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History books tend to be kind to American presidents, often overlooking some pretty dick-ish behavior. It's a pretty tough job, so they probably deserve a break once in a while. But some historical anecdotes seem like they were omitted to avoid classrooms full of weeping, terrified children.

In fact, it turns out that even the greatest presidents have some scary-ass skeletons in the closet.

6John Adams, Founder of (and Enemy of) Democracy

Why He's Awesome:

This charming founding father was the second president. Before that he served as George Washington's vice president and helped author the Declaration of Independence. After that he got his own HBO miniseries starring the whiny dude from Sideways. The series seems to argue that Adams was totally the most underrated founding father, and that it might have been his face on the dollar bill if our nation didn't hate short ugly people so much.

Oh, did we mention that he started violating the Constitution before the ink even dried on his signature?

Wait, What the Fuck?

When Adams found himself in the middle of an undeclared war with France in 1798, he did what any president would have done: built up the army, oversaw the construction of warships, and raised taxes. Then he went a step further and ate the Constitution.


Adams, with his brand new Constitution Toilet Paper.

Adams passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which said American citizens were no longer allowed to say anything negative about the government, or its officials. The president could also deport any individual who was from France, or really any individual who someone heard say something nice about France.

We can only imagine what John Adams thought of fellow founding father Benjamin Franklin, who spent much of the time after the American revolution banging fine-ass French shorties.

5Abraham Lincoln Screws Habeas Corpus, Never Calls Back

Why He's Awesome:

Lincoln might be the most revered president in United States history. Not only did the guy end slavery in the US, but he also reunited the country after the bloodiest war in its history. And he did it all while uttering a string of sage proverbs and sporting the bitchingest hat/beard combo this side of ZZ Top.

So what if, during the course of the war, he nearly arrested a Supreme Court justice for not agreeing with him?

Wait, What the Fuck?

Well, Chief Justice Roger Taney would have had plenty of company in the Thought Crimes ward during the Lincoln administration. In response to some rioting in the Union, Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus, that little piece of legal trivia that prevents the government from tossing anyone they want in jail without a trial. That meant that Lincoln had the authority to round up 18,000 suspected Confederate sympathizers and put them away.


"If I hear one more word about the Constitution I'm arresting this whole fucking country."

Or he would have had the authority, if it weren't for the damn Constitution. In the court case Ex parte Merryman, Staney ruled that Lincoln couldn't suspend habeas corpus. Lincolns response? He signed a warrant for Taneys arrest (if some records from the time are to be believed). Of course he never would have gotten away with it, if he hadn't suspended habeas corpus! Which, if you think about it, proves Taney wrong, albeit in the most retarded way possible. Take that, law!


"Arrest that man, he is incredibly dangerous!"

The arrest warrant was never served, as the story goes that Lincoln changed his mind and aborted beforehand. If he hadn't, who knows, it could be some other asshole on the five dollar bill.

4Teddy Roosevelt and the France Double-Team Panama

Why He's Awesome:

Teddy Roosevelt is pretty much the manliest creature to have ever existed, all the more so because he didn't start out that way. Born with only two of the eight testicles that he would possess by the end of his life, Roosevelt spent his early childhood as an asthmatic nerd, but through a strict exercise regimen and sheer force of testostotastic will, he managed to grow up into one mean rough-riding, trust-busting son-of-a-bitch.

His presidency was defined mostly by battles against corruption, racism, general badassery, and teaming up with a French to rip off the entire country of Colombia.

Wait, What the Fuck?

So the United States wanted to build a canal in the province of Colombia called Panama. After some intense negotiations, a treaty between the two countries was signed, but Colombia's Senate rejected it and asked for $10 million more than what had been previously agreed upon.

That's where Philippe-Jean Bunau Varilla comes in. Varilla was a French lobbyist, and the proud owner of what scientists have determined to be the most ridiculously French name in history.

Varilla came to the White House and convinced Roosevelt that the best way to get around the Colombian Senate's obstinacy was to start fucking with Colombia's domestic politics in a big way. See, at the time, Panama was considering seceding from Colombia, and Roosevelt decided that in order to get what he wanted, he was going to have to become that country's anti-Lincoln and get some Panamanians civil-warring. When Panama officially announced that it's independence, Roosevelt sent the USS Nashville to block the Colombian navy from interfering. And thus an independent country was born.

Well, independent from Colombia, anyway. Varilla now wriggled his oily little mustache into becoming the newly independent Panama's ambassador to the US.

Two weeks after Roosevelt and some French guy stole Panama ... er, after Panama declared independence from Colombia, Varilla signed the Hay-Bunau Varilla treaty and sold the Panama Canal Zone to the United States without the permission of a single actual resident of Panama, none of whom ever trusted a man with a mustache again.

3FDR Abandons Poland

Why He's Awesome:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a lot like Professor X: sure he was in a wheelchair, but his brain could beat up your brain without breaking a sweat. He lost his legs as a young man, but didn't let that stop him from becoming the only president to ever serve more than two terms (he served four, thus making him twice as good as any other president).

