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Who would you say was the “Greatest American”

I nominate Doctor Benjamin Franklin. A self made man, America’s first international star, a founder and a million other things.

But deeply, deeply flawed, flawed as we all Americans are.

His greatest contribution, in my opinion, was not copywriting any of his incredible inventions and ideas. He gave us the fire department, libraries, schools etc. and asked for nothing in return.

Cool guy.

by Anonymousreply 102May 22, 2024 11:27 PM

A big black lady. I don't see how you could be so racist.

by Anonymousreply 1May 13, 2024 4:36 PM

Mark Twain or FDR.

by Anonymousreply 2May 13, 2024 4:43 PM


by Anonymousreply 3May 13, 2024 4:44 PM

Another vote for FDR. The "American Experience" profile of him is amazing.

by Anonymousreply 4May 13, 2024 5:08 PM

Judy Garland

by Anonymousreply 5May 13, 2024 5:14 PM

James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson. It's a hard question.

by Anonymousreply 6May 13, 2024 5:17 PM

Kyle Rittenhouse — no one even comes close!

by Anonymousreply 7May 13, 2024 5:17 PM

Ralph Hinkley.

by Anonymousreply 8May 13, 2024 5:18 PM

Sharon Stone should definitely be considered for this prestigious honor.

by Anonymousreply 9May 13, 2024 5:20 PM

r7, that's Ralph [italic]Hanley![/italic]

by Anonymousreply 10May 13, 2024 5:21 PM

Hard to narrow it down.

Abraham Lincoln

Frederick Douglass

Al Smith

Charles R. Drew


by Anonymousreply 11May 13, 2024 5:23 PM

Debbie Reynolds, for her championing of the working class's right to protest capitalism.

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by Anonymousreply 12May 13, 2024 5:26 PM

Crazy Horse, who refused to be an American.

Who refused to have his picture taken. Who had the grudging respect of the US Cavalry. Who refused to die on a US Military cot and died with his body on the ground, connected to Mother Earth.

Who was a distinguished veteran of the Battle of the Greasy Grass, better known by Americans as General Custer's Last Stand.

Who was never diminished upon meeting Americans. They were uplifted by having met, and battled, him.

Crazy Horse

by Anonymousreply 13May 13, 2024 5:26 PM

R4 Um, not FDR sweetheart. FDR who had all the antisemitism of his knickerbocker forebears. FDR who could have stopped the holocaust by bombining train tracks but wouldn’t because he didn’t want to lose support for the war by making it look like the war to save the Jews. He wouldn’t let mews into the country and said if they came they needed to be spread iit so no one place becomes too Jewish and the Jews too politically powerful.

by Anonymousreply 14May 13, 2024 5:27 PM

FDR? No.

Eleanor Roosevelt, yes!

by Anonymousreply 15May 13, 2024 5:29 PM

Yes FDR was a virtual Nazi!!! That’s why he didn’t put any Jews in his government or on the court.

by Anonymousreply 16May 13, 2024 5:32 PM

Truman Capote

by Anonymousreply 17May 13, 2024 5:35 PM

William Katt

by Anonymousreply 18May 13, 2024 5:36 PM

Alexander Hamilton. I saw the musical!

by Anonymousreply 19May 13, 2024 5:41 PM

Good choice, OP. I would like to add Teddy Roosevelt, who was more progressive than his cousin FDR.

by Anonymousreply 20May 13, 2024 5:53 PM

Malcolm Michael and Raymond Rivera, Champions of Gay& Lesbian rights!

by Anonymousreply 21May 13, 2024 6:01 PM

Boyd McDonald

by Anonymousreply 22May 13, 2024 6:01 PM

It is not hard to narrow it down.

Abraham Lincoln.

He singlehandedly saved the United States. He learned from his mistakes and came to a profound understanding of nature what the Civil War was about. He was a brilliant thinker whose writings remain, apart from the nation's foundational treatises, the most influential documents in our history.

That he was killed for her service does not make him great. But that his greatness cost him his life adds to his legacy.

What stains his record is his Indian policy, which maintained the expansionism, dismissal of treaties, and double-dealing characteristic of government actions. That his grandfather was killed in a raid, which through his father was a lasting family trauma, and that he largely left Indian affairs to local officials because of his distraction with the saving of the Union does not excuse him. But the question here isn't who was the most perfect, the least culpable, or the most idealistic. It's who was the greatest, and that necessarily means the persona who did the most to secure the survival of what we're calling "America" - the US.

With a cold civil war, waged by people with the same mindset as the secessionist South, taking place today, where is the Lincoln we need and shall need?

