The relevance of "Profiles in Courage"

By:  Vic Eldred  •  5 months ago  •  1 comments

The relevance of "Profiles in Courage"
“In making [that] decision, you knew perfectly well that it could consign you to private life and the vehement denunciation of almost all your party friends.”....Thomas Ewing jr

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In 1956 then Senator John F Kennedy wrote a book entitled "Profiles in Courage". It is basically 8 short stories involving the personal integrity & noteworthy courage of 8 US Senators. Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for the book, which seemed to be everywhere during his 1960 Presidential campaign. My mother owned a copy in those days.

There is the most famous story which is so relevant today as the nation is subjected to another impeachment process. The pertinent story is the one concerning Edmund G Ross, Republican Senator representing Kansas, who stood on principle over party and refused to convict President Andrew Johnson of "high crimes and misdemeanors" in what was a purely political impeachment trial. Johnson was never elected president. He rose to the office as Lincoln's vice president. Johnson was a southern democrat who did not share the GOP's views on Reconstruction. Johnson favored leniency for the south's re-entry into the Union.

 In those days the office of vice president was an elected office, thus Lincoln the Republican was elected with Johnson the Democrat. After Lincoln's assassination Johnson immediately found himself on a collision course with Republicans, especially after vetoing a Civil Rights Bill.

Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives and went to trial in the US Senate. It was really a question of a policy difference at a time of deep political division. The very thing the founders feared would be used for impeachment.

Ross was considered the decisive vote in acquitting Johnson. He was the 7th of seven Republicans to break with Party. Ross felt that Johnson having a more lenient policy for Reconstruction did not amount to a crime and took the courageous stand which most likely cost him a later run for Governor of Kansas.

In what remains of 2019 the profile in courage may go to a democrat/democrats counted on by their party leaders to vote for Articles of Impeachment in a case reminiscent of the impeachment of Johnson.


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