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tv   Washington Journal C-SPA Ns Presidential Historians Survey  CSPAN  August 15, 2021 2:00am-4:00am EDT

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support cspan2 as a public service. >> our weekly series the presidency highlights the politics and legacies of u.s. president and first lady's next, a conversation about c-span historian survey of presidential leadership with richard norton smith, douglas brinkley, edna medford. >> since the 2000 each time there's been a change in administration, we have asked historians and professional observers of the presidency to participate in c-span historian survey of presidential leadership or this morning we drove our team of historian advisers who oversaw the fourth survey for a deep dive into those results rejoin from texas by professor doug brinkley of white university from michigan historian author smith by historian author and here in
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washington d.c. it is professional and that green bedford of howard university. thank you and for joining us this morning. doug brinkley to start with you this morning, the discussion by explaining the criteria that we use here. how do we compare the men, they are all men at this point who held the office of the presidency over 230 years more than two or 30 years. how do you decide to make that comparison? >> c-span is put together a group of all of us on the air today, our advisors to it. how we rank in the presidents. we want to people to realize it's not a scientific ranking. it is to be fun and enlightening to stoke a conversation around the nation about various presidents, and what what briley did or do it's not just one ranking your breaking them up into categories. president will be judged on
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foreign policymaking or on race relations. or on the environment for public persuasion, on media relations, you get the idea. it's broken up into numerous categories. the newborn one -- ten scale and all those categories. at the end we add them up and there is the list. the key ingredient are the historians and scholars. there are only a few of us on air today. the top biographers, academic historians, journalists have written important biographies are all part of this survey. we really try to get around 150 -- 140 people answering the survey. and we are very proud every four years because of the list. we can all quibble over somebody we think should be ranked higher or lower but there is something sustainable going on here.
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every time, every four years lincoln holds that number one spot followed by george washington, then franklin d roosevelt and then theodore roosevelt. those of the big four. after that you get presidents in flux with the reputations going up or down. dwight d eisenhower it's really interesting which is why is another talk about in eisenhower memorial on the mall. eisenhower has two terms has one at third period he got us out of the korean war avoided another war. the only time he used government truth going into little rock on civil rights endeavor he created nassau the st. lawrence seaway the interstate highway was a very moral, not a lot of corruption. i could go on.
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can see the rise of someone like dwight d eisenhower who not that many moons ago was ranked pretty much in the middle they thought he didn't do much as president now the archives open we can see he was a hands on president not a hands-off one. the rise of eisenhower i found particularly interesting. he is now one of the american great. >> he went from the top five forced to run at the top ten. the sixth place is truman. ninth, reagan, tenth spot is barack obama. president trump and 41st overall in its ranking. there's plenty of time to dive into those results. but ed that medford, why do
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this? to do this and compare these presidents over so many years? >> absolutely. it is always important to talk about what is happening in terms of government, leadership. it is important to look at these over a period of time. historians like to view history from afar. we do not like to look at current events so much. and so if you look at the ranking of these presidents over a period of time you get a better appreciation for how were doing in terms of the countries memory of them because of the passage of time so each generation makes its owner comes to his own conclusion about how successful these men hopefully
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have a been in terms of the leadership of the country. the last two hours of the program talk about this survey you can join the conversation today here are the phone numbers to do separate republicans 8001 democrats 202-74-8000. independence (202)748-8002. richard norton smith as people started calling already this morning, this is c-span's ranking. this is 142 historian. how did you select those historians? who gets to be a part of the survey? >> that's a good question. there has been a concerted and i would argue that successful efforts since we began this back in 2000 to enlarge and
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diversify that economic electorate there are participants in the original survey. 140 won this time around. that is up about 50% that did not just happen. it's an effort on the part of the organizers to specifically diversify to find more women more people of color and more conservatives. historians and political scientists tend to vote left. even more than that if you look at the first thing that jumps out at you at the top of the list but the bottom of the list or the same three there
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were that were 20 years ago. they've been in every single one of those surveys. but in between, i'll pick up on something edna said. it's really fascinating. if you look at where the movement is we'll talk about this later. if you look at someone like andrew jackson who in the 20th century was routinely considered one of the seven or eight most important to look at where he is in our rankings all the way down to the 22nd. he is traditionally seen as a reconstruction era failure. the fact britt has surpassed
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jackson and the overall ranking is really revealing about the different criteria that are being applied 20 years on. and of course to some degree those doing the voting. >> the last survey in 2017 andrew jackson as the viewers just saw on their screen was ranked 13th back in 2017. twenty-two this year, ... s grant up from 33 -- 20. that is the deep dive into the results were doing over these two hours. kat: let's it bring you into this conversation for this is the first conversation you've been on this advisory team. what is your impression of the survey and years to pass in the previous three surveys? what surprised about being on it this year? >> thank you i'm honored to be here and join the c-span team. the survey always impressed me
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because we included not only star academics but also in the field who might not be phd professors. so we are glad of that. there is no snobbery at c-span which is always been one of its strengths. if you look for hopefully serious people who put work first. that is why you get such a sound pole. i was glad to see in the pole. polls look like a younger america and we are thrilled about that. >> your reaction to donald trump's ranking? the first time you've been included in the survey we do that every time there's been a change in administration since the year 2000.
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president trump coming in 41st in the highest rankings in the area of public persuasion and economic management. his lowest rankings and moral authority and administrative skills. your reaction to the 41st debut? >> the harder it is the closer we get to the presidency. you have to ask yourself where the historians as objective as they were answering whether they would vote for trump next time. or were they really ranking him. i say that in good conscience. it's very hard to rank when people look at the recent jump up of president george w. bush. that is when the factors in the pole. you see president bush 43 president bush went up. we had to change lenses when we look at history. i believe that played a role
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in president trump for economics. i think history will bear me out on that. let's just look at the other things, you see jackson going down president trump is more like andrew jackson. more of a cowboy. cowboy said not do wellin americans opinion. >> quickly on president trump 4t ranking his debut at 41st. in these categories we ask historians to rank the presidents on, public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, international relations, international skills, relation with congress, the vision setting and agenda pursuing equal justice for all in the performance within the context of the times. do we give any further definition of what that should mean as historians make the
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ranking? >> one of the problems is you wait for 25 years to judge a president. that is when the archives are receipt releasing documents on the freedom of information act. you could start getting papers to trail in reconstructing. after 25 years we will have a view of the trump presidency that might be different than what we have now. it might be better it might be worse. but alas we don't do this in this poll. we decided to include william henry harrison who is president for a month. that creates a line in the sand itself. you want to be below the president that was in the white house only for one month and then died of pneumonia. that is where it president trump finds himself. that means you are doing a negative job as president. that means you did not help the republic forge forward.
