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9 Prominent Fathers in American Politics 9 Prominent Fathers in American Politics

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Politics / Politics

9 Prominent Fathers in American Politics

SOUTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (R, 1917-63) and his brother Robert (L), surround their father Joseph 05 July 1938 in Southampton on the deck of French 'Normandy' cruiser liner after their arrival from the US. 09 November 1960, Kennedy was the first Catholic, and the youngest person, to be elected for Democratic party the president of the USA. 22 November 1963, Kennedy was assassinated while being driven in an open car through Dallas. His brother Robert, 05 June 1965, after winning the Californian Democratic presidential primary election, was shot and died the following days. (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)(AFP/Getty Images)

On Sunday morning fathers across America will wake up to the familiar traditions of Father's Day: breakfast, coffee, perhaps a new necktie.

Such is Father's Day for some dads in 21st century America.

Two centuries ago, though, Alexis De Tocqueville observed an aspect of the American father that sometimes goes forgotten today. "In the democratic family the father exercises hardly any power other than that which one is pleased to accord to tenderness and to the experience of an old man. His orders would perhaps be neglected; but his counsels are ordinarily full of power," he wrote in Democracy in America.

 

The image of dad as the advice-giver, as a sort of friend who has more experience, is common enough in American politics. Of the nine American political fathers whose children followed them into the family business, shown in the photo gallery below, each passed on his political party affiliation, with the possible exception of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Politics has a way of changing with the times, but, perhaps De Tocqueville's observation that in America "the father remains" still works as an explanation for political success, at least in certain families.

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