From the Pen of a President

John F. KennedyFebruary is chock-full of presidential celebrations. The 12th was Lincoln’s birthday. The 15th was President’s Day. Yesterday was Washington’s birthday.  Clearly these men have impacted politics and wider society with their decisions, but many have also recorded their wisdom in books.

Here are some notable presidential publications.

cytotec in Canada Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington. Washington penned these 110 societal rules before he turned sixteen. He based them on rules of the French Jesuits in the 1500s. They include such gems as:

  • “Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.”
  • “Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.”
  • “Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.”
  • “In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physician if you be not Knowing therein.”
  • “Be not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any.”

neurontin uk The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. These authors urged citizens of New York to ratify the Constitution over the Articles of Confederation. The essays in the collection explain particular provisions within the Constitution, which have come in handy when trying to figure out what the authors of the Constitution meant.

Speeches and Writings by Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is often considered the best writer of the presidential bunch, and this collection highlights his famous speeches, essays, letters, and more. This collection not only shows the issues of the time but also allows readers to experience Lincoln’s wit and wisdom: “You can not fail in any laudable object, unless you allow your mind to be improperly directed.” –July 10, 1848 Letter to William H. Herndon

The Rough Riders by Theodore RooseveltThis volume details Roosevelt’s adventures with first voluntary cavalry in the Spanish-American War, known as the Rough Riders. This group, whose reputation preceded them, is most famous for their 1898 charge up San Juan Hill.

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. While taking a break from the Senate to recover from back surgery, Kennedy decided to explore stories of political courage. He focused on the careers of eight senators who had shown such courage. These stories became Profiles in Courage, which went on to win Kennedy the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1957.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama. Obama published this memoir when he was just out of law school, years before the Senate or the White House. It explores his childhood as the son of a black African father and a white American mother. His search for identity helps us see how his journey took him around the world, into community organizing, and ultimately into the Oval Office.

Happy presidential reading!


Sources: Foundations Magazine; the Library of Congress; the Library of America; America’s Library; the JFK Library; Penguin Random House

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