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The Lindberghs: Born to politics

By Laurie Bennett

November 5, 2010 at 8:25am

Our review of family relationships in this year’s congressional elections recently led us, however improbably, to the Lindberghs.

Both Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, were the offspring of members of Congress.

The aviator’s father, Charles August Lindbergh, represented Minnesota in the House. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate and for governor.

Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s father, Dwight Whitney Morrow, was elected to the Senate after serving as U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He died in 1931, after less than a year in office.

Both men were Republicans.

The younger Lindbergh’s political views stirred charges of antisemitism before and during World War II. He traveled the country preaching isolationism - advocating a peace treaty with Hitler and criticizing American Jews for supporting war.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Lindbergh’s life was much more complicated than his public image - or our Muckety map, which shows only the children he had with his wife. DNA tests conducted after his death showed that he fathered three children in Germany, where he had a years-long affair with a Munich hat maker named Brigitte Hesshaimer.

Charles Lindbergh died of cancer in 1974. He was 72. His wife died in 2001, at age 94.

Both were prolific writers, and inspired work by others, including their youngest child, daughter Reeve, who has published several memoirs.

Philip Roth imagined a political career for Lindbergh in a 2004 novel, “The Plot Against America.” The plot hinges on a 1940 presidential election in which Lindbergh, the Republican nominee, defeats incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“Of course no childhood is without its terrors,” Roth wrote, “yet I wonder if I would have been a less frightened boy if Lindbergh hadn’t been president or if I hadn’t been the offspring of Jews.”

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