When heroes are shown to have feet of clay

Ralph Alter
This is how a dynasty begins? With the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library releasing loads of JFK archival material, Maureen O'Connor at Gawker.com provides us with a snapshot of the 35th American President's application to Harvard. It would be hard to imagine a more slap-dash effort:
The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same school as my father. To be a "harvard man" is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

April 23, 1935

John F. Kennedy

The lack of seriousness is surprising, considering that ol' bootlegging Daddy Joe was likely to be hovering imperiously in the background. Kennedy's essay sounds more like the response one gets from a beauty pageant contestant than that of a young man serious about his future. Clearly Kennedy pere recognized the immaturity of his youngest son, as indicated in this excerpt from a letter to Harvard's dean:

Jack has a brilliant mind for the things in which he is interested, but is careless and lacks application in those in which he is not interested. This is, of course, a bad fault.

One must remember, however, that the family's hopes were still pinned on Joe Kennedy Jr. who was considered the political standard bearer for the Kennedy progeny. Joe was already enrolled at Harvardahead of John after a year of study at the London school of Economics under the Fabian socialist and proponent of Marx, Harold Laski.

If Daddy Joe had realized that all of his eggs were in the JFK basket, the application would have been ghost-written by a family hireling. If the pedestrian application essay sampled here is any indication, the JFK Library's release of the Kennedy archives should further debunk the liberal hagiography surrounding the family far more thoroughly than the airing of a quashed Kennedy mini-series ever could have.


Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker.


This is how a dynasty begins? With the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library releasing loads of JFK archival material, Maureen O'Connor at Gawker.com provides us with a snapshot of the 35th American President's application to Harvard. It would be hard to imagine a more slap-dash effort:

The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same school as my father. To be a "harvard man" is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

April 23, 1935

John F. Kennedy

The lack of seriousness is surprising, considering that ol' bootlegging Daddy Joe was likely to be hovering imperiously in the background. Kennedy's essay sounds more like the response one gets from a beauty pageant contestant than that of a young man serious about his future. Clearly Kennedy pere recognized the immaturity of his youngest son, as indicated in this excerpt from a letter to Harvard's dean:

Jack has a brilliant mind for the things in which he is interested, but is careless and lacks application in those in which he is not interested. This is, of course, a bad fault.

One must remember, however, that the family's hopes were still pinned on Joe Kennedy Jr. who was considered the political standard bearer for the Kennedy progeny. Joe was already enrolled at Harvardahead of John after a year of study at the London school of Economics under the Fabian socialist and proponent of Marx, Harold Laski.

If Daddy Joe had realized that all of his eggs were in the JFK basket, the application would have been ghost-written by a family hireling. If the pedestrian application essay sampled here is any indication, the JFK Library's release of the Kennedy archives should further debunk the liberal hagiography surrounding the family far more thoroughly than the airing of a quashed Kennedy mini-series ever could have.


Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker.