President Kennedy's Address Yale University June 11th 1962 - History

President Kennedy's Address Yale University June 11th 1962 - History

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President Griswold, members of the faculty graduates and their families, ladies and gentlemen: Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for the very deep honor that you have conferred upon me. As General de Gaulle occasionally acknowledges America to be the daughter of Europe, so I am pleased to come to Yale, the daughter of Harvard. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds, a Harvard education and a Yale degree. I am particularly glad to become a Yale man because as I think about my troubles, I find that a lot of them have come from other Yale men. Among businessmen, I have had a minor disagreement with Rodger Blough, of the law school class of I931, and I have had some complaints, too, from my friend Henry Ford, of the class of 1940- In journalism I seem to have a difference with John Hay Whitney, of the class of 1926- and sometimes I also displease Henry Luce of the class Of 1920, not to mention also William F. Buckley, Jr., of the class of 1950. I even have some trouble with my Yale advisers. I get along with them, but how they get along with each other.

I have the warmest feelings for Chester Bowles of the class of 1924, and for Dean Acheson of the class of 1915, and my assistant, McGeorge Bundy of the class of 1940. But I am not sure that these three wise and experienced Yale men wholly agree with each other on every issue.

So this administration which aims at peaceful cooperation among all Americans has been the victim of a certain natural pugnacity developed in this city among Yalemen. Now that 1, too, am a Yale man, it is time for peace. Last week at WestPoint, in the historic tradition of that Academy, I availed myself of the Powers of Commander in Chief to remit all sentences of offending, cadets. In that same spirit, and in the historic tradition of Yale, let me now offer to smoke the, clay pipe of friendship with all of my brother Elis, and I hope that they may be friends not only with me but even with each other.

In any event, I am very glad to be here and as a new member of the club, I have been checking to see what earlier links existed between the institution of the Presidency and Yale. I found that a member of the class of 1878, William Howard Taft, served one term in the White House as preparation for becoming a member of this faculty. And a graduate of 1804, John C. Calhoun, regarded the Vice Presidency, quite naturally, as too lowly a status for' a Yale alumnus- and became the only man in history to ever resign that office.
Calhoun in 1804 and Taft in 1878 graduated into a world very different from ours today. They and their contemporaries spent entire careers stretching over 40 years in grappling with a few dramatic issues on which the Nation was sharply and emotion-ally divided, issues that occupied the attention of a generation at a time: the rational bank, the disposal of the public lands, nullification or union, freedom or slavery, gold or silver. Today these Old sweeping issues very largely have disappeared. The central domestic issues of our time are more subtle and less simple. They relate not to basic clashes of philosophy or ideology but to ways and means of reaching common goals-to research for sophisticated solutions to complex and obstinate issues. The world of, the world of Taft had its own hard problems and notable challenges. But its problems are not our problems. Their age is not our age. As every past generation has had to disenthrall itself from an inheritance of truisms and stereotypes, so in our own time we must move on from the reassuring repetition of stale phrases to a new, difficult, but essential confrontation with reality.

For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived, and dishonest-but the myth-persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we holdfast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. Mythology distracts us everywhere-in government as in business, in politics as in economics, in foreign affairs as in domestic affairs. But today I want to particularly consider the myth and reality in our national economy. In recent months many have come to feel, as I do, that the dialog between the parties-between business and government, between the government and the public-is clogged by illusion and platitude and fails to reflect the true realities of contemporary American society.

I speak of these matters here at Yale because of the self-evident truth that a great university is always enlisted against the spread of illusion and on the side of reality. No one has said it more clearly than your President Griswold: "Liberal learning is both a safeguard against false ideas of freedom and a source of true ones." Your role as university men, whatever your calling, will be to increase each new generation's grasp of its duties.

There are three great areas of our domestic affairs in which, today, there is a danger that allusion may prevent effective action. They are, first, the question of the size and the shape of government's responsibilities; second, the question of public fiscal policy; and third, the matter of confidence, business confidence or public confidence, or simply confidence in America. I want to talk about all three, and I want to talk about them care-fully and dispassionately-and I emphasize that I am concerned here not with political debate but with finding ways to separate false problems from real ones.

If a contest in angry argument were forced upon it, no administration could shrink from response, and history does not suggest that American Presidents are totally without resources in an engagement forced upon them because of hostility in one sector of society. But in the wider national interest, we need not partisan wrangling, but common concentration on common problems. I come here to this distinguished university to ask you to join in this great task.

Let us take first the question of the size and shape of government. The myth here is that government is big, and bad-and steadily getting bigger and worse. Obviously this myth has seine excuse for existence. It is true that in recent history each new administration has spent much more money than its predecessor. Thus President Roosevelt outspent President Hoover, and with allowances for the special case of the Second World War, President Truman outspent President Roosevelt. Just to prove that this was not a partisan matter, President Eisenhower then outspent President Truman by the handsome figure of $182 billion. It is even possible, some think, that this trend may continue.

But does it follow from this that big government is growing relatively bigger? It does not-for the fact is for the last I5 years, the Federal Government-and also the Federal debt-and also the Federal bureaucracy-have grown less rapidly than the economy as a whole. If we leave defense and space expenditures aside, the Federal Government since the Second World War has expanded less than any other major sector of our national life-less than industry, less than commerce, less than agriculture, less than higher education, and very much less than the noise about big government.

The truth about big government is the truth about any other great activity-it is complex. Certainly it is true that size brings dangers-but it is also true that size can bring benefits. Here at Yale which has contributed so much to our national progressive science and medicine, it may be proper form to mention one great and little noticed expansion of government which has brought strength to our whole society-the new role of our Federal Government as the major patron of research in Science and in medicine. Few people realize that in 1961 in support of all university research in science and medicine, three dollars out of every four came from the Federal Government. I need hardly point out that this has taken place without undue enlargement of Government control-that American scientists remain second to none in their independence and in their individualism.

I am not suggesting that Federal expenditures cannot bring some measure of control. The whole thrust of Federal expenditures in agriculture have been related by purpose and design to control, as a means of dealing with the problems created by our farmers and outgrowing productivity. Each sector, my point is, of activity must be approached on its own merits and in terms of specific national needs. Generalities in regard to Federal expenditures, therefore, can be misleading each case, science, urban renewal, education, agriculture, natural resources, each case must be determined on its merits if we are to profit from our unrivaled ability to combine the strength of public and private purpose.

Next, let us turn to the problem of our fiscal policy. Here the myths are legion and the truth hard to find. But let me take as a prime example the problem of the Federal budget. We persist in measuring our Federal fiscal integrity today by the conventional or administrative budget-with results which would be regarded as absurd in any business firm-in any country of Europe- or in any careful assessment of the reality of our national finances. The administrative budget has sound administrative uses. But for wider purposes it is less helpful. It omits our special trust funds and the effect that they have on our economy; it neglects changes in assets or inventories. It cannot tell a loan from a straight expenditure-and worst of all it cannot distinguish between operating expenditures and long term investments.

This budget, in relation to the great problems of Federal fiscal policy which are basic to our economy in 1962, is not simply irrelevant; it can be actively misleading. And yet there is a mythology that measures all of our national soundness or unsoundness on the single simple basis of this same annual administrative budget. If our Federal budget is to serve not the debate but the country, we must and will find ways of clarifying this area of discourse.

Still in the area of fiscal policy, let me say a word about deficits. The myth persists that Federal deficits create inflation and budget surpluses prevent it. Yet sizeable budget surpluses after the war did not prevent inflation, and persistent deficits for the last several years have not upset our basic price stability. Obviously deficits are some-times dangerous-and so are surpluses. But honest assessment plainly requires a more sophisticated view than the old and automatic cliché that deficits automatically bring inflation.
There are myths also about our public debt. It is widely supposed that this debt is growing at a dangerously rapid rate. In fact, both the debt per person and the debt as a proportion of our gross national product have declined sharply since the Second World War. In absolute terms the national debt since the end of World War 11 has increased only 8 percent, while private debt was increasing 305 percent, and the debts of State and local governments-on whom people frequently suggest we should place additional burdens-the debts of State and local governments have increased 378 percent. Moreover, debts, public and private, are neither good nor bad, in and of themselves. Borrowing can lead to over-extension and collapse-but it can also lead to expansion and strength. There is no single, simple slogan in this field that we can trust.
Finally, I come to the problem of confidence. Confidence is a matter of myth and also a matter of truth-and this time let me take the truth of the matter first.
It is true-and of high importance-that the prosperity of this country depends on the assurance that all major elements within it will live up to their responsibilities. If business were to neglect its obligations to the public, if labor were blind to all public responsibility, above all, if government were to abandon its obvious-and statutory-duty of watchful concern for our economic health-if any of these things should happen, then confidence might well be weakened and the danger of stagnation would increase. This is the true issue of confidence.
But there is also the false issue-and its simplest form is the assertion that any and all unfavorable turns of the speculative wheel-however temporary and however plainly speculative in character-are the result of, and I quote, "a lack of confidence in the national administration." This I must tell you, while comforting, is not wholly true. Worse, it obscures the reality-which is also simple. The solid ground of mutual confidence is the necessary partnership of government with all of the sectors of our society in the steady quest for economic progress.
Corporate plans are not based on a political confidence in party leaders but on an economic confidence in the Nation's ability to invest and produce and consume. Business had full confidence in the administrations in power in I929, I954, I958, and 1960-but this was not enough to prevent recession when business lacked full confidence in the economy. What matters is the capacity of the Nation as a whole to deal with its economic problems and its opportunities.
The stereotypes I have been discussing distract our attention and divide our effort. These stereotypes do our Nation a disservice, not just because they are exhausted and irrelevant, but above all because they are misleading-because they stand in the way of the solution of hard and complicated facts. It is not new that past debates should obscure present realities. But the damage of such a false dialogue is greater today than ever before simply because today the safety of all the world-the very future of freedom-depends as never before upon the sensible and clearheaded management of the domestic affairs of the United States.
The real issues of our time are rarely as dramatic as the issues of Calhoun. The differences today are usually matters of degree. And we cannot understand and attack our contemporary problems in 1962 if we are bound by traditional labels and worn-out slogans of an earlier era. But the unfortunate fact of the matter is that our rhetoric has not kept pace with the speed of social and economic change. Our political debates, our public discourse-on current domestic and economic issues-too often bear little or no relation to the actual problems the United States faces.
What is at stake in our economic decisions today is not some grand warfare of rival ideologies which will sweep the country with passion but the practical management of a modern economy. What we need is not labels and clichés but more basic discussion of the sophisticated and technical questions involved in keeping a great economic machinery moving ahead.
The national interest lies in high employment and steady expansion of output, instable prices, and a strong dollar. The declaration of such an objective is easy; their attainment in an intricate and interdependent economy and world is a little more difficult. To attain them, we require not some automatic response but hard thought. Let me end by suggesting a few of the real questions on our national agenda.
First, how can our budget and tax policies supply adequate revenues and preserve our balance of payments position without slowing up our economic growth?
Two, how are we to set our interest rates and regulate the flow of money in ways which will stimulate the economy at home, without weakening the dollar abroad? Given the spectrum of our domestic and international responsibilities, what should be the mix between fiscal and monetary policy?
Let me give several examples from my experience of the complexity of these matters and how political labels and ideological-approaches are irrelevant to the solution.
Last week, a distinguished graduate of this school, Senator Proxmire, of the class of 1938, who is ordinarily regarded as a liberal Democrat, suggested that we should following meeting our economic problems a stiff fiscal policy, with emphasis on budget balance and an easy monetary policy with low interest rates in order to keep our economy going. In the same week, the Bank for International Settlement in Basel, Switzerland, a conservative organization representing the central bankers of Europe suggested that the appropriate economic policy in the United States should be the very opposite; that we should follow a flexible budget policy, as in Europe, with deficits when the economy is clown and a high monetary policy on interest rates, is in Europe, in order to control inflation and protect goals. Both may be right or wrong. It will depend on many different factors.
The point is that this is basically an administrative or executive problem in which political labels or clichés do not give us a solution.
A well-known business journal this morning, as I journeyed to New Haven, raised the prospects that a further budget deficit would bring inflation and encourage the flow of gold. We have had several budget deficits beginning with a $121/2 billion deficit in 1958, and it is true that in the fall of 1960 we had a gold dollar loss running at $5 billion annually. This would seem to prove the case that a deficit produces inflation and that we lose gold, yet there was no inflation following the deficit of 1958 nor has inflation since then.
Our wholesale price index since 1958 has remained completely level in spite of several deficits, because the loss of gold has been due to other reasons: price instability, relative interest rates, relative export-import balances, national security expenditures-all the rest.
Let me give you a third and final example. At the World Bank meeting in September, a number of American bankers attending predicted to their European colleagues that because of the fiscal i962 budget deficit, there would be a strong inflationary pressure on the dollar and a loss of gold. Their predictions of inflation were shared by many in business and helped push the market up. The recent reality of non-inflation helped bring it down. We have had no inflation because we have had other factors in our economy that have contributed to price stability.
I do not suggest that the Government is right and they are wrong. The fact of the matter is in the Federal Reserve Board and in the administration this fall, a similar view was held by many well-informed and disinterested men that inflation was the major problem that we would face in the winter of 1962. But it was not. What I do suggest is that these problems are endlessly complicated and yet they go to the future of this country and its ability to prove to the world what we believe it must prove.
I am suggesting that the problems of fiscal and monetary policies in the sixties as opposed to the kinds of problems we faced in the thirties demand subtle challenges for which technical answers, not political answers, must be provided. These are matters upon which government and business may and in many cases will disagree. They are certainly matters that government and business should be discussing in the most sober, dispassionate, and careful way if we are to maintain the kind of vigorous economy upon which our country depends.
How can we develop and sustain strong and stable world markets for basic commodities without unfairness to the consumer and without undue stimulus to the producer? How can we generate the buying power, which can consume what we produce on our farms and in our factories? How can we take advantage of the miracles of automation with the great demand that it will put upon highly skilled labor and yet offer employment to the half million of unskilled school dropouts each year who enter the labor market, eight million of them in their 60's ?
How do we eradicate the barriers, which separate substantial minorities of our citizens from access to education and employment on equal terms with the rest?
How, in sum, can we make our free economy work at full capacity-that is, provide adequate profits for enterprise, adequate wages for labor, adequate utilization of plant, and opportunity for all?
These are the problems that we should be talking about- that the political parties and the various groups in our country should be discussing. They cannot be solved by incantations from the forgotten past. But the example of Western Europe shows that they are capable of solution-that governments, and many of them are conservative governments, prepared to face technical problems without ideological preconceptions, can coordinate the elements of a national economy and bring about growth and prosperity-a decade of it.
Some conversations I have heard in our own country sound like old records, long-playing, left over from the middle thirties. The debate of the thirties and its great significance and produced great results, but it took place in a different world with different needs and different tasks. It is our responsibility today to live in our own world, and to identify the needs and discharge the tasks of the 1960's.
If there is any current trend toward meeting present problems with old clichés, this is the moment to stop it-before it lands us all in a bog of sterile acrimony.
Discussion is essential; and I am hopeful that the debate of recent weeks, though up to now somewhat barren, may represent the start of a serious dialog of the kind which has led in Europe to such fruitful collaboration among all the elements of economic society and to a decade of unrivaled economic progress. But let us not engage in the wrong argument at the wrong time between the wrong people in the wrong country-while the real problems of our own time grow and multiply, fertilized by our neglect.
Nearly 150 years ago Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The new circumstances under which we are placed call for new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects." New words, new phrases, the transfer of old words to new objects-that is truer today than it was in the time of Jefferson, because the role of this country is so vastly more significant. There is as how in England called "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off." You have not chosen to exercise that option. You are part of the world and you must participate in these days of our years in the solution of the problems that pour upon us, requiring the most sophisticated and technical judgment; and as we work in consonance to meet the authentic problems of our times, we will generate a vision and an energy which will demonstrate anew to the world the superior vitality and the strength of the free society.
NOTE: The President spoke 2t 11:30 a. m. on the Old Campus after being awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

