War and Presidential Greatness: Updating Henderson and Gochenour’s Results

8 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2024 Last revised: 25 Mar 2024

See all articles by Chandler S. Reilly

Chandler S. Reilly

Metropolitan State University of Denver - Department of Economics

Vincent Geloso

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 26, 2024

Abstract

This paper revisits Henderson and Gochenour's (2013) research on the link between presidential greatness and war intensity, expanding it with additional historical data. We examine whether more intense wars, as indicated by military deaths per capita, positively influence historians' ratings of presidential greatness, introducing new controls for GDP growth. Our findings reveal that post-2000, historians tend to reward presidents overseeing intense wars, whereas this trend is weaker in mid-to-late 20th-century assessments. This discrepancy suggests a shift in historical perspectives on presidential greatness related to war intensity. We conclude that the valuation of war intensity as a component of presidential greatness has evolved over time, presenting an intriguing empirical pattern for future research.

Keywords: War, Presidential Greatness, Historian Surveys

Suggested Citation

Reilly, Chandler and Geloso, Vincent, War and Presidential Greatness: Updating Henderson and Gochenour’s Results (January 26, 2024). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 24-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4708017 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4708017

Chandler Reilly (Contact Author)

Metropolitan State University of Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

890 Auraria Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204
United States

Vincent Geloso

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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