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Presidential Biography Of JFK Essay Research Paper

Presidential Biography Of JFK Essay, Research Paper Blaize Hite Mr. Nelson Modern American Studies, Period 1 5 Novermber 1996 Theodore C. Sorensen. Kennedy.

Presidential Biography Of JFK Essay, Research Paper

Blaize Hite

Mr. Nelson

Modern American Studies, Period 1

5 Novermber 1996

Theodore C. Sorensen.

Kennedy.

New York: Harper & Row, 1965. 783 pp.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in the Boston suburb of

Brookline. Kennedy was the son of Joseph P. Kennedy a formerambassador to Great

Britain. Kennedy was much like his father, possesing a delightful sense of humor, a strong

family loyalty, a concern for the state of the nation, endless vitality and a constant air of

confidence no matter how dire the situation (Kennedy, Sorensen, Harper & Row, New

York 1965, Page 18).

Growing up in a priviliged household and graduating with honors from Harvard. He

served as an assistant to his father (1938), naval officer (1941-1945), journalist (1941 and

1945) and Congressman (1947-1953), he had traveled to every major continent and talked

with the presidents and prime ministers, of some thirty-seven countries. In 1952 he was

elected to the United States Senate and in 1953 he married Jaqueline Bouvier. However

one year later a spinal operation brought him to the edge of death?s door, causing him to

deeply reflect on his character (Sorensen 28). After his dangerous operation he

researched and wrote a book, about democracy. The next year narrowly missing the Vice

Presidential nomination of his party, Kennedy emerged as a national figure in large

demand.

?John Kennedy was not one of the Senate?s great leaders? (Sorensen 43). Very

few laws of great importance bear his name. Even after his initial ?traditionally? inactive

freshman year in the Senate, his chances for major contributions to the Senate excluding

his stances on fair labor reform and against rackets, were constantly diminished of his

Presidential campaign. His voting record reflects his open minded views, and strengthed

beliefs. He was well liked and respected by many Senators. Kennedy was regarded for

his eagerness and cool logic in debate situations His only real ?enemy? was Senator

Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (Sorensen 45).McCarthy?s rough and wide-ranging hunts

for Red, ?pinks? and headlines had stomped on the freedoms of people who had not

committed a crime, and Kennedy was too rational and reasonable a man to remain

indiferent to the extremism known as Mcarthyism. Kennedy often was a thorn in

McCarthy?s side obstructing many of McCarthy?s personal choices for various offices and

by serving on certain committies of which McCarthy was chairman, such as the

Government Operations Committee (Sorensen 46).

Kennedy?s political philosophy revoloved around the idea that one could not allow

the pressures of party responisbility to cloud ones personal responsibility. Meaning after

all was said and done that the decision falls upon yourself to make the choice regardless of

what your party platform was. Of course the platfrom had significant merit, nevertheless

it still came down to the individual. ?Democrats, he said, generally had more heart, more

foresight and

more energy. They were not satisfied with things as they were and believed they could

make them better? (Sorensen 71).

?John F. Kennedy wanted someday to be President of the United States?

(Sorensen 95). Not becuase he was dissatisfied with his life as a Senator nor because he

possessed some grand scheme for the future of America. He merely felt that it was the

center of action of the American System. ?at least you have an opportunity to do

something about all the probelms which. . . I would be concerned about [anyway] as a

father or as a citizen. . . and if what you do is useful and succesful, then . . . that is a great

satisfaction? (Sorensen 95). Before the election of 1960 Kennedy used the result of his

newfound celebrity status to do a bit of travelling across the country. Convering more

than thirty thousand miles in twenty-four states, he made over 150 speeches and

appearances in the course of six weeks. He spoke to various conventions, varying from

civic to labor, farmer to youth. However his senatorial duties enabled him to accept less

than 4 percent of the hundreds of invitations that poured into his office, mainly consisting

of important Democratic canidates or fund-raising dinner chairmen. As the years

progressed the fact materialized that his hard work had finally begun to pay off. His

audiences had became larger and even more

enthusiastic. Therefore at 12:30 P.M., on Saturday, January 2, Senator John Fitzgerald

Kennedy walked into a crowded press conference and read a one-page declaration of his

candidacy for the Presidency (Sorensen 122).

