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Favorite Underrated American Political Figures

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How about we share our favorite underrated American Political Figures (past or present). 

I'll start with one of mine: Winfield Scott

Despite inclining towards pacifism, I find this American greatly ignored by amateur historians. Like most 19th century Americans, he definitely has his massive dark spots on his record: 

- Born in Virginia in 1786

- Gave up law practice in Charleston, SC to accept an officer's commission in 1808 by President Jefferson when the army was expanded. He was a Captain of artillery at age 22. 

- Was a military officer present at the Aaron Burr conspiracy trial. 

- Promoted from Lt. Col. to Maj. General during the War of 1812, Scott's force was the only US Army force trained to a true professional level. He was a general by the time he was 27. Two of the greatest American victories in this war are attributed to Scott's plans and actions. He was seriously wounded multiple times. 

- After the war, Scott was put in charge of tactics and professionalizing the US Army. He was sent to Europe multiple times, learned French, and translated many manuals into English. He ultimately wrote his own strategy and tactics book. This was the standard drill and tactics book from 1835-1855.

- Scott was ordered to organize forces during the Black Hawk War, Nullification Crisis, 2nd Seminole War, Aroostook War

- Scott reluctantly removed some Cherokee during the Indian Removal Years. He established strict punishments for any harsh treatment of the Cherokee, and he aided Cherokee who were weak and infirm. His relative tolerance for their plight changed later on when Jackson threatened to remove Scott, basically forcing him to use awful methods on Cherokee that refused to relocate. This period is Scott's worst moment. 

-  In 1841, Scott was named Commanding General of the US Army

- Commanding General during the Mexican War. The Duke of Wellington called Scott's amphibious landing, and capture of Mexico City (without suffering a defeat), the most daring series of military maneuvers he had ever read about. He also called Scott the "Greatest Living General." The path to Mexico City involved Scott having to cut his communication lines, which meant he had to win every single battle.

- Scott was a Whig candidate for president in 1840, 1844, 1848, and 1852. In this, Scott was an "anti-slavery" conscious Whig, despite being Southern born. 

- In 1852, Scott was the Whig nominee for president, but his "anti-slavery" reputation, as well as a badly organized campaign, led to Franklin Pierce securing an easy victory. 

- In 1855, he was promoted to Lt. Gen., becoming only the 2nd person since Washington to hold that rank.

- In 1861, Scott was too fat and infirm to hold field command. He offered his position to Robert E. Lee, who declined to serve Virginia during the Civil War. Winfield Scott, while also a Virginian, stayed to serve the Union. 

- Winfield Scott came up with the Anaconda Plan, which Lincoln later endorsed. The blockade, Grant's victory at Vicksburg, and Sherman's March through Georgia, were all parts of this plan. Therefore, while Scott retired early in the war, he can say to have planned the victory of the Civil War. Although, Scott wanted to purely blockade the South and avoid any military invasion, believing the blockade would be sufficient to bring them back in. Lincoln was pressed to do an invasion. 

- Scott resigned his commission to Lincoln, following the Union defeat at First Manassas/First Bull Run. While unable to command from the field, and selecting Irvin McDowell to command, Scott still accepted responsibility for the defeat. Command was then given to George B. McClellan. Scott remained as an unofficial military adviser for Lincoln. 

- Scott retired to West Point, NY, dying there in 1866. He was able to witness the saving of the Union. He had served 53 years in the military, serving from Pres. Jefferson through Pres. Lincoln.

I'm not sure why Winfield Scott doesn't get the same attention by amateur military historians as Washington, Harrison, Jackson, Grant, Sherman, Lee, Jackson, Pershing, Patton, MacArthur, Eisenhower, and others. Other recommended underrated generals include Nathaniel Greene (Rev War) and George H. Thomas (Civil War). 

 

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Jimmy Carter is the most underrated of Presidents,Dennis Kucinich of all  political figures.

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Gerritt Smith, a man far ahead of his time in his social views of equality.

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President and be on the ballot (and who got 3000 or so votes - a big achievement considering her platform and that everyone who would have voted for her would have been men in 1872). Many Americans I've spoken to online in places other than political-based forums like these didn't even know she had existed, and hadn't been taught about her or had her even mentioned in school.

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7 minutes ago, Patine said:

Gerritt Smith, a man far ahead of his time in his social views of equality.

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President and be on the ballot (and who got 3000 or so votes - a big achievement considering her platform and that everyone who would have voted for her would have been men in 1872). Many Americans I've spoken to online in places other than political-based forums like these didn't even know she had existed, and hadn't been taught about her or had her even mentioned in school.

Good choices

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34 minutes ago, Patine said:

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President and be on the ballot (and who got 3000 or so votes - a big achievement considering her platform and that everyone who would have voted for her would have been men in 1872). Many Americans I've spoken to online in places other than political-based forums like these didn't even know she had existed, and hadn't been taught about her or had her even mentioned in school.

