Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Acknowlegdments

Stephen Hess

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pp. xi-xii

If there was to have been a Rip Van Winkle moment in my life, it would have been in February 2015, when I awoke with the desire to rewrite America’s Political Dynasties, a book I had put to bed a halfcentury earlier. This massively long manuscript had been tapped out word-by-word in 1965 on an IBM Electric. It was my first electric, a marvelous step forward in the history of the typewriter, and...

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1 The Dynastic Impulse

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pp. 1-10

My fascination with America’s political families began, improbably, in Frankfurt, Germany, 1957. I was an army private stationed at the Third Armored Division headquarters. One evening I went to the library hoping to find something entertaining and instead spied a behemoth titled The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, listing every legislator.

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2 The Adams Dynasty

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pp. 11-50

The inheritance of an Adams includes a standard set of physical characteristics. It is as if a die had stamped out assembly-line face and body parts. The Adams frame is short and stocky. (John Adams, when vice president, was referred to as “His Rotundity.”) The Adams face, from top to bottom, has...

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3 The Lee Dynasty

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pp. 51-84

Four years after the first Henry Adams brought his large family to Massachusetts in 1636, Richard Lee, twenty-seven years old and unmarried, came to Virginia. The immigrant Adams had been a poor farmer in England and died a poor farmer in America, leaving to his heirs a house and barn, a cow and a calf...

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4 The Livingston Dynasty

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pp. 85-130

In 1683, a decade after his arrival in America, Robert Livingston bought 2,000 acres from the Mohican Indians, of which 200 acres faced the Hudson River, about forty miles south of Albany. The tract was purchased for a small quantity of blankets, shirts, stockings, caps, kettles, axes, scissors, mirrors, fishhooks,...

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5 The Washburn Dynasty

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pp. 131-152

They were the only family ever to send four brothers to the U.S. Congress. Even more amazing, those sons represented four different states—Maine, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota—and three of them served together in the U.S. House of Representatives for a period of five years.2 For one long generation, from 1851...

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6 The Muhlenberg Dynasty

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pp. 153-174

A German named Tyrker sailed from Iceland with Leif Ericson in the year 1000, thus becoming one of the first Europeans to set foot on the North American continent. It was not, however, until the mid-1670s, after the Thirty Years’ War, when economic collapse, religious bigotry, and the tyranny of autocratic rulers swept the petty Teuton principalities...

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7 The Roosevelt Dynasty

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pp. 175-222

Since the president of the United States had to be in New York City to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, he agreed to give away the bride in a wedding that was to be held at a brownstone house just off Fifth Avenue. Even without the presence of a president, the wedding would have been considered of some social importance: the guest list included Astors, Livingstons, Vanderbilts...

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8 The Harrison Dynasty

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pp. 223-248

The private road bisects Berkeley Hundred, cutting through tobacco fields, passing slave quarters and workshops. After a mile and a half one comes to a gateway, and straight ahead is the handsome mansion of red brick, rising three stories. On its first floor, off the center hall, are two “Great Rooms,” paneled in wood, connected by doors on either side of a massive fireplace. Facing...

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9 The Breckinridge Dynasty

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pp. 249-280

The issue on which the editor of the Lexington Herald hadn’t made up his mind may have been the League of Nations, or it may have been parimutuel betting at Kentucky racetracks. It really didn’t make any difference—the Breckinridges acted with equal fervor on questions both monumental and fleeting. And...

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10 The Bayard Dynasty

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pp. 281-306

Senator James A. Bayard, who took “just pride” in his family, was the son, brother, father, and grandfather of U.S. senators from Delaware. Six weeks after this letter to his son the Delaware legislature sent them both to the U.S. Senate. It was the only time in American history that father and son have been elected...

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11 The Taft Dynasty

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pp. 307-348

“Cincinnati has a certain rhythm that must be sensed if the city is to be understood,” wrote George Sessions Perry. “It is calm and has a kind of simple poise which its most circumspect elements describe as serenity, and which the progressive forces call complacency. Though quietly merry, it is somehow...

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12 The Frelinghuysen Dynasty

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pp. 349-374

These were words of the Great Awakening, the religious revival that swept the country in the mid-eighteenth century and became the first spontaneous mass movement in American history. Its leaders were George Whitfield, Methodist; Jonathan Edwards, Congregationalist; William and Gilbert Tennent, Presbyterians...

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13 The Tucker Dynasty

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pp. 375-402

A Norman yeoman named Tucker crossed the Channel with William the Conqueror and founded a line of sturdy, respectable middle-class Englishmen. In the early seventeenth century a branch of the family moved to Bermuda, where a Tucker became the second governor, known for his ability to outswear any of his constituents. From this line descended five U.S. congressmen...

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14 The Stockton Dynasty

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pp. 403-426

The marriage of Annis Boudinot and Richard Stockton, probably in 1755, was not a match of social equals. The bride, in a poem of courtship, had written her lover, “I found me all thy own in spite of those / Whose cold unfeeling minds would bid us part."2 Although the Boudinots had arrived in America before 1700 and had achieved a degree of prosperity, their landholdings...

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15 The Long Dynasty

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pp. 427-454

To the state of Louisiana and the parish of Winn, John M. Long brought his family from Mississippi in 1859. In Louisiana, counties are called parishes, and Winn Parish, in the north-central part of the state, was destined by incorporation to be the poorest of the poor: when the land was divided, Winn got what nobody...

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16 The Lodge Dynasty

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pp. 455-492

When the first Henry Cabot Lodge ran for the Massachusetts legislature in 1879 his opponents called him “Lah-de- dah” Lodge, the “silver spoon young man” who “parted his hair and his name in the middle.”2 When the second Henry Cabot Lodge ran for the U.S. Senate in 1936 his opponent called...

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17 The Kennedy Dynasty

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pp. 493-544

A remarkable family: the first Irish Catholics of great wealth in America, making most of their fortune in real estate; prominent in politics, having three members of the same generation in Congress and two members in Congress at the same time; outstanding in the affairs of their church, while socially advantaged enough to marry into English aristocracy. Each of these achievements...

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18 The Bush Dynasty

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pp. 545-572

The votes were in, but the race was too close to call, and the stakes too high. So the side that was (just barely) on the losing end of the tally forced the issue before the state supreme court, demanding a recount. “The closeness of the vote and the importance of the office leaves us with no other choice but...

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19 The Clinton Dynasty

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pp. 573-594

Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky is now too young to register to vote, but if she gets elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2040, the first day on which she will be constitutionally eligible to run, the new congresswoman-elect may wish to note that both her maternal and paternal grandparents...

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Epilogue: Ending in Mid-Sentence

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pp. 595-598

The writers of fiction are blessed with the option of concluding “The End.” The writers whose subjects keep moving do not have this luxury. America’s Political Dynasties: From Adams to Kennedy, published in 1966, ended in mid-sentence. So that we all start at the same place, here is the book’s last page, numbered...

Notes

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pp. 599-696

Appendix: Notable American Political Families

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pp. 697-732

Index

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pp. 733-760

Back Flap / Back Cover

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pp. 761-762