Presidential succession

In this column Cecil says

Does this mean Truman went ONLY to Law School, without getting a bachelor’s first? Was this permissible then? (I recall my father was accepted to and began law school c. 1960 after only 3 years of undergrad and was awarded some kind of combo BA/law degree upon graduation.)

Will they accept you to law school, now, without a bachelor’s or any kind of undergraduate schooling, at all?

Truman attended the Kansas City Law School in 1923-25 (he did not complete his law degree). In those days, rules concerning admittance to law schools were undoubtedly different than they are now. In the 19th century people often qualified for the practice of the legal profession through passing the bar exam following private study. By Truman’s era, it is not surprising that law schools would still not require an undergraduate degree and be far less formalized than they are today.

Yeah well but what about now? Are the formalized today?

And thanks, yabob.

BTW, I think that Cecil should have done a better job of separating the new stuff in the article from the stuff written afterwards (a few brackets would suffice). Also, it would nice to know when the new stuff was written. Not that I’m telling Cecil or Ed how to do their jobs.

Back in the 20s the Bachelor of Laws title was the standard formal legal degree in the USA – *and it still so in many other countries of the world. *

In some states you could still, theoretically (as in, it’s in the books), meet Bar legal-education requirements through apprenticeship (California comes to mind). In the USA, the educational requirements for admission to practice are set by the respective state Bars; the individual schools must accommodate those requirements and may then add whatever other standards are consistent with their institutional academic policies. For instance, see the admissions policies at Michigan’s Thomas Cooley School of Law. Since Michigan does not require a distinct bachelor’s degree, Cooley doesn’t either – but warns you on the page that some states do require it. Many schools will just require the bachelor’s as a matter of course; some will admit you w/o a bachelor’s but then put you in a joint-degree BA-JD program

It’s not just Law that’s changed. It was only in the 1970’s that Episcopal seminaries started awarding M.S.T.'s; earlier, they only awarded B.S.T.'s. They normally required some sort of bachelor’s degree to get in, but waived it for older candidates.

Presidents and Education:

Bush II-Yale (Undergrad) Harvard (Graduate school)
Clinton-George Washington University, Oxford (Graduate school)
Bush I-Yale (Member of Skull and Crossbones Frat)
Reagan-Eureka College (Illinios)
Carter-United States Naval Academy
Ford-University of Michigan, Yale Law school
Nixon-Duke Law School
Johnson-Southwest Texas Teachers College (its called something else now but I do not know what)
Kennedy-Harvard (where else would a rich Massechuttes guy go?)
Eisenhower-United States Military Academy (West Point)
Truman-High school, Law school in Kansas City at night.

Before that I do not know. it is interesting that two presidents thought of as “stupid” (Bush II and Ford) graduated from graduate schools at top institutions. Ford would have been the first NFL player to gain the White House but he turned down a contract to play for the Bears to go to Law School. LBJ once said of Ford “He is a nice fellow, but he played too many games with his helmet off”.

Ike wanted to go to the Naval Academy but he was too old! Imagine Ike the sailor. Well he would of been the Naval commander in the European theatre instead of the Army Commander. Like Ford, Ike played College Football for Army and by all acccounts an excellent player. Interestingly enough JFK played football for Harvard, but this was in the 1930s before WWII and his famous PT boat sinking.

Lincoln never graduated school because he was too busy working the farm (early 19th Century was a bitch for most) but he did get a law degree and had a very successful practice in Springfield Illinios for over 20 years. Jefferson founded the University of Virginia probobly the best state school in the country.

Many of our Presidents are distant relations too. Our current President BUSH II is a blood relation through his mother, the former Barbra Pierce to our 14th president Franklin Pierce. Ol’ Franklin, probobly the most handsome of the 42 men (JFK is a virtual tie) had a raging drinking problem and with his wife saw his kid killed in a railroad accident. President Pierce was a (multide great) Uncle of George II.

If you want to know about American Presidents and history, forget cecil and call me. Who is the smartest president? Beats me. Franky I liked Old Harry S myself.


You forgot Clinton’s law degree from Yale.

Nixon got a BA from Whittier College in Whittier, CA.

LBJ’s alma mater is now Southwest Texas State University.

Both Poppy Bush and Bush Lite were members of the Skull and Bones (not Skull and Crossbones) society at Yale, where they got to masturbate in a crypt for their friends. Quite an education, apparently…

Clinton received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, not George Washington University.