More than rhetoric

Ted Sorensen, who died early last week, was legendary among all of us in the speechwriting fraternity for the extraordinary body of work he crafted with President John F. Kennedy. Even the Republicans pilfered from him, and inside the Clinton White House, he represented a gold standard that we constantly strove to reach, with imperfect results (it’s harder than it looks).

There is a great deal to be said about why those speeches were so good. Obviously, much of the credit belongs to the person delivering the speech, and Ted Sorensen was blessed with a partner of rare ability. But he brought his own great abilities, which dovetailed perfectly with those of President Kennedy. He was lean in every sense not a single word was wasted in those taut, muscular orations. Famously, Sorensen consulted the great speeches of American history before writing the inaugural address, and discovered that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address had very few polysyllabic words. The result was those thrilling two syllables, “ask not!” (the “ask” stretched dramatically into Bostonese), more insisting than asking. They were essential to set up the rest of the famous sentence. Not just the “ask not,” but the important pause that came after, with an index finger jabbing the frosty air. That was political theater of the highest order.

Sorensen was gifted in many other ways his phenomenal work ethic, his lightning speed, his mordant wit. He was mischievous, and with his perfect crop of hair, retained an air of Kennedy-esque boyishness well into senescence. All of those qualities gave spice to the speeches — unlike so much of Washington oratory, every utterance contained the possibility of a surprise an unusual allusion a bracing witticism and always, a summons to action.

In Sorensen’s memoir, “Counselor,” he wrote, “I approached each speech draft as if it might someday appear under Kennedy’s name in a collection of the world’s great speeches.” That is setting the bar pretty high — but consider the results. This top ten list of speeches by John F. Kennedy and Ted Sorensen does not include what may have been the greatest contribution Sorensen made to history — he drafted the letter to Nikita Khrushchev that helped to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. It also does not include some memorable speeches drafted by other pens within Kennedy’s inner circle — for example, the exquisite address given at Amherst College in 1963, praising poetry, drafted by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. But what a list, all the same.

1. Address at American University, June 10, 1963. This remarkable speech completely recast the Cold War. Coming seven months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, it proclaimed that the United States and the Soviet Union could find common ground indeed, that they must. It has less flash than many Kennedy speeches, and more hard-won realism, seeing the world “as it is,” a line used by President Obama in his 2009 Nobel address. Declaring peace a human right, it offered a new conciliatory approach to the Soviet Union, whose leader, Nikita Khrushchev, responded by calling it “the greatest speech by any American president since Roosevelt.” A nuclear test ban treaty followed shortly. Three short sentences were especially moving, and as it proved, all too prophetic: “We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

2. Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961. This speech, of course, was the template for all that followed. It pulsed with energy and determination it contained a real agenda for the future and it energized a generation that had been quiescent, mainly because it had never been asked to do anything. It contained both power and poetry, including rhymes (“Let every nation know…that we shall oppose any foe”). Despite a rare Sorensen clunker (the mixed metaphor, “if a beach-head of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion…”), this was a speech for all time.

3. Televised Address on Civil Rights, June 11, 1963. With a lawyer’s clarity, Sorensen’s draft went to the heart of America’s most entrenched problem. A single sentence perfectly cast the tone, claiming that civil rights was a moral issue “as old as the Scriptures and as clear as the Constitution.” (Perhaps if the Constitution had been more clear, we might have eliminated slavery earlier than we did, but that is a historian’s question, not a speechwriter’s.) Martin Luther King Jr., watching at home said, “Can you believe that white man not only stepped up to the plate, he hit it over the fence!”

4. Berlin Speech, June 26, 1963. No American president has ever looked more attractive to the rest of the world than President Kennedy did on the day he went into West Berlin, encircled and nearly walled off by communism, and delivered this short, exciting, and utterly winning address. It contained memorable soundbites (“Ich bin ein Berliner”), surprising flashes of humor (JFK thanked his interpreter for translating his German into German), and the drama of a president perfectly matched to his time.

5. Speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, September 12, 1960. The nomination of a Roman Catholic touched off tensions that went to the heart of American history. And Sorensen and Kennedy went to American history to resolve them. The most effective line, tugging at Texan heartstrings, came when JFK reminded his listeners that no one knew who was Catholic among the defenders of Alamo, “for there was no religious test at the Alamo.”

6. Address at Rice University, September 12, 1962. Two years to the day after another Houston speech, Kennedy affirmed the role of science in driving the nation’s progress forward, and called specifically for lunar exploration. Again, it was couched in history (William Bradford got a surprising shout-out), and classically punchy Sorensen sentences about exertion and excellence. (“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard….”)

7. Speech on Algeria, July 2, 1957. This speech, given by then-Senator Kennedy, proclaimed his independence from party orthodoxies on the right and left, and his willingness to think anew about the Cold War and the role of the developing world within it. It infuriated Democratic Cold Warriors like Dean Acheson, but with the advantage of hindsight, we can see that it was not only visionary, but correct. Sorensen called it “one of the most carefully researched speeches he ever gave,” and it had to be, for it questioned nearly all of the assumptions guiding US foreign policy.

8. Address at University of Washington, November 16, 1961. This speech is not as well remembered, but it contains a single line which is often quoted because of its relevance to globalization and the shrinking dominance of the United States, especially in the wake of Iraq. Kennedy said, “We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient — that we are only 6 percent of the world’s population — that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind — that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity — and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.”

9. Commencement Address, Yale University, June 11, 1962. After a long and witty introduction, poking fun at the fact that so many of JFK’s critics were Yale men, the president went into the heart of his speech, defending the role of government to improve lives and promote fairness. It bears re-reading in a week of Tea Party insurgency, and it also reflects on the difficulty of getting right with historical figures whom we magnify or vilify out of proportion to the real human beings they were: “For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

10. Farewell to Massachusetts, Boston, January 9, 1961. This call to integrity was delivered inside a legislative chamber (the General Court) that has not always lived up to those standards, but has stood the test of time. Inspired by President Lincoln’s farewell to Springfield, the speech insisted that it was not a farewell, but like Lincoln’s, it was all the same. It went deeply into the original errand that brought settlers to the Bay Colony, citing John Winthrop’s City on a Hill passage, correctly for once (“We shall be as a city on a hill — the eyes of all people are upon us”). That phrase has been borrowed by many others, notably Ronald Reagan (who added the un-Kennedyesque adjective “shining”), but never more effectively. Along with Daniel Webster’s Reply to Hayne, and his Bunker Hill Address, it is the finest speech ever given about this state by an elected official.

Ted Widmer served in the Clinton White House from 1997 to 2001, first as a speechwriter, then as a senior adviser. He directs the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and is a senior research fellow with the New America Foundation.

Kennedy, Obama and Spin

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.

John F Kennedy, Commencement address, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 11 June 1962

Two men, two presidents almost fifty years apart, one a child of white privilege, the other a child of multiculturalism, both commanders in chief of an empire of military bases on every continent from the Arctic to the Antarctic, both world leaders of their times, both are consummate speakers, both are masters of spin..

The spin, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama used in their speeches, might differ but each in his own way achieved what, if not exactly impossible, was thought highly improbable in their times. They did it using powerful rhetoric.

Kennedy and his speechwriters Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Theodore “Ted” Sorensen were masters of traditional empire building rhetoric that referenced ancient Greece and Rome in tones of imperial gravitas. His style was typified by his Inaugural Address in Washington in 1961.

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage . . .

Whilst I doubt that many Americans used the words, go forth, foe or tempered, they were hypnotized by his address. His command of classical rhetoric created the myth of a great leader and the people hung on his words.