?I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. . . .

In the past forty months, I have toured every state in the Union and I have talked to

Democrats in all walks of life. My candidacy is therefore based on the conviction that I

can win both the nomination and the election? (Sorensen 122).

Kennedy?s campaign opened on a low note, polls showed that Nixon was far better

known than Kennedy on the basis of his national office and four nationwide campaigns;

that Nixon was looked upon as more experienced; and that Kennedy was known primarily

as a wealthy, inexperienced, youthful Catholic. The Democrats were in a state of division,

while Nixon had successfully rallied the Republicans. Kennedy took the this time to

organized himself and manifest support for his campaign run, through a steady onlslaught

of speeches, and meetings Kennedy seemed almost to thrive (Sorensen 178). Focusingnot

on singular issues but instead Kennedy expressed his discontent with America?s current

situation, he insisted that we could do better.

Kennedy indeed won the election by a very narrow margin, so narrow that the

victory could almost be attributed to any list of decisive factors. However there are seven

that prominantly stick out. The Television Debates. At this point in American history this

was the most televised campaign ever and Kennedy?s vitality and knowledge appealed to

millions of voters who probably would have simply acknowledged him as too

inexperienced and young. One survey showed that four million voters made up their

minds simply by the debates, giving Kennedy a three-to-one margin (Sorensen 213).

Campaign Tactics. Kennedy?s vigorous, intensified campaign style was aggressive from

the start instilling a feeling of unreached potential. His tactics enabled him to swing many

undecided voters and probably even more if time had permitted (Sorensen 214). Party

Identification. Kennedy appealed frequently and aggressively to party unity, loyalty, and

history. His party was the majority party in terms of Senators, Congressmen, governors,

and mayors, this allowed for heavy organization and heavy registration of voters. Nearly

seven million more people that the amount that voted four years earlier. Black Relations.

Kennedy?s concerned call to the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hailed throughout

the black community, which thenproceeded to vote overwhelmingly for Kennedy.

Do to length constraints the paper will jump ahead to focus on one example of the

President?s response to a domestic issue and the President?s view on foreign policy.

?The Fight For Equal Rights? (Sorensen 470). In 1953 John Kennedy was

adamantly in favor of civil rights legislation as a political neccessity and simply recognized

that this legislation was morally correct. However in 1963 Kennedy was deeply

committed to human rights. His convictions on this subject were not converted, but

instead reached by his characteristic gradualness, logic, and cool mentality. He

immediately began to implement programs that would incorporate a stronger black

prescence in the legislative and judical branches of government. However an element that

was seriously lacking were civil rights measures. No amount of Presidential pressure

could put through the Eighty-seventh Congress a meaningful legislative package on civil

rights (Sorensen 476). Kennedy responded to his situation at a press conference by

saying, ?when I feel that there is a necessity for Congressional action, with a chance of

getting that Congressional action, then I will recommend it? (Sorensen 476). Nevertheless

Kennedy pushed and pushed first through legislation aimed at massive registration to

massive desegregation. Executive orders barred segregation or descrimination in the

armed forces Reserves, in the training of civil defense workers, in the off-base treatment of

military personnel, in Federally aided libraries and in the summer college training institutes

of the National Science Foundation and National Defense Education Act.

