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Presidents Day Special: Understanding Lincoln, Washington And Kennedy

Steve Scher
02/20/2012 at 10:00 a.m.

Abraham Lincoln: Does the United States have a national identity? Is there anything that holds us together as one people? On a recent road trip, writer Andrew Ferguson researched President Abe Lincoln's place in our nation's history. How did Lincoln shape our country's sense of itself?

George Washington: The conventional image of George Washington is a passive and stoic man, but Ron Chernow's biography portrays a passionate, moody man with brilliant military and political acumen.

John F. Kennedy: MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews delves into JFK's political and personal life. How did Kennedy's use of language make the country more "we" and less "us and them?" What role did intimidation play in his success as a leader? What did the first lady really think of her husband?


Andrew Ferguson is senior editor of the Weekly Standard. He has been a columnist for Fortune, TV Guide, National Review and Forbes FYI. He formerly was the senior writer for Washingtonian Magazine, as well as an editorial features writer for Scripps Howard Newspapers and an essayist for Time magazine. His essays were published in a book titled "Fools' Names, Fools' Faces." His book is "Land Of Lincoln: Adventures In Abe's America."

Ron Chernow is a prize–winning author. His first book, "The House of Morgan," won the National Book Award. His two most recent books, "Alexander Hamilton" and "Titan: The Life Of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.," were both nominated for the National Critics Circle Award in biography. His latest book, "Washington: A Life," was the 2011 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for biography.

Chris Matthews is the host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show." His books include "Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told By One Who Knows The Game," "Kennedy And Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America," "Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think" and "American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions." His latest book is "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero."

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