I know it was Joe Jr who was groomed, and then JFK took his place after Jr's death.

"From a very young age, Kennedy was groomed by his father and predicted to be the first Roman Catholic US president. When he was born, his grandfather John F. Fitzgerald, the mayor of Boston, told the news: "This child is the future president of the nation." He often boasted that he would be president even without help from his father." Wikipedia:Joseph_P._Kennedy_Jr.

I was thinking maybe John Quincy Adams but I don't know much about him.

Also, maybe Bush 41, 43 and Jeb Bush?

I'm also interested as an aside if there were any other near-presidents, esp VPs or governors like Jeb who were groomed from birth or childhood to be president.

  • 2
    To keep it focused, I suggest that you remove that final paragraph otherwise the answers are going to get very messy.
    – Steve Bird
    Sep 5, 2021 at 0:13
  • To be fair, you ought to examine how many young men have been groomed to be President, but have failed. But having parented several children through adulthood, what Kennedy describes above sounds almost like abuse to me. Never have I been so glad to not be part of that clan.
    – MCW
    Sep 8, 2021 at 18:49
  • 1
    Neither Bush was groomed for politics, they were intended to become executives in the family business. Bush sr. went into politics despite this, Bush jr. probably got the idea to run from sr.'s successes. Jeb I don't know, he's always been an outlyer in that family.
    – jwenting
    Sep 9, 2021 at 6:26

2 Answers 2


I think that this is a kind of subject where it is hard to make any factual statements, and all such statements are suspect. A few things to consider:

  • There are likely a lot more people who are groomed to be a president, a Nobel prize winner, an Olympic medalist, a top model, next Sviatoslav Richter... than those who actually become one.
  • When one's parents are billionaires, one is typically groomed for big things, even not clearly defined.
  • It is an easy claim to make post-hoc, in fact it is a common type of cognitive bias.

I don't believe there's any record of any other US President's parents specifically drilling them daily in politics with the express intent of raising a President, as Kennedy's father did. However, I did find three who were born into political families, and who showed they likely had political office as a primary goal growing up:

Note that I'm removing from consideration all Presidents born before the office existed, as there's no way their parents could have had ambitions for them at birth for an office that did not yet exist.

The 10th President, Tyler, was the eldest son of one of the "first families" of Virginia. His father was for a time Governor of Virginia, and the younger Tyler's career was certainly put on a political trajectory at a very early age.

Polk's family was closer to upper-middle class, but was politically well-connected, and even occasionally had Andrew Jackson over for dinner. The young Polk would clearly have been absorbing all the political talk from childhood. He was active in debate and school politics in college, and won his first elected public office in his early 20's.

LBJ's father was a state legislator, and LBJ himself was running for elected offices of various kinds as far back as High School, but I don't know of any evidence that his father was particularly zoned in on the Presidency for his son. It seems unlikely.

  • Benjamin Harrison is probably a member of this club.
    – Spencer
    Sep 5, 2021 at 17:13
  • @Spencer - I didn't want to bloat the answer with 50 paragraphs about why I didn't pick everyone else. B. Harrison in particular, while grandson of a previous POTUS, was the second of 10 children in a working-class farming family, and it appears to be about all they could do just to get him to the nearby farmer's college. Certainly his last name was a big asset once he got into politics, but I can't see any sign of that happening before he'd gotten married, had 2 kids, and gotten admitted to the bar. Perhaps a full on biography of the man would tell a different story though.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 6, 2021 at 14:55

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