Skip to comments.Revealed: How JFK stole his 'ask not what your country can do' speech from his old headmaster
Posted on 11/01/2011 8:25:13 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
It was quickly recorded as one of the greatest sound-bites in political history. As delivered by President John F Kennedy during his January 1961 inauguration address, the immortal phrase 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country' inspired millions of Americans.
But a new book claims the words of wisdom were not down to Kennedy, or one of his speechwriters, but were instead cribbed from the headmaster of a school the president once attended.
Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, by U.S. talk show host and author Chris Matthews, claims that Kennedy first heard the language in chapel at Choate School in Connecticut, where he studied during the 1930s. Matthews dug up two documents that back up his hypothesis.
One was headmaster George St John's typed chapel speech notes in which he quoted a Harvard College dean: '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?"'
A questionnaire completed by Kennedy's school-time contemporaries when he was president further confirms Matthews' claim.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
It just goes to prove that Chris Matthews is an equal opportunity back stabber.
I’m amazed that Prissy had the time to write a book when his face is planted on Odumbo’s buttcheeks at the same time getting a tingle on both legs.
Kennedy by todays standards would be to the far right of the McCains, Romneys and Grahams of the RINO party...
he had many horrible flaws...but would be head and shoulders over the pretender we have in the WH today...and might be far right of ‘the Bushes’ too....
Well, maybe he “outsourced” the writing...it’s been done before.
I think this is the biggest piece of nonsense I have ever heard masquerading as “shocking” news. So what if Kennedy repeated something he heard 30 years before? Has no one ever modified something they have heard? Has anyone, in the history of the written language, ever come up with a truly original and unique phrase?
I think it was Mark Twain who famously (but unlikely originally) said “Good writers borrow, great writers steal”
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” is a classic line given in one of the great inaugural addresses.
You mean the “Ayers” method? Makes sense, Dems lie and backstab..
If Kennedy wanted to “borrow” something from an old headmaster I really don’t have a problem with that.
If I recall correctly, Ayn Rand was the first to point out that both alternatives are wrong. We shouldn’t be asking “the country” what it can do for us and we shouldn’t be asking “the country” what we can do for it.
To me, it sounds like the headmaster instilled a good value into the young Kennedy that he took with him and applied in his own life. And, the headmaster acknowledged that it had been “said many times”, noting that it was not his original thought but a value of the organization.
Does Matthews claim to be breaking something new? If so, that's funny.
none of the kennedys were known for their brains.
I have to disagree with the second part of your statement.
Asking what one can do for one's country, and backing it up with the action of commiting to doing it is the definition of an all-volunteer military force, like the one that serves us with honor.
This fact has been out there for decades.
Roosevelt stole “New Deal” from Twain.
This is an old, old story and is not worth the virtual it’s written on. This simply shows that Chris Matthews is either just too stupid to, or just fails to, do proper research. (I’m thinking it’s likely both.)
EVen dumber than this, the quote is paraphrased from something said 1000’s of years ago, IIRC.
Ha-ha. Good one - THAT's funny.
headline should be...Chris Matthews writes book - steals from a 2005 Edward Wyatt NYT article
I’ve known of it for a long time.
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