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American Studies professor gives Boca Mag a History Lesson
Published Nov. 02, 2009
The October issue of Boca Raton Magazine prominently featured Robert Watson, coordinator of Lynn’s American Studies program since 2007, and esteemed author and renowned presidential and political historian, in an exclusive interview with reporter Marie Speed.
In addition to weighing in on questions about the state of the nation – both past and present – Watson also answered some more personal questions, including names the “Top three things in the bucket list.” According to Watson, his bucket list items include: “Taking my kids to the Grand Canyon, a series of lectures in Europe [and taking my kids], and I’d like to sit down and have an hour with Obama.”
In his interview with Speed, Watson discussed his role as an American Studies scholar and the overall importance of history. He also pointed to the lack of civil discourse, identifying it as America’s greatest threat. Watson even named the individuals he believes are the three best, and the three worst, American presidents in history.
His answer: “The best were Washington, Lincoln and Truman. All three were uneducated, all three were common, all three understood people.” And as for the three worst American presidents, Watson points to Warren Harding, James Buchanan and Andrew Jackson. “All three were poorly read, a bit lazy and a bit thin-skinned; in the presidency you need rhinoceros skin,” said Watson.
Read the full interview in the October issue of Boca Raton Magazine and see more of the exclusive interview online.
Watson is one of the foremost experts and authors on first ladies, presidents, and Florida politics and voting issues. Each year, Watson hosts the American Studies Series on campus that brings politicians and political issues to campus. In this role, Watson is frequently interviewed by local and national TV, print and radio media outlets including CNN, MSNBC, USA Today and The New York Times, addressing topics surrounding the first ladies of today, yesterday and tomorrow, how history may judge President Bush (and the war on terrorism) and how past White House scandals have not affected the nation.