Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things. In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf.

—William James

Video

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By far the most famous headline error in U.S. history, the “Dewey Defeats Truman” banner appeared in the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948 – the day after Harry Truman was reelected president of the United States. The article went on to state that Dewey “won a sweeping victory in the presidential election yesterday,” a claim that dovetailed with nationwide polling suggesting that a Dewey win was “inevitable.” In reality, Truman won the electoral vote by 303 to 189. He was photographed holding a copy of the Tribune at the train station in St. Louis, Missouri, on his way back to the nation’s capital for his second term.