JFK Essay Research Paper John Fitzgerald Kennedy

JFK Essay, Research Paper

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States of


He grew up in a family of political leaders and then became one himself.

During his

lifetime he had many accomplishments, both personal and political; he had a

beautiful wife,

and a wonderful family, he wrote award winning novels, started the Peace

Corps, and he

broke the barrier between us and the Soviet Union, among many others which

will be

discussed later. Nearing the end of his term of president, Kennedy was

visiting Dallas,

Texas to campaign for the next election. During a campaigning motorcade, his


convertible limousine was approaching a field known as Dealey Plaza when

shots rang

out. The shots were thought to have come from the seven-story Texas School


Depository. The shots were fatal for President John Kennedy. John Kennedy was

a very

influential leader of the 1960?s and will remain a hero forever.

John Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street, Brookline, Massachusetts on May 27,

1917. He was born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy. John was the second oldest in


family of nine children. He was named after his grandfather, John Fitzgerald.


grandfather was elected mayor of Boston in 1905. His father, Joseph Patrick

was a

wealthy business man, and an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and

also the US

Ambassador to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940. As you can see he was destined

to be a

successful leader. As a young boy JFK was called ?Jack? by his family. He

and his family

moved to New York when John was 10 years old. They spent summer months in

Hyannis, Cape Cod. His family often traveled to other states and countries.

He attended

an elite prep school, Choate High School in Connecticut, he graduated in

1935. he then

went on to Harvard College and graduated from there in 1940. In 1941 he

joined the

Navy, he became commander of a PT (patrol torpedo), assigned to the battle in

the Pacific

against the Japanese. During one night, Kennedy?s boat was rammed by a

large enemy

boat, two of the thirteen crew men were killed, and the rest, led by Lt.

Kennedy swam to a

nearby deserted island off of the Solomon Islands. They managed to survive,

mostly by

eating coconuts until they were rescued a week later. Kennedy engraved a

message in a

coconut shell and it was found by Naval Officers. After W.W.II was over, he

had to

decide what to do with his life, he possibly wanted to be a teacher or

writer, but he decide

to run for a political office. In 1946 he was elected to the US Congress,

representing a

large area in Boston. Becoming a congress man at the age of 29. He was a

Democrat, he

served three terms, or six years in the House of Representatives. In 1952 he

was elected

to the US Senate. Kennedy barley missed being picked for the Democratic part?s

candidate for Vice President in 1956. He started a long campaign to become

president in

1960. At a convention on July 13, 1960, Democratic chose Kennedy ad their


candidate. Kennedy asked Lyndon B. Johnson, a senator from Texas to run with

him as

his vice President. Kennedy and Nixon had the first televised presidential

debate, in

which Kennedy proved himself to be a smooth, calm person in heated up times,

and Nixon

didn?t. In general election on November 8, 1959, Kennedy defeated Vice


Richard M. Nixon in a very close race. There was a record breaking 69 million


that year, Kennedy won by 113,000 votes. Kennedy was the youngest man ever

elected to

President, at 43 years old, he was also the first Catholic president. JFK was

sworn in as

President on January 20, 1960. During his Inaugural Address he spoke about

the need for

all Americans to be active citizens, this is where his famous quote, ? Ask

not what your

country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?, came from.


Fitzgerald Kennedy had many personal achievements throughout his life time.

One of his

firsts was a book he wrote during his college years at Harvard University.

His book, Why

England Slept, was on the Best Sellers list, it was about some of the

decisions that led to

W.W.II and about how Britain lack preparedness for the war. Jacqueline Lee


another one of his great accomplishments. Jacqueline was one of the most

admired and

looked upon First Ladies in our history, she was young, beautiful and loved

by everyone.

He was married to her on September 12, 1953. Four years after their marriage,

in 1957,

their first child was born, it was a girl, they named her Caroline. In 1959,

two years later,

their second child was born, John Jr., named after his father. He was called,

?John John?

by his father. He had a beautiful family by the end of the 1950?s. In 1954

he had a serious

operation on his back, after years of problems. While he was recovering, he

wrote another

book, this one about senators who had risked everything for what they had

believed. The

book, called Profiles in Courage, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for

biography in 1957.

