I'm going to click through all this, beginning with Herman Melville at #100 — he's "the American Shakespeare." Come with me. #99 is Nixon! Why's Nixon only 99? I know. He's ugly. And we hate him. Have to click to 86 to get to the first woman. It's Mary Baker Eddy, who, of course, influenced health care reform. Another lady at 81. It's Margaret Mead, famous for being had by 3d world pranksters. Nothing more American than that. A woman at 77: Betty Friedan. I never read her book. I thought it was for my parents' generation. My — my my my — generation transcended sex roles. We were star dust, we were golden.
Frank Lloyd Wright is 76. Architects may come and architects may go, and never change your point of view. Not Frank. He'd sock you in the head with a low-hanging roof as soon as look at you. He was from Wisconsin. That's important. So was Georgia O'Keeffe, who might be on this list. She's a woman, you know. 20 bonus points for being a woman? Here's Jane Addams at 64. Another woman. And I, your humble female blogger, would like to register a complaint against my high school speech teacher who rejected my proposal to do a speech on the topic of Jane Addams. He said she wasn't important enough. I used to want to be a social worker.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is 53. The only judge so far. Another woman at 51: Margaret Sanger. (A "thoroughgoing racist" says Jonah Goldberg.) Not too many Presidents. After Nixon, you have to wait until #44 for another President. It's Lyndon Johnson. I call him "LBJ." Works better in rhyming chants. LOL! It's Eleanor Roosevelt at #42. "She used the first lady’s office and the mass media to become 'first lady of the world.'" Women playing the media to focus attention on themselves. Yeah, I guess that's a big deal in American culture. She's responsible for that? All right then.
Harriet Beecher Stowe. #41. The power of novels. Rachel Carson is #39. She saved the eagles... and the mosquitoes. Susan B. Anthony is 38. Elizabeth Cady Stanton is #30. Women's rights. Earl Warren is 29. A second judge. Eisenhower is 28. A third President. Eli Whitney deserves to be 27: "His gin made cotton king and sustained an empire for slavery."
John Adams at 25? Come on? Is HBO/David McCullough the arbiter of history? But yeah, he was President. Truman is 21. A 5th President. Man, get a David McCullough biography about you to cement your historical importance. Andrew Jackson is 18. A 6th President. Reagan's 17. That's 7. Theodore Roosevelt is 15. The 8th Prez on the list, and the 2d of what I predict will be 3 Roosevelts. James Madison is 13. The 9th President, a Founding Father. Ulysses S. Grant gets to be 12. A 10th Prez. And he won the war. Woodrow Wilson is #10 and the 11th President on the list. Martin Luther King Jr. is only #8. John Marshall is #7, the 3d judge. Ben Franklin is 6, deservedly. Another Founder at 5: Alexander Hamilton. FDR snags #4 and is the 12th President on the list. Jefferson is #3, so you know who ##1 and 2 are. And Lincoln beats Washington for the top spot. A total of 15 Presidents.
The final count for women was 10. 10 out of 100. (I think.) Fair enough. I'm not going to say there should have been more. If they'd counted femaleness as a plus factor, they'd have had to "plus-factor" a lot of other groups, and they didn't. Not one Native American?! That's politically incorrect.
ADDED: Actually there were a couple more Presidents, Polk and John Quincy Adams. I'm noticing this leaning over Meade's shoulder as he clicks through. Sorry. My effort was studiously haphazard.