6 John Quincy Adams
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John Quincy Adams by Robert V Remini
Mr Adams's Last Crusade
John Quincy Adams and American Continental Empire: Letters, speeches, and papers
John Quincy Adams "Old Man Eloquent"
Cannibals of the Heart : A Personal Biography of Louisa Catherine and John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams: American Statesmen Series by John T. Morse, Jr
1824 Election JQ Adams (84 electoral votes) vs. Jackson (99) Crawford (41) Clay (37)
As no candidate had an electoral-vote majority, the House of Representatives chose the president from the first three. In a vote by states, 13 votes were cast for Adams, 7 for Jackson, and 4 for Crawford.
His wife, Louisa Catherine Johnson, was the only foreign first lady.
John Quincy Adams was a second cousin once removed of Samuel Adams and a third cousin once removed to his own mother, Abigail Smith Adams.
Adams liked to take nude dips in the Potomac River almost every day.
John Quincy Adams was the only president to be elected to the House of Representatives after serving as President.
Adams argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of slaves from the ship Amistad who mutinied during their journey from Africa.
John Quincy Adams owned a pet alligator which he kept in the East Room of the White House.
Adams had the first pool table installed in the White House.
John Quincy Adams was the only president to name a son George Washington.
Adams was the first president to be photographed.
John Quincy Adams's favorite foods were corn and fresh fruits.
He kept silkworms as pets.
He was named after his great-grandfather John Quincy, Speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly, member of the Governer's council, and militia officer.
John Quincy Adams by Robert V Remini
According to the short bio on the dust jacket, this author is best known as a Jacksonian scholar. I thought he did a wonderful job on JQ Adams. Adams kept a very thorough journal throughout his life which has survived to the present. It has provided historians with a wealth of information, not only about Adams, but about society and life in general during Adams' lifetime. I believe most of this work was probably based on Adams' journal. However, Remini also referred several times to another Adams biography by Paul Nagel (whose work this title touchstone takes you to). The Nagel book is the other Adams biography I got, so I think I'll read it, as well.
Abagail Adams may have been a wonderful and supportive wife to her husband, but she was a domineering and demanding mother to her son. Because she and, to a lessor extent, father John "relentlessly spelled out his duties, reprimanded him when he failed to live up to them, and corrected every move he made that seemed to contradict their expectations of him, it is not surprising that he developed into a very introverted, self-critical individual of enormous pride and low personal esteem who suffered periodic and deep mental depressions." (pg 3) Abagail forced him, at age 7, to watch the battle of Bunker Hill where men he knew were being wounded and killed, so that he would gain an understanding of the price of freedom. She harrangued him about his slovenliness and work ethic her entire life and was furious when he neglected to answer her letters. To say nothing about her reactions to the woman he fell in love with and the one he married (unfortunately for him, not the same woman). I don't want to give the impression that this is a Mommy, Dearest type of book. I was just struck by this other side of the same Abagail Adams that we've come to hold in such high esteem.
JQA was a gifted diplomat, but not a natural politician. His election to the presidency in 1824 was full of controversy (he did not receive the majority of electoral votes and was elected by the House of Representatives). Andrew Jackson, who did receive the most votes, was bitter and his supporters began campaigning for the next election immediately. This resulted in Adams' presidency being sabatoged at every turn by Jacksonians. The 1828 election was as dirty as any we've become accustomed to in modern times (including allegations of sexual misconduct). Adams was so bitter towards Jackson by the time of that man's inauguration in March 1829 that he refused to attend, joining his father as the only two outgoing presidents to boycott their successor's inaugural ceremony.
His subsequent career in the US House of Representatives was when he finally gained a measure of respect as a statesman. He was very outspoken against slavery at every opportunity, and argued the Amistad case in front of the supreme court during this time. He collapsed and died in the Capitol in 1848, at age 80.
As I mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised by this little book. I thought Remini did a wonderful job of bringing JQA to life, and out from under his father's shadow. Evidently, Adams was the first president who stated that government has a responsibility to improve conditions for its citizens. He was in favor of the central government building and improving roads, highways, bridges, and canals; providing a national university; funding scientific research; and establishing standard weights and measures. Unfortunately, the Jacksonians ridiculed and derailed any new plan put forth by Adams during his administration, so he was unable to accomplish any of this. I gave this book 4 stars and am looking forward to the Nagel book and learning more about this overlooked president.