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i personally thought that trump would be fighting for the worst spot with james buchanan who was an active and trying to revert the civil war. buchanan is always clinging to that bottom rung. but trump has a chance to move upwards as we just heard. his chances would be a reelection. and suddenly he is not the two-time inpatient one termer but he is a two-term president who led a populist revolt in the united states. his future is still wide open. and may beat down the line he will rise for other reasons on people relook at say the program to get our vaccines so quickly distributed during the covid crisis. george w. bush was very, very slow. people assumed he would stay low because of the great recession because of the iraq
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war which was unpopular because what some people saw a foreign policy suddenly is rising, why? people start reflecting differently. he responded very well to george w. bush. why the decency factor. this past year bill clinton and richard nixon fell some spots. you have to say why? i think because watergate was in the news so frequently. because of the lewinsky affair was being talked about during the double impeachments of trump. and this little spiel by saying nancy pelosi said during the impeachment to trump many democrats have said we are going to paint trump and history. were not going to remove him
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from office but there'll be a dent in his armor. this ship poll shows the dent. when you have a double impeachment of a president's pretty hard to see why people are going to be looking at that as being successful uniting of the nation. >> plenty to talk about in these two hours of the "washington journal". plenty of colors already for our panel historian advisors. by the way if you want to follow along with these rankings and some to break out the laptop the president survey 2021 you can dig into these numbers and call in and ask ed nectarine medford all have doug on the line for democrats go ahead.
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>> first thing happy fourth of july it's honored to be talking with such a distinguished panel of guests you have on your. pretty much think he believed putin over own fbi. it's pretty much was putin's monkey. like this last year, last year alone would be last on the u.s. but his response to the coronavirus. but i did not want to panic everybody there he's like you're serious? if obama did that ut fox news raising hell saying impeach, impeach, impeach. and the other thing about the insurgents. people trying to say get your head out of you nowhere.
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it was sort of like a surprise but these people getting arrested. here he is in our lago visit ranking on the survey so should it be lower? >> yes. >> that's doug in north carolina, your response? >> guest: i think what we need to remember is that surveys are completed by human beings. we may be historians and people who are following presidential leadership, the changes at least. we still have to remember this is very subjective based on their own beliefs and their views. and that's why it is so important to have a diverse pool of participants.
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may have been lower if we have a different group of people. we are pleased this year's poll is so diverse. and so i think we are close to where a lot of folks are at this point in time. and it can change by the next study, by the next survey. we can advance or decline. a lot depends on what happens in the next few months and years. there's so much going on at the moment. we really have to wait for a while and see what his legacy is going to be and how he does. >> here is a look at recent
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presidents and our last four surveys. president obama is ranking 12 and 2021. his ranking up to ten. president bill clinton debuted in 2021 on the list in the latest survey. debuted at 36 up to 29. president trump debuting at 40 went on the list. all this available on our website for you to dig into. and wake force north carolina you have steve. >> i have a question for you all the people who hate trump so much in that media. how many showed up in florida last night to see the real president of america? i am just asking to anyone of you know the numbers? a whole lot of people showed up to the president. ask steve to bring into this conversation where would you
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put president trump in eight ranking of presidents? >> to me he is the best president in my lifetime by far. i noticed that 75 million votes in real life that actually happened. i just wish the media, before media personalities would stop hating me, my country and my president, thank you. >> panel of historian advisors , we haven't gotten your thoughts yet. >> i have been called many things but not a media personality. we will get that out of the way first of all. this call in previous call illustrate is the fact we could spend all morning and the rest of the day and probably till the next fourth of july read debating the controversies of the last four years. clearly there are people with very strong feelings on both
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sides. i had suggested, not the pulley plug on all of this but i have suggested the 20 year rule where we assess presidential performance going back 20 years. if you stop to think, you go back to the beginning of the survey. every president since then unintentionally but nevertheless the immediate climate have all been polarizing figures. in spite of their best efforts divisive figures, richard nixon was certainly a polarizing president said it would take 50 years before anyone could write about him objectively. i don't think we need to wait 50 years. i do think there is something special about presidents not only recent in time but identifies donald trump does
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of continuing element of polarization on both sides. i think that skewers the natural process. dwight eisenhower as doug mentioned, when i left office, he came in below chester arthur at 20 seconds. guess what in 1966 his papers began to be opened at the eisenhower library. people began to see ike was much more sophisticated political manipulator. and that process generally tends to apply to presidents when they leave office. it will be fascinating to see
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if donald trump who is unlike every other president in so many ways turns out to be on like other president in that respect as well per. >> donald trump we should note joe biden is the 46th president of the united states. richard norton smith you want to take the trivia question whites one through 44 here? that is right one man serves as president twice. grover cleveland is one president by the way it is significantly in her pole. he is the 22nd in the 24th president pretty so far at least the only president in american history to serve nonconsecutive terms. >> we got karen out of tampa florida good morning. >> good morning. my question is or my statement is that i believe crisis management is probably the most important factor in the ranking of the president.
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i believe john f. kennedy had not been president during the cuban missile crisis that would have been weeks and we would have ended up in a nuclear war with russia. i wonder if there is any waiting if you will to the different factors in the ranking. are some factors more important than others? also if you agree with me on kennedy the whole joint steeps of staff want to going to war. eighth overall top performers in crisis leadership abraham lincoln fdr theodore roosevelt. truman dwight eisenhower thank you for that question.
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we do know about kennedy and averting war for their different kinds of crises but if you favor only one kind of crisis that is crisis foreign policy. you also want to look at domestic crises such as covid. there are two philosophies. not all demand activity or restraint. were going to talk about coolidge, coolidge was a president who held back in a crisis there is terrible flood in the south, there is a flood in the home state of new york. he held back. he did not jump in. he actually believe the state should handle the crisis. americans of both want presidents to jump in domestic crises and don't.
