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John Fitzgerald Kennedy Essay

Throughout the history of the United States there have been few great presidents. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was one of these great presidents, maybe even the greatest. He led an extraordinary life and influenced the people of his time tremendously. Although he had a short-lived presidency, he created many productive projects, and prospects for the future of the US. John F. Kennedy was national hero and truly a magnificent leader for his people. John was born May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. His father Joseph Kennedy became the youngest banker president in the US.

He was a millionaire by age twenty-five. John’s mother, Rose Fitzgerald, was a caring housewife and a glamorous woman. Including John, the family embraced nine children. They were, in age order, Joseph Junior, John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, Jean, and Edward (Teddy). All the children were born in Brookline, Massachusetts. Each of the kids had a one million dollar trust fund set up for them by the time they were born. The environment they were brought up together in was very wholesome and extremely elegant.

On September 12, 1953, John F. Kennedy married Jaqueline Lee Bouvier. Together they had a daughter Caroline in 1957. Later in 1960 they had a son John Junior. John Kennedy’s education process is remarkable. He started out by going to a couple of Public schools in Brookline. He later moved onto Private schools in Riverdale, New York, and Wallingford, Connecticut. In the years 1935 and 1936 John attended the London School of Economics. Later on in 1940 at Harvard University he graduated with honors. John also did some graduate work in economics at Stanford, the prestigious university.

In his college thesis he wrote “Why England Slept” concerning England’s involvement in World War Two, or the lack they’re of. This later turned into a full novel that became a New York Times bestseller. John’s early work began with being a correspondent for The Chicago Herald American and International News Service. He became bored with this job and decided to represent the Eleventh Massachusetts Congressional District in the House of Representatives. John Kennedy won the Man of the Year Award awarded by the Unites States Chamber of Congress. In he 1952 he became a part of the US Senate.

While John was there, he increased the textile tariff. He worked with his brother Robert in the Select Committee of the Senate to Investigate Improper Activities in Labor-management Relations. John had many back problems. It all began when he hurt his back while playing in a college football game at Harvard University. On October 1954 he began spinal operations. These injuries would haunt him for the rest of his life. John would not be able to support even the lightest of jackets. At one point JFK was forced to use crutches. John Kennedy was engaged in the United States Navy.

Although he had many medical problems, the NAVY accepted him anyway. He was appointed commander of a patrol torpedo (PT) boat during World War Two. PT 109 at Tulagi in the Soloman Islands is the boat he was in charge of. On April 25, 1943, it left with other PT boats to block a Japanese destroyer. The name of the boat was The Amagiri. It came from the side and sliced John’s boat in two. Two of the thirteen-man crew died instantaneously. Eleven of the men were still alive and left for dead in the South Pacific Ocean by the Japanese navy. Kennedy took Patrick Mc Mahon by his life jacket and held the strap with his own teeth.

He swam about five hours with the other man on his back until they reached a deserted island. For this amazing act of bravery John F. Kennedy received US medals of honor and courage. In this incident he also hurt his back once again, creating a further problems for his future. John Fitzgerald Kennedy began his run for presidency by being reelected to the Senate in 1958 with help from his brothers Ted and Robert. In 1960 he received the nomination for Democrats. In that same year he won the United States presidency at age 43. This was due in part mainly by four televised debates.

Although he answered the questions with total compliance, his appealing looks won him many votes over Richard Nixon. This was one of the closest election of all time. He won by one hundred thousand votes of more than sixty-nine million votes cast. Kennedy appointed Lyndon Baines Johnson as his vice-president. JFK won his election in November 1960. At age 43 he was the youngest man ever elected president. He was also the first Roman Catholic President. John was inaugurated in January 1961, succeeding Dwight D. Eisenhower. Kennedy won the Electoral College Vote by three hundred votes to Nixon’s two hundred nineteen.

Senator Byrd won fifteen votes. John was also the first Television President. In his Inaugural Address Kennedy stated “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend or foe alike, that the torch had been passed to a new generation of Americans. Born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the small undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. ” Throughout his presidency John provided the US with many plans, outlooks, and programs. One of these was the Alliance For Progress program. The Organization of American States (OAS) selected it on March 13, 1961. It was known as the International Economic Development Program for Americas. The bill provided an aid program for promotion of economic development and political reform in Latin American countries.

What Kennedy wanted to do was decrease the threat of revolutionary takeovers and decrease the chance of Communism spreading. The US would provide information, money, health aid and food to these countries. Kennedy wanted the forming countries involved with the plan to stay independent and flourish as nations. Another policy offered by Kennedy was the US Peace Corps. What John wished to do here was to work in underdeveloped countries and in conglomeration with them. This event also took place in March 1961. This project helped the less fortunate people of the world help themselves.