He was an American hero for his political achievements. In his first year of


congress passed a law increasing minimum wage, the first change to the law

since it

became a law. Congress also passed a bill granting federal aid to the


depressed areas. He helped create the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps are


volunteers who go to other countries requesting assistance. Americans serve

as, teachers,

and help in farming, health care, and construction. In May 1961, after Alan

Shepard was

the first American astronaut to go into space, Kennedy asked congress to

spend more

money on space exploration, with the intention of landing a man on the moon

before the

end of the decade. In one bill, congress dedicated One billion dollars to

finance the

sending or a man to the moon. Kennedy also asked congress to pass a Civil

Rights bill

that would guarantee blacks the rights to vote, to attend public schools, to

have equal job

opportunities, and equal access to public accommodations. In 1961, from the


Administration, he inherited a secret plan to over throw Fidel Castro of

Cuba. Kennedy

approved an invasion, known as the Bay of Pigs. The invasion took place in

April by

refugees, the attempt failed and resulted in the capture of US refugees and


embarrassment for President Kennedy. In 1962 he helped rescue the prisoners

from the

Bay of Pigs, 1113 prisoners were released in exchange for food and medical


valued at 53 million dollars. The Cuban Missile Crisis was perhaps the worlds


approach to a Nuclear War. Ever since W.W.II there had been a lot of anger


suspicion between the US and the Soviet Union. This ?Cold War? was a

struggle between

the Soviet Union?s communist system of government and Americas democratic


Because there was no trust between two countries, they both spent large sum?s

of money

building nuclear weapons to use if a war did start. We placed some of our

missiles in

Turkey, which was in range of the USSR. In the Fall of 1962, we heard rumors

that the

USSR had placed in Cuba, which was in range of south eastern United States.


arranged for spy planes to fly over Cuba. The planes spotted a missile.


demanded that the Soviet Union dismantle and remove the missiles or he was

going to

create a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent the arrival of anymore

weapons. On

October 28, the USSR agreed to remove the missiles, if we removed ours from


In August 1963, The United States and The Soviet Union signed a treaty that


nuclear bomb tests in air, underwater, or in space. Kennedy did a lot for


Americans in the 1960?s. In September 1962, the nation forced the threat of

violence in

the State of Mississippi. James Meredith, an African American and Air Force


applied and was admitted to the University of Mississippi. However, when he

arrived on

campus, university officials would not let him go to class because he was

black. Both

John and Robert (his brother) Kennedy had long talks over the telephone with


governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett. However they failed to convince him to


James Meredith to attend classes. In order to enforce the Constitution and to


Meredith, Kennedy ordered the National Guard and federal marshals to the


After a riot in which two people died and dozens were injured, Meredith

registered for

classes and segregation ended at the University of Mississippi. A similar


happened almost a year later in Alabama. African American students were not

allowed to

attend the University of Alabama, once again, President Kennedy had to send

in soldiers to

protect the students. He decided to speak on national television about civil

rights. He said

Americans had a legal and moral responsibility to provide equal access to

education and

guarantee voting rights for all citizens. He helped to end segregation in the

south. John

Kennedy accomplished so much in his three years as president of the Untied

States of


It was a sunny November day in 1963, a plane called Air Force one landed at


Field in Dallas. The crowds were friendly as the presidential motorcade wound


the streets. Since the day was so nice, the Kennedy?s, the governor of

Texas and his wife,

rode in an open convertible limousine. The limousine approached a


grassy field, called Dealey Plaza. Standing seven-stories above them was the


School Book Depository building. The governor?s wife turned and smiled at


president. ?Well, Mr. President?, she said, ? you can?t say that

Dallas doesn?t love you!?

