The second and third order world effects that William Danforth has had on our civilization are staggering. Although most of the 300+ million people going to bed at night in the United States have no idea who he was, it is no great tragedy except to the extent that they remain ignorant of ways to learn from his life.
By all accounts, Danforth had an internal yardstick that meant he measured his life not by the acknowledgement, praise, and validation of others, but rather, his own objective analysis of the good he caused. If you help someone else out or do something to make the world a better place, you don’t need a pat on the back from someone else for your action to be great. Sure, there’s a sweetness inherent in receiving sincere appreciation for your good works, but it’s not a necessary condition for you to know that you’ve done something great. Danforth understood that.