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Henry Steele Commager

May 2024
1min read


Professor emeritus and John W. Simpson Lecturer, Amherst College; author of The Empire of Reason; Contributing Editor , American Heritage

Most overrated:

Aaron Burr. A brilliant, plausible, but desperate scoundrel.

Most underrated:

John Quincy Adams. One of our greatest, most honorable, most learned statesmen, largely responsible for the Monroe Doctrine and the Smithsonian Institution. He was the leading congressional champion of the antislavery movement and of civil liberties.

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