?The Olive Branch? (Sorensen 509). John Kennedy?s approach to foreign affairs was very

different from his approach to domestic problems, this was because foreign affairs had

always appealed to him far more than domestic. They took up a great deal more of his

time and energy as President. They severely tested his abilities of execution and

judgement, and his ability to react to consistent unforeseeable events. The following two

quotes are one of many that sum up his opinion on foreign policy, ?Let us never negotiate

out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate? and ?We must face up to the chance of war,

if we are to maintain the peace. . . . Diplomacy and defense are not substitutes for one

another. . . . A willingness to resist force, unaccompained by a willing to

talk, could prevoke belligerence–while a willingness to talk, unaccompanied by a

willingness to resist force, could invite disaster. . . . While we shall negotiate freely, we

shall not negotiate freedom. . . . In short, we are neither ?warmongers? nor ?appeasers,?

neither ?hard? nor ?soft.? We are Americans? (Sorensen 511)

The President faced many crisises whether domestic or foreign. He was forced to

deal with the escalating Cold War, the Cuban Missle Crisis, Civil Rights, Recession and

Inflation. With each issue he faced he responded with dilligence, careful thought and

decisive action. Throught every scenario he faced from election to the Senate to the

Presidential campaign he was able to expand his ideas and maintain a healthy open

attitude. That was the shock of November, 1963. Jack Kennedy was living at his peak.

Almost everything seemed to be moving in his direction. He was healthy, respected, and

looking forward to the comepletion of his first term and start of his second term. To

suddenly be ?cut off? is not simply a loss, but a loss of what could have been. In less than

three years he presided over a new era in American race relations, a new era in our a

Latin-American relations, a new era in fiscal and economic policy and a new era in the

exploration of space. His Presidency helped launch the longest and strongest period of

economic expansion for that period of time, and new and enlarged roles for the Federal

Government in higher education, mental affliction, civil rights, and the conservation of

human and natural resources. If I was to rate the president I would conclude that since he

was the first Executive power to back the civil rights movement and such that he was

indeed a great president. A man far greater than the legend he left us who truly believed

that one man could make a difference. I feel that what makes him such a great president is

what he stood for, hope in an era of doubt, public service ahead of private interests, for

reconciliation between black and white, labor and management. His sole defense for such

a rating are his actions and his beliefs. I have to admit that before this report I really knew

nothing of J. F. K. Of course I knew of his assassination but of his legislative and

executive work I knew absolutely nothing except for the work he did for civil rights which

my father informed me of at an early age. However now I feel a great deal more informed

and I found his life rather interesting. If he had not of died he would be around 86 this

year and most likely still very active in the Senate or some form of political office.

Interesting to note the effect his wisdom and advice could have affected the way the

United States is now today.

Blaize Hite

Mr. Nelson

Modern American Studies, Period 1

5 Novermber 1996

Theodore C. Sorensen.

Kennedy.

New York: Harper & Row, 1965. 783 pp.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in the Boston suburb of

Brookline. Kennedy was the son of Joseph P. Kennedy a formerambassador to Great

Britain. Kennedy was much like his father, possesing a delightful sense of humor, a strong

family loyalty, a concern for the state of the nation, endless vitality and a constant air of

confidence no matter how dire the situation (Kennedy, Sorensen, Harper & Row, New

York 1965, Page 18).

Growing up in a priviliged household and graduating with honors from Harvard. He

served as an assistant to his father (1938), naval officer (1941-1945), journalist (1941 and

1945) and Congressman (1947-1953), he had traveled to every major continent and talked

with the presidents and prime ministers, of some thirty-seven countries. In 1952 he was

elected to the United States Senate and in 1953 he married Jaqueline Bouvier. However

one year later a spinal operation brought him to the edge of death?s door, causing him to

deeply reflect on his character (Sorensen 28). After his dangerous operation he

researched and wrote a book, about democracy. The next year narrowly missing the Vice

Presidential nomination of his party, Kennedy emerged as a national figure in large

demand.

?John Kennedy was not one of the Senate?s great leaders? (Sorensen 43). Very

few laws of great importance bear his name. Even after his initial ?traditionally? inactive

freshman year in the Senate, his chances for major contributions to the Senate excluding

his stances on fair labor reform and against rackets, were constantly diminished of his

Presidential campaign. His voting record reflects his open minded views, and strengthed

beliefs. He was well liked and respected by many Senators. Kennedy was regarded for

his eagerness and cool logic in debate situations His only real ?enemy? was Senator

Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (Sorensen 45).McCarthy?s rough and wide-ranging hunts

for Red, ?pinks? and headlines had stomped on the freedoms of people who had not

committed a crime, and Kennedy was too rational and reasonable a man to remain

indiferent to the extremism known as Mcarthyism. Kennedy often was a thorn in

McCarthy?s side obstructing many of McCarthy?s personal choices for various offices and

by serving on certain committies of which McCarthy was chairman, such as the

Government Operations Committee (Sorensen 46).