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that is the division. our system is divided. when people voted on crisis management it did depend somewhat on their philosophy. you always jump in a crisis? you always jump in and a certain way or do you hold back? to me that is the big question what is the definition of crisis and what is the definition of the correct response. that's a nice transition to calvin coolidge. i will note amity shlaes on the charitable board of trustees of the calvin coolidge presidential foundation. what should people i am proud to say i'm broadcasting have it going on right now and
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guess what we should remember today is coolidge's birthday. he is the only president born on the fourth of july. last night we had a coolidge reenactor and a coolidge birthday cake. i hope now the company is opening up and people do come to the state historic site coolidge was a very specific federalists. come in another year to celebrate on the fourth request coolidge foundation is the website born on the fourth of july. doug brinkley john adams and thomas jefferson the great
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founders of our nation. we should be celebrating thomas jefferson through the declaration of independence. ironically jefferson on his tombstone in charlottesville, virginia did not want to be known as the president of the united states produce more proud of offering the declaration and being a founder of virginia and other aspects of the career. jefferson i think should be a little higher coming out recently in these polls. because of the one big thing he did, the louisiana purchase when you doubled the size of america and one swoop of diplomacy is such a large game changing event what jefferson did. but one of the things i want viewers to understand is jefferson does not get credit in the polls for doing the declaration of independence that's before he became president. we were just focusing on the
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president. john adams and jefferson i call one of their intellectual feuds was aware did the american revolution start? adams always believed it began with the boston tea party and the boston massacre. it really began in massachusetts. jefferson clung to the idea it was patrick henry who launched it in virginia. they had an intellectual dispute on the origins of the american revolution. their letters to each other should be mandatory reading. i consider them foundational text meaning the u.s. constitution, declaration of independence, bill of rights. i would look to see at the adams jefferson letters as a volume that tells us how in a democracy you can hammer at
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each other, run these very ugly and difficult elections and still promote american democracy. you see people like bill clinton become very good friends with george herbert walker bush. and george w. bush for that matter. gerald ford who richard norton smith is writing this amazing biography of, ford and jimmy carter became incredibly close it. they ran against each other in 1976. but on this fourth of july we celebrate calvin coolidge great i wish i was up there in vermont. to thank the founders for having the idea of creating the remarkable democracy we all love and cherish so much great. >> thomas jefferson ranked number seven on this year's
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survey ranked in every survey we have done. the top and bottom of this historian, abraham lincoln coming in first place teddy roosevelt in fourth place all four times. at the bottom of the last three peers johnson and buchanan. that is always the bottom three in the survey. taking your phone calls about it, letting you talk to our panel of historian advisors. richard do you want to take independence? >> yes, good morning everyone. i appreciate the chance to be talking with all of your guests this morning. i wonder, we were talking earlier about the rankings and how they change. i would like some opinion it's possible our media is actually
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part of why we see a fluctuation over time. or for instance with the information they're putting out at the current time can affect how people are thinking. maybe even historians. when the attacks are more available we get a totally different outlook. >> thank you for the question. >> that is an excellent question. when i was at the ripe old age of ten there's a book published called when the hearing stopped. it reflected probably prevailing view in the academy. it was the last of red rope wilson. the presidency and it crippling. it was a very sympathetic
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account. it's been a while since i read it, i don't think there's any reference to the issue of race. in wilson's secretary and views wilson very much a southerner about the post- civil war generation. because we looked at wilson and the immediate reflected holly made a movie called wilson. i can guarantee you there is nothing there about wilson's racial attitude. he was seen as a heroic figure, the creator of the new frontier. champion of the league of nations, a visionary. the fact of the matter is even now for the last 100 years most of them have been wilsonian's and their approach to foreign policy the united states had a particular moral
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obligation as a great global champion of democracy. ironically the same of wilson today is because of the discrepancy between the democratic reason while he pursued on a global scale and the commitment to jim crow is him that characterized his presidency. it is certainly true the immediate in the broadest sense of the word they in many ways provide the context and they affect the priorities that we as historians had to hold most significant at any particular moment. >> you mention the work of gerald ford. coming in at 28. not to put you on the spot but when are we going to be able to put her hands on what you have been working on? [laughter] i just wrote page 833
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yesterday. i got 100 to go. certainly sometime next year. it's hard to believe next june is the 50th anniversary of the original watergate break-in from which many ways all of our history stems. that seems to be a pretty good update for a big new in some ways revisionist biography of gerald ford for. >> pretty sure i could get you an interview on c-span when that comes out. focus for that. you've got russell out of south carolina democrat good morning. >> russell are you with this? you gotta stick by your phone. charlie in new york a republican, go ahead. >> good morning. i have the question and a statement. my question is, does your survey have obama ranked above
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ronald reagan? >> no, no. ronald reagan comes in just before obama. your statement is what? there was something else there. >> yes my statement is let's look at president trump's accomplishments. his cutting of taxes and regulation has the economy booming. the lowest unemployment rate for blacks and hispanics in our history. for the first time in our history, more women were participating in the workforce than ever before. his acknowledgment of jerusalem the capitol of israel he moved there. he is reform of criminal justice had black people released from prison. you have him ranked at number 41 is absurd.
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>> charlie in new york. >> yes so as i indicated these are very subjective rankings. depending upon the individual philosophy, political and otherwise. it could be very different depending upon who is actually voting and who is ranking. i will repeat again it was a very diverse group. and so there would have been both democrats and republicans to go back to a question about the media. i think it is important to remember that that media always claims a roll and what we are thinking of the people who are our leaders. needing to remember we are in
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a moment there's a very important social movements. a movement for social justice so some of these people especially those in the middle and are gaining over the years. it is occurring because they are getting higher scores and the pursuit of justice for all americans. i think that this year the survey shows that. especially so whether someone comes in first or 41st or 44th this has more to do with not just with the economy. how they did with international relations. it's also about administrative ability. it is about whether or not they were looking at the country from the perspective of all part. >> on that category pursued equal for all the 2010 categories we ask our
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historians to ranked presidents on. a lot of movement particularly in pursuing equal justice for all. there's a lot to be gained and that category. grant and coolidge and taft and george w. bush all gaining in that category from the last time they were ranked. several that fell in that category at hayes, cleveland, madison, nixon, monroe, jefferson. talk about the resident who fell the others in that category woodrow wilson from 20h place in that category 2:30 seventh place in this survey. >> yes. wilson is the president who made the statement supposedly that the birth of a nation very racist depiction of reconstruction was history mixed with lightning. he was someone who had a very
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negative attitude about people of color. minorities in general. his administration is occurring at a time when there is an assault on immigrants. especially immigrants from southeastern europe. there is a lot to praise him for. their leaders of the nation socially as well. people take pay attention at a point in history or races played a role in this country. the going to get lower ratings in that particular category. >> amity shlaes i mention calvin coolidge i should come up to you and that category 224h
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this year. we think coolidge was not a bad civil rights president actually a good one. he made native american citizens for example when he signed that into law, and he said all men are equal that is final. he really believed and looking past differences to all citizens. he signed a restrictive immigration act depends how you would count equal justice to new immigrants. coolidge believes we should take care of who is in america first. he was not a bigot. he thought america had limits when it came to immigration at
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certain points in history. i didn't want to make a second point about the media. the media are people as historians are for they are affected by education. one of the things i notice is the shift in secondary school education. that affects the media particularly when people do not go on to study history at university. the national association of scholars recently published a survey which i would be honored to participate that would be ap textbooks and regular textbooks. the textbooks were rather left. very disappointing.
