The passage of time can do wonders for historical memory, especially when it comes to politics. Consider the reputational evolution of three American presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. Grant departed the White House in 1877. For pretty much the entire 20th century, the received wisdom held that his administration was a corrupt failure. Today, we are awash in books extolling Grant’s hitherto underappreciated greatness. Eisenhower’s rehabilitation did not take quite so long. In 1962, the year after he left office, one survey of scholars ranked him in the bottom half of American presidents. Yet by the …
This article appears as “Turf Wars” in the June 1, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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