Kennedy?s political philosophy revoloved around the idea that one could not allow

the pressures of party responisbility to cloud ones personal responsibility. Meaning after

all was said and done that the decision falls upon yourself to make the choice regardless of

what your party platform was. Of course the platfrom had significant merit, nevertheless

it still came down to the individual. ?Democrats, he said, generally had more heart, more

foresight and

more energy. They were not satisfied with things as they were and believed they could

make them better? (Sorensen 71).

?John F. Kennedy wanted someday to be President of the United States?

(Sorensen 95). Not becuase he was dissatisfied with his life as a Senator nor because he

possessed some grand scheme for the future of America. He merely felt that it was the

center of action of the American System. ?at least you have an opportunity to do

something about all the probelms which. . . I would be concerned about [anyway] as a

father or as a citizen. . . and if what you do is useful and succesful, then . . . that is a great

satisfaction? (Sorensen 95). Before the election of 1960 Kennedy used the result of his

newfound celebrity status to do a bit of travelling across the country. Convering more

than thirty thousand miles in twenty-four states, he made over 150 speeches and

appearances in the course of six weeks. He spoke to various conventions, varying from

civic to labor, farmer to youth. However his senatorial duties enabled him to accept less

than 4 percent of the hundreds of invitations that poured into his office, mainly consisting

of important Democratic canidates or fund-raising dinner chairmen. As the years

progressed the fact materialized that his hard work had finally begun to pay off. His

audiences had became larger and even more

enthusiastic. Therefore at 12:30 P.M., on Saturday, January 2, Senator John Fitzgerald

Kennedy walked into a crowded press conference and read a one-page declaration of his

candidacy for the Presidency (Sorensen 122).

?I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. . . .

In the past forty months, I have toured every state in the Union and I have talked to

Democrats in all walks of life. My candidacy is therefore based on the conviction that I

can win both the nomination and the election? (Sorensen 122).

Kennedy?s campaign opened on a low note, polls showed that Nixon was far better

known than Kennedy on the basis of his national office and four nationwide campaigns;

that Nixon was looked upon as more experienced; and that Kennedy was known primarily

as a wealthy, inexperienced, youthful Catholic. The Democrats were in a state of division,

while Nixon had successfully rallied the Republicans. Kennedy took the this time to

organized himself and manifest support for his campaign run, through a steady onlslaught

of speeches, and meetings Kennedy seemed almost to thrive (Sorensen 178). Focusingnot

on singular issues but instead Kennedy expressed his discontent with America?s current

situation, he insisted that we could do better.

Kennedy indeed won the election by a very narrow margin, so narrow that the

victory could almost be attributed to any list of decisive factors. However there are seven

that prominantly stick out. The Television Debates. At this point in American history this

was the most televised campaign ever and Kennedy?s vitality and knowledge appealed to

millions of voters who probably would have simply acknowledged him as too

inexperienced and young. One survey showed that four million voters made up their

minds simply by the debates, giving Kennedy a three-to-one margin (Sorensen 213).

Campaign Tactics. Kennedy?s vigorous, intensified campaign style was aggressive from

the start instilling a feeling of unreached potential. His tactics enabled him to swing many

undecided voters and probably even more if time had permitted (Sorensen 214). Party

Identification. Kennedy appealed frequently and aggressively to party unity, loyalty, and

history. His party was the majority party in terms of Senators, Congressmen, governors,

and mayors, this allowed for heavy organization and heavy registration of voters. Nearly

seven million more people that the amount that voted four years earlier. Black Relations.

Kennedy?s concerned call to the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hailed throughout

the black community, which thenproceeded to vote overwhelmingly for Kennedy.