As president, FDR had to deal with a double-threat unlike any other: he had to punch Hitler in the face with one hand and strangle the Great Depression with the other. Somehow, he did both, and made it look goddamned classy. Yessir, nothing was impossible for FDR, expect for averting the slaughter of thousands of Polish citizens.


"Wah! I'm surrounded by bats!" (FDR looks like The Penguin.)

Wait, What the Fuck?

Roosevelt formed powerful strategic alliances with various world leaders, including Churchill, Kai-Shek, and a mustachioed cossack named Stalin. And just to clarify, yes, that is the same Stalin who ended up killing more people than Hitler.

When it became clear that the Allied Forces were going to defeat Nazi Germany, these world leaders started talking about their post-war plans for Europe. Stalin's plans apparently included becoming the Magneto to FDR's Professor X, and he demanded that the borders of Poland be redrawn in such a way that he ended up controlling a good portion of it. Roosevelt smiled politely and shrugged.

It wasn't long before FDR totally lost control of the negotiations, and Stalin ended up sitting on much of Eastern Europe. Roosevelt hoped that more negotiations could salvage the situation, which is about as advisable as trying to gamble your way out of gambling debt. He must have had a funny idea of salvaging the situation, because out of his desperation to maintain a good relationship with a mass murderer, he did two very stupid things.

First, he refused Winston Churchill's suggestion that they aid Polish troops in their fight against the Soviet puppet government. Second, he actually suppressed a report that blamed the Katyn massacre (in which 22,000 Poles were murdered) on the Soviets.


"Dear Poland...Go fuck yourself. Love, America.

But on the plus side, FDR's show of good will towards the Soviet Union assured several decades of completely peaceful, tension-free friendship between the nations. Other than all the times we almost went to war and obliterated the planet.

2Harry Truman Tries to Mail Strikers to Japan

Why He's Awesome:

Truman has been graced with a recent revival in popularity similar to Journey's. He's the guy who desegregated the armed forces, ended World War II, and waged an unpopular Korean War. Besides that, he's best known for being the most unpopular president (up until our current one). Of course unpopularity gives you street cred when you turn out to be right about the stuff they hate you for. Today, historians rank Truman as one of the top 10 presidents of all-time.

He might have ranked higher, if he hadn't tried to bust up a strike by drafting union members in the military.

Wait, What the Fuck?

In 1946, a massive railway strike basically crippled the country's railroads, in an era when trains were crucial for shipping goods and providing settings for murder and sexy espionage.

Pushed to the edge, Truman did what any reasonable person would: he told the strikers that if they didn't accept a settlement, he was going to fit them for some camo pants and ship them off to boot camp.

And in case they thought he was bluffing, he actually delivered a speech to Congress requesting the authority to do so (he probably should have checked to see if he had the authority before he started making threats in the first place).

In a cagey move of tactical negotiations, the workers decided they'd rather go back to work than get shot at in a foreign country, and relented mid-speech. Thus Truman ended what could be the most lopsided game of chicken in our nation's long history of accomplished bullying.

1JFK Causes a Blood-Ba'ath

Why He's Awesome:

Beloved by average Americans and conspiracy theorists alike, JFK was charismatic, intelligent, and in televised debates made Richard Nixon look like Quasimodo. In his finest hour, he managed to talk the Soviet Union down from a full-scale nuclear war. And, in case this ever comes up in a game of Trivial Pursuit, he is also the only American President to ever win a Pulitzer Prize.

Hell, the man even banged Marilyn Monroe.

On the scale of presidential infidelities, that's worth like 500 Lewinskies. Then, when he was tragically gunned down in Texas in 1963, his fate was forever sealed as an American legend. Unfortunately, not everything in the legacy was positive. Some of it was actually kind of, well, negative. Like for instance the part of it named Saddam Hussein.

Wait, What the Fuck?

In 1963, Kennedy and his administration decided that a fun way to spend the afternoon would be to support a coup against the Iraqi government. The country's pro-Western monarchy had been overthrown several years earlier, and after some intense debate and a couple quickies with Marilyn Monroe, Kennedy decided to back a coup by Abdul Salam Arif.

He seemed like a good candidate, considering that he hated Communists and loved America. So, under Kennedy's instruction, the CIA sent thousands of weapons to Arif, as well as providing him with lists of suspected Communists. Then everyone feigned surprise when Arif and his cronies used their newfound firepower to slaughter thousands of these so-called Communists.

You're probably wondering where Saddam Hussein fits into this. He was an enforcer for Arif's Ba'athist Party, and personally helped out with the slaughter. Later, he became the head of the party, and dictator of Iraq.


"That's one for Saddam. Count that shit.

But really, how could JFK have known? These things usually work out so well!

In honor of this article on presidents, allow us to be total hypocrites and explain why some of these six are The 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time. Or, if you'd prefer we douse you with more hater-ade, check out Gladstone's 5 Movie Martial Artists That Lost a Deathmatch to Dignity.

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