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John F.


Proiect realizat de Avram Claudiu George

Profesor coordonator Ghioc Ana-Maria

Introduction3 The Kennedy Family.4 Congressional career.5 1960 presidential election..7 Presidency..9


John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his death in 1963. After military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boats PT-109 and PT-59 during World War II in the South Pacific, Kennedy represented Massachusetts' 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat. Thereafter, he served in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election. He was the youngest elected to the office, at the age of 43, the second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt), and the first person born in the 20th century to serve as president. Kennedy is the only Catholic president, and is the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime, but he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby two days later, before a trial could take place. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that those investigations were flawed and that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. Kennedy ranks highly in public opinion ratings of U.S. presidents.

{Not all the introduction. I still have to state why I have chosen him. And I think I will cut some of the information above. Still working on it}

The Kennedy Family

In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the Democratic Party. Harvard University educations have been common among them, and they have contributed heavily to that university's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The wealth, glamour and photogenic quality of the family members, as well as their extensive and continuing involvement in public service, has elevated them to iconic status over the past halfcentury, with the Kennedys sometimes referred to as 'America's Royal Family'. Soon after the 1960 election of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, he and his younger brothers, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy, all held prominent positions in the federal government. They received intense publicity, often emphasizing their relative youth, allure, education, and future in politics. From 1947, when John F. Kennedy became a member of Congress, to 2011, when Patrick J. Kennedy departed Congress, there were 64 years with a Kennedy in elective office in Washington (excluding a short gap of less then a month in between John F. Kennedy resigning his Senate seat prior to his inauguration as President). This spans more than a quarter of the nation's existence.[1] There was only a brief hiatus following Patrick J. Kennedy's retirement from Congress in 2011, and the 2013 swearing in of Joseph P. Kennedy III. The family has suffered numerous tragedies, contributing to the idea of "the Kennedy curse". Rosemary Kennedy suffered a failed lobotomy, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated, Ted Kennedy was involved in the Chappaquiddick incident, and four family members were in airplane crashes: Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Kathleen Cavendish, Ted Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy, Jr.. All of these plane crashes were fatal except for Ted Kennedy's.

Congressional career
House of Representatives
While Kennedy was still serving, his older brother, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., was killed in action on August 12, 1944, while part of Operation Aphrodite. Since Joe Jr. had been the family's political standard-bearer, the task now fell to John. In 1946, U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat in the strongly Democratic 11th Congressional district in Massachusettsat Joe's urgingto become mayor of Boston. Kennedy ran for the seat, beating his Republican opponent by a large margin. He served as a congressman for six years.

In the 1952 election, he defeated incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for the U.S. Senate seat. The following year he was married to Jacqueline. Kennedy underwent several spinal operations over the following two years. Often absent from the Senate, he was at times critically ill and received Catholic last rites. During his convalescence in 1956, he published Profiles in Courage, a book about U.S. Senators who risked their careers for their personal beliefs, and which received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. Rumors that this work was co-authored by his close adviser and speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, were confirmed in Sorensen's 2008 autobiography. At the 1956 Democratic National Convention, Kennedy was nominated for Vice President on a ticket with presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson, but finished second in the balloting to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Kennedy received national exposure from that episode; his father thought it just as well that his son lost, due to the political debility of his Catholicism and the strength of the Eisenhower ticket.

One of the matters demanding Kennedy's attention in the Senate was President Eisenhower's bill for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Kennedy cast a procedural vote on this, which was considered by some as an appeasement of Southern Democratic opponents of the bill. Kennedy did vote for Title III of the act, which would have given the Attorney General powers to enjoin, but Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson agreed to let the provision die as a compromise measure. Kennedy also voted for Title IV, termed the "Jury Trial Amendment". Many civil rights advocates at the time criticized that vote as one which would weaken the act. A final compromise bill, which Kennedy supported, was passed in September 1957. In 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate, defeating his Republican opponent, Boston lawyer Vincent J. Celeste, by a wide margin. It was during his reelection campaign that Kennedy's press secretary at this time Robert E Thompson, put together a film entitled "The U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy Story," which exhibited a day in the life of the Senator and showcased his family life as well as the inner-workings of his office. It is the most comprehensive film produced about Kennedy up to that point in time. Senator Joseph McCarthy was a friend of the Kennedy family; Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was a leading McCarthy supporter, Robert F. Kennedy worked for McCarthy's subcommittee, and McCarthy dated Patricia Kennedy. In 1954, when the Senate voted to censure McCarthy, Kennedy drafted a speech supporting the censure. The speech was not delivered, because he was in the hospital. Though absent, he could have participated procedurally by "pairing" his vote against that of another senator, but did not do so. He never indicated how he would have voted, but the episode damaged Kennedy's support among members of the liberal community, including Eleanor Roosevelt, in the 1956 and 1960 elections.