Do to length constraints the paper will jump ahead to focus on one example of the

President?s response to a domestic issue and the President?s view on foreign policy.

?The Fight For Equal Rights? (Sorensen 470). In 1953 John Kennedy was

adamantly in favor of civil rights legislation as a political neccessity and simply recognized

that this legislation was morally correct. However in 1963 Kennedy was deeply

committed to human rights. His convictions on this subject were not converted, but

instead reached by his characteristic gradualness, logic, and cool mentality. He

immediately began to implement programs that would incorporate a stronger black

prescence in the legislative and judical branches of government. However an element that

was seriously lacking were civil rights measures. No amount of Presidential pressure

could put through the Eighty-seventh Congress a meaningful legislative package on civil

rights (Sorensen 476). Kennedy responded to his situation at a press conference by

saying, ?when I feel that there is a necessity for Congressional action, with a chance of

getting that Congressional action, then I will recommend it? (Sorensen 476). Nevertheless

Kennedy pushed and pushed first through legislation aimed at massive registration to

massive desegregation. Executive orders barred segregation or descrimination in the

armed forces Reserves, in the training of civil defense workers, in the off-base treatment of

military personnel, in Federally aided libraries and in the summer college training institutes

of the National Science Foundation and National Defense Education Act.

?The Olive Branch? (Sorensen 509). John Kennedy?s approach to foreign affairs was very

different from his approach to domestic problems, this was because foreign affairs had

always appealed to him far more than domestic. They took up a great deal more of his

time and energy as President. They severely tested his abilities of execution and

judgement, and his ability to react to consistent unforeseeable events. The following two

quotes are one of many that sum up his opinion on foreign policy, ?Let us never negotiate

out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate? and ?We must face up to the chance of war,

if we are to maintain the peace. . . . Diplomacy and defense are not substitutes for one

another. . . . A willingness to resist force, unaccompained by a willing to

talk, could prevoke belligerence–while a willingness to talk, unaccompanied by a

willingness to resist force, could invite disaster. . . . While we shall negotiate freely, we

shall not negotiate freedom. . . . In short, we are neither ?warmongers? nor ?appeasers,?

neither ?hard? nor ?soft.? We are Americans? (Sorensen 511)

The President faced many crisises whether domestic or foreign. He was forced to

deal with the escalating Cold War, the Cuban Missle Crisis, Civil Rights, Recession and

Inflation. With each issue he faced he responded with dilligence, careful thought and

decisive action. Throught every scenario he faced from election to the Senate to the

Presidential campaign he was able to expand his ideas and maintain a healthy open

attitude. That was the shock of November, 1963. Jack Kennedy was living at his peak.

Almost everything seemed to be moving in his direction. He was healthy, respected, and

looking forward to the comepletion of his first term and start of his second term. To

suddenly be ?cut off? is not simply a loss, but a loss of what could have been. In less than

three years he presided over a new era in American race relations, a new era in our a

Latin-American relations, a new era in fiscal and economic policy and a new era in the

exploration of space. His Presidency helped launch the longest and strongest period of

economic expansion for that period of time, and new and enlarged roles for the Federal

Government in higher education, mental affliction, civil rights, and the conservation of

human and natural resources. If I was to rate the president I would conclude that since he

was the first Executive power to back the civil rights movement and such that he was

indeed a great president. A man far greater than the legend he left us who truly believed

that one man could make a difference. I feel that what makes him such a great president is

what he stood for, hope in an era of doubt, public service ahead of private interests, for

reconciliation between black and white, labor and management. His sole defense for such

a rating are his actions and his beliefs. I have to admit that before this report I really knew

nothing of J. F. K. Of course I knew of his assassination but of his legislative and

executive work I knew absolutely nothing except for the work he did for civil rights which

my father informed me of at an early age. However now I feel a great deal more informed

and I found his life rather interesting. If he had not of died he would be around 86 this

year and most likely still very active in the Senate or some form of political office.

Interesting to note the effect his wisdom and advice could have affected the way the

United States is now today.

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