John Kennedy never answered. A crack of a rifle cut him down, and the world

has never

been the same since. Kennedy?s body lurched. Governor john Connally slumped


A guard assigned to protect the president leaped onto the back of the

limousine. He

grabbed Mrs. Kennedy who had climbed onto the back of the car in terror. He

saw blood

soaking the car seats and pounded on the trunk. The limousine sped toward


Memorial Hospital. The announcement of Kennedy?s death came at 2:00 P.M.


time on Friday, November 22, 1963. People who lived through this day can


precisely where they were and what they were doing when they heard the

stunning news.

Minutes after the shooting, police searched the building surrounding Dealey

Plaza. One

officer came upon a man who was drinking a Coke in the second-floor employees?

lunchroom at the Texas School Book Depository, the man was

twenty-four-year-old Lee

Harvey Oswald. He would remain a dark and mysterious figure in history.

Evidence in the

Texas School Book Depository put a suspicion on Oswald, which made him a


suspect. Dallas patrolman J.D. Tippit spotted Oswald hurrying down a sidewalk


ordered him to halt. Oswald drew his pistol and shot three times killing

Officer Tippit

instantly. Thirty-five minutes later, Oswald was seized inside a movie

theater. Oswald was

to be routinely transferred to another jail facility on Sunday, November 24.

As he was

being escorted by two detectives holding each arm, a man jumped out of the

crowd and

shouted, ?You killed the president, you rat!? Then shoved a pistol into

Oswalds? stomach,

fired, and killed him.

There are many theories on what happened to President John Kennedy on

November 22, 1963. This is probably one of the most mysterious

assassinations, in US

history. He was one of four other assassinations, Abraham Lincoln, James

Garfield, and

William McKinley. The Single Bullet theory was a theory drafted by the Warren

Commission, it was a theory used to explain the conclusions that they had

come to during

their investigation. The single bullet theory can be accepted, although there

are many other

theories that can equally just as well explain Kennedy’s assassination. With

the aid of

modern technology photographs, films, and sound recordings from the time have


examined. The findings of the examination show that the controversial

incident regarding

Governor Connally and President Kennedy could have been possible. If Connally


turned ever so slightly to his right which he is said to have recalled to

doing so in hospital.

Photographic evidence also supports this. Due to the fact that Kennedy and

Connally were

of a similar size the single bullet theory that says Connally and Kennedy

were hit by the

same bullet could be true. There are of course facts that warp the single

bullet theory such

as the fact that the bullet that was found on a hospital stretcher was in

perfect condition.

Yet doctors have proven that the bullet had in fact gone through two major

bones and

torn out a great deal of muscle. Tests carried out on the bullet prove also

that a bullet

when fired through a sheep’s spinal chord which is the same thickness as a

human’s, it

becomes out of shape and shows signs of severe impact. So the single bullet

theory could

be disproved in this way. However chemical tests carried out on the bullet

found on the

stretcher in Parkfield Hospital, proves that it did in fact come from the

same cartridge

shells found hidden in the Texas School Book Depository Building. his is the


question which is one everyone’s lips, and there are several points which are


considering when deciding whether or not there was a second gunman.


evidence also points towards a second gunman as a picture taken at the time,


enhancement shows a figure hiding in the grassy knoll, not far from were the


took place. Witnesses have also testified that they saw a man hiding in the


cigarette stubs have also been found as well as footprints. Others say that

they saw gun

smoke, however this is unlikely due to the fact that modern rifles don’t

produce smoke

visible to the human eye. In fact the only smoke that would have been visible

by the human

eye is when you are positioned less than a foot or so away from it. Secret

service agents

were reported to be at the scene when the shots went off. However the

positions of all the

secret service agents show that there was no – one in the immediate area. A


policeman ran towards the area when the shots went off, however he was

stopped by a

group of gentlemen posing as secret service agents. In a statement later he

admits that he

should have asked the gentlemen for identification as they didn’t look like

secret service

agents. Could these men have been comrades to a man standing in the grassy


Dealey Plaza was unfortunately an echo valley, so the sound of gun shots

would seem to

come from different places. A recording made at Dallas Police headquarters,

after analysis

shows that the shots could have came from a variety of different places, but

the recording

seems to point towards the theory of three shots being fired. To shoot from

the grassy

knoll, would of had to be a tracking shot, the gunman would have to have been

moving his

rifle left to right matching the motion of the car. Gun experts have said

that it would have

been a difficult shots from the Texas School Book Depository building,

however the shot

would have been a much easier one than from the grassy knoll.

