As a first cousin, I feel personally assailed. P.T. Barnum was an entertainer and empresario extraordinaire who used hyperbole (maybe excessively sometimes) to promote his various attractions but was by no means a con man! While being “Americas’ Greatest Showman,” he was also a giant in character, morals and public service.
A devout Universalist, P.T. supported women’s movements, was generous, anti-slavery and civic minded. He served multiple terms in the Connecticut state legislature and later as mayor of Bridgeport. At different times, he had considered running for governor and for president against Grover Cleveland.
I think Jennifer Mercieca of Texas A&M University needs to do a little more research before she besmirches someone’s reputation.