John F. Kennedy, LeBaron Russell Briggs

JohnFKennedyThe energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it – and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

LeBaronRussellBriggsIn and out of college the man with ideals helps, so far as in him lies, his college and his country. It is hard for a boy to understand that in life, whatever he does, he helps to make or mar the name of his college. As has often been said, the youth who loves his alma mater will always ask not “What can she do for me?” but “What can I do for her?”

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2 Responses to John F. Kennedy, LeBaron Russell Briggs

  1. shinichi says:

    ‘Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero’

    by Chris Matthews

    Perhaps the most significant legacy from Choate was his likely memory of a familiar refrain of George St. John. As with all the other well-loved mottoes, maxims, and homilies the headmaster delivered into the ears of his youthful charges during evening chapel, he expected this one to sink in. It’s a portion of an essay by his beloved mentor, Harvard dean LeBaron Russell Briggs. “In and out of college the man with ideals helps, so far as in him lies, his college and his country. It is hard for a boy to understand that in life, whatever he does, he helps to make or mar the name of his college. As has often been said, the youth who loves his alma mater will always ask not ‘What can she do for me?’ but ‘What can I do for her?’ ”

    Though Jack Kennedy had rebelled against that call to higher duty in his youth, it would come to define him.

  2. shinichi says:

    Revealed: How JFK stole his ‘ask not what your country can do’ speech from his old headmaster

    by Daniel Bates

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2056020/JFK-stole-ask-country-speech-old-headmaster.html

    It became one of the most famous political speeches in history.

    But according to a new book, John F Kennedy stole what was to become the best-known quote of his 1961 inaugural address – from his old headmaster.

    He enraged his former classmates by plagiarising the line ‘ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country’, which they had heard ‘time and time again’ in a similar form at school.

    And while his presidential rival Richard Nixon became infamous for his dirty tricks, the book claims Kennedy was not above playing some of his own.

    In the pivotal televised debate of the 1960 U.S. election, Kennedy demanded a ban on candidates wearing make-up – then applied some anyway.

    It meant he appeared tanned and natural, while Nixon, his Republican opponent, looked haggard and sweaty, almost derailing his campaign.

    U.S. author Chris Matthews makes the claims in Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. He unearthed notes written by George St John, the President’s former headmaster at Choate School in Connecticut, which suggest he had been aware of the ‘ask not’ line for many years.

    The papers quote a Harvard College dean’s refrain: ‘As has often been said, the youth who loves his Alma Mater will always ask not “what can she do for me?” but “what can I do for her?”‘

    The book also includes a reply to a questionnaire about JFK’s time at the school, sent to his former classmates when he was President. One of the students wrote: ‘I boil every time I read or hear the “Ask not… etc” exhortation as being original with Jack.

    ‘Time and time again we all heard [the headmaster] say that to the whole Choate family.’

    The speech, delivered at his inauguration on Capitol Hill on January 20, 1961, was not, it seems, the first time Kennedy had resorted to underhand tactics.

    The book claims he gave himself an unfair advantage when he squared off against Nixon in the first of four televised ‘Great Debates’ on September 26, 1960, the first time such an event had taken place in America.

    While Kennedy was charismatic and seemed at ease, Nixon appeared shifty and blended into the background because of his grey suit.

    But according to Mr Matthews, Kennedy had a helping hand. His camp had insisted there was a ban on make-up – but then did not follow their own rules. Nixon’s did, with disastrous consequences.

    And when his sweating started to become apparent and his staff secretly turned down the thermostat in the studio, Kennedy’s team quietly put it back up.

    It meant for the 70 million viewers watching at home – for whom it was the first chance to see both candidates – the contrast was striking.

    History tells us that Kennedy won the debate, but some studies have found that those who heard the debate on the radio actually preferred Nixon.

    However, appearance triumphed over substance and Kennedy won the election. He went on to serve as president until 1963, when he was assassinated.

    Nixon had to wait until 1969 to enter the White House. He remained President until 1974, when he was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal.

    The extraordinary revelation is sure to raise eyebrows among historians when Matthews’ book is published this week.

    The ‘Ask not…’ speech has long been thought to have written with the input of Kennedy’s poetic speechwriter Theodore C Sorensen.

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