Benjamin Spock (1903-1998)
Benjamin Spock
Benjamin Spock

Early Life
For The Ladies
For The Ladies

Benjamin Spock was born on May 3, 1903, in New Haven, Connecticut. He was the oldest of 5 other siblings, which most of the time he had to take care of. He went to Yale University were he was on the United States crew team, that won the gold medal in the 1924 Olympics! He then attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He then went on to do resident training in pediatrics and psychiatry at Cornell University.

Interesting Fact: For most of Spock's life he wore Brooks Brothers suits but in 1978, at age 75, his wife got him to try blue jeans for the first time in his life.

Fun Fact: People sometimes confuse Dr. Spock with Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, said it was just a coincidence.

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
Spock published his bestseller book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, in 1946. By 1998 it had sold more than 50 million copies and outsold every book in the Nonfiction category except the Bible. It was also translated into 39 different languages. He later wrote three more books about parenting. Spock told parents that they should look at their kids as individuals, not as the one-size-fits all philosophy. His wife Mary helped revise Baby and Child Care in 1976, putting in non-sexist language and other changes. He wrote two other books later in his life, Spock on Spock and Dr. Spock on Vietnam.

Controversies

Many people saw Spock as the leader of the move to the permissive parenting and blame him for the negative results. Saying that an entire generation of Americans had been raised and ruined. Vice President Spiro Agnew even said that Spock was the "father of permissiveness" and that he encouraged lawlessness among our young Americans. In defense Spock pointed out that there was no protesting going on over in Europe, where he's book had sold well.

There also was some more controversy over the advise that Spock gave about infants sleeping. He said that an infant should not sleep on it's back, for if it vomits it could choke on the vomitus. Later studies found that this could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) associated with infants sleeping on their stomachs. One researcher estimated that 50,000 infant deaths could have been prevented if the advise was changed by 1970.

In 1968, Spock was put on trial for conspiracy. He was charged that he had counseled young people to resist the draft. He was convicted but he never served his sentence due to the case being appealed and his sentence set aside.

1972 Presidential Elections
In the 1972 presidential elections, Spock ran as the canidate for the People's Party. He ran on a platform that wanted free medical care, legalization of abortion, homosexuality, and marijuana, guarantee minimum income for families, and the withdrawal of troops from foreign countries. But did little to nothing as a third party, allowing Nixon to win by a landslide.

Death and Significances
In 1985 Spock wrote what his ideal funeral would be: "My ideal would be the New Orleans black funeral, in which friends snake-dance through the streets to the music of a jazz band."My ideal would be the New Orleans black funeral, in which friends snake-dance through the streets to the music of a jazz band." He later died on March 15, 1998, after suffering from chronic bronchitis and strokes.

Benjamin Spock had a great significances on American history. He helped us win the gold medal for the eight man rowing crew in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. He also showed us a new way to raise our kids up so that their become individuals of their own.

Citation

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Mr. Spock - Paul Gilbert