I just wonder since apparently it has taken a while for JQA to get his due, if Bush2 will end up the same way?
Be sure to let us know what the book was, so we can credit you for reading JQA and get the group farther along the quest!
The book also interested me in the Amistad case, and the Mexican-American war. My current extent of knowledge on both these topics is from high school, so I may follow up by pursuing those topics. I enjoyed the personal approach that this book took of those events though - dealing with what JQA thought of van Buren, Jackson, Taylor, and why he felt it important to argue the Amistad case, even though he tried to decline at first.
That was a great review. I'm getting ready to start Monroe so I'm glad for a suggestion on JQA.
>14 sjmccreary: I haven't seen Amistad, though I recall hearing about it when it came out. At the time I didn't bother with it since friends who had seen it were disappointed by the historical inaccuracies and the Spielberg-ization/ sensationalization of it. Now that I've learned a little about it, I'm intrigued to read more, and am open to seeing the movie, recognizing it may not be 'perfect' (whatever that means).
Joseph Wheelan cites the Remini biography several times, so combined with that and your review I would be interested to read it.
I might also be on the lookout to see if someone has put together and edited compilation of JQA's letters - perhaps both professional and personal - I imagine those would be very interesting to read. I might do some digging.
I also requested the Remini and Nagel biographies, but they have not arrived at my local library yet. Will let you know once I've gotten to them.
The review is here: http://tinyurl.com/djwqz3
The bibliography notes that JQA's memoirs, as edited by his son Charles Francis, amounts to 12 volumes! Allen Nevins edited this down to one volume (1929, 1951). That might be interesting. Also, William Seward, later Secretary of State under Lincoln, wrote a tribute to his mentor, Life and public services of John Quincy Adams (Auburn, New York, 1850). http://tinyurl.com/czxx98
The Remini and Nagel biographies arrived at my local library and I picked them up today. I will try to read them as I have time.
For me, two things got interested in learning more about JQA. Specifically David McCullough's John Adams descriptions made me think of what an interesting life JQA must have had growing up, and got me wondering what sort of person he was. More generally, I become fascinated by the lesser well known, the secondary characters of history, if you will. I am curious about why they get left in the proverbial historical dust, given an opportunity to serve in the same office as great leaders. Also, I wonder about their accomplishments and their weaknesses, and figure there's always time for a reassessment and potentially (partial?) validation. Lesser well known figures seem in some way more approachable to me, and often offer as many intriguing tidbits and stories.
Though it's pretty short (only 155 pages), I had a harder time getting into it and felt that the 2nd half (presidential years onwards) went much quicker. Overall it pretty much tried to stick to the facts and there wasn't any overarching thesis or angle that Remini was trying to view JQA's life through, but commentary was sprinkled throughout. Overall, I thought the writing was a bit dry, and at times didn't fully explore topics brought up, but perhaps that is due to the commitment to keeping the length down, which was a stated goal upfront. Remini does, however, go into details about both presidential elections (the one JQA won and the one JQA lost), with all sorts of fun mud slinging snippet and does a good job at explaining the rise and shifts in political parties towards the end of the Era of Good Feelings: the attrition of the Federalist party, the split of the Republicans into Democratic Republicans (Democrats) and National Republicans, and the rise of the Whig party - I had always had difficulty keeping the nuances straight in school and Remini was able to succicntly clarify these for me. Throughout most of the book the analysis was kept to short comments, often somewhat snarky one sentence remarks that repeated a particular quotation with a tone of indignation, bemusement, or sarcasm. Remini comes down a bit hard on both Abigail and Louisa, only mentioning how JQA's mother nagged and reproached JQA and how Louisa hated living in Russia and Washington. Remini further rates JQA as an abysmal father, completing the familial cycle of impossible expectations. Another commentary was that Remini portrayed JQA's fight for the right to petition and his haranguement of slavery (post-presidentially) essentially as revenge against Jackson and his followers and self-vindication, rather than actually carrying the cause. Remini notes that JQA did not pick up the torch for other contemporary causes of similar nature, nor particularly fight for women's rights etc and his description of the Amistad case was an afterthought. At the end, Remini states that JQA is only starting to receive his due as public servant but that still regularly polls as a 'below average' president. On the whole, I got the sense that Remini was trying to be neutral and occasionally slipped, which may be understandable given that he is apparently known as a Jacksonian scholar, and has published widely on Jackson.