1960 presidential election

On January 2, 1960, Kennedy initiated his campaign for President in the Democratic primary election, where he faced challenges from Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. Kennedy defeated Humphrey in Wisconsin and West Virginia, Morse in Maryland and Oregon, as well as from token opposition (often write-in candidates) in New Hampshire, Indiana, and Nebraska. Kennedy visited a coal mine in West Virginia; most miners and others in that predominantly conservative, Protestant state were quite wary of Kennedy's Roman Catholicism. His victory in West Virginia confirmed his broad popular appeal. At the Democratic Convention, he gave his well-known "New Frontier" speech, saying: "For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all wonand we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier ... But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promisesit is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them." With Humphrey and Morse eliminated, Kennedy's main opponent at the Los Angeles convention was Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Kennedy overcame this formal challenge as well as informal ones from Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee in 1952 and 1956, Stuart Symington, and several favorite sons, and on July 13 the Democratic convention nominated Kennedy as its candidate. Kennedy asked Johnson to be his Vice Presidential candidate, despite opposition from many liberal delegates and Kennedy's own staff, including his brother, Robert. He needed Johnson's strength in the South to win what was considered likely to be the closest election since 1916. Major issues included how to get the economy moving again, Kennedy's Roman Catholicism, Cuba, and whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the U.S. To address fears that his being Catholic would impact his decision-making, he famously told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, "I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters and the Church does not speak for me." Kennedy

questioned rhetorically whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic, and once stated that, "No one asked me my religion [serving the Navy] in the South Pacific." In September and October, Kennedy appeared with Republican candidate Richard Nixon, then Vice President, in the first televised U.S. presidential debates in U.S. history. During these programs, Nixon, with a sore injured leg and his "five o'clock shadow", looked tense, uncomfortable, and perspiring, while Kennedy, choosing to avail himself of makeup services, appeared relaxed, leading the huge television audience to favor Kennedy as the winner. Radio listeners either thought Nixon had won or that the debates were a draw. The debates are now considered a milestone in American political historythe point at which the medium of television began to play a dominant role in politics.[34] Kennedy's campaign gained momentum after the first debate, and he pulled slightly ahead of Nixon in most polls. On November 8, Kennedy defeated Nixon in one of the closest presidential elections of the 20th century. In the national popular vote Kennedy led Nixon by just two-tenths of one percent (49.7% to 49.5%), while in the Electoral College he won 303 votes to Nixon's 219 (269 were needed to win). Another 14 electors from Mississippi and Alabama refused to support Kennedy because of his support for the civil rights movement; they voted for Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, as did the elector from Oklahoma. Kennedy was the youngest man elected president, succeeding Eisenhower, who was then the oldest (Ronald Reagan surpassed Eisenhower as the oldest president in 1981).


John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President at noon on January 20, 1961. In his inaugural address he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens, famously saying, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." He asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the "common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself". He added: "All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin." In closing, he expanded on his desire for greater internationalism: "Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you." The address reflected Kennedy's confidence that his administration would chart a historically significant course in both domestic policy and foreign affairs. The contrast between this optimistic vision and the pressures of managing daily political realities at home and abroad would be one of the main tensions running through the early years of his administration. Kennedy brought to the White House a stark contrast in organization compared to the decision making structure of the former general, Eisenhower; and he wasted no time in dismantling Eisenhower's methods. Kennedy preferred the organizational structure of a wheel, with all the spokes leading to the president. He was ready and willing to make the increased number of quick decisions required in such an environment. He selected a mixture of experienced and inexperienced people to serve in his cabinet. "We can learn our jobs together", he stated. There were a couple instances where the president got ahead of himself, as when he announced in a cabinet meeting, without prior notice, that Edward Lansdale would be Ambassador to South Vietnam, a decision which Secretary of State Rusk later had Kennedy alter. There was also the case of Harris Wofford, who was summoned to the White House for swearing in without knowing which position he was to assume. Much to the chagrin of his economic advisors, who wanted him to reduce taxes, he quickly agreed to a balanced budget pledge. This was needed in exchange for votes to expand the membership of the House Rules Committee in order to give the Democrats a majority in setting the legislative agenda. The president focused on immediate and specific issues facing the administration, and quickly voiced his impatience with ponderings of deeper meanings. Deputy national security advisor Walt Whitman Rostow once began a diatribe about the growth of communism, and Kennedy abruptly cut him off, asking, "What do you want me to do about that today?"

Space program

The Apollo program was conceived early in 1960, during the Eisenhower administration, as a follow-up to Project Mercury. While NASA went ahead with planning for Apollo, funding for the program was far from certain given Eisenhower's opposition to manned spaceflight. Kennedy's advisors speculated that a moon flight would be prohibitively expensive, but he postponed the decision out of deference to his vice president. Johnson had been appointed chairman of the U.S. Space Council and strongly supported NASA because its new Manned Spacecraft Center was located in Texas. In his January 1961 State of the Union address, Kennedy had suggested international cooperation in space. Khrushchev declined, as the Soviets did not wish to reveal the status of their rocketry and space capabilities. On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to fly in space, reinforcing American fears about being left behind in a technological competition with the Soviet Union. Kennedy was eager for the U.S. to take the lead in the Space Race for reasons of strategy and prestige. He first announced the goal of landing a man on the Moon in the speech to a Joint Session of Congress on May 25, 1961, stating: "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish." Kennedy made a speech at Rice University on September 12, 1962, in which he said: "No nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space. ... We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." On November 21, 1962, in a cabinet meeting with NASA administrator James E. Webb and other officials, Kennedy explained that the moon shot was important for reasons of international prestige, and that the expense was justified. Johnson assured him that lessons learned from the space program had military value as well. Costs for the Apollo program were expected to reach $40 billion. In a September 1963 speech before the United Nations, Kennedy urged cooperation between the Soviets and Americans in space. Khrushchev again declined, and the Soviets did not commit to a manned moon mission until 1964. On July 20, 1969, almost six years after Kennedy's death, Apollo 11 landed the first manned spacecraft on the Moon.