Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but when you are the President of the US, these mistakes can have massive repercussions. Interestingly, the history of America is filled with stories of US presidents and their major blunders during their time in office. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest mistakes made by some of the most famous US Presidents.
George W. Bush
In 1988, while George H.W. Bush was running for president, he made the now-famous statement, "Read my lips: no new taxes." Though it was large of this promise that he could be able to win the election, it ultimately cost him when, in 1990, he negotiated with the Democratic Party and raised a significant blunder, so blunder prevented him from being re-elected in 1992. He freely recognized that it was his strict oversight and stated that, given the opportunity, he would have handled the situation differently.
With the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, Kansas settlers decided whether slavery was lawful. Franklin Pierce hoped this would solve the slavery issue without government intervention. He thought the Kansas-Nebraska Act had solved the slavery issue. However, he had misjudged. Anti-slavery forces flocked to Kansas to influence the pro-slavery vote after hearing about the growth of pro-slavery settlers. The abolitionists armed the settlers to prevent their expulsion. Pro- and anti-slave factions fought bloodily.
New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley called this "Bleeding Kansas." In 1856, Missourians invaded Laurence and destroyed homes, stores, and other things. Anti-slavery activists erected Laurence, but Missourians were pro-slavery. Franklin Pierce's request that the federal government keeps out of slavery caused state-wide warfare.
Even though American citizens were being held hostage in Lebanon by terrorists supported by Iran, Ronald Reagan was adamant about rescuing them. His National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane, stated that the Iranians had contacted them with a weapons deal and claimed that it would indeed not only bring the American captives home, but it would also allow them to establish better relations with Lebanon and offer them money for fighting the contras in Nicaragua.
McFarlane said that the Iranians made these claims to them. The difficulty was that the United States had imposed a trade embargo on Iran. The agreement was finalized with Reagan's signature. Ronald Reagan initially disputed it as it became public knowledge but eventually admitted to the agreement and stated it was an error.
He also acknowledged that he had made a mistake. That came dangerously close to bringing his entire administration to an end.
John F. Kennedy
The Bay of Pigs plan, which was an operation conducted by Cuban exiles to attack and topple Fidel Castro, had already been conceived of and was in the process of being carried out by the CIA during Eisenhower's administration when John F. Kennedy took office. Kennedy had significant concerns about the operation and was frightened that it might result in World War III with Russians; yet, he approved it anyhow.
The invasion was a complete and utter disaster, with the Cuban exile troops ultimately defeated by Castro's army of 20,000 soldiers. The mistake was what caused the Cuban Missile Crisis in the end.
When the Civil War conflict ended, President Abraham Lincoln worked to find solutions that would put the nation back together. Because he believed that a coalition that included members of both parties would be most effective in mending historical and contemporary scars, he decided to choose Andrew Johnson as his running partner to facilitate greater reconciliation.
Naturally, as we will see in a moment, the consequences of this error were quite severe. John Wilkes Booth was responsible for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, which led to Johnson's election as president. Johnson did nothing to assist with the reconstruction of the country.
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