Sunday, February 28, 2010

Remembering a great Historian after 3 years

This morning I decided to wake up at a good time and fix up my bookshelf with all of my presidential books. At the end of the fixing up, I notice one of the book had an author whom I got to know since I was a kid due to my father introduce him to me cause my dad gave me his copy of his book that he had when he was my age. The author was Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Arthur Meier Schlesinger Jr. or Arthur Bancroft Schlesinger (October 15, 1917 – February 28, 2007), was a Pulitzer Prize recipient and American historian and social critic whose work explored the liberalism of American political leaders including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. I was an avid reader of this individual books and when I got the privilege to buy books on my own behalf lol, I was always looked for this man's books cause this man was an important author and a role model for me to be a future historian. His first Pulitzer prizewinning book, "The Age of Jackson", in 1945 and on which I have a copy of it in my collection of presidential books. From 1946-1954 he was an Associate Professor at Harvard, becoming a full professor in 1954. In 1952, Schlesinger became the primary speechwriter and ardent supporter of Illinois Governor Adlai E. Stevenson for President of the United States. In 1956 he served on Stevenson's campaign staff (along with 26-year-old Robert Kennedy) and supported the nomination of Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) as Stevenson's vice-president, which eventually went to Senator Estes Kefauver. Schlesinger had known John Kennedy since attending Harvard and increasingly socialized with Kennedy and his wife in the 1950s. Kennedy had also protested against Schlesinger being falsely accused as a "Harvard Communist" by reporter John Fox in 1954. During the 1960 campaign Schlesinger supported Kennedy, causing much consternation to Stevenson loyalists. At the time, however, Kennedy was an active candidate while Stevenson refused to run unless he was drafted by the Democratic National Convention. After Kennedy won the nomination, Schlesinger helped the campaign as a (sometime) speechwriter, speaker, and member of the ADA. He also wrote the book Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference? in which he lauded Kennedy's abilities and scorned Vice-President Richard Nixon as having "no ideas, only methods...He cares about winning." As a prominent Democrat and historian, Schlesinger maintained a very active social life. His wide circle of friends and associates included politicians, actors, writers and artists spanning several decades. Among his friends and associates were President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Edward M. Kennedy, Adlai E. Stevenson, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Steve and Jean Kennedy Smith, Ethel Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Hubert Humphrey, Henry Kissinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Katherine Graham, Leonard Bernstein, President Lyndon Johnson, Nelson Rockefeller, Lauren Bacall, George McGovern, Robert McNamara, Jack Valenti, William Moyers, Al Gore, President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. After President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, Schlesinger resigned his position in January 1964. He wrote a memoir/history of the Kennedy Administration called A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, which won him his second Pulitzer in 1965. He continued to be a Kennedy loyalist for the rest of his life, campaigning for Robert Kennedy's tragic presidential campaign in 1968 and for Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 1980. Upon the request of Robert Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, he wrote the biography Robert Kennedy And His Times. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he greatly criticized Richard Nixon as both a candidate and president. His outspoken disdain of Nixon and prominent status as a liberal Democrat led to his placement on the "master list" of Nixon's Enemies List. Ironically, Nixon would become his next-door neighbor in the years following the Watergate scandal. He retired from teaching in 1994 but remained involved in politics for the rest of his life through his books and public speaking tours. On this day in 2007, Mr. Schlesinger died on February 28, 2007, at the age of 89. According to The New York Times he experienced cardiac arrest while dining out with family members in Manhattan. The newspapers have dubbed him a "historian of power." As a future historian, I was a big admirer of this individual and sadden he had to go by that's life as usual. I remember watching something why do people study history and saw this on their website once: Why study history? "History, by putting crisis in perspective, supplies the antidote to every generation's illusion that its own problems are uniquely oppressive." Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. “We study history so that we can understand our own place in the world. We study history so that we can understand the world around us. We study history so that we can deal with this world as wise men and women and not mere pawns of those who do understand the world. We study history so that we will interact with the world as full human beings instead of as animals who merely react or as vegetables who merely are acted upon.The study of history, and all of the social sciences, and philosophy are essential if we are to be a part of society, a citizen of the nation and of the world, a full human being.We study history so that we will be wise and not foolish, so that we will be knowledgeable and not ignorant. We study history so that we can fully understand what it means to be human regardless of time or place.We study “this stuff” because we are human beings and “this stuff” is our story. This is where we determine what we are. The “stuff” that we use to make money (physics, math, biology, law, medicine) are all important but physics, math, biology, law, medicine and money do not define us. History defines us. Why do we have to study history? Because we are human beings – that’s why.” Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr:Sir, it has been a major honor to read your historical books. You were one of my favorite presidential historians, thanks for the wonderful books that you have written and enlighten me to become a presidential historian myself, remembering you 3 years later, may you rest in peace! In conclusion, I thought to give out a list of his published works:1939 Orestes A. Brownson: A Pilgrim's Progress 1945 The Age of Jackson 1949 The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom 1950 What About Communism? 1951 The General and the President, and the Future of American Foreign Policy 1957 The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. I) 1958 The Coming of the New Deal: 1933-1935 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. II) 1960 The Politics of Upheaval: 1935-1936 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. III) 1960 Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference? 1963 The Politics of Hope 1963 Paths of American Thought (ed. with Morton White) 1965 A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House 1965 The MacArthur Controversy and American Foreign Policy 1967 Bitter Heritage: Vietnam and American Democracy, 1941-1966 1967 Congress and the Presidency: Their Role in Modern Times 1968 Violence: America in the Sixties 1969 The Crisis of Confidence: Ideas, Power, and Violence in America 1970 The Origins of the Cold War 1973 The Imperial Presidency — reissued in 1989 (with epilogue) & 2004 1978 Robert Kennedy and His Times 1983 Creativity in Statecraft 1986 Cycles of American History 1988 JFK Remembered 1988 War and the Constitution: Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt 1990 Is the Cold War Over? 1991 The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society 2000 A Life in the 20th Century, Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950 2004 War and the American Presidency 2007 Journals 1952-2000.

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