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analysts the books were too far over the second factor of ten a national association of scholars survey their hard to learn from. they they can the student with facts and factoids these active exercise on a portal but his left wing message about individual performance should disappointing all over the culture and get your
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reaction to that doug brinkley taking it up. opening up of the narrative seven new national monuments lgbtq people. we have soldiers for black americans who fought in the army. we did do caesar home with bears ears for native americans in utah. the point is the narrative
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looking at the number of women and minorities are taking part in the survey. a new kind of lens a new sensitivity. one recent calvin coolidge got to put presidents when operating in their time on race. race is mattering. grant has gone up some. people are looking at more of his enlightened view on race and state woodrow wilson. wilson's problem was not just of the nation he tried disenfranchised or get lower pay to african americans. in the wrong direction is definitely race matters he
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gets a perfect score in different issues and civil rights and race. you're looking at something like obama who served two terms was largely a scandal free operation neptune kill osama bin laden is the first non- white mail president you've had. he is of great significance. a lot of people wonder if he should be at number ten i stress the two terms we had good one term presidents. only a one term he oversaw the
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gulf war that was successful. the liberation of kuwait. german reunification, the breakup of the soviet union, the foreign policy of bush 41 is phenomenal. he goes it downward he got attacked by pat buchanan from the right and then ross perot and a third party. bush did not become a two termer. he doesn't rise as much. when you are getting to the first polling moment is whether you get reelected or not. you do not need our survey. did the american people think you did a good job you get reelected. but was it one term president he's usually ranked, he is ranked very high. but you have a great advantage if you can put together two terms the ways that eisenhower did or reagan did.
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in the cases of kennedy some of our categories working kennedy's favorite when you're working in a media he was phenomenal. he invented the modern press conference. persuasion is stunning. he could have a approval rating of nasa's moon shot, kennedy talked about crisis management not just croup cuba but berlin crisis and its institutional are the peace corps. he created the seals but he created the green beret. he did the nuclear touch ban treaty before jack kennedy, we are blowing up atomic bombs in nevada and people were getting sent to downwind.
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when this unfortunate someone who has a wonderful person james garfield never had a chance to track as president. what's the lowest lot but it's not fair to him because he never had an opportunity to put together an opportunity for a normal term. >> to the lone star state home of a couple presidents, frank and lewisville texas an independent you are on,. >> i appreciate that sir can you hear me okay? >> number one i think trump should have been a lot higher the number 41. this is for the panel. i want to know how political this survey was. anybody on the panel what the
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percentage of left wing democratic historian voting was compared to the percentage of rights wing republican historian voters. >> richard norton did we ask party affiliation we selected the 142. >> we made a very deliberate effort to diversify, recognizing implicit with the caller is saying is that traditionally come historically as i've said earlier as he talked about left leaning textbooks. while academics and particularly those who study the presidency especially political scientists have tended to lead in the same way. interestingly enough, if you
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look at the steady growth and the size of the diversity and that representativeness has been a very significant effort. i would say successful effort to incorporate more conservative voices. but the terminology that the caller uses and i respect his viewpoints, it goes back to what he talked about earlier. there are either left historians or right wing historians. that affects a red and blue dividing line if you will on our politics. presumably it is in our academics. and again it makes the case for just help provisional rankings are when you look at a president who is still very much in the headlines, was
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very much a political figure. one reason why it presidents tend to rise and these rankings over time is because they cease to be active political partisans. again doug mentioned the friendship that developed between both presidents bush and clinton. you cannot imagine that happening will they are in office or political adversaries. they become involved in charitable work. in effect they graduate from the role of date today polarizing partisan figure to this ill defined roles of elder statesman. it will be very interesting because from what we can tell
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president trump sees himself certainly as a contender in 2024. he has no intention of retiring to build a presidential library like most of his predecessors. therefore he remains a polarizing figure as the polls this morning suggests. that may or may not give i will say the next pole of historians ranking. >> for viewers on social media who are asking about survey participants, that information available on a website survey 2021 is where you can go. we can look up the participants in deep dive and
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look at the very scores all available at for entering her second hour of the fourth survey. our historian survey and we are joined this morning by our panel of historian advisors. again it's doug brinkley from texas, michigan richard norton smith, via zuma amity shlaes author historian and here in washington dc professor ed net green medford of howard university with this for another hour to take your phone calls. the first color in this hour comes in the land of lincoln, lincoln placed first in all four of the surveys, judah is in illinois a republican. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i like the first state i don't meet any box but i am a republican, my family has been
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republican since the emancipation proclamation. although the current state of my party, the party of lincoln seems to be frayed around the edges to say the least. things i have thought about while listening to your show this morning, was this insurrection that occurred january 6. as ike tied that to what occurred as far as the angst regarding the tea party, disaffected white american voters if you will. trump is the representative. but he started to think about this, with all of the african-americans have been through from the birth of this country the civil war world
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war i, too, is a sleight of hand to tulsa oklahoma. and thousands degradation and violence that we have experience in this country. and not one damn time did we have steps of the capitol when it matters. we went with her hands out in our hearts open to march on washington with doctor king. but not once did it ever occur to the african-american to ask this country to walk up those steps and desecrate the capitol. that says a lot. that goes unspoken of. there's a gentleman with a book out about president jackson. said you can't be judging by today's standards. while i can.
