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Profiles in Courage
Transcript of Profiles in Courage
Courage "This is a book about the most
admirable of human virtues-Courage.
'Grace under pressure,' Ernest
Hemingway defined it. And these are
the stories of the pressures experienced
by eight United States Senators and the
grace with which they endured them."
- John F. Kennedy The book, Profiles in Courage, written by Senator John F. Kennedy, describes the courage, bravery, and integrity of 8 U.S. politians throughout history. It tells the stories of senators that were harshly criticized due to their actions in office. For example, doing what they felt was correct with disregard to the public's opinion. As well as, crossing the lines of their party. These Senators include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft. Though each of their stories were differnt, they were very much the same. Each man had constant courage in their situation. Each man was courageous.
At the begin of the book, Mr. Kennedy explains his feelings about the courage shown by the men of the Senate, in all of their situtations and pressures. Their pressures, he says, are their want to be liked, their desire to be reelected, and most importantly, their constituency, interest groups, organized letter writters, economic blocs and the average voter. He then quotes a columnist that said that people don't care what the average senator says because 99% is tripe, ignorance, and demagoguery. As well as the quote suggested by a cabient member, that senators are mentally weak, unfit to be senators, and vulgar demegogues . He goes on to explain that there has been a defiance historically of goverenment interity and courage. As you read on, Kennedy explains the stories of the 8 selected Senators. However, they are "not just stories of the past but... hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us." -states Robert Kennedy in the foreword. John F. Kennedy's 8 selected Senators have different stories, but all are courageous. The first Senator that Kennedy talked about was John Quicy Adams. Adams was a Massachusetts Senator, with a politically successful family, that had great integrity when he broke away from the Federalist Party. Kennedy also profiled another Massachusetts Senator who supported and spoke for the Compromise of 1850, Daniel Webster. John then told of Thomas Hart Benton, a Senator from Missouri, who disagreed with slavery extending into the territories, but still stayed in the Democratic Party . Sam Houston, a Texas Senator, was next for believing that Texas should remain in the Union, and for speaking against the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. Edmund G. Ross, a Senator from Kansas, was selected because he voted "not guilty" in the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial and saved Johnson's presidency. Lucius Lamar, from Mississippi, was chosen for trying to mend the bond between the North and South during Reconstruction, praising Charles Sumner, and disagreeing with the Bland-Allison Act. Kennedy then profiled George Norris, a Nebraska Senator, for opposing the autocratic power of Joseph Gurney Cannon as Speaker of the House, opposing the arming of U.S. merchant ships during World War I, and for supporting Democrat Al Smith's Presidential Campaign. Lastly, John wrote about Robert A. Taft, from Ohio, for being a critic of the Nuremberg Trials. These men all performed great acts of courage, no matter the consequence, and therefore, are courageous.
Adams Daniel Webster Sam Houston Robert A. Taft George Norris This book is relevant to politians today for a few reasons. Someone may not want me to read this book because.... I recommend this book because... 1. It is thought-provoking
2. It is Interesting
3. It teaches you about historical events
4. It is informative
5. It is inspirational 1. There are a few cuss words within the text
2. They do not agree with the opinions of John F. Kennedy
3. There is a lot of agruements within the book
4. They don't believe that politians should have a choice beyond the opinion of the nation and believe the actions of the Senators were wrong, not courageous
5. The book requires understanding of a high vocabulary, or is difficult to understand 1. People still believe that politians are demagogues.
2. Politians are just like everyone else, they want to be liked.
3. They have the same pressures as the men profiled in this book.
4. Politians don't always agree with other politians.
5. Politians can be very courageous.