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Proflles in Courage by J.F.K

Written in 1955 this book should be required reading for every ,,,, well you know who I mean. I can't even speak their collective name.


  • @ MFO Members: I was just out of high school when book came out. The subjects of the book are John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft.
  • Thank you Ted. But the SUBJECT of the book is political courage and integrity... Putting country before party. Someone that is sorely missing today.
  • @larryB The SUBJECT is the eight historical colleagues he profiled for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition.
    .John Quincy Adams, from Massachusetts, for breaking away from the Federalist Party.
    Daniel Webster, also from Massachusetts, for speaking in favor of the Compromise of 1850.
    .Thomas Hart Benton, from Missouri, for staying in the Democratic Party despite his opposition to the extension of slavery in the territories.
    .Sam Houston, from Texas, for speaking against the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854, which would have allowed those two states to decide on the slavery question. Houston wanted to uphold the Missouri Compromise. His and Benton's votes against Kansas–Nebraska did just that. This was his most unpopular vote, and he was defeated when running for re-election. Two years later he'd regained enough popularity to be elected Governor of Texas. However, when the state convened in special session and joined the Confederacy, Sam Houston refused to be inaugurated as governor, holding true to his ideal of preserving the Union.
    .Edmund G. Ross, from Kansas, for voting for acquittal in the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial. As a result of Ross's vote, along with those of six other Republicans, Democrat Johnson's presidency was saved, and the stature of the office was preserved.
    .Lucius Lamar, from Mississippi, for eulogizing Charles Sumner on the Senate floor and other efforts to mend ties between the North and South during Reconstruction, and for his principled opposition to the Bland–Allison Act to permit free coinage of silver. Lamar returned to Mississippi and gave rousing speeches that eventually led to public approval of his decisions and cemented a legacy of courageousness.
    George Norris, from Nebraska, for opposing Joseph Gurney Cannon's autocratic power as Speaker of the House, for speaking out against arming U.S. merchant ships during the United States' neutral period in World War I, and for supporting the Presidential Campaign of Democrat Al Smith.
    .Robert A. Taft, from Ohio, for criticizing the Nuremberg Trials for trying Nazi war criminals under ex post facto laws. Counter-criticism against Taft's statements was vital to his failure to secure the Republican nomination for President in 1948.

    I listed their names in my post to your original message. Seems you have a problem with that.
  • No problem at all Ted and thank you for your explanation. Great work. My point was that courage is lacking today and when the history of this president is written,,, the lack of courage by repuglicans both professional and voters will be a big part of the story. Maybe some historian will write a sequel,,,, Profiles in Complicity.
  • edited August 2018
    Ghost written for JFK by his distinguished speechwriter Ted Sorensen.

    Some rambling thoughts:

    I’m inclined to think we have some folks serving today in the Justice Department who might someday be viewed favorably by history in the same vein JFK was addressing in the book. Certainly a lot of crap being hurled in their direction almost daily by “our leader”. They’re not of my political persuasion - but so far they’ve stood up to his unrelentling bashing with dignity and courage.

    JFK was not a saint. The press in those days drew a line between a politician’s public life and his/her personal life. As a rule, they did not report on a candidate/office holder’s personal indiscretions. I think it was for the better. I think we focused more on political philosophy and adgenda back than than on someone’s personal life and personality traits, which seems to be the case today.
  • @Hank. All good points. My profound disappointment is with Senators and Representives who are turning a blind eye to some serious high crimes and misdemeanors.
  • edited August 2018
    With respect to hank's comments, for a while now I've had to grudgingly admire Jeff Sessions's difficult and honorable stand on the Mueller investigation. I was never a fan of Mr. Sessions's rather draconian views on a number of things, but he is certainly biting the bullet (as well as his tongue) in the face of the outrageous attacks being made on him by the degenerate and despicable person who is currently designated as our "leader".
  • @Old_Joe. agree with your remarks completely. Never thought I would be pulling for the likes of Mr. Sessions. That he works for the despicable one and sometimes tries to do what's right makes him seem better,,, maybe better than what he is. The fact remains that the repuglicans allow this president to stay in office and we all are paying the price.
  • Jeff Sessions to Robert Mueller: "Bob, this conversation isn't happening. Do you need more men? More money? Anything I can help with? Can you hurry it up a little??"
  • Hi Guys,

    A very intensive and deep exchange here. Perhaps this quote from Colin Powell might add just a little insight:

    "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure."

    I suspect most serious investment folks satisfy the first two quoted factors. The learning from failures is a more difficult challenge. We make false assertions to escape blaming our own shortcomings and biases.

    Best Wishes
  • fascinating backstory and context

    father Joe, man
  • @Old-Joe. One can hope.
  • edited August 2018
    I imagine most are familiar with the book. But it’s publication and popularity were in the late 50s / early 60s*, so I may be assuming a lot. As I recall, each individual featured (in different chapters) stood up for what he deemed “right” in the face of intense popular opposition. In some cases they were voted out of office for sticking to their principles. But, in the end, history judged each to have made the right decision.

    Interesting - but as far as I can recall, none were women (different times). To say it was written (at least in part) to promote the political fortunes of Jack (JFK) and other Kennedy family members would, I think, be accurate. JFK enjoyed a certain mystique based on having been skipper of a Navy WWII “PT” boat (a smaller watercraft) that was cut in half by an enemy vessel and sunk during the war. He and some crew mates survived for hours in the water before being rescued.

    For some reason, the word “scholar” doesn’t come to mind with regard to JFK. But, perhaps had he lived longer, he might have written some valuable memoirs. It’s neither a lengthy nor difficult book to read. You could probably get through it in a couple hours. I remember being quite impressed after reading it in high school. As I mentioned earlier, JFK’s speechwriter, Ted Sorensen is widely credited with having written the book, based on ideas supplied by Kennedy himself. Yep - As with Senator McCain, he was a class act - a good, decent man.

    * From the Wlkipedia article David M cites above:

    After its release on January 1, 1956, Profiles in Courage became a best seller. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957, even though it was not one of the finalists forwarded to the Pulitzer Prize board from the selection committee.[citation needed] Kennedy's father Joseph asked columnist Arthur Krock, his political adviser and a longtime member of the prize board, to persuade others to vote for it.

    I’m surprised the book, as I recall it, won the Pulitzer! Perhaps it is true that Old Joe Kennedy helped the process along. A very wealthy powerful family.
  • edited August 2018
    @Old_Joe I'm not quite sure it is Sessions integrity. He after all is a lawyer right? I think he knows at what point things can become legal problem for him and that's the only reason I think he did/doing what he did/doing.

    While I can understand a person can at one point in his life be a SOB and at another the most gentlemanly you can find, I find it extremely difficult to describe Sessions as "honorable".

    JMHO. Sessions gets on my list of top 100 assholes (it used to be 10 but then so many of them these days and/or as I'm becoming older).

    Coming back to point. If someone has book ghostwritten for them then why is their name on the book??? Should be against the law. Sessions might come of my list by doing something about it.
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