Obama and his speechwriters Jon Favreau and Cody Keenan choose instead to toggle between the rhetoric of the founding fathers and the common touch depending on the circumstances. Obama’s speech on Race Relations delivered at the National Constitution Center across from Independence Hall in Philadelphia started with ‘We the people, in order to form a more perfect union. Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy.’ He draws on the style and dignity of the Constitution. Whereas the simpler language and common expressions of his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention draws on colloquialisms like fudge the numbers.

When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

With these rhetorical strategies, Obama deftly places himself as a man of the people and an American. In fact what his spin on this piece is disguising is encapsulated in the line “to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war”. He could have said, ‘When I become president, and I go to war, I want more troops.’

It is almost 50 years since Kennedy wrote his last speech in November 1963. He was due to deliver it on the day he was assassinated. Would he deliver the same speech today? Would the president of the country that believed it won the greatest war in history, a country in economic growth and with a politically naïve population make the same speech to the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Dallas Citizens Council and Assembly? Would he make the same speech after two long, unsuccessful wars and one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression?

Parts of Kennedy’s speech might be even better received today than that which Obama presented on a similar theme. For instance the carefully scripted, almost poetically rhythmical “There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternative, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.” It sounds almost Shakespearean compared to Obama’s down to earth and school masterly defense of his tax compromise with Republicans in 2010.

Now if that’s the standard against which we are measuring success or core principles, then let’s face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position, and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves and sanctimonious about ourselves about how good our intentions are, how tough we are.

On the other hand, Kennedy’s boast about spending on nuclear missiles is unlikely to escape the notice of online critics today. The political capital invested in nuclear weapons has long since dissipated and his aggressive dialectic in the Dallas speech would be more likely to offend allies and American citizens than make them feel secure, particularly after the Chernobyl and Fukushima leaks and in the light of many more countries possessing nuclear weapons than in 1963.

. . . the strategic nuclear power of the United States has been so greatly modernized and expanded in the last 1,000 days, by the rapid production and deployment of the most modern missile systems, that any and all potential aggressors are clearly confronted now with the impossibility of strategic victory – and the certainty of total destruction – if by reckless attack they should ever force upon us the necessity of a strategic reply.

It is also doubtful that any president today would provide so much ammunition to his opposition and national enemies as this list of military expenditures from Kennedy’s remarks at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce in 1963, his last delivered speech.

In the past 3 years we have increased the defense budget of the United States by over 20 percent increased the program of acquisition for Polaris submarines from 24 to 41 increased our Minuteman missile purchase program by more than 75 percent doubled the number of strategic bombers and missiles on alert doubled the number of nuclear weapons available in the strategic alert forces increased the tactical nuclear forces deployed in Western Europe by over 60 percent added five combat ready divisions to the Army of the United States, and five tactical fighter wings to the Air Force of the United States increased our strategic airlift capability by 75 percent and increased our special counter-insurgency forces which are engaged now in South VietNam by 600 percent. I hope those who want a stronger America and place it on some signs will also place those figures next to it.

Keeping in mind his military and nuclear weapons spending, as he has just outlined, leads to a clearer understanding of Kennedy as a manipulative rhetorician and spin doctor particularly in the light of his famous speech to the Commencement Address at American University on June 10 in 1963.

Kennedy started with his title. “Peace and Freedom Walk Together” In fact he used the word “Peace” 50 times in this one speech, a clever linguistic device that remained fixed in his listener’s minds rather than the actual content of what he said. In addition, he used the word “Freedom” 9 times at key points even though he had already created the CIA’s Domestic Operations Division that year. Freedom, but perhaps not so much for Americans.

Later in his speech, it is doubtful this gem of rhetorical absurdity would achieve anything like the effect it had in 1963. “To secure these ends, America’s weapons are non-provocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.”

Kennedy goes on to say with a straight face, “For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.” This was at a stage in his presidency when he was well on the way to be able to say to the citizens of Fort Worth ‘Our assistance to these nations can be painful, risky, and costly, as is true in Southeast Asia today. But we dare not weary of the task. For our assistance makes possible the stationing of 3.5 million allied troops along the Communist frontier’.

He concludes with the hypocritical ‘The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war.” As he said at the time, he was actively escalating involvement in Vietnam and he conveniently omitted to mention, Laos. In fact, as linguist and political researcher, Noam Chomsky said, ‘by 1962, Kennedy’s war had far surpassed the French war at its peak in helicopters and aerial fire power’.

It was a clever speech, a satisfying one to those who looked at Kennedy with rose tinted glasses even today. After all, he says “peace” 50 times leading many people to believe that the Commencement Day speech was proof that Kennedy was a peacemaker and that he intended to withdraw from Vietnam. But his actions as he states himself prove otherwise. Rather, his clever speech, aimed at mollifying increasingly radical students, is proof that he was, in his time, a master of double speak. Not a man for all seasons but a man for all men, who adapted his speeches to appeal to each of his audiences. A man who could make a speech that talks of war to one person and a speech that makes it sound like peace to another. As he says himself, possibly paraphrasing Goebbels, ‘No matter how big the lie repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.’

President Barack Obama could not have existed in the America of 1963. In that year, Kennedy was just coming to the end of his procrastination on the issue of Civil Rights and the Act was not passed until 1964 after his assassination.

However, Obama’s speeches would in many ways, have been understood by the Americans of that time. His catch cry of hope and destiny was just as supportable then as now. In his Iowa Caucus Victory Speech in 2008, ‘Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.’ Later, in his speech delivered in Berlin in 2008, he says, ‘We are a people of improbable hope With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.’ Would the people of America prefer ‘People of improbable hope’ to‘Hope is the bedrock’ in 2013 or 1963? Does either statement have any meaningful content?

From an ideological and dialectic perspective, Obama reveals the political angles in his spin doctoring and rhetorical appeals to pathos at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in 2010. He says with all sincerity, “When a child dies from a preventable disease, it shocks all of our consciences.” That begs the question whether children killed in drone strikes do not. He spins the polio eradication campaign to make it appear to be a US led program. “We’re working with partners to finally eradicate polio.” When in fact it is an initiative of the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary. And U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan have seriously hindered the final vaccination drive in Pakistan because of the suspicion that the CIA is using the vaccination campaign as a cover as it identifies potential drone targets.

Obama goes on with “instead of just treating HIV/AIDS, we’ve invested in pioneering research to finally develop a way to help millions of women actually prevent themselves from being infected in the first place.” However he does not share with his audience what the United States Presidents Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, PEPFAR, does with its ‘pioneering research’. Take Uganda as an example. As Scott Evertz, a leader in health policy practice, pointed out previously Uganda had a comprehensive ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms) strategy which reduced the Aids rate from 15% to 6% of the population. Now PEPFAR provides much of its Aids funding to Christian religious groups promoting an abstinence-only strategy and actively attacking condom use. As a result, Aids is rising again.

Omission continues to be Obama’s strategy in informing the public about other foreign aid particularly that channelled through the Millennium Development Corporation. He speaks glowingly of the Corporation, and its help building rural roads in El Salvador. However, as reported in Voices from El Salvador, in 2012, U.S. Ambassador Maria Carmen Aponte said that approval of new MCC funds is dependent upon the passing of the P3 Law. Unions and indigenous people say that the P3 Law will privatize government services such as air and seaports, health care facilities, and education. The much-lauded roads are not for the local people but to enable investment in tourism and hotels on indigenous land.

Another strategy Obama uses is the appearance of even-handedness. Words like ‘balance’ allow Obama to place socially positive concepts next to more controversial political actions such as freedom and need for security or privacy protection and intercept communication.

That’s why, in the years to come, we will have to keep working hard to strike the appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are. That means reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication, but also build in privacy protections to prevent abuse.

Kennedy said more or less the same thing in his address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association in 1961 but uses a yes/but argument with a complete about face.

And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know. . . . Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security — and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion.

The strength of Obama’s speeches is evident in his success in two elections as the first black president in America. He is a president that like Kennedy is capable of flights of rhetoric and hyperbole that stir the imagination and inspire Americans. Like Kennedy, he uses sweet lies and shibboleths that appeal to his electorate as he prevaricates and plays with the truth. The content and historical context of their speeches is often almost identical. At times, their speeches could be interchangeable and in fact, Americans of 1963 and 2013 would probably see little difference in their politics or rhetoric as read in:

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. . . To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

History will not judge our endeavors–and a government cannot be selected–merely on the basis of color or creed or even party affiliation. Neither will competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the utmost, suffice in times such as these.

For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us–recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state–our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

First, were we truly men of courage–with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies–and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates–the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

Secondly, were we truly men of judgment–with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past–of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others–with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?

Third, were we truly men of integrity–men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them–men who believed in us–men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

Finally, were we truly men of dedication–with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest.

The first is Barack Obama’s Victory speech in Grant Park, 2008. The second is John F. Kennedy’s Address before the Massachusetts General Court, January 9, 1961.

When History and the people of America take their rose colored glasses off, they will judge the endeavors and hypocrisy of Kennedy and Obama for what they are – excellent rhetoricians, poor human beings, 50 years apart, who but for the color of one’s skin would have been completely interchangeable.

“Ce n’est pas la première fois que je remarque combien, en France particulièrement, les mots ont plus d’empire que les idées.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve noticed how much more power words have than ideas

Works Cited

“Address, “The President and the Press,” Before The American Newspaper Publishers Association, 27 April 1961.” – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

“Attack on Team of Polio Vaccinators in Pakistan Kills One.” Zeenews, 20 May 2013. Web. 30 May 2013.

“Barack Obama 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address – American Rhetoric.” Barack Obama 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address – American Rhetoric. C-Span, 18 Aug. 2008. Web. 28 May 2013.

Chomsky, Noam. “Noam Chomsky – 1993 – Rethinking Camelot.” Scribd. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

“The Debate Over Public-Private Partnership Law and MCC Funding in El Salvador.” Voices from El Salvador. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 May 2013.

Drum, Kevin. “Obama Goes Medieval on the Left.” Mother Jones. N.p., 07 Dec. 2010. Web. 28 May 2013.

Evertz, Scott H. Rep. How Ideology Trumped Science Why PEPFAR Has Failed to Meet Its Potential. Center for American Progress • Council for Global Equality, Jan. 2010. Web. 30 May 2013.

Kennedy, John F. “Address before the Massachusetts General Court, January 9, 1961.” – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.

Kennedy, John F. “Commencement Address at American University, June 10, 1963.” – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.

Kennedy, John F. “Commencement Address at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 11 June 1962.” – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. National Archives and Records Administration. n.d. Web. 29 May 2013.

Kennedy, John F. “Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas, November 22, 1963 [Undelivered].” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. National Archives and Records Administration. n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.

Mirengoff, Paul. “This Month in Civil Rights History.” Power Line. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 30 May 2013.

Obama, Barack. “Barack Obama Gives His Iowa Caucus Victory Speech.” Barack Barack Obama, 3 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 May 2013.

Obama, Barack. “Barack Obama Speech – Election Night Victory – Nov 4 2008.” Barack Obama. N.p., 04 Nov. 2008. Web. 30 May 2013.

Obama, Barack. “Remarks by the President at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, New York.” The White House. US Govt., 22 Sept. 2010. Web. 30 May 2013.

Obama, Barack. “Remarks by the President at the National Defense University.” The White House. US Govt, 23 May 2013. Web. 30 May 2013.

“Obama Speech on Race at the National Constitution Center.” Obama Speech on Race at the National Constitution Center. National Constitution Centre, 8 Mar. 2008. Web. 28 May 2013.

“President Kennedy 1961 Inaugural Address.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Jan. 2009. Web. 28 May 2013.

2. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat “On Banking”

Franklin Roosevelt preparing for his first 𠇏ireside chat” in which he explained the measures he was taking to reform the nation’s banking system. (Credit: Corbis/Getty Images)

When: March 1933

What Roosevelt Said: “My friends, I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking𠉬onfidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith. You must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system, and it is up to you to support and make it work. It is your problem, my friends. Your problem no less than it is mine. Together, we cannot fail.”