I only know about her because of a youtube video I stumbled across. I've never seen insomuch as one textbook mention her.

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15 minutes ago, NYrepublican said:

I only know about her because of a youtube video I stumbled across. I've never seen insomuch as one textbook mention her.

She apparently had the conviction in her cause and beliefs to refuse a sincere marriage proposal from Cornelius Vanderbilt himself, as she was absolutely certain a man of that wealth and ambition would want to "take over her life completely and keep her in a gilded cage."

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3 minutes ago, Patine said:

She apparently had the conviction in her cause and beliefs to refuse a sincere marriage proposal from Cornelius Vanderbilt himself, as she was absolutely certain a man of that wealth and ambition would want to "take over her life completely and keep her in a gilded cage."

Considering 83% failed a basic history test not too long ago that's unsuprising, here's some key points

• More Americans could identify Michael Jackson as the composer of "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" than could identify the Bill of Rights as a body of amendments to the Constitution. 

• More than 50 percent of respondents attributed the quote "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs" to either Thomas Paine, George Washington or President Obama. The quote is from Karl Marx, author of "The Communist Manifesto." 

• More than a third did not know the century in which the American Revolution took place, and half of respondents believed that either the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation or the War of 1812 occurred before the American Revolution. 

• With a political movement now claiming the mantle of the Revolutionary-era Tea Party, more than half of respondents misidentified the outcome of the 18th-century agitation as a repeal of taxes, rather than as a key mobilization of popular resistance to British colonial rule. 

• A third mistakenly believed that the Bill of Rights does not guarantee a right to a trial by jury, while 40 percent mistakenly thought that it did secure the right to vote. 

• More than half misidentified the system of government established in the Constitution as a direct democracy, rather than a republic-a question that must be answered correctly by immigrants qualifying for U.S. citizenship.

This actually causes issues oftentimes with people who didn't know they have the right to refuse a warrantless search (though if you grant permission it's fair game in the US).

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2 minutes ago, NYrepublican said:

Considering 83% failed a basic history test not too long ago that's unsuprising, here's some key points

• More Americans could identify Michael Jackson as the composer of "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" than could identify the Bill of Rights as a body of amendments to the Constitution. 

• More than 50 percent of respondents attributed the quote "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs" to either Thomas Paine, George Washington or President Obama. The quote is from Karl Marx, author of "The Communist Manifesto." 

• More than a third did not know the century in which the American Revolution took place, and half of respondents believed that either the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation or the War of 1812 occurred before the American Revolution. 

• With a political movement now claiming the mantle of the Revolutionary-era Tea Party, more than half of respondents misidentified the outcome of the 18th-century agitation as a repeal of taxes, rather than as a key mobilization of popular resistance to British colonial rule. 

• A third mistakenly believed that the Bill of Rights does not guarantee a right to a trial by jury, while 40 percent mistakenly thought that it did secure the right to vote. 

• More than half misidentified the system of government established in the Constitution as a direct democracy, rather than a republic-a question that must be answered correctly by immigrants qualifying for U.S. citizenship.

This actually causes issues oftentimes with people who didn't know they have the right to refuse a warrantless search (though if you grant permission it's fair game in the US).

Actually, there's a flaw in the fourth one there. When the 18th Century Boston Tea Party happened, it was, at that time, a demand of a repeal of taxes. There was, as of that point, no formal decision, resolution, or even really strong appetite for a full-out declaration of sovereignty and an end to British Colonial rule, or even an outright armed rebellion on a large scale against the British. That part came in the months, and even couple of years, following the Tea Party event.

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59 minutes ago, Patine said:

Actually, there's a flaw in the fourth one there. When the 18th Century Boston Tea Party happened, it was, at that time, a demand of a repeal of taxes. There was, as of that point, no formal decision, resolution, or even really strong appetite for a full-out declaration of sovereignty and an end to British Colonial rule, or even an outright armed rebellion on a large scale against the British. That part came in the months, and even couple of years, following the Tea Party event.

On the topic of people being dumb I found this comment on a video on a Wannacry. 

DEIcPRdV0AEefgu.jpg

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22 minutes ago, NYrepublican said:

On the topic of people being dumb I found this comment on a video on a Wannacry. 

DEIcPRdV0AEefgu.jpg

I'm wondering which mythical "survival of the fittest, the strong reap all the rewards," era he's referring to. As far as I've studied - and my historical studies are VERY broad - every major civilization and epoch of recorded history has classes of people (usually determined by accident of birth, but sometimes other means exist to get into said golden brackets) who, by their social standing, do not have to work as hard, struggle as much, or put as effort in, and reap far greater rewards than the toilers and labourer who do thankless, backbreaking work. Also, in most of these societies, these social classes also hold tremendous political, social, economic, and theocratic power without requiring any true merit or competence. This is what makes me wonder what idealized past period of yore he's bringing up here.

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