“Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” -Lord Acton

In his most recent book, historian Brion McClanahan highlights 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her. The names on each list will probably surprise you.

It didn’t take long after the ratification of the Constitution for presidents to succumb to the allure of power and begin to exceed the authority the office was delegated. As with every deformation, the offenses started small and increased gradually over time. The Constitutional Republic has suffered a death of a thousand paper cuts over the years, even the so called “Father of America”, George Washington, wasn’t immune to wielding unconstitutional authority, as he overstepped his powers to put down the Whiskey Rebellion during his second term.

In many people’s minds, as shown in polling, presidents are judged on what they do for the citizenry. The presidents that typically poll the highest are FDR, Lincoln, Truman, Teddy Roosevelt and LBJ. But, how do these presidents stand when compared to the adherence of their oath of office? Should a president be judged on what they “do” for the citizenry or how well they adhere to their delegated powers? McClanahan says that we should judge them on how well they kept their oath and NOT on what they “do” because most, if not all, of what they do is unconstitutional.

“If Americans believe in a federal republic with limited powers, defined by a written constitution, with checks and balances–not only between the three…