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David Brion Davis

April 2024
1min read


Sterling Professor of History, Yale University

Most overrated:

Ronald Reagan. Because he has been so appallingly overrated, he has somehow managed to win two presidential elections. As a result, our system of constitutional democracy has been more seriously threatened, in Irangate, than at any time since the Civil War. Our economy is on the brink of disaster. We’ve been launched on an insane trajectory toward Star Wars. Above all, public life has become so addicted to fantasy and illusion that it may take decades before the nation has restored its sense of priorities.

Most underrated:

John Quincy Adams. Also, George Marshall. Both were patriots in the best sense of the word, brave men with vision and a commitment to the public good, not seekers of celebrity and public adulation.

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