Remini relied heavily on the Nagel and the Bemis biographies, perhaps even more so than JQA's own diary. At times I felt that I was practically reading Bemis' work considering the number of times he was quoted for his characterizations of the events. I have the Nagel biography from the library, so I'll be reading that, and depending on how JQA'd out I feel, I may go for the Bemis one as well - so far all the books I've read have relied on that as a reference, it apparently won a Pulitzer, so it may be worth a shot.
I was shocked by the description of Abigail, but so far, the Nagel book hasn't said anything about her that contradicts Remini. Same with Louisa.
I think I have been more fascinated by JQA than any of the other presidents so far. Maybe because we tend to know so little about him outside of his relationship to his father. At least my education didn't convey anything other than that.
After reading so much about JQA in the McCullough book on John Adams, I am looking forward to reading more about JQA.
I want to be John Quincy Adams when I grow up. He was a curmudgeon, plain and simple, and I've always aspired to be one. At least, that's been his reputation - not wholly undeserved. Nagel's portrait of him in Johns Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life, shows that there's much more to the man than his reputation for snarkiness and a failed presidency.
Nagel had the advantage of access to all of JQA's extensive diaries and private writings, which if the introduction is accurate, hadn't been fully available before. The picture that comes out of this extra material is of a man that had a love of fine living and a deep desire or a life of literature and learning, a husband devoted to his wife and agonizing over his family, and a son that had a seriously rocky relationship with his parents yet managed to make them proud. What really hit home for me was how much of his later life was driven by the very high expectations John and Abigail Adams had for him and the early push into a public life that he really didn't want. One wonders what JQA would have been like if he had been freer to pursue his own way.
Nagel doesn't spend a lot of time talking about historical events or the political issues that characterized JQA's career. Instead, the book is more about his relationships and his internal life as seen through his diaries. So in the end, I was left more with a sense of who he was rather than a recitation of the events of his life, which was what I was looking for. There's an obvious comparison here to David McCullough's John Adams, concerning JQA's father and mother. Frankly, Nagel doesn't have nearly the high opinion of them that McCullough does - Abigail in particular suffers from fairly severe criticism. I suspect the real truth is somewhere between the extremes in the two books, but Nagel's picture is at least partly correct, I think.
Recommended as a good biography of an often neglected figure in American history.
#6 JOHN QUINCY ADAMS; A PUBLIC LIFE, A PRIVATE LIFE
Author : Paul Nagel
Read : June 28 - Aug 6
Category : US Presidents, Histories, Biographies
Pages : 420
I have to admit that I knew hardly anything about John Quincy Adams (JQA) before I read this book. All I knew was that he was the 6th President of the United States and the son of John Adams, the 2nd President. I can no longer say that. This book was absolutely tremendous in telling the reader about the man, statesman, politician, son, husband, father, grandfather.
I won't try to convey all the information that Paul Nagel, the author, tries to give the reader. It would be impossible. What I will tell you is that this book tells you the history of man, who was brilliant, strove for perfection in himself, was ambitious yet scholarly and poetic, who wanted only the best for the nation that his father helped to birth.
What I will you is that there were so many moments in history that he touched and was part of and never received the credit that I think he deserved if what is in this book is true. I say that because most of the book is based on JQA's papers, journals, etc. and could be biased.
Did you know that he was part of the commission that handled the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, or that he headed the diplomatic corps that negotiated the treaty that ended the War of 1812? Did you know that he was Secretary of State at the time that Monroe Doctrine was issued (I believe he was the one that put the bug in Monroe's ear)?
All this said, I don't believe that he was meant to be President. Not that he wasn't qualified, he didn't have the temperament for the political side of the job and the manner of his election ( through the House of Representatives) didn't make it easier. After he was defeated for reelection by Andrew Jackson, he went on to a brilliant career in the House and was responsible for the protection of the Smithson bequest to the United States which we now have as the Smithsonian Institute.
As for the book, it was tremendously informative but it got weighed down by too many excerpts from his journal and sometimes there was too much detail. All in all,, I'd read it again if I knew nothing about the man, but now I think, I may know too much.
