Essay about Profiles in Courage

Submitted By auroramatt303
Words: 1788
Pages: 8

Matt McGarry
PLS 135
Professor Sturtevant
Profiles in Courage: Houston, Ross, and Adams When John F. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage, he had the primary intention of illustrating the courage United States senators had, and still have in the face of immense opposition. Kennedy describes courage as being the most important and honorable of characteristics a senator or any elected official in political office can possess. He depicts this human virtue to be proof of one’s loyalty to what is considered right in their perspective, in regards to personal principles and constituencies. Throughout the book, Kennedy also stresses that doing what is personally deemed right is more courageous and respectable than doing what is preferred by outside and influential entities. Kennedy only describes the lives and political courageousness of eight United States senators, but makes it rather clear that the writing is for a universal illustration of respectable accounts of courage, that in turn can be learned from to a gracious extent. There is a rare amount of personal opinion in the book, as much of it consists of historical facts and situations that are only intended to show the perseverance senators had despite the obvious and difficult obstacles they were willing to overcome. In the perspective of Kennedy, courageousness is described as standing up for personal principles despite the overwhelming oppositions and extremely likely consequences of loosing positions, assets, or personal trust and respect. This theme is described over the stories of senators who’s personal ambitions are proof that congress is not just a place of going where the wind blows, but a place where people stand up for what is deemed right and good for the sake of America and our national-interests. Samuel Houston was born March 2nd, 1793 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Houston started his political career by being elected as a congressman in the state of Tennessee, following his military service in the war of 1812. After much successful participation in the Tennessee political scene, Houston was elected Governor of the state in 1827. In 1829 he resigned as Governor of Tennessee and moved westward. He eventually settled in a then Mexican state and later became a leading and influential member of the Texas Revolution. Houston was the first and third President of the Republic of Texas following the secession from Mexico. He fully supported the annexation of Texas to the United States, and after annexation became a senator of the state in 1846. He remained senator for more than 12 years. It is during his time as a Texas senator where Kennedy illustrates his political courageousness in Profiles in Courage. After more than a decade of ambitious practices as a senator Houston was then elected Governor of Texas until he was removed from office in 1861 during the start of the Civil war. During his long time as a Texas senator, Houston was forced to make very difficult personal decisions regarding his practice of his principles in the Senate chamber. He was a fierce opponent of sectionalism, which he saw extremists form the North and the South implementing in their policy making. Houston knew the eventual conclusion to this type of practice under one Union would be inevitable war and destruction of the preservation keeping the Union together. His time as senator being before the civil war, his decisions to go against the general direction of other Democratic party members of Texas in favor for efforts to keep the Union preserved lead to his political demise following the start of the Civil War. Henry Clay was a Kentucky Senator who could feel the wind of war blowing before the strong gusts following the Sothern secession. He wanted to create a compromise with the Southern states in hope of avoiding a war. With the help of an influential Northern Senator by the name of Daniel Webster, a plan was created in hope of reversing the tides of disunion feeling ever so