This obviously shows that there must have been some sort of a sound

resembling a gun

shot from the grassy knoll as there was people diving for cover on the floor,


scared of being hit. Also a Dallas police officer thought that there was a

shot from the

grassy knoll and indeed ran over, but only to be turned away by ‘fake’ secret


agents. The major fact that alarms Americans is that the Warren Commission


investigated the assassination is that they were very single minded and

seemed to have no

other theories about the assassination. The commission were also criticized

because they

couldn’t really prove it was Oswald or get a confession out of him. The


commission believe that the assassination was carried out by a lone gunman,

namely Lee

Harvey Oswald. However another investigation into the assassination by the

House Select

Committee was carried out a number of years later because there was still

public disbelief

that Oswald was a lone gunman. The committee called witnesses to hear their

version of

the events, and in the end ruled that there could have been another assassin,


situated in the grassy knoll. Some points to raise into this matter are that

the secret service

agents were never found, even after a substantial investigation, could it

have been a cover

up? Another point to raise is over the witnesses, several witnesses died

under mysterious

circumstances before they could give their version of events. The largest

point to raise is

Oswalds? claim that he was a patsy ( he was framed ). Could crucial eye -

witnesses have

been assassinated to stop them from speaking out, could one of them held a

vital clue to

solve the mystery.

In conclusion to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as a person, as a leader, as the


of the United States of America, and most of all as our friend, was very

influential to all of

us. He was born into a family of leaders and politicians, it was his destine

that he would

be a political leader, and he was but not just the United States also for the

whole world.

He created a wonderful family, which also became leaders of today?s world.

He made

many improvements during his three years in office to our nation. He improved


care, poverty, civil rights and relations with other countries. He was a

president that really

cared about his country, and the world and did as much as he could to make it

as perfect

as possible. I think that he is the last president that we have had that has

really tried to

improve our country instead of just try to keep it form getting worse. He

dealt with not

just the big issues that existed but also with the smaller issues. I believe

that he is a True

American Hero and should be held in the highest of light for his leadership,


and accomplishments. I don?t not agree with the ?Single Bullet? theory.

Gun experts even

said that it would have been a very difficult shot to make from the Texas

School Book

Depository. It is almost impossible for it to have only been one bullet. It

is said that the

shots came from behind and above the limousine, which would have made a

bullet whole

in Kennedy that went down, then above that entry wound there was said to have

been and

exit wound, then below that whole it is said that it entered senator Connally

in a

downward direction. This means that this one, single bullet left seven

injuries, the first

downward, the second upwards, the third downwards and the rest downwards. How


this be? I don?t think that it is possible. there had to have been more

than one bullet

causing these injuries. I think that there was another person shooting and

they were all

involved in a conspiracy. How do you explain the sounds people heard, the

smoke, the

fake secret service agents, the mysterious bullet that showed up on the

hospital bed? It

can?t be explained if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I think that Jack Ruby

shot him

because he was part of the conspiracy and got scared and thought that he was

going to

?rat? on them. The only way all of this can be explained is if there are

multiple people

involved in. I?m not sure why there was a conspiracy against him but I

think that it might

have something to do with his civil rights movements or his thoughts of

pulling out from

Vietnam. I think that the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is one of

the most

tragic events that has happened in our history, partially because of who he

was and also

because we still do not know to this day what really happened.


-The Official Warren Commission Report, Doubleday and Company, Inc.,

Garden, N.Y. 1964

- The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, R Conrad Stein, Children?s Press

Chicago, 1992

- The United States History: In the course of human events, West Publishing


1997 pages 868-976

- Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, Volume 14; pages, 355-356

Robert S. Phillips

- www.serve.com/shadows/mystery.htm

- www.cs.umb.edu/jfklibrary/


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