Why It Was Important: Beginning with the simple phrase, “My friends,” the stage was set for the personalization of the presidency that continued throughout FDR’s administration. Roosevelt received an outpouring of support from the public, and used the power of media to connect with his constituents. Recognizing publicity as essential to policymaking, he crafted a very intricate public relations plan for all of his New Deal legislation. Media allowed him to present a very carefully crafted message that was unfiltered and unchallenged by the press. Many newspapers were critical of his New Deal programs, so turning to radio and motion pictures allowed him to present his version of a particular policy directly to the people. Today, we see parallels in the use of Twitter to bypass opponents and critics of the administration to appeal directly to the American people. And that all started with FDR and his first fireside chat.

— Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Assistant Professor of History, Purdue University

Trip to New York and Connecticut: Commencement Address at Yale University, 11:30AM

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Early history of Yale College Edit

Origins Edit

Yale traces its beginnings to "An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School", a would-be charter passed during a meeting in New Haven by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut on October 9, 1701. The Act was an effort to create an institution to train ministers and lay leadership for Connecticut. Soon after, a group of ten Congregational ministers, Samuel Andrew, Thomas Buckingham, Israel Chauncy, Samuel Mather (nephew of Increase Mather), Rev. James Noyes II (son of James Noyes), James Pierpont, Abraham Pierson, Noadiah Russell, Joseph Webb, and Timothy Woodbridge, all alumni of Harvard, met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell, located in Branford, Connecticut, to donate their books to form the school's library. [12] The group, led by James Pierpont, is now known as "The Founders". [13]

From its origin it is known as the "Collegiate School", the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, who is today considered the first president of Yale. Pierson lived in Killingworth (now Clinton). The school moved to Saybrook and then Wethersfield. In 1716, it moved to New Haven, Connecticut.

Meanwhile, there was a rift forming at Harvard between its sixth president, Increase Mather, and the rest of the Harvard clergy, whom Mather viewed as increasingly liberal, ecclesiastically lax, and overly broad in Church polity. The feud caused the Mathers to champion the success of the Collegiate School in the hope that it would maintain the Puritan religious orthodoxy in a way that Harvard had not. [14] Rev. Jason Haven, the minister at the First Church and Parish in Dedham, Massachusetts had been considered for the presidency on account of his orthodox theology and for "Neatness dignity and purity of Style [which] surpass those of all that have been mentioned," but was passed over do to his "very Valetudinary and infirm State of Health." [15]

Naming and development Edit

In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Samuel Andrew or the colony's Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted the successful Boston born businessman Elihu Yale to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Through the persuasion of Jeremiah Dummer, Elihu "Eli" Yale, who had made a fortune in Madras while working for the East India Company as the first president of Fort St. George (largely through secret contracts with Madras merchants that were illegal under Company policy [16] ), donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for more than £560, a substantial sum of money at the time. Cotton Mather suggested that the school change its name to "Yale College." [17] The Welsh name Yale is the Anglicized spelling of the Iâl, which the family estate at Plas yn Iâl, near the village of Llandegla, was called.

Meanwhile, a Harvard graduate working in England convinced some 180 prominent intellectuals to donate books to Yale. The 1714 shipment of 500 books represented the best of modern English literature, science, philosophy and theology at the time. [18] It had a profound effect on intellectuals at Yale. Undergraduate Jonathan Edwards discovered John Locke's works and developed his original theology known as the "new divinity." In 1722 the Rector and six of his friends, who had a study group to discuss the new ideas, announced that they had given up Calvinism, become Arminians, and joined the Church of England. They were ordained in England and returned to the colonies as missionaries for the Anglican faith. Thomas Clapp became president in 1745 and while he attempted to return the college to Calvinist orthodoxy, he did not close the library. Other students found Deist books in the library. [19]

Founders' connections to the slave trade Edit

One of Elihu Yale's responsibilities as president of Fort St. George was overseeing its slave trade, though he himself was never a slave trader, never owned slaves, opposed the slave trade, and imposed several restrictions on it during his tenure. [20] Critics none the less argue that he benefited from the trade by having it as one of his responsibilities as president, despite not owning any of the traded human beings or profiting from their sales. [21]

The controversy over Yale University being named to honor the slave trader Elihu Yale dates back to at least 1994. In 2007, Yale University removed a painting which shows Elihu Yale attended to by a child slave. At the time, Yale University stated that the issues with Elihu Yale had begun at least 13 years prior. Although Elihu Yale was the president of the East India Company, a Yale University spokesperson claimed that, ". Elihu Yale did not support slavery. " [22] A 2017 Wall Street Journal opinion article also called for renaming Yale University. [23] [24]

Since 2016, Yale University has acknowledged that Elihu Yale was ". involved [in] and profited from the slave trade." [25] The controversy over Yale's name started anew in 2020 with a Yale Daily News post, "Yale Has to Go!" [26]

After years of protest, Yale University renamed Calhoun College as Hopper College in 2017. Calhoun College was named for a South Carolina slave owner and anti-abolitionist, Vice President John C. Calhoun. [27] [28] [29] Yale University also acquired a slave plantation to finance its graduate program. [30]

Yale University has multiple other buildings named to honor slave owners, including Bishop George Berkeley, Timothy Dwight and Ezra Stiles. [31]

Curriculum Edit

Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and is organized into a social system of residential colleges.

Yale was swept up by the great intellectual movements of the period—the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment—due to the religious and scientific interests of presidents Thomas Clap and Ezra Stiles. They were both instrumental in developing the scientific curriculum at Yale while dealing with wars, student tumults, graffiti, "irrelevance" of curricula, desperate need for endowment and disagreements with the Connecticut legislature. [32] [33] [ page needed ]

Serious American students of theology and divinity, particularly in New England, regarded Hebrew as a classical language, along with Greek and Latin, and essential for the study of the Old Testament in the original words. The Reverend Ezra Stiles, president of the college from 1778 to 1795, brought with him his interest in the Hebrew language as a vehicle for studying ancient Biblical texts in their original language (as was common in other schools), requiring all freshmen to study Hebrew (in contrast to Harvard, where only upperclassmen were required to study the language) and is responsible for the Hebrew phrase אורים ותמים (Urim and Thummim) on the Yale seal. A 1746 graduate of Yale, Stiles came to the college with experience in education, having played an integral role in the founding of Brown University, in addition to having been a minister. [34] Stiles' greatest challenge occurred in July 1779 when British forces occupied New Haven and threatened to raze the college. However, Yale graduate Edmund Fanning, Secretary to the British General in command of the occupation, intervened and the college was saved. In 1803, Fanning was granted an honorary degree LL.D. for his efforts. [35]

Students Edit

As the only college in Connecticut from 1701 to 1823, Yale educated the sons of the elite. [36] Punishable offenses for students included cardplaying, tavern-going, destruction of college property, and acts of disobedience to college authorities. During this period, Harvard was distinctive for the stability and maturity of its tutor corps, while Yale had youth and zeal on its side. [37]

The emphasis on classics gave rise to a number of private student societies, open only by invitation, which arose primarily as forums for discussions of modern scholarship, literature and politics. The first such organizations were debating societies: Crotonia in 1738, Linonia in 1753 and Brothers in Unity in 1768. While the societies no longer exist, commemorations to them can be found with names given to campus structures, like Brothers in Unity Courtyard in Branford College.

19th century Edit

The Yale Report of 1828 was a dogmatic defense of the Latin and Greek curriculum against critics who wanted more courses in modern languages, mathematics, and science. Unlike higher education in Europe, there was no national curriculum for colleges and universities in the United States. In the competition for students and financial support, college leaders strove to keep current with demands for innovation. At the same time, they realized that a significant portion of their students and prospective students demanded a classical background. The Yale report meant the classics would not be abandoned. During this period, all institutions experimented with changes in the curriculum, often resulting in a dual-track curriculum. In the decentralized environment of higher education in the United States, balancing change with tradition was a common challenge because it was difficult for an institution to be completely modern or completely classical. [38] [39] A group of professors at Yale and New Haven Congregationalist ministers articulated a conservative response to the changes brought about by the Victorian culture. They concentrated on developing a person possessed of religious values strong enough to sufficiently resist temptations from within, yet flexible enough to adjust to the 'isms' (professionalism, materialism, individualism, and consumerism) tempting him from without. [40] [ page needed ] William Graham Sumner, professor from 1872 to 1909, taught in the emerging disciplines of economics and sociology to overflowing classrooms of students. Sumner bested President Noah Porter, who disliked the social sciences and wanted Yale to lock into its traditions of classical education. Porter objected to Sumner's use of a textbook by Herbert Spencer that espoused agnostic materialism because it might harm students. [41]

Until 1887, the legal name of the university was "The President and Fellows of Yale College, in New Haven." In 1887, under an act passed by the Connecticut General Assembly, Yale was renamed to the present "Yale University." [42]

Sports and debate Edit

The Revolutionary War soldier Nathan Hale (Yale 1773) was the archetype of the Yale ideal in the early 19th century: a manly yet aristocratic scholar, equally well-versed in knowledge and sports, and a patriot who "regretted" that he "had but one life to lose" for his country. Western painter Frederic Remington (Yale 1900) was an artist whose heroes gloried in the combat and tests of strength in the Wild West. The fictional, turn-of-the-20th-century Yale man Frank Merriwell embodied this same heroic ideal without racial prejudice, and his fictional successor Frank Stover in the novel Stover at Yale (1911) questioned the business mentality that had become prevalent at the school. Increasingly the students turned to athletic stars as their heroes, especially since winning the big game became the goal of the student body, the alumni, and the team itself. [43]

Along with Harvard and Princeton, Yale students rejected British concepts about 'amateurism' in sports and constructed athletic programs that were uniquely American, such as football. [44] [ page needed ] The Harvard–Yale football rivalry began in 1875. Between 1892, when Harvard and Yale met in one of the first intercollegiate debates, [45] [ page needed ] and in 1909 (the year of the first Triangular Debate of Harvard, Yale and Princeton) the rhetoric, symbolism, and metaphors used in athletics were used to frame these early debates. Debates were covered on front pages of college newspapers and emphasized in yearbooks, and team members even received the equivalent of athletic letters for their jackets. There were also rallies to send off the debating teams to matches, but the debates never attained the broad appeal that athletics enjoyed. One reason may be that debates do not have a clear winner, as is the case in sports, and that scoring is subjective. In addition, with late 19th-century concerns about the impact of modern life on the human body, athletics offered hope that neither the individual nor the society was coming apart. [46]

In 1909–10, football faced a crisis resulting from the failure of the previous reforms of 1905–06, which sought to solve the problem of serious injuries. There was a mood of alarm and mistrust, and, while the crisis was developing, the presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton developed a project to reform the sport and forestall possible radical changes forced by government upon the sport. Presidents Arthur Hadley of Yale, A. Lawrence Lowell of Harvard, and Woodrow Wilson of Princeton worked to develop moderate reforms to reduce injuries. Their attempts, however, were reduced by rebellion against the rules committee and the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. While the big three had attempted to operate independently of the majority, the changes pushed did reduce injuries. [47]

Expansion Edit

Starting with the addition of the Yale School of Medicine in 1810, the college expanded gradually from then on, establishing the Yale Divinity School in 1822, Yale Law School in 1822, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1847, the now-defunct Sheffield Scientific School in 1847, [48] and the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1869. In 1887, under the presidency of Timothy Dwight V, Yale College was renamed to Yale University, and the former name was subsequently applied only to the undergraduate college. The university would continue to expand greatly into the 20th and 21st century, adding the Yale School of Music in 1894, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 1900, the Yale School of Public Health in 1915, the Yale School of Architecture in 1916, the Yale School of Nursing 1923, the Yale School of Drama in 1955, the Yale School of Management in 1976, and the Jackson School of Global Affairs which is planned to open in 2022. [49] The Sheffield Scientific School would also reorganize its relationship with the university to teach only undergraduate courses.

