Who was the last great president of the United States? Well, if you're not on Social Security, you wouldn't be old enough to have seen one, says author Aaron David Miller, Wilson Center vice president and distinguished scholar. In his new book, The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President, Miller concludes that we've had three great leaders:

  • George Washington, who launched the republic.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who held it together and ended slavery.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who got us through the Great Depression and World War II.

As Miller sees it, we will be just as well-off with no more Rushmore-worthy chief executives.

"For me, greatness means the following: You confront one of the three greatest nation-encumbering crises that the country faced; you extract from that crisis — as you weather it — some sort of transformative change that makes the nation better forever; and, in time, you are appreciated by your own partisans, as well as your adversaries, as a true national hero," says Aaron David Miller. 

He also commented that, "we have to stop expecting the kind of greatness that we witnessed in the past so that we can allow our presidents to be good."

The original interview was conducted on NPR.