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Overrated/underrated Reputations

May 2024
1min read

… Was Woodrow Wilson a “man of superficial ideas but no real principles” whose “obsessions befouled human discourse,” or was he someone who “did his best to apply intelligence and a sense of history to politics, and found that the system couldn’t accommodate them”? Was Theodore Roosevelt a creature of “ego rather than thought or principle”? Is his Secretary of State John Hay “the best possible illustration of a lazy, modestly talented individual who rose to renown”? Was Thomas Jefferson’s career “close to being a disaster”? American Heritage recently asked historians, journalists, and politicians to choose the single most overrated figure in all American history, and the most underrated one. The answers are surprising, provocative, irritating, funny, and altogether fascinating.

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