Expansion caused controversy about Yale's new roles. Noah Porter, a moral philosopher, was president from 1871 to 1886. During an age of tremendous expansion in higher education, Porter resisted the rise of the new research university, claiming that an eager embrace of its ideals would corrupt undergraduate education. Many of Porter's contemporaries criticized his administration, and historians since have disparaged his leadership. [ citation needed ] Historian George Levesque argues Porter was not a simple-minded reactionary, uncritically committed to tradition, but a principled and selective conservative. [50] [ page needed ] Levesque continues, saying he did not endorse everything old or reject everything new rather, he sought to apply long-established ethical and pedagogical principles to a rapidly changing culture. Levesque concludes, mention how he may have misunderstood some of the challenges of his time, but he correctly anticipated the enduring tensions that have accompanied the emergence and growth of the modern university.

20th century Edit

Medicine Edit

Milton Winternitz led the Yale School of Medicine as its dean from 1920 to 1935. Dedicated to the new scientific medicine established in Germany, he was equally fervent about "social medicine" and the study of humans in their culture and environment. He established the "Yale System" of teaching, with few lectures and fewer exams, and strengthened the full-time faculty system he also created the graduate-level Yale School of Nursing and the Psychiatry Department and built numerous new buildings. Progress toward his plans for an Institute of Human Relations, envisioned as a refuge where social scientists would collaborate with biological scientists in a holistic study of humankind, unfortunately, lasted for only a few years before the opposition of resentful anti-Semitic colleagues drove him to resign. [51]

Faculty Edit

Before World War II, most elite university faculties counted among their numbers few, if any, Jews, blacks, women, or other minorities Yale was no exception. By 1980, this condition had been altered dramatically, as numerous members of those groups held faculty positions. [52] Almost all members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—and some members of other faculties—teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually. [53]

Women Edit

In 1793, Lucinda Foote passed the entrance exams for Yale College, but was rejected by the President on the basis of her gender. [54] Women studied at Yale University as early as 1892, in graduate-level programs at the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. [55]

In 1966, Yale began discussions with its sister school Vassar College about merging to foster coeducation at the undergraduate level. Vassar, then all-female and part of the Seven Sisters—elite higher education schools that historically served as sister institutions to the Ivy League when most Ivy League institutions still only admitted men—tentatively accepted, but then declined the invitation. Both schools introduced coeducation independently in 1969. [56] Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as a Yale undergraduate [57] she was also the first woman at Yale to join an undergraduate society, St. Anthony Hall. The undergraduate class of 1973 was the first class to have women starting from freshman year [58] at the time, all undergraduate women were housed in Vanderbilt Hall at the south end of Old Campus. [59]

A decade into co-education, student assault and harassment by faculty became the impetus for the trailblazing lawsuit Alexander v. Yale. In the late 1970s, a group of students and one faculty member sued Yale for its failure to curtail campus sexual harassment by especially male faculty. The case was party built from a 1977 report authored by plaintiff Ann Olivarius, now a feminist attorney known for fighting sexual harassment, "A report to the Yale Corporation from the Yale Undergraduate Women's Caucus." [60] This case was the first to use Title IX to argue and establish that the sexual harassment of female students can be considered illegal sex discrimination. The plaintiffs in the case were Olivarius, Ronni Alexander (now a professor at Kobe University, Japan), Margery Reifler (works in the Los Angeles film industry), Pamela Price (civil rights attorney in California), and Lisa E. Stone (works at Anti-Defamation League). They were joined by Yale classics professor John “Jack” J. Winkler, who died in 1990. The lawsuit, brought partly by Catharine MacKinnon, alleged rape, fondling, and offers of higher grades for sex by several Yale faculty, including Keith Brion, professor of flute and Director of Bands, Political Science professor Raymond Duvall (now at the University of Minnesota), English professor Michael Cooke, and coach of the field hockey team, Richard Kentwell. While unsuccessful in the courts, the legal reasoning behind the case changed the landscape of sex discrimination law and resulted in the establishment of Yale's Grievance Board and the Yale Women's Center. [61] In March 2011 a Title IX complaint was filed against Yale by students and recent graduates, including editors of Yale's feminist magazine Broad Recognition, alleging that the university had a hostile sexual climate. [62] In response, the university formed a Title IX steering committee to address complaints of sexual misconduct. [63] Afterwards, universities and colleges throughout the US also established sexual harassment grievance procedures.

Class Edit

Yale, like other Ivy League schools, instituted policies in the early 20th century designed to maintain the proportion of white Protestants from notable families in the student body (see numerus clausus), and was one of the last of the Ivies to eliminate such preferences, beginning with the class of 1970. [64]

21st century Edit

In 2006, Yale and Peking University (PKU) established a Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing, an exchange program allowing Yale students to spend a semester living and studying with PKU honor students. [65] In July 2012, the Yale University-PKU Program ended due to weak participation. [65]

In 2007 outgoing Yale President Rick Levin characterized Yale's institutional priorities: "First, among the nation's finest research universities, Yale is distinctively committed to excellence in undergraduate education. Second, in our graduate and professional schools, as well as in Yale College, we are committed to the education of leaders." [66]

In 2009, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair picked Yale as one location – the others being Britain's Durham University and Universiti Teknologi Mara – for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's United States Faith and Globalization Initiative. [67] As of 2009, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo is the director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and teaches an undergraduate seminar, "Debating Globalization". [68] As of 2009, former presidential candidate and DNC chair Howard Dean teaches a residential college seminar, "Understanding Politics and Politicians". [69] Also in 2009, an alliance was formed among Yale, University College London, and both schools' affiliated hospital complexes to conduct research focused on the direct improvement of patient care—a growing field known as translational medicine. President Richard Levin noted that Yale has hundreds of other partnerships across the world, but "no existing collaboration matches the scale of the new partnership with UCL". [70]

In August 2013, a new partnership with the National University of Singapore led to the opening of Yale-NUS College in Singapore, a joint effort to create a new liberal arts college in Asia featuring a curriculum including both Western and Asian traditions. [71]

In 2020, in the wake of protests around the world focused on racial relations and criminal justice reform, the #CancelYale tag was used on social media to demand that Elihu Yale's name be removed from Yale University. Most support for the change stemmed from politically conservative pundits, such as Mike Cernovich and Ann Coulter, satirizing perceived excesses of online cancel culture. [72] Yale was president of the East India Company, a trading company that traded slaves as well as goods, [73] and his singularly large donation [74] [75] led to Yale relying on money from the slave-trade for its first scholarships and endowments. [21] [76]

In August 2020, the US Justice Department claimed that Yale discriminated against Asian and white candidates on the basis of their race. The university, however, denied the report. [77] In early February 2021, under the new Biden administration, the Justice Department withdrew the lawsuit. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, known for a similar lawsuit against Harvard alleging the same issue, plans to refile the lawsuit. [78]

Yale alumni in politics Edit

The Boston Globe wrote that "if there's one school that can lay claim to educating the nation's top national leaders over the past three decades, it's Yale". [79] [ verification needed ] Yale alumni were represented on the Democratic or Republican ticket in every U.S. presidential election between 1972 and 2004. [80] Yale-educated Presidents since the end of the Vietnam War include Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, and major-party nominees during this period include Hillary Clinton (2016), John Kerry (2004), Joseph Lieberman (Vice President, 2000), and Sargent Shriver (Vice President, 1972). Other Yale alumni who have made serious bids for the Presidency during this period include Amy Klobuchar (2020), Tom Steyer (2020), Ben Carson (2016), Howard Dean (2004), Gary Hart (1984 and 1988), Paul Tsongas (1992), Pat Robertson (1988) and Jerry Brown (1976, 1980, 1992).

Several explanations have been offered for Yale's representation in national elections since the end of the Vietnam War. Various sources note the spirit of campus activism that has existed at Yale since the 1960s, and the intellectual influence of Reverend William Sloane Coffin on many of the future candidates. [81] [ verification needed ] Yale President Richard Levin attributes the run to Yale's focus on creating "a laboratory for future leaders," an institutional priority that began during the tenure of Yale Presidents Alfred Whitney Griswold and Kingman Brewster. [81] Richard H. Brodhead, former dean of Yale College and now president of Duke University, stated: "We do give very significant attention to orientation to the community in our admissions, and there is a very strong tradition of volunteerism at Yale." [79] Yale historian Gaddis Smith notes "an ethos of organized activity" at Yale during the 20th century that led John Kerry to lead the Yale Political Union's Liberal Party, George Pataki the Conservative Party, and Joseph Lieberman to manage the Yale Daily News. [82] Camille Paglia points to a history of networking and elitism: "It has to do with a web of friendships and affiliations built up in school." [83] CNN suggests that George W. Bush benefited from preferential admissions policies for the "son and grandson of alumni", and for a "member of a politically influential family". [84] New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller and The Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows credit the culture of community and cooperation that exists between students, faculty, and administration, which downplays self-interest and reinforces commitment to others. [85]

During the 1988 presidential election, George H. W. Bush (Yale '48) derided Michael Dukakis for having "foreign-policy views born in Harvard Yard's boutique". When challenged on the distinction between Dukakis' Harvard connection and his own Yale background, he said that, unlike Harvard, Yale's reputation was "so diffuse, there isn't a symbol, I don't think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it" and said Yale did not share Harvard's reputation for "liberalism and elitism". [86] In 2004 Howard Dean stated, "In some ways, I consider myself separate from the other three (Yale) candidates of 2004. Yale changed so much between the class of '68 and the class of '71. My class was the first class to have women in it it was the first class to have a significant effort to recruit African Americans. It was an extraordinary time, and in that span of time is the change of an entire generation". [85]

Leadership Edit

School founding
School Year founded
Yale College 1701
Yale School of Medicine 1810
Yale Divinity School 1822
Yale Law School 1843
Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1847
Sheffield Scientific School [48] 1847
Yale School of Fine Arts 1869
Yale School of Music 1894
Yale School of the Environment 1900
Yale School of Public Health 1915
Yale School of Architecture 1916
Yale School of Nursing 1923
Yale School of Drama 1955
Yale School of Management 1976
Jackson School of Global Affairs Planned for fall 2022 [49]

The President and Fellows of Yale College, also known as the Yale Corporation, or board of trustees, is the governing body of the university and consists of thirteen standing committees with separate responsibilities outlined in the by-laws. The corporation has 19 members: three ex officio members, ten successor trustees, and six elected alumni fellows. [87] The university has three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the twelve professional schools. [88]

Yale's former president Richard C. Levin was, at the time, one of the highest paid university presidents in the United States with a 2008 salary of $1.5 million. [89] Yale's succeeding president Peter Salovey ranks 40th with a 2020 salary of $1.16 million. [90]

The Yale Provost's Office and similar executive positions have launched several women into prominent university executive positions. In 1977, Provost Hanna Holborn Gray was appointed interim President of Yale and later went on to become President of the University of Chicago, being the first woman to hold either position at each respective school. [91] [92] In 1994, Provost Judith Rodin became the first permanent female president of an Ivy League institution at the University of Pennsylvania. [93] In 2002, Provost Alison Richard became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. [94] In 2003, the Dean of the Divinity School, Rebecca Chopp, was appointed president of Colgate University and later went on to serve as the President of the Swarthmore College in 2009, and then the first female chancellor of the University of Denver in 2014. [95] In 2004, Provost Dr. Susan Hockfield became the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [96] In 2004, Dean of the Nursing school, Catherine Gilliss, was appointed the Dean of Duke University's School of Nursing and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs. [97] In 2007, Deputy Provost H. Kim Bottomly was named President of Wellesley College. [98]

Similar examples for men who've served in Yale leadership positions can also be found. In 2004, Dean of Yale College Richard H. Brodhead was appointed as the President of Duke University. [99] In 2008, Provost Andrew Hamilton was confirmed to be the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. [100]

