Claire Booth Luce, the renowned 20th century politician and playwright, was fond of lecturing many of the presidents she knew — from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan — that history would remember them in one sentence.
“History has no time for more than one sentence, and it is always a sentence with an active verb,” she said. Then she would illustrate, “Lincoln, he freed the slaves and saved the union,” before challenging them: “What will your sentence be?”
Under any circumstances, it takes a generation or more for historians to sort out a presidency with any degree of objectivity. The distance of years — as passions recede, presidential records are declassified and evaluated and perspective is offered — allows more…
— to abcnews.go.com