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Archive for the category “J K Historic Conversations 2nd Conversation I”


February  27, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 begins our report on the second conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy”, published by Hyperion.

The second conversation was recorded on Tuesday, March 3, 1964.

Jacqueline Kennedy begins the 2nd conversation by discussing her husband’s reading habits.

She said:

“He’d read walking….at the table, at meals….after dinner…in the bathtub….”

He used to read me Edmund Burke’s ‘To the People of Bristol.’ *

(Jack) was just always reading, practically while driving a car.”

Mr. Schlesinger asks: “Would he ever read novels?”

Mrs. Kennedy answered:

“No, I never saw him read a novel.”

Arthur Schlesinger asks why.

Mrs. Kennedy responds:  “I think he was always looking for something in books–something about history–or for a quote.”

JFK Library Photo

Schlesinger comments that the President read mostly history & biography.

Jackie says:

“Yes, (he read) a lot of (American) Civil War…but…it was British (history) really.  He was something of a Whig, wasn’t he?”

*Edmund Burke, born in Dublin & educated at Trinity College, as a member of Parliament, along with his fellow Whigs, protested Lord North’s policy toward the American colonies.

Edmund Burke, National Portrait Gallery, Studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds

The address “To the People of Bristol” to which Mrs. Kennedy refers includes this quote which is published in the book:

“The Representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; & he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

In researching this address, I found it was delivered on November 3, 1774.  

Here is more from the speech not published in the book.

“Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different & hostile interests… but…is a deliberative assembly of one nation with the interests….of the whole.  

You choose a member….but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament.”


Detroit, Michigan (JFK+50) With the Republican Primary election in the state of Michigan coming tomorrow, candidate Rick Santorum, a Roman Catholic, said today that President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on the separation of church & state makes him “want to throw up.”

In a television interview, Mr. Santorum elaborated by saying:

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up.”

The Christian Science Monitor published this comment today:

“Kennedy didn’t disavow all roles for religion in public life.  Although (he) talked about “absolute” separation, his speech implied (that) no church would dictate his decisions (as President), & he would seek the best interests of a nation in which ‘no religious body seeks to impose its will….upon the general public.'”




Rick Santorum, really?  You have to trash a fellow Catholic, the only man of your own faith to be elected to the Presidency, in order to cater to the religious right of your party?  Shame on you.

JFK chose to make the speech to the Houston Minister’s Association in response to the criticism that as a Catholic, if elected President of the United States, he would be influenced by his church in general & by the Pope in particular.

This criticism had followed him throughout the campaign & in this speech he wanted to make it clear, as he had said before…..

“I hope that no American will vote either for me or against me because of my religious affiliation.  It is not relevant.  My decision on every public policy will be my own, as an American, as a Democrat & as a free man.”

The United States of America was founded on the principal of freedom of religion.  It is indeed a guarantee of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.  

That means, Mr. Santorum, that ALL Americans, regardless of religious affiliation, are free from the dictates of a STATE church.

The thought that it would ever be otherwise would make me, in your own words,  “want to throw up.”**

As President Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802

“Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence…the act…which declares that (there should be) ‘no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

**Chris Matthews did an excellent commentary ending his “Hardball” program tonight on MSNBC in defense of JFK’s separation of church & state speech.

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