Washington made the country, but as a slaveowner who was one of the wealthiest people in the land, his conflicted feelings about slavery do not excuse him, either.

by Anonymousreply 23May 13, 2024 6:07 PM

R1 trolls early and often. It’s the new conservative way.

by Anonymousreply 24May 13, 2024 6:07 PM

To R16, FDR put Henry Morgenthau Jr as "Secretary of the Treasury". At the time, Treasury was a 'nothing post"

by Anonymousreply 25May 13, 2024 6:08 PM

The Constitution writers

Martin Luther King Jr.

Harriet Tubman

Abraham Lincoln

Duke Ellington

by Anonymousreply 26May 13, 2024 6:09 PM

Julia Roberts-that "fucking nasty cunt" fucked more str8 mens than all of data lounge combined!!

by Anonymousreply 27May 13, 2024 6:15 PM

[quote]James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson. It's a hard question.

Or Marilyn Monroe and George Jefferson.

by Anonymousreply 28May 13, 2024 8:09 PM

George Santos, of course.

by Anonymousreply 29May 13, 2024 8:09 PM

[quote]His greatest contribution, in my opinion, was not copywriting any of his incredible inventions and ideas.


I had no idea Franklin was interested in advertising.

And a copyRIGHT is not the same thing as a PATENT.

by Anonymousreply 30May 13, 2024 8:10 PM

Marsha P Johnson

by Anonymousreply 31May 13, 2024 8:13 PM

Madonna or Gaga or Beyonce.

by Anonymousreply 32May 13, 2024 8:16 PM

Abraham Lincoln

by Anonymousreply 33May 13, 2024 8:19 PM

Ben Franklin loved WHORES.

What could be more American than that?

by Anonymousreply 34May 13, 2024 8:24 PM

Dolly Parton. Easy one.

by Anonymousreply 35May 13, 2024 8:33 PM

Not to turn this into a Holocaust thread but many people in Eastern Europe we shot to death close to their homes, r14. It was called "the Holocaust by bullets". It's unlikely that FDR could have stopped the mass murder of Jews simply by bombing railway tracks. The allies and partisan groups bombed railways all the time, they were simply repaired. FDR biggest crime was imprisoning Americans and seizing their property because they were ethnically Japanese.

by Anonymousreply 36May 14, 2024 5:35 AM

Another vote for FDR.

There's a reason he is consistently ranked as one of the Top 3 Presidents by historians, including in this year's latest survey. This year FDR moved up to 2nd, surpassing Washington, and only bettered by Lincoln:

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by Anonymousreply 37May 14, 2024 8:42 AM

The movies are great medicine. Thank you, Thomas Edison.

by Anonymousreply 38May 14, 2024 9:26 AM

Brendad Ickson

by Anonymousreply 39May 14, 2024 9:40 AM

I instantly thought of Benjamin Franklin before I even read you chose him, so I echo your sentiments.

by Anonymousreply 40May 14, 2024 9:43 AM

R23 Washington Inherited his slaves. He didn't believe in slavery and raised money to set them free. He was trying to raise $200,000 to train them and send them to live in a free state. He was not allowed to free them in Virginia. Once slavery was intact and you lived in a slave state you couldn't just send the slaves away without money or training to a completely different state. That would have been cruel. Slavery should never have happened in the first place.

by Anonymousreply 41May 20, 2024 8:55 PM

Sean Storm.

by Anonymousreply 42May 20, 2024 8:59 PM

Iggy Pop.

by Anonymousreply 43May 20, 2024 9:10 PM

FDR and America saved more Jews from Hitler than any other country.

Before, during, and after the Holocaust, Americans were oppose to both immigration and especially Jewish immigration. The US had immigration quotas in place, and FDR knew that if he tried to raise them, the public and Congress were likely to abolish them completely. So his administration used all of the European quotas to save Jews. More than any other country by far. When the war started, travel across the ocean was impossible and many documents were destroyed (including Anne Frank’s family’s application). The world likes to bash on Americans, but this is one area where they need to look in the mirror.

by Anonymousreply 44May 20, 2024 9:11 PM

Mark Twain.

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

"If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed."

A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory."

"I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."

“I have read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem,” said Twain. “And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.”

by Anonymousreply 45May 20, 2024 9:45 PM

Lincoln. By far.

by Anonymousreply 46May 20, 2024 10:19 PM

Frederick Douglass or Lincoln

by Anonymousreply 47May 20, 2024 10:21 PM


by Anonymousreply 48May 20, 2024 10:22 PM


by Anonymousreply 49May 20, 2024 10:43 PM

But the revelation of Franklin Roosevelt’s sentiments will probably shock many people. After all, he led America in the war against Hitler. Moreover, Roosevelt’s public persona is anchored in his image as a liberal humanitarian, his claim to care about “the forgotten man,” the downtrodden, the mistreated. But none of that can change the record of his response to the Holocaust.