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the bible has not changed. right is right and wrong is wrong. right was right and wrong was wrong. >> that is judah and illinois this morning. we'll go to howard university associate provost history professor edna green medford for your answer. >> the interesting thing is that although there has been oppression throughout the decades and the centuries, african americans still believe in the promise of the declaration of independence. we know we were not included in the words all men were created equal because most of us were considered property legally at that time. but we still believe in the promise. we believe that america can do better and will do better because we understand that
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although people are not concerned about the loss of power is a gentleman said they understand that in america everyone should be entitled to rise as lincoln said. but to the need to stay in control sometimes is the overarching factor. the thing that motivates people. we are at a very dangerous point in the history of the country. and so we have to decide whether or not were going to move forward and ensure those of the declaration or if we are going to move backwards. it is on us, this generation to make that determination. >> amity shlaes are nodding your head a little bit there. we come to you for your thoughts. >> well, we very much agree on that is the last one which i
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am trying to pull it up. it is in the context of their. >> performance within the context of time. abraham lincoln. >> he also has to judge people and we tried to judge them within the context of their time. did they do with they set out to do and said they would do? what were other people around the president doing at that time? what is a valuable in the stability of this poll is it shows americans respect that. that is people usually judge a man or a woman by their own terms. i think that is also what edna is saying. there some noun us in this poll. we care more about americans as civil rights in history then we appear to care
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formally. therefore we judge slightly differently. there's a slightly different effort that's very, very important. >> host: professor medford back to you would you agree? >> guest: absolutely get that all the time too. you have to judge the person according to the times. her tongue met slaveholders who were president that's what everyone is doing during that period not everyone was doing that during that period there were some people who are abolitionist. i can judge them based on human rights. i can look at george washington and say he did a wonderful thing in terms of not trying to secure power unto himself in the presidency. he could have done that because he was the first or at least he could've tried to do that. i can certainly appreciate all that he mentioned to the country and all he gave to the
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country. i can still be concerned this man held over 300 human beings in slavery while he was president. and i can do the same with thomas jefferson. thomas jefferson is writing the declaration of independence. he talked about the equality of all men. he too is holding people enslaved, large numbers of people enslaved. it's hypocrisy or what is it? how could they actually hold human beings as property while fighting for their own liberty. i don't think it is possible to separate the man or the woman from their personal actions and what they are doing for the country. >> the declaration of independence signed on this date july 4, 1776 reprinted on the back page of the "new york times" sunday opinion section
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the words written by thomas jefferson we hold these truths to be self evident all men are created equal certain unalienable rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happyness, doug brinkley. >> yes, it really is, i read the declaration every fourth of july it's my particular habit. it's really like a press release the declaration of independence. the original one had two names on it, john hancock and charles johnson in that great signing ceremony comes later. imagine this and philadelphia it's created the united states and the british laughed at it and they say we want to arrest thompson for freedom attention treason and hang them. but alas the country of the 13 colonies pulled together and the american revolution gave
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us our first president. the one thing everybody agreed on was george washington did such an amazing job of winning the war that the culmination at the battle of yorktown in virginia he became the unanimous choice. it was charles thompson who was a secretary of the continental congress went to mount vernon, virginia and told washington you are it. you are going to be the first president. washington was reluctant. he wanted to stay and work the land. and his enjoy his life in northern virginia. alas he did the famous riot from virginia to new york city. if you go there today the federal hall in washington i urge everyone who goes to new york city to visit federal hall. see birthplace of the bill of rights it's a spot were washington got the first inaugural thompson at his
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side. i did spirit of democracy people begged him to stay on. he said no i'm going to step back. it's more like a monarchy. his quitting of the presidency is one of the great presidential actions in u.s. history. that's why in washington you could spend hours as always hangs in there at that number two spot. really our top three presidents linked in washington and fdr so remarkable. her talk about crisis management the highlighter war
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on trent mark of some people thinking of the above lincoln. negating above those top presidents we have a lot to be thankful for. i just came back from north dakota on the western edge of montana. they are building roosevelt presidential library there. there's 234 million acres of wild america in the national parks and wildlife refugees. all those going camping and exploring with a wild america over the fourth of july weekend have to think for he injected conservation as the main premise of his presidency which was from 1901 -- 1909.
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i get tired of just talking about donald trump personally. he was impeached twice but he lost like 10 million votes. he was a disrupter not a uniter. it seems obvious he was not going to be ranked very high. it's much more interesting to talk about fdr, talk about ronald reagan to terms reducing nuclear weapons in the world. and he's able to do incredible diplomacy with gorbachev. that had greatness. when reagan left office reagan thought is a polarizing president he was a conservative. people who study the presidency recognize he left a better place. particularly when one works at
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that cold war foreign policy context. there is a lot of fairness in the poll. i don't think this is a right/left thing. calling a democrat republican. i think these scholars they went and studied in the written book. there really giving us their honest opinion on these surveys. >> you bring up reagan. steve on twitter and several comments, sorry we've not been able to get too many of them this morning. steve written on twitter the placement of a reagan at number eight, section number nine on this latest list, steve said it is outrageous. his supply-side economic principle continued to damage the nation printed the inf treaty is a singular achievement. top 15 says not top tent richard norton smith on ronald reagan. it illustrates the fact that
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it has been 40 years since ronald reagan took the oath of office. even people who disagree with him, according him the status of a consequential president. ian even ate transformative president. what do i mean by that? franklin roosevelt change the political weather. after 1933 people fundamentally whether they liked it or not, whether they voted for it or not, recognize there is a fundamental change underway in the relationship between the average american and their government. brought about first by the great depression and the second world war. in much of the same way franklin roosevelt's consensus about the rule of government prevailed like historical
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stature standing in the top ten. when he talked about in his own time in the next 40 years arguably as change in the political consensus. we were no longer talking about centralizing power in washington, personalizing power in the presidency. an activist if you will, a proactive approach of the nation's problem. ronald reagan always talking about the problem itself we are at a crossroads. forty years later the reagan consensus, members bill clinton famously said the era of big government is over. he said that not because in my opinion was an activist by
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temperament. he recognize the how true politician the limits set by the reagan era consensus. he became president the end of reagan. as a real debate going on, there clearly are different views held by the millennial generation about the role of government. american history is cyclical. it very well may be after 40 years reflective distrust if you will of government and its capacity to address the problems. for example global warming. the problems are different and not surprisingly over time public attitudes may evolve along with those.
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>> 45 minutes left in this segment july 4 edition of the "washington journal". we've been spending the last two hours of our program talking about c-span's survey of presidential leadership. 142 per participating this time around letting you call in to ask about those results. up on the west coast out of chico, california is wando. line for republicans, wando. >> caller: you guys are long-winded. yesterday there were supposed to be a rally on youtube i was supposed to cover the trumpet rally but they backed up for political reasons. they have over 400,000 viewers. >> host: do you have a question about the survey we
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have our panel of advisors for the survey to talk about it. >> caller: it's my comment is about the survey. i don't think any. [inaudible] anyhow i really don't care about a bunch of needy elite stew went alright that's in california ron and westchester good morning. you are an expert. >> caller: good morning happy fourth of july awesome panel of historians thank you for taking my call. listen i know you're survey is about ground breakers and innovators. basically great leaders. presidents that have worked to make great strides for a more perfect union. that is who it seems to be at the top of your survey. you know, i really hate to get
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back to this but these are the times we are living in. and unfortunately, i am wondering it seems like everything is coming back to donald trump. he is the 10,000 pound elephant in the room. i don't see how he made it to number 41 on the list he's the insurrection he's friends of the worst leaders in our world. he should be dead last on your list. if you make a list of worst presidents he should be right at the top. you know, he grabs women without their permission. he has no morals, note standards, no ethics, no standards he should be at the very bottom of any list that makes good presidents that puts a good president at number one. he was garbage for a president. >> got your point moral authority is one of the
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categories advisors and historians who participate in the survey to rank, let me give you the top ten and moral authority. abraham lincoln and george washington of the top followed by franklin roosevelt, dwight eisenhower and then theodore roosevelt. barack obama, jimmy carter, john adams, harry truman. amity shlaes on the top performers and moral authority. >> i have finite political capitol. i need to be able to spend it all. why is scandal bad? because scandal takes away political capitol. or moral authority. we see that in a few presidents lately got creative distractions. therefore were not able to get legislation through. think about president clinton
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who probably would've got his healthcare legislation through if he did not have is very scandal sprayed some of that was his fault. americans in this poll at least, the discipline it takes to be president. what you have to put away, put down in order to max out on your commitment you have made in your party's platform. and hopefully a rigorous party platform. it's very interesting to see the thinking on that. when you go back what is surprising that moral authority question is sometimes a trumped by other concerns. grant went up because of civil rights. certainly lost moral authority. most of the time and this poll what i am seeing is people respect moral authority. not because they are prissy
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but because they want a president to be able to execute on what they said they would execute on. that is part of being an effective executive in history. >> and todd evansville, wisconsin a republican good morning. >> good morning. the last time i called in was presidency a couple years back and brinkley was on talk about the last survey. there is a discussion at that time. apparently after 25 years presidential papers are more accessible. i am thinking mr. brinkley said this morning that he is tired of talking about donald trump. at that time a lot of the discussions about obama a lot of the survey is discussion of
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current politics rather than historical context for president. so there is a delay in evaluating current presidents. wonder if you have a more valuable discussion. look at the movement of rush 43 to that point. and wonder if i could get some reaction to that. >> dug brinkley i will let you respond. >> that is a very fair point. i think richard was talking about that. we have had to decide it's kind of 20 or 25 rule on it. since having to to make a decision movement with inclusion. yes, obama got talked about a lot last time and trump right now. in the course of this the fourth of july i've been working really hard to talk about jefferson, fdr, washington, lincoln and some of the others.