Staff and labor unions Edit

Yale University staff are represented by several different unions. Clerical and technical workers are represented by Local 34, and service and maintenance workers are represented by Local 35, both of the same union affiliate UNITE HERE. [101] Unlike similar institutions, Yale has consistently refused to recognize its graduate student union, Local 33 (another affiliate of UNITE HERE), citing claims that the union's elections were undemocratic and how graduate students are not employees [102] [103] the move to not recognize the union has been criticized by the American Federation of Teachers. [104] In addition, officers of the Yale University Police Department are represented by the Yale Police Benevolent Association, which affiliated in 2005 with the Connecticut Organization for Public Safety Employees. [101] [105] Yale security officers joined the International Union of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America in late 2010, [106] even though the Yale administration contested the election. [107] In October 2014, after deliberation, [108] Yale security decided to form a new union, the Yale University Security Officers Association, which has since represented the campus security officers. [101] [109]

Yale has a history of difficult and prolonged labor negotiations, often culminating in strikes. [110] [ page needed ] There have been at least eight strikes since 1968, and The New York Times wrote that Yale has a reputation as having the worst record of labor tension of any university in the U.S. [111] Moreover, Yale has been accused by the AFL–CIO of failing to treat workers with respect, [112] as well as not renewing contracts with professors over involvement in campus labor issues. [113] Yale has responded to strikes with claims over mediocre union participation and the benefits of their contracts. [114]

Yale's central campus in downtown New Haven covers 260 acres (1.1 km 2 ) and comprises its main, historic campus and a medical campus adjacent to the Yale–New Haven Hospital. In western New Haven, the university holds 500 acres (2.0 km 2 ) of athletic facilities, including the Yale Golf Course. [115] In 2008, Yale purchased the 17-building, 136-acre (0.55 km 2 ) former Bayer HealthCare complex in West Haven, Connecticut, [116] the buildings of which are now used as laboratory and research space. [117] Yale also owns seven forests in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire—the largest of which is the 7,840-acre (31.7 km 2 ) Yale-Myers Forest in Connecticut's Quiet Corner—and nature preserves including Horse Island. [118]

Yale is noted for its largely Collegiate Gothic campus [119] as well as several iconic modern buildings commonly discussed in architectural history survey courses: Louis Kahn's Yale Art Gallery [120] and Center for British Art, Eero Saarinen's Ingalls Rink and Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges, and Paul Rudolph's Art & Architecture Building. Yale also owns and has restored many noteworthy 19th-century mansions along Hillhouse Avenue, which was considered the most beautiful street in America by Charles Dickens when he visited the United States in the 1840s. [121] In 2011, Travel+Leisure listed the Yale campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States. [122]

Many of Yale's buildings were constructed in the Collegiate Gothic architecture style from 1917 to 1931, financed largely by Edward S. Harkness, including the Yale Drama School. [123] [124] Stone sculpture built into the walls of the buildings portray contemporary college personalities, such as a writer, an athlete, a tea-drinking socialite, and a student who has fallen asleep while reading. Similarly, the decorative friezes on the buildings depict contemporary scenes, like a policemen chasing a robber and arresting a prostitute (on the wall of the Law School), or a student relaxing with a mug of beer and a cigarette. The architect, James Gamble Rogers, faux-aged these buildings by splashing the walls with acid, [125] deliberately breaking their leaded glass windows and repairing them in the style of the Middle Ages, and creating niches for decorative statuary but leaving them empty to simulate loss or theft over the ages. In fact, the buildings merely simulate Middle Ages architecture, for though they appear to be constructed of solid stone blocks in the authentic manner, most actually have steel framing as was commonly used in 1930. One exception is Harkness Tower, 216 feet (66 m) tall, which was originally a free-standing stone structure. It was reinforced in 1964 to allow the installation of the Yale Memorial Carillon

Other examples of the Gothic style are on the Old Campus by architects like Henry Austin, Charles C. Haight and Russell Sturgis. Several are associated with members of the Vanderbilt family, including Vanderbilt Hall, [126] Phelps Hall, [127] St. Anthony Hall (a commission for member Frederick William Vanderbilt), the Mason, Sloane and Osborn laboratories, dormitories for the Sheffield Scientific School (the engineering and sciences school at Yale until 1956) and elements of Silliman College, the largest residential college. [128]

The oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall (built in 1750), is in the Georgian style. Georgian-style buildings erected from 1929 to 1933 include Timothy Dwight College, Pierson College, and Davenport College, except the latter's east, York Street façade, which was constructed in the Gothic style to coordinate with adjacent structures.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is one of the largest buildings in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. The library includes a six-story above-ground tower of book stacks, filled with 180,000 volumes, that is surrounded by large translucent Vermont marble panels and a steel and granite truss. The panels act as windows and subdue direct sunlight while also diffusing the light in warm hues throughout the interior. [129] Near the library is a sunken courtyard, with sculptures by Isamu Noguchi that are said to represent time (the pyramid), the sun (the circle), and chance (the cube). [130] The library is located near the center of the university in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is now more commonly referred to as "Beinecke Plaza."

Alumnus Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect of such notable structures as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Washington Dulles International Airport main terminal, Bell Labs Holmdel Complex and the CBS Building in Manhattan, designed Ingalls Rink, dedicated in 1959, [131] as well as the residential colleges Ezra Stiles and Morse. [132] These latter were modeled after the medieval Italian hill town of San Gimignano – a prototype chosen for the town's pedestrian-friendly milieu and fortress-like stone towers. [133] These tower forms at Yale act in counterpoint to the college's many Gothic spires and Georgian cupolas. [134]

Notable nonresidential campus buildings Edit

Yale's secret society buildings (some of which are called "tombs") were built both to be private yet unmistakable. A diversity of architectural styles is represented: Berzelius, Donn Barber in an austere cube with classical detailing (erected in 1908 or 1910) Book and Snake, Louis R. Metcalfe in a Greek Ionic style (erected in 1901) Elihu, architect unknown but built in a Colonial style (constructed on an early 17th-century foundation although the building is from the 18th century) Mace and Chain, in a late colonial, early Victorian style (built in 1823). (Interior moulding is said to have belonged to Benedict Arnold)Manuscript Society, King Lui-Wu with Dan Kniley responsible for landscaping and Josef Albers for the brickwork intaglio mural. Building constructed in a mid-century modern style Scroll and Key, Richard Morris Hunt in a Moorish- or Islamic-inspired Beaux-Arts style (erected 1869–70) Skull and Bones, possibly Alexander Jackson Davis or Henry Austin in an Egypto-Doric style utilizing Brownstone (in 1856 the first wing was completed, in 1903 the second wing, 1911 the Neo-Gothic towers in rear garden were completed) St. Elmo, (former tomb) Kenneth M. Murchison, 1912, designs inspired by Elizabethan manor. Current location, brick colonial and Wolf's Head, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, erected 1923–1924, Collegiate Gothic.

Sustainability Edit

Yale's Office of Sustainability develops and implements sustainability practices at Yale. [135] Yale is committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2020. As part of this commitment, the university allocates renewable energy credits to offset some of the energy used by residential colleges. [136] Eleven campus buildings are candidates for LEED design and certification. [137] Yale Sustainable Food Project initiated the introduction of local, organic vegetables, fruits, and beef to all residential college dining halls. [138] Yale was listed as a Campus Sustainability Leader on the Sustainable Endowments Institute's College Sustainability Report Card 2008, and received a "B+" grade overall. [139]

Relationship with New Haven Edit

Yale is the largest taxpayer and employer in the City of New Haven, [140] and has often buoyed the city's economy and communities. Yale, however has consistently opposed paying a tax on its academic property. [141] Yale's Art Galleries, along with many other university resources, are free and openly accessible. Yale also funds the New Haven Promise program, paying full tuition for eligible students from New Haven public schools. [142]

Town–gown relations Edit

Yale has a complicated relationship with its home city for example, thousands of students volunteer every year in a myriad of community organizations, but city officials, who decry Yale's exemption from local property taxes, have long pressed the university to do more to help. Under President Levin, Yale has financially supported many of New Haven's efforts to reinvigorate the city. Evidence suggests that the town and gown relationships are mutually beneficial. Still, the economic power of the university increased dramatically with its financial success amid a decline in the local economy. [143]

Campus safety Edit

Several campus safety strategies have been pioneered at Yale. The first campus police force was founded at Yale in 1894, when the university contracted city police officers to exclusively cover the campus. [144] [145] Later hired by the university, the officers were originally brought in to quell unrest between students and city residents and curb destructive student behavior. [146] [147] In addition to the Yale Police Department, a variety of safety services are available including blue phones, a safety escort, and 24-hour shuttle service.

In the 1970s and 1980s, poverty and violent crime rose in New Haven, dampening Yale's student and faculty recruiting efforts. [148] Between 1990 and 2006, New Haven's crime rate fell by half, helped by a community policing strategy by the New Haven Police and Yale's campus became the safest among the Ivy League and other peer schools. [149]

In 2004, the national non-profit watchdog group Security on Campus filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, accusing Yale of under-reporting rape and sexual assaults. [150] [151]

In April 2021, Yale announced that it will require students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of being on campus during the fall 2021 term. [152]

Admissions Edit

Undergraduate admission to Yale College is considered "most selective" by U.S. News. [155] [156] In 2017, Yale accepted 2,285 students to the Class of 2021 out of 32,914 applicants, for an acceptance rate of 6.9%. [157] 98% of students graduate within six years. [158]

Through its program of need-based financial aid, Yale commits to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all applicants. Most financial aid is in the form of grants and scholarships that do not need to be paid back to the university, and the average need-based aid grant for the Class of 2017 was $46,395. [159] 15% of Yale College students are expected to have no parental contribution, and about 50% receive some form of financial aid. [158] [160] [161] About 16% of the Class of 2013 had some form of student loan debt at graduation, with an average debt of $13,000 among borrowers. [158]

Half of all Yale undergraduates are women, more than 39% are ethnic minority U.S. citizens (19% are underrepresented minorities), and 10.5% are international students. [159] 55% attended public schools and 45% attended private, religious, or international schools, and 97% of students were in the top 10% of their high school class. [158] Every year, Yale College also admits a small group of non-traditional students through the Eli Whitney Students Program.

Collections Edit

Yale University Library, which holds over 15 million volumes, is the third-largest university collection in the United States. [9] [162] The main library, Sterling Memorial Library, contains about 4 million volumes, and other holdings are dispersed at subject libraries.

Rare books are found in several Yale collections. The Beinecke Rare Book Library has a large collection of rare books and manuscripts. The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library includes important historical medical texts, including an impressive collection of rare books, as well as historical medical instruments. The Lewis Walpole Library contains the largest collection of 18th‑century British literary works. The Elizabethan Club, technically a private organization, makes its Elizabethan folios and first editions available to qualified researchers through Yale.

Yale's museum collections are also of international stature. The Yale University Art Gallery, the country's first university-affiliated art museum, contains more than 200,000 works, including Old Masters and important collections of modern art, in the Swartwout and Kahn buildings. The latter, Louis Kahn's first large-scale American work (1953), was renovated and reopened in December 2006. The Yale Center for British Art, the largest collection of British art outside of the UK, grew from a gift of Paul Mellon and is housed in another Kahn-designed building.

The Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven is used by school children and contains research collections in anthropology, archaeology, and the natural environment. The Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, affiliated with the Yale School of Music, is perhaps the least-known of Yale's collections because its hours of opening are restricted.