Cheli, I never knew about JQA's connection to the Smithsonian.
also, i happened to find a copy of Bemis' biography John Quincy Adams and the foundations of American Foreign Policy in the outdoor sale shelves at The Strand when I was in NYC earlier this summer for $1. I picked it up and am excited to get to it, but it too is on the back burner at the moment. the intro suggests that it focuses on his life as a diplomat and statesman and leading up to his presidency, but as I haven't started reading the book seriously yet, I'll wait to discuss it further.
This book does not have the large number of pages at the back carrying quote notes, etc. It does have a bibliography and an index, but 418 of the 437 pages are all story - and what a story!
From all the reading I have done, JQA continues to be the President I admire most. It is a great pity that his supporters so angered Andrew Jackson supporters that the enmity surrounding his presidency precluded his achieving as much as the nation's Chief Executive as he did in his years of service either side of that position. The political machinations during the election of 1824 were so much uglier and dishonest than they are today. Had the modern-day, artful communications networks been available to him back then, he may have been able to correct, or at least adjust, opponent-spread misinformation in time for voting day. I find myself wondering what might have been subsequently achieved had he been able to have Mr. Jackson as his vice-presidential running mate as he had originally desired.
For all that, this nation is better for his having lived, learned and served in the manner he did. At 14 years of age he was secretary to the fledgling country's Delegation to Russia. As Mr. Monroe's Secretary of State he was the power thinker behind the Monroe doctrine and the successful negotiator with Britain and Spain enabling the subsequent annexation of the Pacific Northwest. As Massachussetts' congressman he championed the Abolitionists rights of petition and struggled for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution. As "Old Man Eloquent" he went to the defence of the "Amistad" africans who had been accused of murder and piracy on the high seas after being illegally stolen from their land of birth by slavers - his argument on the grounds of public policy and moral law probably did not influence the judgment, which is reputed to have been made on purely legal contentions, but it sure got the attention of Americans.
The author of this book was elected to the senate during the year of it's publication, 1932, and he was the son of Champ Clark, Speaker of the House from 1911-1919.
"horrible politician..." (#35)
Yes, he went to Congress (when JQA started in politics the House even had more prestige than the Senate. Today itʻs different, and hard to imagine an ex-president going into Congress.)
There is his career as Sec. of State, too. Some historians believe the "Monroe Doctrine" should be called the "Adams Doctrine, because JQA worked out most of it. He was also the only president who was a strong supporter of having a National University.
I didnʻt know about a historian disliking Abigail Adams (you were saying it was Remini, not Adams himself who disliked her?) I know Adams seemed, in his diary, to have a visceral dislike for Democratic politician Martin Van Buren, going beyond the dislike you might expect him to have for Democrat leader Andrew Jacksonʻs main man. ( Van Buren, too, was later a Sec. of State.) Iʻm from Adamsʻs home state, but I admire Van Buren, who certainly had his faults, much more than Adams. More than anyone, except possibly Jefferson, Van Buren deserves the credit for making the Democrats a national, not just a Southern regional party. The "National Democrats", of whom Adams was one, at the time were developing into the short-lived, but national, Whig Party. If JQA had been able to work in what they now call a ʻBi-partisan" way with M v B, his career might have been much more successful.
The "Adams family" mini-series shown on TV decades ago had two very poignant scenes: at the end of one episode, a very upbeat Henry Clay (W, KY) is shown lobbying in the House for Adams voters after a standoff with Jackson (D, TN) in the Electoral College --and successfully, givine Adams his one-term presidency. Near the end, a gaunt, crestfallen Clay is shown offering his condolences to Adamsʻs relatives, after JQAʻs sudden death on the floor of the House. Adamsʻs last words are said to have been, "This is the end of earth; I am content." The series also implied that Adams didnʻt want to be president but accepted the presidency as a sort of duty. He assures his daughter, after being elected, that he "wouldnʻt even want it any other way". Then he is shown staring glumly out the window on a depressing, rainy day. I think this goes a little too farin support of the legend of his being UN-political.
To my mind, he was a flawed politician, but not a "horrible" one.
