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Profiles in Courage By JFK
Transcript of Profiles in Courage By JFK
-President (senator at the time) who through out his life was in a great deal of physical pain, but felt a driving call to serve his country. Author’s motive : Courage was something that he saw great value in and looked for people who displayed it in some way (politics, sports, life in general)
Author’s reason : He researched and studied others who had displayed it in American History (mainly in politics) to find inspiration for courage in his own life.
Robert F. Kennedy- Authored Foreword
This version is a memorial version published in 1964, the year after John F Kennedy was killed. In the foreword, Robert Kennedy reflects on his brother, his purpose for writing the book, and the political unrest that his brother deal with as President.
“He was demonstrating conviction, courage, a desire to help others who needed help, and true and genuine love for his country” (X)
John Quincy Adams-
Setting\time: Colonial through early American History
Senator from Massachusetts who later became President of the United States. John Kennedy saw himself in Adams because they came from similar, affluent backgrounds, and faced a great deal of political controversy for their views. His puritan upbringing was very rigid and structured much like the Kennedy family. Kennedy reflects on Adams’ life and service to our country.
Daniel Webster -
Setting/time: 1850, The North
United States Senator who, together with Henry Clay, led the efforts to enact the Compromise of 1850 in an effort to save the Union. Kennedy admired him because of his oratory skills and Kennedy was concerned about the strength of the Union and lack of compromise citing partisan politics and gridlock in Congress as primary fears.
Sam Houston -
Setting/time: 1946-1959, Texas
As a Senator from Texas, Houston voted against Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1854 predicting correctly that it would bring about war and ruin for the South. People mocked him and voted him out of office three years later. Houston later said, “It was…the most unpopular vote I ever gave [but] the wisest and most patriotic.” (91)
Robert A. Taft-
Setting/time: 1939-1953; post WWII
Senator from Ohio who came from an important political family and was expected to become president, but he repeatedly spoke out on issues when he knew his position was not popular among voters. His most controversial issue was the conviction and sentencing of the Axis leaders in the Nuremberg trials which he spoke against for Constitutional and ethical reasons despite his thinking that they were “despicable”. (191)
Thomas Hart Benton-
Setting/time: Senator from 1821-1851
place: American in the time of Western Expansion
US Senator who went from beloved son of Missouri to being labeled a traitor by his own party for standing up for something he believed to be true. Kennedy admired his conviction to stand against partisan politics.
“From this command I appeal to the people of Missouri, and if they confirm the instructions, I shall give them an opportunity to find a Senator to carry their wishes into effect, as I cannot do anything to dissolve this Union, or to array one-half of it against the other.”
Edmund G. Ross- “the man who saved a President”(111)
place: Impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson of high crimes and misdemeanors
Republican Senator from Kansas who broke from his party and saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment by one, single vote. Some people think he was bribed, but Kennedy disbelieved this theory because of the importance of the vote which was instrumental in his being removed from office soon afterwords.
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar-
Setting/time: Reconstruction after the American Civil War
place: The House floor Lamar gave what some described as “a moving eulogy lamenting his departure!”(134)
Member of the US House of Representatives and Lieutenant Colonel in Confederate Army who addressed the US House about the need for healing,“amity and justice between the North and South”(135) after Civil War.
George Norris -
Setting/time: Representative (1903-1913) and Senator from 1913-1943, World War I & II
place: House of Representative floor 1913, other Senate Floor
As a Senator from Nebraska, he challenged the Speaker of the House and existing unfair procedures and changed them. His political career was a collection of controversial times and standing up for his beliefs.
“It happens very often that one tries to do something and fails. He feels discouraged, and yet he may discover years afterward that the very effort he made was the reason why somebody else took it up and succeeded. I really believe that whatever use I have been to progressive civilization has been accomplished in the things I failed to do than in the things I actually did do.”(184)
Author’s tone: Changes slightly with each vignette: Respective, moralistic, mournful, reverent
Profiles in Courage is a narrative, organized into seperate passages. Kennedy uses an upper level diction to describe his characters as well as symbolism of and with the connotation behind the word "Courage".