Just as there have been famous and infamous personalities that have arisen on the world stage throughout the ages, America has had its share of notable personalities--ranging from the very good to the very, very bad. While not always at the forefront of people's minds, it would seem unlikely that America would be what it is today without its "good guys" and, yes, even its "bad guys."
So what makes a person a national hero or villain? What set of circumstances in a person's life and in the history of a nation need to coalesce in order to bring a person from obscurity to the level of fame or infamy where they are recognized by name? Why is George Washington famous? Why is Charles Manson? How about Jesse James or Linus Pauling? What makes each of them unique to such an extent that they are now household names?
This course will provide a brief biographical overview of many of America's most notable heroes and villains, along with an analysis of why each one is well-known in our history. Furthermore, it will provide criteria for better understanding why and how each of these persons became who they are in our collective lives.