Jfk Essay, Research Paper
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29th, 1917 and died
on November the 22nd, 1963. He was the thirty-fifth President of the
United States, and was assassinated in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey
Oswald as his limousine drove by the Texas School Book Depository
building and through Dealey Plaza. He was in office from 1961-1963,
he was the youngest man elected President, and the youngest to die in
the office. Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He
graduated from Harvard University in 1940 and he entered the navy.
In 1943, he became commander of a PT boat in the Pacific in World
War II. In action off the Solomon Islands, his boat was sheared in two
and sunk, and Kennedy was credited with saving the life of at least one
of his crew. After the war he was briefly a journalist. He became a
congressmen from Massachusetts in 1947 until 1953. He consistently
supported the domestic programs of the Truman Administration but
criticized its China policy.
In 1952, despite the Eisenhower Landslide, he defeated Henry
Cabot Lodge for a seat in the United States Senate, where he served on
the labor and Public Committee and on the Foreign Relations
In 1953, Kennedy married Jacklyn Lee Bouvier. While
recuperating in 1955 from a serious operation to repair a spinal injury,
he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.
In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic Nomination for
Vice-President, four years later was a first ballot nominee for President.
Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate,
Richard M. Nixon. Winning by narrow margin in the popular vote,
Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President. His Inaugural
Address offered the memorable injunction: ?Ask not what your country
can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.? As President, he
set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again.
His economic programs launched the country on its longest
sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans
for massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.
Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the
cause of the equal rights, calling for civil rights legislation.
His vision of America extended to the quality of the national
culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society. He wished
America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the
revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace
Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations.
But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.
Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a band of Cuban
extiles, already armed and trained to invade their homeland. The
attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro was a failure. Soon
thereafter, the Soviet Union renewed its campaign against West Berlin.
Kennedy replied by reinforcing the Berlin garrison and increasing the
Nation?s Military strength, including new efforts in outer space.
confronted by this reaction, Moscow, after the erection of the Berlin
Wall, relaxed its pressure in central Europe. Instead, the Russians now
sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba.
When this was discovered by air reconnaissance in October 1962,
Kennedy imposed a quarantine of all offensive weapons bound for Cuba.
While the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians
backed down and agreed to take missiles away. The American response
to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the guilty of nuclear
Kennedy now contended that both sides had a vital interest in
stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and slowing the arms race–a
contention which led to the test ban treaty of 1963. The months after the
Cuban crisis showed significant progress toward his goal of ?a word of
law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion.? His
administration thus saw the beginning of new hope for both the equal
rights of Americans and the peace of the world.