Manhattan Presidential historian Michael Beschloss urges caution in judging the presidency of George Bush.
Beschloss, speaking Thursday in the 128th Landon Lecture at Kansas State University, said it was important to analyze presidents many years after they leave office to gain insight into their character.
"(History) can show you things about the presidency that bear on their reputations," Beschloss said.
Beschloss noted that Harry Truman was unpopular during his presidency.
That view changed 50 years later when historians were able to analyze Truman's convictions, honesty and leadership during the Cold War.
Beschloss urged similar caution in judging the Bush presidency.
"Here we are at a historic moment," Beschloss said. "We are on the brink of war with Iraq. No matter what judgments we may form about George Bush, they are likely to be different 20 years from now."
Beschloss commended Bush's conviction in his willingness to put his presidency on the line to go to war with Iraq.
He compared that to Franklin Roosevelt's actions during World War II.
"Had Roosevelt not been that courageous, we would have lost World War II," Beschloss said.
Beschloss is the author of seven books. His most recent is "The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945."