Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain is one of the greatest writers ever. His novels left a portrait of America at various times, and his short stories, and especially the late essays paint a portrait of the darker side of humanity. Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn showed a couple ordinary boys in the American South in the mid-late 18th Century getting into trouble and just having fun without really causing trouble. It also deals with serious issues, such as slavery, the treatment of slaves, and very serious issues. The Prince and the Pauper also is quite fun, but deals with serious issues like wealth and privilege inequality, along with capital punishment and methods. Meanwhile his late essays like King Leopolds Soliloquy show the King pacing his castle plotting how he can create and sustain the murder of millions of Congolese. Then The War Prayer which asks God to obliterate our opponent in the most graphic and brutal manner. Mark Twain was a great humanitarian with a sense of humor. Mark Twain always held America to the highest standards of the Founding Fathers and the highest ideals laid out in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and other great documents laid out by the Founders. Mark Twain was the soul and conscience of the best of what we are about Americans. To me there are three men, of all the great men and women we have produced as a nation, who rise above the rest: Thomas Jefferson wrote some of the greatest state papers of anyone in history. President Kennedy prefaced his dinner for Nobel Prize Winners with "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet." John F. Kennedy would also be on that list of three for his work to create World Peace. At the time of his death he had ordered an end to the Vietnam War with the first troop withdrawls to begin in December, 1963, negotiated normalization of relations with Cuba and China, and gotten the Soviets to agree to the number and manner of nuclear inspections that would have ended the Cold War on the road to General Total Disarmament, along with his Civil Rights Bill. The third is Mark Twain, the soul and conscience of America.
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