91. Jefferson Smith

played by James Stewart in Mr. Smith goes to Washington

Few things are more tragic than the loss of idealism. As true believer Jefferson Smith, James Stewart creates a person that we would all aspire to be; a man with a firm faith in the goodness of his country, and humanity in general. Smith is so inherently good and trusting, we begin to lose our own cynicism. As Washington bureacracy and corruption begin to beat Smith down, we find ourselves praying that Jefferson not lose heart. We began the story looking down on this man’s naivete, but, by the end, we desperately want him to retain it. If this man loses his faith, what hope do the rest of us have?

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