The observance of Holocaust Memorial Day begins Sunday night. It is the annual occasion to reflect on the Nazi genocide and the world’s response to it. In the case of the United States, it is sobering to consider that partly because of Roosevelt’s private prejudices, innocent people who could have been saved were instead abandoned.

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by Anonymousreply 50May 20, 2024 11:05 PM


by Anonymousreply 51May 20, 2024 11:08 PM


by Anonymousreply 52May 20, 2024 11:11 PM

Paul Mescal

by Anonymousreply 53May 20, 2024 11:12 PM

Easy: Lincoln. No one comes close.

by Anonymousreply 54May 20, 2024 11:16 PM

[quote]it is sobering to consider that partly because of Roosevelt’s private prejudices, innocent people who could have been saved were instead abandoned.

Yes, let's never forget how FDR was an antisemite like everyone in America. Crypto Nazis, all of em.

"Over the course of his twelve years in office, Roosevelt swayed back and forth as the country veered from Depression-era isolationism to reluctant British ally to a nation at war. During that time, many in Congress and the powerful labor movement (including Jewish labor leaders) opposed immigration at a moment of record high unemployment. Though the State Department made it difficult for Jews to obtain visas, about 132,000, or nearly a quarter of all German Jews, found refuge in the United States—far more than were taken in by any other country. That same State Department also suppressed news of the Holocaust and frustrated rescue efforts, but it was ultimately overruled by FDR himself. Breitman and Lichtman write that Roosevelt “had to make difficult and painful trade-offs, and he adapted over time to shifting circumstances.” They conclude that he can reasonably be credited with saving hundreds of thousands of Jews.

If Roosevelt’s scholarly critics acknowledge this achievement, they do so only grudgingly, and they argue he could have and should have done more. But so-called righteous gentiles—non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, such as Oskar Schindler, whose famous “list” contained the names of 1,098 people—are not normally criticized for how many more Jews they could have saved. Instead, they are celebrated for those they did save in the face of the cruel and relentless determination of the Nazis to murder Jews. The question is why FDR’s list is now more often noted for the names it left out than for those it included."

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by Anonymousreply 55May 20, 2024 11:20 PM

Madonna !

by Anonymousreply 56May 20, 2024 11:21 PM

Hannibal Lechter.

by Anonymousreply 57May 20, 2024 11:21 PM

Verst Leddee Melania Trump.

by Anonymousreply 58May 20, 2024 11:23 PM

OP Ben Franklin was a Trumper before Trump. This is Franklin on the German immigrants.

[quote] "Few of their children in the country learn English... The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages ... Unless the stream of their importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious,"

[quote] He said in the same letter that he wasn't opposed to the immigration of a small number of Germans because they "have their virtues." Nonetheless, he fretted that the ones who had arrived here were "generally of the most ignorant stupid sort of their own nation," and would therefore bring the country down as a whole if they continued to immigrate.

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by Anonymousreply 59May 21, 2024 12:38 AM

Eleanor Roosevelt

by Anonymousreply 60May 21, 2024 12:38 AM

America created the War Refugee Board in 1944, a dollar short and a day late - as the majority of European Jews were already dead and dying. Roosevelt should have taken action sooner. Like JFK did later during the civil rights movement, he pandered to the bigots in Congress and took only the most minimal steps to save lives.

by Anonymousreply 61May 21, 2024 12:46 AM

Irving Berlin.

by Anonymousreply 62May 21, 2024 12:49 AM

Jonas Salk

by Anonymousreply 63May 21, 2024 1:11 AM

FDR. Imagine getting Social Security passed today! The Conservation Corps, the programs he started to get the country moving again after the war. He was a true leader.

by Anonymousreply 64May 21, 2024 1:14 AM

John Adams.

by Anonymousreply 65May 21, 2024 1:15 AM

Gayle King

by Anonymousreply 66May 21, 2024 1:16 AM

Shelley Hack

by Anonymousreply 67May 21, 2024 1:17 AM

R30 Pedantic, but correct. For your noble efforts to educate the masses, you shall be rewarded with advice on where to put it.

by Anonymousreply 68May 21, 2024 1:43 AM

In my younger days. I had hope for the American dream. Surely our country, no matter how flawed and imperfect, would bend towards greater justice and equality. We’ve done the opposite.

Forget the politicians. I’m voting for Willie Nelson. He’s flawed, imperfect, but capable of uniting Hollywood and Texas, hippie and cowboy, gay and straight, black and white, stoned and not.

by Anonymousreply 69May 21, 2024 1:47 AM

Another vote for FDR. He got the country through a massive war AND created the most progressive government programs to ever exist, which helped turn around the Depression.

by Anonymousreply 70May 21, 2024 2:03 AM


I may take back my comment and add my vote to yours. Texas Monthly just had a Sweet 16-style poll on the greatest Texan ever and Willie won hands down.