The museums once housed the artifacts brought to the United States from Peru by Yale history professor Hiram Bingham in his Yale-financed expedition to Machu Picchu in 1912 – when the removal of such artifacts was legal. The artifacts were restored to Peru in 2012. [163]

Academic rankings
ARWU [164] 9
Forbes [165] 3
THE/WSJ [166] 3
U.S. News & World Report [167] 4
Washington Monthly [168] 4
ARWU [169] 11
QS [170] 14
THE [171] 8
U.S. News & World Report [172] 11

USNWR graduate school rankings [173]

Rankings Edit

USNWR departmental rankings [173]

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Yale 3rd among U.S. national universities for 2016, [155] as it had for each of the previous sixteen years. Yale University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. [174]

Internationally, Yale was ranked 11th in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, 10th in the 2016-17 Nature Index [175] for quality of scientific research output, and 10th in the 2016 CWUR World University Rankings. [176] The university was also ranked 6th in the 2016 Times Higher Education (THE) Global University Employability Rankings [177] and 8th in the Academic World Reputation Rankings. [178] In 2019, it ranked 27th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. [179]

Faculty, research, and intellectual traditions Edit

Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity". [180] According to the National Science Foundation, Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation. [181]

Yale's faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences, [182] 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering [183] and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League. [184]

Yale's English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called "Yale School". These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale's history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale's Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957 Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

Yale is a research university, with the majority of its students in the graduate and professional schools. Undergraduates, or Yale College students, come from a variety of ethnic, national, socioeconomic, and personal backgrounds. Of the 2010–2011 freshman class, 10% are non‑U.S. citizens, while 54% went to public high schools. [185] The median family income of Yale students is $192,600, with 57% of students coming from the top 10% highest-earning families and 16% from the bottom 60%. [186]

Residential colleges Edit

Yale's residential college system was established in 1933 by Edward S. Harkness, who admired the social intimacy of Oxford and Cambridge and donated significant funds to found similar colleges at Yale and Harvard. Though Yale's colleges resemble their English precursors organizationally and architecturally, they are dependent entities of Yale College and have limited autonomy. The colleges are led by a head and an academic dean, who reside in the college, and university faculty and affiliates constitute each college's fellowship. Colleges offer their own seminars, social events, and speaking engagements known as "Master's Teas," but do not contain programs of study or academic departments. All other undergraduate courses are taught by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and are open to members of any college.

All undergraduates are members of a college, to which they are assigned before their freshman year, and 85 percent live in the college quadrangle or a college-affiliated dormitory. [187] While the majority of upperclassman live in the colleges, most on-campus freshmen live on the Old Campus, the university's oldest precinct.

While Harkness' original colleges were Georgian Revival or Collegiate Gothic in style, two colleges constructed in the 1960s, Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges, have modernist designs. All twelve college quadrangles are organized around a courtyard, and each has a dining hall, courtyard, library, common room, and a range of student facilities. The twelve colleges are named for important alumni or significant places in university history. In 2017, the university opened two new colleges near Science Hill. [188]

Calhoun College Edit

Since the 1960s, John C. Calhoun's white supremacist beliefs and pro-slavery leadership [189] [190] [191] [192] had prompted calls to rename the college or remove its tributes to Calhoun. The racially motivated church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, led to renewed calls in the summer of 2015 for Calhoun College, one of 12 residential colleges, to be renamed. In July 2015 students signed a petition calling for the name change. [190] They argued in the petition that—while Calhoun was respected in the 19th century as an "extraordinary American statesman"—he was "one of the most prolific defenders of slavery and white supremacy" in the history of the United States. [190] [191] In August 2015 Yale President Peter Salovey addressed the Freshman Class of 2019 in which he responded to the racial tensions but explained why the college would not be renamed. [192] He described Calhoun as "a notable political theorist, a vice president to two different U.S. presidents, a secretary of war and of state, and a congressman and senator representing South Carolina". [192] He acknowledged that Calhoun also "believed that the highest forms of civilization depend on involuntary servitude. Not only that, but he also believed that the races he thought to be inferior, black people in particular, ought to be subjected to it for the sake of their own best interests." [189] Student activism about this issue increased in the fall of 2015, and included further protests sparked by controversy surrounding an administrator's comments on the potential positive and negative implications of students who wear Halloween costumes that are culturally sensitive. [193] Campus-wide discussions expanded to include critical discussion of the experiences of women of color on campus, and the realities of racism in undergraduate life. [194] The protests were sensationalized by the media and led to the labelling of some students as being members of Generation Snowflake. [195]

In April 2016 Salovey announced that "despite decades of vigorous alumni and student protests," Calhoun's name will remain on the Yale residential college [196] explaining that it is preferable for Yale students to live in Calhoun's "shadow" so they will be "better prepared to rise to the challenges of the present and the future". He claimed that if they removed Calhoun's name, it would "obscure" his "legacy of slavery rather than addressing it". [196] "Yale is part of that history" and "We cannot erase American history, but we can confront it, teach it and learn from it." One change that will be issued is the title of "master" for faculty members who serve as residential college leaders will be renamed to "head of college" due to its connotation of slavery. [197]

Despite this apparently conclusive reasoning, Salovey announced that Calhoun College would be renamed for groundbreaking computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper in February 2017. [198] This renaming decision received a range of responses from Yale students and alumni. [199] [200] [201]

Student organizations Edit

In 2014, Yale had 385 registered student organizations, plus an additional one hundred groups in the process of registration. [202]

The university hosts a variety of student journals, magazines, and newspapers. Established in 1872, The Yale Record is the world's oldest humor magazine. Newspapers include the Yale Daily News, which was first published in 1878, and the weekly Yale Herald, which was first published in 1986. The Yale Journal of Medicine & Law is a biannual magazine that explores the intersection of law and medicine.

Dwight Hall, an independent, non-profit community service organization, oversees more than 2,000 Yale undergraduates working on more than 70 community service initiatives in New Haven. The Yale College Council runs several agencies that oversee campus wide activities and student services. The Yale Dramatic Association and Bulldog Productions cater to the theater and film communities, respectively. In addition, the Yale Drama Coalition [203] serves to coordinate between and provide resources for the various Sudler Fund sponsored theater productions which run each weekend. WYBC Yale Radio [204] is the campus's radio station, owned and operated by students. While students used to broadcast on AM and FM frequencies, they now have an Internet-only stream.

The Yale College Council (YCC) serves as the campus's undergraduate student government. All registered student organizations are regulated and funded by a subsidiary organization of the YCC, known as the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee (UOFC). [205] The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) serves as Yale's graduate and professional student government.

The Yale Political Union is advised by alumni political leaders such as John Kerry and George Pataki. The Yale International Relations Association (YIRA) functions as the umbrella organization for the top-ranked Model UN team. YIRA also has a Europe-based offshoot, Yale Model Government Europe, other Model UN conferences such as YMUN Korea or YMUN Taiwan, and educational programs such as the Yale Review of International Relations (YRIS), YMUN Institute, or Hemispheres.

The campus includes several fraternities and sororities. The campus features at least 18 a cappella groups, the most famous of which is The Whiffenpoofs, which from its founding in 1909 until 2018 was made up solely of senior men.

The Elizabethan Club, a social club, has a membership of undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff with literary or artistic interests. Membership is by invitation. Members and their guests may enter the "Lizzie's" premises for conversation and tea. The club owns first editions of a Shakespeare Folio, several Shakespeare Quartos, and a first edition of Milton's Paradise Lost, among other important literary texts.

Traditions Edit

Yale seniors at graduation smash clay pipes underfoot to symbolize passage from their "bright college years," though in recent history the pipes have been replaced with "bubble pipes". [207] [208] ("Bright College Years," the University's alma mater, was penned in 1881 by Henry Durand, Class of 1881, to the tune of Die Wacht am Rhein.) Yale's student tour guides tell visitors that students consider it good luck to rub the toe of the statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey on Old Campus however, actual students rarely do so. [209] In the second half of the 20th century Bladderball, a campus-wide game played with a large inflatable ball, became a popular tradition but was banned by administration due to safety concerns. In spite of administration opposition, students revived the game in 2009, 2011, and 2014. [210] [211] [212]

Athletic Edit

Yale supports 35 varsity athletic teams that compete in the Ivy League Conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association. Yale athletic teams compete intercollegiately at the NCAA Division I level. Like other members of the Ivy League, Yale does not offer athletic scholarships.

Yale has numerous athletic facilities, including the Yale Bowl (the nation's first natural "bowl" stadium, and prototype for such stadiums as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl), located at The Walter Camp Field athletic complex, and the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the second-largest indoor athletic complex in the world. [213]

In May 2018, the men's lacrosse team defeated the Duke Blue Devils to claim their first ever NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship, [214] and are the first Ivy League school to win the title since the Princeton Tigers in 2001. [215]

In 2016, the men's basketball team won the Ivy League Championship title for the first time in 54 years, earning a spot in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. In the first round of the tournament, the Bulldogs beat the Baylor Bears 79–75 in the school's first-ever tournament win. [216]

October 21, 2000, marked the dedication of Yale's fourth new boathouse in 157 years of collegiate rowing. The Gilder Boathouse is named to honor former Olympic rower Virginia Gilder '79 and her father Richard Gilder '54, who gave $4 million towards the $7.5 million project. Yale also maintains the Gales Ferry site where the heavyweight men's team trains for the Yale-Harvard Boat Race.

Yale crew is the oldest collegiate athletic team in America, and won Olympic Games Gold Medal for men's eights in 1924 and 1956. The Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, founded in 1881, is the oldest collegiate sailing club in the world.

In 1896, Yale and Johns Hopkins played the first known ice hockey game in the United States. Since 2006, the school's ice hockey clubs have played a commemorative game. [217]

Yale students claim to have invented Frisbee, by tossing empty Frisbie Pie Company tins. [218] [219]

Yale athletics are supported by the Yale Precision Marching Band. "Precision" is used here ironically the band is a scatter-style band that runs wildly between formations rather than actually marching. [220] The band attends every home football game and many away, as well as most hockey and basketball games throughout the winter.

Yale intramural sports are also a significant aspect of student life. Students compete for their respective residential colleges, fostering a friendly rivalry. The year is divided into fall, winter, and spring seasons, each of which includes about ten different sports. About half the sports are coeducational. At the end of the year, the residential college with the most points (not all sports count equally) wins the Tyng Cup.

Song Edit

Notable among the songs commonly played and sung at events such as commencement, convocation, alumni gatherings, and athletic games are the alma mater, "Bright College Years". Despite its popularity, "Boola Boola" is not the official fight song, albeit being the origin of the university's unofficial motto. The official Yale fight song, "Bulldog" was written by Cole Porter during his undergraduate days and is sung after touchdowns during a football game. [221] Additionally, two other songs, "Down the Field" by C.W. O'Conner, and "Bingo Eli Yale", also by Cole Porter, are still sung at football games. According to College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology published in 1998, "Down the Field" ranks as the fourth-greatest fight song of all time. [222]

Mascot Edit

The school mascot is "Handsome Dan," the Yale bulldog, and the Yale fight song contains the refrain, "Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow". The school color, since 1894, is Yale Blue. [223] Yale's Handsome Dan is believed to be the first college mascot in America, having been established in 1889. [224]

Benefactors Edit

Yale has had many financial supporters, but some stand out by the magnitude or timeliness of their contributions. Among those who have made large donations commemorated at the university are: Elihu Yale Jeremiah Dummer the Harkness family (Edward, Anna, and William) the Beinecke family (Edwin, Frederick, and Walter) John William Sterling Payne Whitney Joseph Earl Sheffield, Paul Mellon, Charles B. G. Murphy, Joseph Tsai, and William K. Lanman. The Yale Class of 1954, led by Richard Gilder, donated $70 million in commemoration of their 50th reunion. [225] Charles B. Johnson, a 1954 graduate of Yale College, pledged a $250 million gift in 2013 to support the construction of two new residential colleges. [226] The colleges have been named respectively in honor of Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin. A $100 million contribution [227] by Stephen Adams enabled the Yale School of Music to become tuition-free and the Adams Center for Musical Arts to be built.

