DALLAS (NEXSTAR) – While it’s difficult to call 2020 the worst year ever, it’s certainly a top contender. When you look through history, there were plagues in early times that wiped out massive amounts of the population. Yes, far worse than the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it’s difficult to compare those days to modern times.

We’ve broken down a few years over the last 200 years that could easily give 2020 a run for its money:


It’s difficult to argue that America in a civil war wouldn’t fall into the category of worst year ever.

1863 included the Battle of Gettysburg, which was the bloodiest of the conflict with some 51,000 deaths in just three days. The year also includes battles in Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Chickamauga and Chattanooga.

On top of that, imagine the status of race relations. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January prompting heated emotions on both sides of the issue. If you think race issues in 2020 looked bad, it’s difficult to compare them to what happened during the U.S. Civil War.


1919 could best be described as an absolute mess.

Race riots during the year were labeled the “bloody summer of 1919” with 38 dead and 500 wounded during a 5-day riots in Chicago. Lynching of Black Americans were on the rise with 76 killed.

As inflation skyrocketed following the first world war, unemployment jumped to 20 percent. While that was happening there were massive labor strikes with steelworkers, coal miners and police officers.

And as you may be aware, 1919 also featured the Spanish flu. The number of deaths was estimated to be around 50 million across the world with some 675,000 in the United States.


Ask most baby boomers what the worst year of their lives was, and they’ll likely point to 2020 or 1968.

In April, Martin Luther King was assassinated while he was standing outside his room at a Memphis motel. The news sparked riots and demonstrations across the nation.

Months later, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was killed while addressing supporters in Los Angeles. A few weeks later, there would be riots at the Democratic National Convention as Vice President Hubert Humphrey accepted his party’s nomination.

As these two defining events occured, the Vietnam war raged on, the My Lai Massacre occurred, and students revolted across the world.

Additionally, Richard Nixon was elected president. And we all know how that ended…

So what do you think was the worst year ever? Share this story on your Facebook page and get your friends and family’s opinions.