”?  And what are his prospects for improvement in light of the current political climate?  Dr. Balcerski will explore the profits and pitfalls of the presidential rating game in November’s Presidential Lecture series.

Image of Dr. Thomas Balcerski.Dr. Thomas Balcerski is assistant professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he teaches courses broadly in American history.  Dr. Balcerski received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2014 and a B.A. from the same in 2005.  His current book project, “Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King” (forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2019) explores the personal and political relationship of those two nineteenth-century bachelor Democrats.  His work has appeared in the Journal of Social History and Pennsylvania History, and he has contributed a chapter to the edited volume, The Worlds of James Buchanan and Thaddeus Stevens: Place, Personality, and Politics in the Civil War Era (forthcoming with Louisiana State University Press in 2019).

Event Information: This event takes place in Ryder Hall at A social gathering begins at 4pm, followed by the lecture at 4:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. At this time, no advanced reservations are required.


November 15, 2018 230 North President Avenue, Lancaster, PA Reception 4pm | Presentation 4:30pm FREE