Read e-book online Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency PDF

By B. Altschuler

ISBN-10: 0230110177

ISBN-13: 9780230110175

 Although motion pictures in regards to the presidency were a favored topic for research, there's no identical literature approximately performs that painting leader executives. This ebook fills that hole via interpreting intimately approximately 50 performs depicting historic, fictional or even musical presidents. It explains how, because the public's belief in govt has declined, the heroic presidents of the 1st half the 20th century were changed on level by means of such antiheroes as Nixon and Harding.

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Extra resources for Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency (Evolving American Presidency)

Sample text

Despite some reputational changes, subsequent versions have shown considerable consistency in the overall rankings. Polls of the general public have varied more over time, revealing a bias in favor of recent officeholders. For example, when a 2009 Gallup Poll asked which of five presidents respondents would “regard as the greatest,” Ronald Reagan led with 24% followed by John Kennedy and Lincoln 22%, Franklin Roosevelt 18%, and Washington well behind at 9%. In comparison, a C-SPAN survey of historians taken at about the same time ranked Lincoln, Washington, and Franklin Roosevelt as its top three, with Kennedy sixth and Reagan tenth.

Plays about Abraham Lincoln 19 Of all the Lincoln plays, the most durable has been Robert Sherwood’s Abe Lincoln in Illinois, which covers the 30 years before Lincoln left Springfield to assume the presidency. This length of time allows as much as 20 years to pass between scenes. The audience’s familiarity with Lincoln’s life permits Sherwood to do this without having to explain everything that occurred during the gap. Sherwood’s interest in Lincoln went back to when he was thirteen and entered an essay contest commemorating the centennial of Lincoln’s birth.

Krutch’s review suggests the major problem that Goodman proved unable to solve. If Lincoln was so great a president, how could his actions have been virtually identical to those of Andrew Johnson, ranked near the bottom in every survey of historians, even to the firing of Stanton and failed attempts to replace him with Generals Grant and Sherman? Despite the failure of Goodman’s play, some version of the question its title asks still fascinates the public. In a recent article, historian Eric Foner writes that whenever he delivers a lecture about this time period, an audience member will ask what would have happened had Lincoln lived.

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Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency (Evolving American Presidency) by B. Altschuler

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