America’s Bottom Ten

Captain Ed has listed his top ten worst Americans. I can’t say I agree with a number of his choices, particularly his choices of Richard Nixon (#6), Nathan Bedford Forrest (#4), and J. Edgar Hoover (#1).

In the case of Nixon, it is true that he was a not-so-nice fellow who suffered from extreme paranoia and presided over a corrupt administration. Yet I simply don’t see how he can rank ahead of Bill Clinton (not that I think Clinton deserves to be on this list). Clinton was probably more corrupt than Nixon – and he did not have the great accomplishments in office that Nixon did.

As for Nathan Bedford Forrest… Again, we are looking at a flawed man. It is true that Forrest founded the Ku Klux Klan, a notoriously racist organization. But the Klan he founded was not the terrorist group of today. Although certainly racist, it was primarily a resistance organization to Northern occupation after the war. As Dean Esmay points out in the comments, the modern KKK was founded in 1918 by William J. Simmons, decades after Forrest’s group dissolved. It was a notoriously vile terrorist group responsible for countless murders and other atrocities over the years. While Forrest deserves condemnation for his role in the Klan, Simmons was the man most responsible for the hate group of today – and he should be listed here instead of Forrest.

Hoover at number one really surprised me. Clearly, Hoover was not what I’d call a hero, but was he really worse than Aaron Burr? Or Benedict Arnold? Or the aforementioned Simmons? I just don’t see how. He was corrupt and he abused power. But the worst American in history? No way.

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