How Jackie Kennedy Invented the Camelot Legend After JFK’s DeathRoundup: Talking About History
tags: JFK, Jackie Kennedy, Kennedys
James Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation and a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute. He is the author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (2007)
Few events in the postwar era have cast such a long shadow over our national life as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy fifty years ago this month. The murder of a handsome and vigorous president shocked the nation to its core and shook the faith of many Americans in their institutions and way of life....
In their grief, Americans were inclined to take to heart the various myths and legends that grew up around President Kennedy within days of the assassination. Though the assassin was a communist and an admirer of Fidel Castro, many insisted that President Kennedy was a martyr to the cause of civil rights who deserved a place of honor next to Abraham Lincoln as a champion of racial justice. Others held him up as a great statesman who labored for international peace.
But by far the most potent element of the Kennedy legacy was the one that associated JFK with the legend of King Arthur and Camelot. As with many of the myths and legends surrounding President Kennedy, this one was the creative contribution of Jacqueline Kennedy who imagined and artfully circulated it in those grief-filled days following her husband’s death....
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