Oslo Declares Preemptive Peace: Five Presidents Who Flamed Out After Strong Starts

Regardless of whether you support the Nobel committee's award to President Barack Obama, his selection represents a huge gamble. All they can do in Oslo is hope that the rest of Obama's term—and career after leaving office—rises to the standard they believe merited the prize. Obama's track record is only 263 days long! Besides, there are plenty of presidents in American history who looked golden in their first year only to flame out. Obama could wind up looking like any of these men:

1. John Adams. A Founding Father and reputedly a man of principle—famous for defending the soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre, despite massive public opposition—Adams entered office in 1797 as the nation's second president. In the second year of his presidency, however, his reputation was stained first by the XYZ Affair and then by the passage of the Alien and Sedition acts, an aggressive move to suppress political opponents that most scholars agree violated the Constitution and were largely designed to limit criticism of the Adams administration.