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presidency don't talk about or think about. for moral authorities not ranked very high. both of them have such an extraordinary ex- presidencies. carter winning the new nobel prize. , and organizing free and fair elections. john quincy adams i think there's something like 16 years and congress they are huge figures as human beings john quincy adams and carter. their performance is not as some of these particular presidents. the 25 year rule is a good one. i wish it could be ten years.
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incidentally with cuts and a national archives it's hard to get into papers these days. you don't have enough staff and you have to wait and resurrected those. throughout this amazing biography of grant. it mattered, people read it. bill clinton read it and the "new york times" book review. suddenly everybody started reassessing grants. a new biography on coolidge, gerald ford, jimmy carter kind of worked its way into people calling at that media. it's also books. books matter. it's an interesting he wrote a biography of harry truman and truman started moving into one of the top ranked presidents. right now it's very right for
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somebody to do a big book on james mattis and dolly madison. really looking madison in the war of 1812 as he wrote so well. he has been underestimated as the president. he might start seeing madison rise. but the initial points, do you wait for 20 years? it is a decision we made. we did not want to start excluding president so we decided to include them all. >> books matter. our friends @booktv might have their new promotion clip just now. joining us from downstairs in our studio here at c-span. i want to talk to you about that building that's over my shoulder just down the street from us at c-span congress. one of those categories we ask historians to ray to the president on is there relations with congress. one of the slides we had
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assumed recent presidents have moved a bit in that category on relations with congress. i pointed george w. bush moving from 36 to 21 and this recent survey. a lot of movement when judged about relations with congress. someone like richard nixon down eight spots from 30 -- 38. what do you find interesting in that category relation with congress? >> it is a difficult category because we are kind of making the president responsible to have congress response to what that particular president is attempting to accomplish. for instance in the case of obama because he has so much trouble with the republican party, especially, he is sort of held accountable to that as opposed to congress. in the survey we have no way of saying the responsibility of congress to try to work
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with the president whenever possible. so what we are seeing i think in terms of those who are making gains an understanding of that. the president may have done the bestie could to try to compromise, to try to work with congress. and congress was very insistent. i am hoping that as, i'm assuming it is happening that as the participants in the survey are looking through these categories they are understanding that president may be doing the best they can. especially in that particular category. but they are never going to be able to get a very high score if you have a congress or part of congress that has determined that no matter what the president is attempting to put forth for the american people they simply are not going to participate in that.
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there is such political tribalism and there has been for a long time. is there an inherent handicap for a president in the survey or an inherent advantage here if they served in a united house-senate and presidency? >> is actually in control of the senate and not the representative. things will work out for that president either. there is been more advantageous to have the same party in power in congress. you have a situation where you have a party that has decided no matter what is being put
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forth we are not going to participate. were not going to give this person a victory. we are not going to ensure the legacy of this person. what is a president to do? >> who was the president that served in united government. non- politician i hate politics as you know now happier that is the political
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temperament he is been a quote politician except he had been a military. he had remarkable skills out side egos together to win world war ii. and in some ways it turned out to have been almost perfect preparation for dealing with for most of his presidency a democratic congress. while he was doing with sam rayburn and the fact of the matter is those three men decided to work together. it's one reason why people are nostalgic for the 1950s. you had divided government for most of that era. but effective government. >> gerald ford had a two --
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one democratic congress party issued 66 vetoes he made 54 of them stand despite the numbers in congress. so was he a success because of that? or was he in fact a failure because he was forced to resort to a veto strategy? >> that illustrates in a small way the either/or nature of a lot of these criteria. >> exactly why survey like this is so interesting all available at our website about a half hour left with our discussion. amity shlaes we got an independent. >> yes, good morning can you hear me okay? speed but yes, sir go ahead. >> guest: could you speak up a little bit? >> caller: yes can you hear me okay? >> guest: yes. >> caller: thank you very much for taking my call. what a wonderful conversation we are having here this morning with such learned
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people. the reason i am calling is i wanted to ask about president grant. i started reading a couple biographies one by ron sherman one bite ronald right. i've also been reading about lincoln and fdr. i feel grant was overlooked in history for his great accomplishments. especially the performance during the civil war is one if i could get some comments from you regarding his presidency and the fact he was hailed as a great man during his lifetime? >> thank you very much for taking my call. we went thanks for the call i would note grant up 13 places in this latest survey from the last we did in 2017. from 33 -- 20, amity shlaes on
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u.s. grant. >> there's a concern about civil rights in the culture now. that to me would be the biggest factor he was a strong general and he was because of civil rights after the civil war. that was the short answer. >> deb brinkley doing to expand on that? >> first off, grant the name is just golden. anyone and new york city knows about grant's tomb and his memoir. although it was in the civil war one of the great documents in history grant wrote brilliant battlefield reports. i grew up in ohio so i'm always proud to claim and grants coming from home state being born there.