Jackson is a controversial figure - even today in some ways I suppose - I wonder how our reading of him pro/con/mixed will influence our thinking on JQA
Adams, our 6th President, is more well-known for his lengthy post-presidential career as a Congressman, where he fought slavery, the addition of Texas to the Union, and the Mexican-American War. As a youthful aide to his father, John Adams, he lived and traveled widely in Europe and Russia, preparing himself for a long career as a diplomat before he became Secretary of State and then President. His presidency was a bust. He was a lifelong depressive who kept an almost daily journal for most of his adult life. The diaries served as much of the basis for this biography and reflect the deep loathing he had for what he considered a wasted life. Tortured as he was, though, he finally found some satisfaction in turning his education, experience and considerable skills at oratory to the task of infuriating and frustrating his political opponents, often on the floor of the House, where he collapsed in 1848 (he died 2 days later).
The book can be tiring at times, with the many repetitions of Adams' self-doubt. Also, the book seems to put as much emphasis on any one time in his life than on any other, which gives it a rather odd rhythm. There is little independent examination of the important events in his life, which would have been welcome. Still, having finished the book, I have to say it gave me an unexpected appreciation for its subject.
ETA: Like other readers, I found Nagel's treatment of Abigail Adams quite a different approach from that of McCullough in John Adams. She does seem to have been a tough person to please, to put it mildly. This was a woman who should have been given a career to keep her brain occupied and herself away from motherhood.
Why Louisa Adams married JQA is a mystery to me. Even she admitted being married to him for 50 years was one of the reasons she was so worn out near the end of her life. He sounds as though he was absolutely impossible to live with. And, reading so many excerpts from his diary made me think hard about how deadly it might be to one's future reputation to keep a journal.
Through a good bit of the Nagel book, I was not sure how I felt about JQA. The impression I had was that he was a spoiled, privileged kid. He was always trying to figure out how not to work for a living. All he wanted to do was work on his hobbies. His solution was to become a diplomat and politician and live off government dollars. It did not make him rich but it sure gave him time to pursue his other interests.
By the end of the book, my opinion of him had softened; so much personal tragedy and inner turmoil. I finish JQA up thinking of him not as a great President but as a great American.
I am interested in reading some of his work so I have downloaded some of his writing from Google Books.
To ease into Andrew Jackson, I am also hoping to read Lynn Parson's book The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828. I like to read books on elections to transition to the next election.
Sandy's review, back in message 3, summarizes this book far better than I can but here's a little something.
Before I read this brief bio of President John Quincy Adams (from the American Presidents series), I knew very little about JQA. I read David McCullough's John Adams book last year so I knew of him in connection with his parents but not much more.
To best sum up: not a very good president but one who had a great post-presidency.
Remini certainly didn't think much of how JQA was raised, with constant criticism of John and Abigail Adams' childraising. The focus, rightly, is on JQA's presidency with quite a bit about his time afterwards. For my reading about the presidents, this represents a big step forward for me, into a new historical period.
This book makes me want to read more about JQA. For its size, it's a very good bio.
It can be downloaded from:
http://manybooks.net/titles/morsej2018320183-8.html (for Kindle format)
John Quincy Adams by Robert V. Remini provided a good overview.
The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828 by Lynn Parsons provided a lot of insight into the 1828 election and is a good lead-in for Andrew Jackson.
Finally, almost finished with Mr. Adams's Last Crusade by Joseph Wheelan. Extraordinary post-presidential life indeed. I had no idea.
Wheelan's work is excellent. Very entertaining. Not super thorough, but enough to get you to understand JQA.
The Presidency of John Quincy Adams by Mary W. M Hargreaves is one of those books that makes you wonder how some historians got through school with such horrendous writing skill. The book is over 300 pages long and is ONLY about the presidency. The writing is detail heavy, dense, and poorly organized. It reads like an encyclopedia. Definitely a low light in an otherwise GREAT series.
