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The End of America’s Experiment With Royalty

31st August 2009

Michale Barone takes a look at the Kennedy legacy.

For 18 years before the 1960 election, Americans had presidents in their 60s. At his inauguration, John Kennedy was 43 and his wife 31, with infant children. “Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated in one person doing interesting actions,” wrote Walter Bagehot in 1867. “A family on the throne is an interesting idea also. It also brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.” And so Vaughn Meader’s record satirizing “the first family” and their unusual accents topped the charts and was played over and over at parties.

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