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they've name ... us grant presidential library in mississippi under the auspices the battle of vicksburg in the civil war was this big turning point. i think libraries was one of the reasons for grant's rise. they are not only getting visitors they are starting to digitalize much of grants writing and thinking. : : >> in new york, the people would come to see it and that they were confederates pretty to make the right man as well as people who work so proudly served under graham and the union army so is really just a matter of time that i think the grant would get some resurrection and
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there were plagues of corruption within the administration that i think has her grant of an of these previous books the caller has read in both the white internet books, magnificent. i just read a book that will be coming out on grant and if you have a feeling the grant will be talk about the salt more. that's life, the stocks go up, they go down and there a lot of different factors for it and bill clinton for example, one could argue that clinton was the most effective president of our time and after two terms, we had the balanced-budget but a surplus and nato expansion, democracy was on the role. but nobody is done a book on
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clinton because hillary clinton got into the mix and then she didn't win. now the me to movement our son why he was impeached and somebody that is right for a revision, it happens so that would come by way of documentary and a new book probably not from political process anymore because really a really clinton lost, retired from that predict somebody does it book on clinton you will see him rise a bit predict. >> so i'm happy got through that it was amazing you got through that without it joe frankly predict and democrat good morning. it. >> good morning and thank you for taking my call and i'm happy for everybody. thank you on behalf of everybody. this is a great survey as though hundred always and the panel is
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exceptional. my question is regards like categories and which categories if there's any particular one that each of the panelists codified is more important in the top four looking at presidents and i just want to say today is the fourth of july. i have two kids who share birthdays with presence kool-aid and got john quincy adams we tell them that they have presidential birthday buddies neteller learning teaching the kids, my kids about the presidents and stuff. >> it sounds like your teaching because right. read them again, public persuasion crisis, leadership economic management, moral authorities, international relations administrative skills, relations with congress vision
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setting an agenda for people justice for all and performance within the context of the time. is there one that is more important to you than the others read it. >> i would have to say there are two there really important to me in those two our moral authority and pursuit of equal justice for all and if i had to choose one of those two, it would be the pursuit of justice for all because as americans, where a date very diverse nation and you have to be more inclusive than we have been. if are going to remain a strong nation so our political leaders have to understand that and have to move forward it to try to make that happen. and especially on this day, you can have the opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we need to go. and i we've done a lot and accomplished quite a bit. they're not there yet read we
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talk about lincoln's unfinished work, what we are definitely trying to finish that work. and like it was so much enamored with the declaration of independence because what it suggested was that all men and women, we are including more people than thankfully that all americans have a right to do the very best that they can into have the opportunities to improve their lives. the political leaders not doing that, and only looking at one segment of the american population, then he and hopefully she sunday, can not be suggest that person is doing their job so the most important thing, then a political leader can do i believe and certainly
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that the president can do is to ensure inclusiveness in society. >> only quickly get it answer from the rest of panel, is one individual leadership characteristic is more important to you than the other nine in the list. >> why would agree with the importance of pursuing equal justice. look, 20 years ago before all this, and we tried to decide among ourselves what would be the appropriate criteria, i can guarantee you that was added, there was not a factor that was taken into consideration by the traditional academic holes before 2000. the specifically, the last category >> et al., the performance within the context. that matters. because the presidency in the 19th century is a very different office from the presidency in the 20th century.
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and in age of radio, may be different from the presidency in the age of television. and james monroe could be reelected in the middle of the first great depression in and herbert hoover hundred years later is still stigmatized and personally linked to the great depression that began during the presidency and expectations the presidents change and therefore, definitions of presidential performance must also evolve. >> would you bring up the idea presidency in the age of twitter. while into that. mr. one category more important than the others in these rankings. edna: finally isn't not warmhearted but i will mention it, economics management. presidents look good when they times are good because they make at times good it did they inherit the times.
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this was a questions i'm very glad to see that category in there and i think in history departments if not a whole wider expansion as the discussion, for example. franklin roosevelt did not bring employment below 10 percent. so was he a good economic manager or not. he was an inspiring economic manager and a good war leader, good admiral, commander-in-chief but you can read the question about his economic management. the gap between the inspiration and the reality and what was the nature of the great depression was is so bad that roosevelt did well or was it so bad because that administration contributed to the great depression. that question needs a discussion inside of the american 90s without politics and without
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president trump obama and looking back of it and see these points in history. so very glad that it is included in very glad i would also say they were looking at history. there's a joke about history is that we don't think it to work the and trent where the puck is going to get as in wayne gretzky, hockey player, we skate to where the puck was in the past. on this endeavor is a worthy and thoughtful endeavor that can enrich our clinical conversation. if we allow it to, histories on the defensive now, politics is political are pushing it down. so what is glorious about this poll is that it looks at history. they're all in their, we consider them thoughtfully and with data. it. >> on a category one part into the others go quickly pretty. >> i would go with crisis
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leadership in that regard abraham lincoln is just utterly remarkable. the way that he pulled our country together when we were divided. imagine being president of the united states and lincoln was not even on the ballot in seven southern states noise in washington. the battle of bull run in which the confederates one the first battle is where dallas airport is today is beyond crisis and these other unraveling of america, in the end, hundreds of thousands of americans died and hundreds and thousands were wounded and maimed from the worry lincoln pulled our country together and he pulled us through it and gave us foundational test like his first and second inaugural the gettysburg address and the
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emancipation proclamation. and so crisis management, lincoln number one. franklin d roosevelt number two in the genius that he was pretty industrial mobilization in world war ii and recognizing that world war ii was not just going be one on an island in the pacific. coming world war ii or in the battlefield of europe, the it would take place in detroit and new york in the shipyards at san diego and seattle and that homefront organizing to win the war for the country together, we are all in it. his president-elect crisis management during world war ii for the stabbing. lincoln and fdr and in that category and crisis management. very high in important on the categories that we look at
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predict. >> thank you for spring a good discussion this morning. born ohio republican, you are next good morning. it. >> good morning and happy independence a day, what a great panel, what a great channel, i would like to quickly dispute very respectfully is directly come i think of world war ii his family help i believe fdr kinda gave a lot of eastern europe only to stalin. and again i have a real problem with fdr at number three. i recently finished the forgotten man and although fdr comes out real friendly with his chance but according to your book he was going after a kosher chicken butters in new york city. he spent years going after
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andrew mellon, and many thousands of dollars of his fortune on legal fees. and i just wonder personally, with where you believe fdr should be on the list where you captive and i would also like to thank mr. richard norton smith and i had opportunity to hear you speak in ohio, is a very informative and humorous presentation and once again let me think of panel and it will take the answer off the air. thank you and happy independence day to all of you. >> on the forgotten man. >> cell franklin roosevelt, higher on foreign policy predict. >> democrats (202)748-8000 and
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independence (202)748-8002. i coming back to you, and the length of the discussion about abraham lincoln, the supplier list and bracketed by the presidents with the lowest on our list. why is that in this is surprising to you that the best presidents follow white pentagram between the two worse. >> not in the least. these were all mid- 19th century presidents predict and i agree that at the bottom of the list, are presidents who were faced with a crisis and did not manage it well. it appeared to do this as the country was on railing he perhaps condemned something in his at the person in the middle of this whole debate over the