It's very disturbing, but in my readings of presidential biographies, I find I'm identifying most with the losers. Both John Adams and his son were one term presidents who failed to match the accomplishments of those who preceded and followed them. In the case of John Quincy, he was an accomplished diplomat and served well as Secretary of State. As President, however, he was so hamstrung by political opponents that he was quite ready to hand the office over to Andrew Jackson. Afterwards, he had a notable role in the House of Representatives, finally succumbing to a stroke after one last, stubborn "no" vote. But despite these accomplishments, which would be success enough for us plain folks, he spent much of his life frustrated that he never achieved literary greatness. I could really relate with doing well in one's job yet longing for glory in some other field. Anyway, the book. The book is quite good, check it out. Thanks to Adams' extensive diary, Mr. Nagel is able to offer a rather complete picture of JQA from his political activities to some rather intimate correspondence with his wife. (No details, just a few comments to stimulate the marital desires.) In regards to American history, JQA's life abroad offers less insight into Revolutionary America, but does offer a picture into the developing conflict over slavery. I also found an interesting view of the political parties of early America, as JQA experienced life as a Federalist who became a Republican who then sided with the Whigs. It wasn't that the man himself was so flighty, but rather the parties themselves embraced or failed to embrace the issues for which he stood. All in all, John Quincy Adams was an interesting man, one well worth reading about.
Many have already this book, but I did enjoy it. Nagel decides to only have one chapter dedicated to his presidency (and he gives his reason why)-that probably best explains the JQ presidency. Failure as a President is probably too strong of a word, sounded like he was hamstrung by the "corrupt bargain" that he was accused of after he won the highly contested election.
The book was definitely more focused on JQA as a person and not so much of the political parts of his life.
What I love is that JQA after being Sec. of State, President, House member, etc...was still worried about his legacy. Also I love the little stories in the book about how different the life of politician to what it is now (though sometimes things stay the same)-I like the story of the drifter who ended up in the White House banging on Andrew Jackson's bedroom door in the middle of the night before anybody stopped him.
and finally, I want to make some John Quincy Adams "lemonade": Add to a gallon of water: a bottle of Jamaican rum, a bottle of cognac, a bottle of champagne, and a pound of sugar. Oh and it suggests a pint of lemon juice.
Merry Christmas everybody.
Two presidents that I very much admire, but whom I canʻt imagine having an interesting conversation with are:
F D R and J F K. (Itʻs not that I would expect to have
many disagreements with them.)
I would expect to be very interesting conversationalists:
Adams, Jefferson, J Q A, Van Buren#, Polk* Lincoln, Garfield (the only president who was, academically, in "the same field" with me: Classics),
Wilson*, Truman, Carter, Obama.
Probable dullest: The two Harrisons, McKinley (still a good chance of a fight), Harding, Coolidge and Bush I (despite the
fact of our being of similar ethnic and geographic backgorund, in the case of these last 2. And despite the fact that I think Bush I
had perhaps the most interesting overall career (mainly pre-presidential) of any president.
Presidents I have actually seen, other than on television:
Eisenhower, Ford, and Bush I -- and the latter I didnʻt know I
was seeing him --when he was playing college baseball in 1947.
Presidents I have voted for (1952 -- 2008): Kennedy, Carter, Clinton(2 x), Obama. Also had the winner of the pop;ular vote, Gore, in 2000. (As you can see, I usually "have" the loser.)
# Likely the most interesting if the conversation stuck strictly to politics, national, state, and local. Like HST, he really "liked" Politics.
*Also among the most likely to have the confab degenerate into a into a fight.
btw, kudos for not voting for Reagan in '80, despite Carter's shortcomings ...
No very rational reason for suspecting that JFk and I or FDR and I
would not be interested in each otherʻs conversation.
Itʻs just an impression, and more the likelihood that I would bore them than that they would bore me. JFK and I both have an Irish background,and went to Harvard, but have little else in common.
Iʻm half-Irish, whereas Kennedy is depicted* usually as pure Irish.
And Iʻm working class, whereas the Kennedys and a few other Irish families lived in a completely different world from ours. The two presidential conversationalists were borderline intellectuals, whereas Iʻm so deeply into intellectualism that, if
any deeper, I would be coming out the other side. (FDR, in conservative folklore is even called an "intellectual lightweight", but i donʻt agree with that.
As for drinking
a beer with JFK, if alcohol is going to be a part of it, I relate more
to alcoholics and total abstainers than to social drinkers.
*JFK did say, during the 1960 campaign that he was "probably" part Italian, descended from an Italian family named Ghirardini,
on his motherʻs side. There are obvious reasons, if you know Masssachusetts politics and demography for wanting to be part-Italian. But, generally, on the mainland, claiming ethnic ancestry on the MOTHERʻs side is almost a joke. --because if itʻs without having the ethnic surname, itʻs considered ridiculous.