If you haven’t read it, try to find the TM special Willie issue - the articles really evoke the bygone era of Austin in the 70s, when Willie and Darrell Royal would hang out and play golf together, and hippies and rednecks and frat boys all gathered to hear to same music. It’s inspiring and bittersweet.

by Anonymousreply 71May 21, 2024 2:06 AM

How did Franklin give us libraries? The ancient civilizations had libraries.

by Anonymousreply 72May 21, 2024 2:18 AM

R61 You don't give a shit about the holocaust, your FDR attacks are to promote Israel.

In recent years, the distorted view of FDR has been promoted by a small group of Israel supporters who cherry-pick the historical record to portray his handling of the Holocaust in the most negative light possible. These scholar-activists deploy similar sleight of hand to paint a picture of most American Jews as having been disengaged and apathetic about the fate of their European counterparts at the hands of the Nazis, and to cast as heroes a small group of right-wing Zionists who mounted an aggressive public relations campaign to pressure Roosevelt to act. In this narrative, the complexities of history are erased and the passage of time is unimportant. The not-so-subtle message: like the Jews of Europe in 1939, Israel is under an existential threat and cannot count on anyone for help—even the United States, even liberals, even Jews in the United States, most of whom are insufficiently committed to Zionism. Betrayal happened before, and no matter how friendly a president or a country may appear to be, it can happen again.

by Anonymousreply 73May 21, 2024 12:47 PM

R73 fuck off. I’m totally not ashamed to support Israel and I stand by my statement. You don’t like it? Tough shit. Deal.

by Anonymousreply 74May 21, 2024 1:07 PM

R74 No, I don't like your country Israel. Why don't you move there if you like it so much and our presidents are antisemites?

by Anonymousreply 75May 21, 2024 1:28 PM

I’m American r75. Besides this thread is about greatest Americans, not the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. Nice try though.

by Anonymousreply 76May 21, 2024 3:50 PM

Can we just blame the Holocaust on the Nazis & the Fascists!

by Anonymousreply 77May 21, 2024 4:09 PM

R76 You made it about something else by attacking other poster's selection of FDR. And another poster of your ilk called him an antisemite. So both of you can run along to your holocaust threads if you can't find a greatest American, the subject of this thread.

by Anonymousreply 78May 21, 2024 4:17 PM

Mel Brooks

by Anonymousreply 79May 21, 2024 5:40 PM

William Katt?

by Anonymousreply 80May 21, 2024 5:56 PM

Thomas Jefferson, although he was not without flaws.

by Anonymousreply 81May 21, 2024 6:05 PM

Speaking of Lincoln, the very end of this episode of Alistair Cooke's America (starting around 46:00) was always my favorite part of the whole series.

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by Anonymousreply 82May 21, 2024 6:09 PM

George Washington . General that won our freedom and first leader to respect democracy and give up power.

by Anonymousreply 83May 21, 2024 6:37 PM

Fannie Lou Hamer.

by Anonymousreply 84May 21, 2024 6:44 PM

Jim Stryker

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by Anonymousreply 85May 21, 2024 9:06 PM

Ulysses S. Grant always seems to be overlooked.

by Anonymousreply 86May 21, 2024 10:02 PM

[quote]R73: You don't give a shit about the holocaust, your FDR attacks are to promote Israel.

Additionally, Matt hates FDR because he was a liberal.

by Anonymousreply 87May 21, 2024 10:22 PM

Alexander Hamilton

by Anonymousreply 88May 21, 2024 10:26 PM

Vintage Beefcake

by Anonymousreply 89May 21, 2024 10:41 PM

George Washington, Abe Lincoln, MLK, or FDR

by Anonymousreply 90May 21, 2024 10:45 PM

Vivian Vance should be in the running.

by Anonymousreply 91May 22, 2024 12:07 AM


by Anonymousreply 92May 22, 2024 12:45 AM

John Waters

by Anonymousreply 93May 22, 2024 2:42 PM

Our national treasure: Dolly Parton

by Anonymousreply 94May 22, 2024 3:36 PM

R72, I think that poster meant public libraries, although I believe that’s also in dispute.

by Anonymousreply 95May 22, 2024 4:57 PM

Tie: Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk.

by Anonymousreply 96May 22, 2024 5:19 PM

Shirley Chisholm

by Anonymousreply 97May 22, 2024 5:20 PM

Lincoln, as well as the Roosevelts (Teddy, FDR and Eleanor) all land pretty high on the list.

by Anonymousreply 98May 22, 2024 5:22 PM

Sunny Hostin.

by Anonymousreply 99May 22, 2024 11:12 PM

Donald J. Trump.

by Anonymousreply 100May 22, 2024 11:13 PM

Kitara Ravache

by Anonymousreply 101May 22, 2024 11:19 PM

Ann Miller

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by Anonymousreply 102May 22, 2024 11:27 PM
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