Greatness in the White House: Rating the Presidents, from Washington Through Ronald Reagan

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Penn State Press, 1989 - Political Science
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A narrative account of the survey of almost 1,000 professional historians on what constitutes a successful performance in the presidency, this survey tells us almost as much about the thinking and biases of historians as it does about the nature of the American presidency.

Besides comparing past presidential polls and constructing a ranking list of the nation&’s chief executives, this study examines why historians rate presidents the way they do, and it analyzes those qualities and traits historians look for in a successful president. It also delimits what constitutes a failing performance in the White House and marks the major pitfalls that almost assuredly lead to an adverse historical verdict. In the process, the study demonstrates that there is not always a close correlation between what historians say a president should do and what historians obviously feel when actually ranking the performances of the presidents of the United States.

This study should prove enlightening not only to the historical profession but to the general public, political pundits, newscasters, public officials, and all presidential aspirants, and even to past and present occupants of the White House and their staffs.


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Past Presidential Polls
The MurrayBlessing Ratings
Do Appearance and Background Affect Presidential Success?
Character and Personality as Rating Criteria
Presidential Relationships as a Factor in Success
Administration Achievements and Presidential Greatness
Reactions to Presidential Rankings and Presidential Performances
Historians Rank the Presidency of Ronald Reagan A Test Case of Historical Judgment

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Page 4 - No person, except a natural born citizen, shall be eligible to the office of Principal Chief; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years.

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About the author (1989)

Robert K. Murray is Professor Emeritus of History at the Pennsylvania State University.

Tim H. Blessing is Associate Professor of History at Alvernia College.

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