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expansion of slavery. in the 1850s, he allows well the act peers doesn't really attempt to challenge that pretty you have buchanan who was sitting by as the country gets closer to war. he doesn't do anything to stop it and you have lincoln and coming in and he is a decision. he neither allow the confederacy to go its merry way more he can try to keep the country together and he decides to go for broke. he decides that's important enough of the nation to be preserved predict to go to work and he has tremendous loss of life, over 700,000 people die as a consequence. but he also opens the door to ending slavery and that has a tremendous and that is
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revolutionary and then he is succeeded by andrew johnson does not in any way fit to be president at that time predict so makes perfect sense that lincoln is elevated to number one because the country could not have survived without his leadership and of course without from the military in the market people. rinse his leadership that really makes a difference. >> not to be too much up on johnson but stand that. white completely unfit. why is he always last. it. edna: andrew johnson was a southern from tennessee, a democrat, someone who remained loyal to the union but he didn't have the administrative ability to lincoln did and he did not have the moral authority and certainly was not any
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consideration of equal justice for all people. he just could not function at a time when the nation needed to be healed and needed a much stronger leader and he simply could not deliver. >> to ever engage in what is history of lincoln had survived pretty. >> of course, not supposed to but we do. it is a fun thing to do i'm probably a little bit different in terms of historians to the believe that if lincoln had survived, there wouldn't have been the kind of tensions in the tragedies and reconstruction that occurred. but i beg to differ there, think that lincoln was so tired of the struggle they might have been willing to compromise in a way with us at least, for the confederacy in a way that may not have extended rights to
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african-americans and they worked because johnson was so incompetent congress was able but the radicals the republicans and others were able to have the right. and so i suspect that the 14th amendment would not have been ratified as early. i don't think the 15th amendment would been ratified as early. i just think that lincoln would've try to find a way to compromise with himself because he had already indicated before his assassination that there should be a more stance towards these people who had renewed themselves from the government. >> to journey towards always more compromise than perhaps he could have a should've done. it. edna: it certainly would've been included a former confederate and certainly not pushing them aside, it was not throwing them under the bus so to speak. he would've wanted them to be a
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part of the government and he certainly did he would've wanted african-americans to be a part of new government as well because of the role that he was the leader of the republican party and what better group to give the republicans power in the south than those persons who have been formally enslaved but i still think it would've taken longer for citizenship to have a card. in the voting rights to occurred it for the african-americans predict. >> history all day or another hours only a few minutes left in him again a few more callers. dale new jersey democrats good morning you were next. >> good morning and thank you cspan for allowing me to speak. my favorite all-time president was president john f. kennedy. in my bucket, he did the most to help people of color. in a witch with could do something as far as where this world would've been if john f. kennedy would have been allowed
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to live. where would black people and what would our existence be like in this world. president trump in my opinion was the president of the confederacy. i think his main objective was to bring the confederacy back in the power. thank goodness the people are waking up and realizing that it is better formation as a whole for blacks to be treated equally and receive the same rights and privileges that we have heard and deserve in this country. >> is gail new jersey. in her book, to me of a panelist that has spread in a couple of books of jfk, quickly. it. >> on john f. kennedy, ranks
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very high among the public. he is a loved person, love the figure and i think the fascination in dallas is so much as lost, like the end of american innocence. the truth is that we had a golden age of president, fdr, truman eisenhower and kennedy. all getting very high marks and it seemed that things went bad it after kennedy's death. now lyndon johnson deserves a lot of credit for the civil rights act in the voting rights act pretty he did so much like medicaid and medicare and pbs and npr and scenic with rivers and created the department of transportation and lady bird, unification and we could go on and on. but the vietnam war of johnson's just devastated american divided us into these camps and when we
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now think of kennedy we realize the promise of america, his challenge in his inaugural speech, one of the great story of all-time, american universities speech about peace and as mentioned before, banning the testing of nuclear weapons, great achievement that he did with russia and britain and something hemispheric and underwater testing of nuclear weapons. and so kennedy had so much to offer and being the first catholic president, i think there's a feeling it that he shattered that glass ceiling, it always been protestant and american figures and then suddenly, there is john f. kennedy. so he lives large and some people have been singing the press, bias kennedy so hyper when you break down these categories, you will see that actually was very good in all of
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them so i think he's positioned about right. we can always quibble over who should be eight or nine or they should be ten versus 12. the bottom line is kennedy is one of the great presidents through the ages. >> and our favorite part is quibbling. we only have so much time. when recall, may be appropriate on july 4th, revere, massachusetts, susan independent go-ahead with your question or comment. >> but i just want to thank this incredible panel read each and every one of you are just extraordinary americans and makes me proud to watch you on the fourth of july. so i could say so many things. i guess i just want to give a shout out, i am overwhelmed. i could comment on all of them. and the gerald ford biography, that will just be a thrill for me please have great admiration
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for him. i guess i would like to talk about and i agree that clinton deserves despite his personal failures, and being overshadowed you know, the hillary loss etc. but i guess i would like to say i can focus on bush's well, george w. bush who was such a great administrator and a moral person i think and run a tight ship. i think he was very charismatic and skilled politician and could with the whole idea of foreign interventions the debacle of the iraq war predict. >> we have just about a minute left and all that richard norton smith take a minute. it. >> blue-collar racism really important point. one reason that i think why the
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second president bush has risen in the rankings is applicable to this whole process. and that is that when we reassess presidents, one of the factors that we take into account is how did their successors handle the same issues. for 40 years, every president had a deal with the cold war, some more than others. presidents and their attitude towards israel and the middle east, we have 70 and 80 years in which they compare and contrast in the fact that there is a lot of criticism directed at george w. bush with the original decision to go into a rocket, but as time passes, we also look at how is it successors have their own difficulties in dealing with the consequences of that decision. and all of that in some ways is
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backed into i think to her assessment of bush and you can have that issue after issue in president after president. >> and out of all of the former presidents come available at that website survey 20 of 20 i think our panel from texas, and douglas brinkley historian and author richard norton smith and via zoom in historian author amity shlaes and also edna greene medford of howard university and thank you all so much for your time. >> this week we are looking back to this date in history. >> we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer defeat that all has ende we think that the light has left
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his light in july forever, not true. only a beginning always in the young must know it, the old must know it they must always sustain us because the greatness comes not when things always go good for you but greatness comes when you're really tested and when you take some knocks, some disappointments predict when sadness comes. because only if you have been in the deepest valley, and then you have no how magnificent it is to be in the highest mountain. and so i sent you on this occasion, we leave proud of the
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people which stood by us and worked for us and served this country. we want you to be proud of what you have done. we want you to continue to serve in government if that is your wish. always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty. always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. >> follows on social media on c-span history for more on estate in history. we can us bring you the best in american history and nonfiction books, saturday on american history tv, on the presidency, and discussion the results of
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cspan's fourth historian survey of presidential leadership with historians richard norton smith, douglas brinkley, edna greene medford and amity shlaes and they rank presidents from best to worst into different categories on lectures in history, turn-of-the-century women journalists such as nelly by an face society pressures about femininity and having a career in journalism. i was state university professor. ... ...


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