New Poll Attempts Balance in Presidential Rankings





For years conservatives complained that presidential rankings were dominated by the very liberals who controlled the universities and the news media, and thus Americans were looking at their history, and choosing their heroes, through pink-colored lenses. So The Wall Street Journal and the Federalist Society, no avatars of liberalism, engaged James T. Lindgren of the Northwestern University Law School to conduct his own poll -- one which strived to balance liberals and conservatives and give an average ranking.

Lindgren's poll, a survey of 85 historians, political scientists, economics and law professors chosen to ensure ideological balance, produced a ranking, at least at the top, where the heroes are made, that isn't all that different from the ratings developed by that symbol of liberalism, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, in 1948. The top three in the Schlesinger rankings were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The top three in the Lindgren rankings were Washington, Lincoln and FDR.


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