Notable alumni Edit

Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. [228] Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, [229] 123 Marshall Scholarships, [230] 67 Truman Scholarships, [231] 21 Churchill Scholarships, [232] and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. [233] The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history [234] and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. [235] The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. [236] Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni. [11]

At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. [237] Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. [238] Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun [239] also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, [240] Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, [241] Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, [242] German president Karl Carstens, [243] Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, [244] Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, [245] Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, [246] and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, [247] among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, [248] and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon. [249]

Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, [250] Samuel Alito, [251] Clarence Thomas, [251] and Brett Kavanaugh. [252] Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, [253] Richard Blumenthal, [254] Cory Booker, [255] Sherrod Brown, [256] Chris Coons, [257] Amy Klobuchar, [258] Ben Sasse, [259] and Sheldon Whitehouse. [260] Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, [261] Hillary Clinton, [262] Cyrus Vance, [263] and Dean Acheson [264] U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, [265] Robert Rubin, [266] Nicholas F. Brady, [267] Steven Mnuchin, [268] and Janet Yellen [269] U.S. Attorney Generals Nicholas Katzenbach, [270] John Ashcroft, [271] and Edward H. Levi [272] and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver [273] and public official and urban planner Robert Moses [274] are Yale alumni.

Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, [275] like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis [276] and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, [277] Thornton Wilder, [278] Doug Wright, [279] and David McCullough. [280] Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, [281] Paul Newman, [282] Meryl Streep, [283] Elia Kazan, [284] George Roy Hill, [285] Lupita Nyong'o, [286] Oliver Stone, [287] and Frances McDormand. [288] Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, [289] Broadway composer Cole Porter, [290] Grammy award winner David Lang, [291] and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer [292] all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, [293] famed American sculptor Richard Serra, [294] President Barrack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, [295] MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, [296] Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, [297] and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close [298] all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, [299] Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, [300] and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. [301] Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, [302] Chris Cuomo, [303] Anderson Cooper, [304] William F. Buckley, Jr., [305] and Fareed Zakaria. [306]

JFK and Federal Budgetary Policy

On this, the 50 th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we would do well to remind ourselves that another loss resulting from that fateful day was that of a progressive trend in leadership regarding federal budgetary policy. The points are expressed so clearly they require no interpretation or commentary.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Commencement Address, Yale University, June 11, 1962

“If our Federal Budget is to serve not the debate but the country, we must find ways of clarifying this area of discourse. Still in the area of fiscal policy, let me say a word about deficits. The myth persists that Federal deficits create inflation, and budget surpluses prevent it. Yet sizable budget surpluses after the war did not prevent inflation, and persistent deficits for the last several years have not upset our basic price stability. Obviously, deficits are sometimes dangerous—and so are surpluses. But honest assessment plainly requires a more sophisticated view than the old and automatic cliché that deficits automatically bring inflation.

There are myths also about our public debt…debts public and private are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. Borrowing can lead to over-extension and collapse—but it can also lead to expansion and strength. There is no simple slogan in this field that we can trust.

The stereotypes I have been discussing distract our attention and divide our efforts. These stereotypes do our nation a disservice not just because they are exhausted and irrelevant, but above all because they are misleading—because they stand in the way of the solution of hard and complicated facts.

It is not new that past debates should obscure present realities. But the damage of safety of all the world—the very future of freedom—depends as never before on the sensible and clear-headed management of the domestic affairs of the United States.

We cannot understand and attack our contemporary problems…if we are bound by traditional labels and worn-out slogans of an earlier era.

But the unfortunate fact of the matter is that our rhetoric has not kept pace with the speed of social and economic change. Our political debate, our public discourse on current domestic and economic issues, too often bears little or no relation to the actual problems the United States faces.

What is at stake in our economic decisions today is not some grand warfare of rival ideologies which will sweep the country with passion, but the practical management of a modern economy. What we need are not labels and clichés but more basic discussion of the sophisticated and technical questions involved in keeping a great economic machinery moving ahead.

The national interest lies in high employment and steady expansion of output and stable prices…The declaration of such an objective is easy. The attainment in an intricate and interdependent economy and world is a little more difficult. To attain them we require not some automatic response but hard thought.

I am suggesting that the problems of fiscal and monetary policy [today] as opposed to the kinds of problems we had in the Thirties demand subtle changes for which technical answers—not political answers—must be provided.

These are matters…which government and business should be discussing in the most sober, dispassionate and careful way if we are to maintain the kind of vigorous economy upon which our country depends.

How can we generate the buying power which can consume what we produce on our farms and in our factories?

How can we take advantage of the miracles of automation with the great demand that it will put upon high-skilled labor and yet offer employment to the half a million of unskilled high school dropouts every year who enter the labor market?

How do we eradicate the barriers which separate substantial minorities of our citizens from access to education and employment on equal terms with the rest?

How, in sum, can we make our free economy work at full capacity, that is, provide adequate wages for labor and adequate utilization of plant and opportunity for all?

These are problems that we should be talking about, that the political parties and the various groups in our country should be discussing. They cannot be solved by incantations from the forgotten past.

Let us not engage in the wrong argument at the wrong time, between the wrong people in the wrong country, while the real problems of our time grow and multiply, fertilized by our neglect.”


As we press forward on every front to realize a flexible world order, the role of the university becomes even more important, both as a reservoir of ideas and as a repository of the long view of the shore dimly seen.

“Knowledge is the great sun of the firmament,” said Senator Daniel Webster. “Life and power are scattered along its beams.”

[audio:/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/john_f_kennedy-charter_day_address-university_of_california-berkeley-california-1962_03_23-detail-001.mp3|titles=John F. Kennedy in his Charter Day address at the University of California, Berkeley (Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California: March 23, 1962)]

In its light, we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.”

Related Quotation

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
— Greek Proverb

John F. Kennedy on challenging inherited perspectives

As every past generation has had to disenthrall itself from an inheritance of truisms and stereotypes, so in our time we must move on from the reassuring repetition of stale phrases to a new, difficult, but essential confrontation with reality.

For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

— John F. Kennedy in his Yale University commencement address (New Haven, Connecticut: June 11, 1962), 5:10-6:08. Complete audio recording available at American Rhetoric (MP3). Cited in part as the Quotation of the Day for August 2, 2007.

While this collection as a whole is available for research, parts of it may be restricted due to law, university policy or fragility. Any restricted material will be noted as such.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

The AC Cobra: Myth and Reality

Octane recently conducted a poll of their readers to select the “Greatest Race Car Ever” (with the Maserati 250F ultimately receiving the accolade). To guide the readers toward machines with suitable pedigrees, a number of automotive luminaries were assigned the task to nominate appropriate candidates. Columnist Carroll Shelby thereupon put forth his own progeny, the AC Cobra.

Upon hearing this news, my mind drifted to years past. I was around when the Cobras were competitive and while I recall them being worthy contenders, I also remember them often struggling on rough or undulating surfaces such as one would encounter at the Nürburgring or Targa Florio. I also could not recall any major outright victories.

Thus, on a chilly evening with little on the agenda, I poured into my glass the remains of a bottle of Vin Jaune, cut some slices from a block of Compté and retrieved the appropriate volumes of Automotive Year and back issues of Autosport. I was consoled to find that my memory had not in fact deceived me.

Regardless, a legend has grown over the intervening decades that paints the Cobra as a sort of Attila the Hun that lay waste to all in its path. Wikipedia states that the Cobra was extremely successful in racing. Another site proclaims: The (Shelby) Daytona Coupe dominated race tracks all over the world.

In my judgement, in order to dominate a race track, one must cross the finish line first, or in the case of the 24 Heures du Mans prior to 1971, travel the furthest distance. History shows that on the world stage, Cobras rarely accomplished either feat.

While often performing with alacrity at regional and national levels its international sporting record is not so laudable as many believe. In fact, a Cobra ever only won one single race outright in FIA sanctioned international competition. Dan Gurney took the chequered flag at the 500 km of Bridgehampton, the final round of the 1963 season, at the wheel of a 289 Mark I roadster. That was the first, last and only overall win for the Cobra in top echelon motorsport.

Below is a table documenting the Cobra’s best overall finishes in the years it was competing in the Manufacturers’ Championship. The results show a worthy enough record, but a bit insufficient to warrant the sobriquet of Greatest Race Car Ever. Indeed, I have noted numerous instances where the Cobra was vanquished by cars much less adulated in the mainstream automotive media.

Cobra 260/289
Year Venue Pos Note
1963 Daytona 4
Sebring 11 Behind two 2-litre 4-cyl Porsche 356B Carreras
Le Mans 7
Bridgehampton 1 (Also 2nd O/A)
1964 Daytona 4
Sebring 5
Targa Florio 8 Behind a 2-litre 4-cyl Porsche 356B Carrera
Spa 9 Behind three 2-litre 4-cyl Porsche 904’s
Nürburgring 23 Behind two 1.3 litre 4 cyl Abarth-Simca 1300’s
Le Mans 18 Three places behind a 1.6 litre 4-cyl Alfa Giulia TZ
Frieburg 4 Two places behind a 2.0 litre 4-cyl Abarth Simca
Goodwood 4
Sierra Montagna 4 Behind a 2.0 litre 4-cyl Abarth-Simca 2000 GT
Bridgehampton 4
1965 Daytona 10 Behind two 2-litre 4-cyl Porsche 904’s
Sebring 19 Behind a 1.3-litre 4 cyl Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite
Monza 12 Five places behind a 1.6 litre 4-cyl Alfa Giulia TZ2
Oulton Park 4
Spa 13 Behind two 1.6 litre 4-cyl Alfa Giulia TZs
Rossfeld 10 Behind a 2.0 litre 4-cyl Abarth Simca
Ollon Villars 12 Four places behind a Fiat Abarth 1600 OT
Bridgehampton 5
1966 Sebring 15 Behind a 1.6 litre 4-cyl Alfa Giulia TZ2
Cobra 427
1965 Bridgehampton 3
1966 Sebring 10 Three places behind a 2.0-litre 4-cyl Porsche 904
Cobra Daytona Coupe
1964 Sebring 4
Le Mans 4
Goodwood 3
1965 Daytona 2
Sebring 4
Monza 8 Behind a 1.6 litre 4-cyl Alfa Giulia TZ
Oulton Park 7
Spa 5 Two places behind a 2-litre 4-cyl Porsche 904
Nürburgring 7 Behind two 2.0-litre 904’s and a 2.0-litre Dino
Le Mans 8
Reims 5
Coppa Citta 3

All told, over a three-year period, there were only six podium finishes for the Cobra. Without considering the Daytona Coupe, history records only three podiums for the Cobra roadster, the model endlessly replicated by Shelby enthusiasts. The astute reader will also notice that the Coupe, in its drive for the championship crown, never achieved outright victory. When they were not being occasionally usurped by 2.0 litre Porsches, they were defeated by Ferrari prototypes, usually the 250LM.

To bolster his case, Shelby makes note of the fact that the Cobra won the 1965 Manufacturers’ Championship for GT Cars. The Cobra indeed attained this title, but it was all but a fait accompli, as they essentially ran unopposed within their classification. In 1964, Ferrari and Shelby both exploited FIA rules loopholes to run the GTO and the Daytona Coupes in the GT class rather than the more competitive Prototype category. In 1965, Ferrari intended to homologate their new 250LM as a GT car, but it was forced to run as a Prototype because the now more vigilant FIA doubted the ability of Ferraris’ small workshop to produce the required minimum number of cars while simultaneously building their designated Prototypes (the 275P2 and 330P2), the road cars and their Formula One GP cars.

As a result, the Cobra (with the Daytona Coupe leading the way) garnered the 1965 GT Championship, as there was now no more credible competition in the GT Over 3.0-Liter category and Ferrari won the Prototype Championship and Overall Victory. Thus, the Cobras Manufacturers’ Championship win, while certainly deserved and laudable, was a Trophée de Catégorie, a class win not overall victory. A bit short of race track domination.

Watch the video: JFKS SPEECH AT YALE UNIVERSITY JUNE 11, 1962 (May 2022).