For example some men were brought to a certain country and taught the native people how to dig a well, how to farm, provide nursing, or how to teach. This was to promote friendship amongst nations. Over ten thousand volunteers and forty-six countries were engaged with this idea. On July 25, 1961, John Kennedy reaffirmed the US commitment to West Berlin. He also asked Congress for more funds to expand military might and manpower. JFK visited Berlin in 1963 and delivered a speech to the Berlin people in which he stated “Ich bin ein Berliner. ” This meant I am a citizen of Berlin.

One of the major competition races still going on today that began in Kennedy’s time is the Space Race. It all began when Alan Shepard became the first American in space. In February 1962 John H. Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth in space. Although a USSR cosmonaut was the first man in space and the first to orbit the Earth in April 1961. In the year 1957 the USSR was also the first to launch a satellite into space, it was called the Sputnik. On May 25, 1961, Kennedy planned to put an American astronaut on the moon within the next ten years. This year the space budget increased by fifty percent.

Even though the US spent eighty million dollars on the space program and seventy-five million on the satellite program while Kennedy was in office, the project was a total success. The thrust that the Kennedy government gave the space program enabled future astronauts such as Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon in July 1969. Although John Kennedy had many successful programs he also had a few failures. One of these was the Bay Of Pigs Incident. It took place from April 15th 1961 till the 17th. What occurred was that Cuban exiles, with help from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), wanted to invade Cuba.

The center of the incident was a shore near Havana, the capital of Cuba. Nearly one thousand five hundred Cubans left their Nicaraguan base. Castro’s troops anticipated the attack and waited for them on the shore, killing one hundred fifteen men and capturing one thousand one hundred eighty-nine other exiles. On December 24th 1962 John freed the Cubans from Castro by paying a debt of fifty-three million dollars for their ransom. Kennedy respected his mistake and took the responsibility for his actions, once again showing his elegance and grace as president.

He said, “There is an old saying, that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan. I am the responsible officer for the government and that is quite obvious. ” He concluded by saying “How could I have been so far off base? All my life I’ve known better than to depend on the experts. How could I have been so stupid, to let them go ahead. ” JFK blamed himself in an unselfish, honorable way. On October 22, 1962, John F. Kennedy called for a naval quarantine to halt the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba. When the discovery of the missiles took place by the U-2 spy planes pictures, it was called the Cuban Missile Crisis.

These missiles were approximately ninety miles of the coast of Florida. They had the technology and the range capable of hitting the Unites States. Nikita Khrushchev, the Russian leader at the time, later retracts missiles under US inspection. On June 10, 1963, Kennedy proposed a Nuclear Arms Test Ban Treaty. On October signs the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the first disarmament agreement of the Nuclear Age. This was the first sign of melting in the Cold War. There were many domestic affairs that included president Kennedy’s consent. He won many of his proposals.

One of these was that he raised the social security benefits. He also increased the minimum wage. JFK provided aid to the economically depressed, as a sort of welfare. During the Kennedy government the 23rd Amendment was ratified. It declared that Washington citizens could have the right to vote in elections. Throughout Kennedy’s time there was much movement involving Civil Rights in the US. On June 11, 1963, president Kennedy delivered a national address on civil rights. It was one of the most potent, significant expressions on behalf of equality ever delivered by a president.

In 1962 James Meredith, whom was surrounded by US marshals, was escorted onto the University Of Mississippi campus. When a riot broke out due to the racism of whites against this colored man going to school at the college, two people were killed and some two hundred marshals and National Guardsmen were injured. President Kennedy was In favor of the desegregation of schools and public places. John was a civil rights activist and felt it was his duty to voice his thoughts towards the US people. On June 22, 1963, JFK introduced a Civil Rights Bill to Congress. It was later passed in 1964 after his death.

Due to his humane aspect on life, he lost the popularity of many white voters and much of the support of the Southern people. When he lost the support of his own people, he decided to go on a campaign trip to Dallas, Texas, in November 1963. He visited three cities on the 21st. The next morning he told his advisors “Last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a president. There was the rain, and the night, and we were all getting jostled. Suppose a man had a pistol in a briefcase and he could have dropped the gun and the briefcase, and melted away in the crowd.

If someone wanted to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it. ” This foreshadowed the events to come. As Kennedy and his wife Jaqueline sat in the back seat, Texas governor Connally and his wife Nellie sat in the front seat. Since it was a nice day the top was down on the convertible and the windows rolled down. Suddenly shots were fired at the president from the seven story Texas School Book Depository. The first hit John in the throat. Connally was also wounded by that same bullet through the back, came out his chest and got lodged in his thigh.

Another shot was fired, went wide and hit the roadway. The third shot hit Kennedy on the right side of his head, sending him atop his wife. At 12:30 PM the fourth assassination of a US president had occurred in less than six seconds. The president was declared dead at 1 PM. Less than three hours after the shots were fired, vice president Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One. After the death of the president an officer found Lee Harvey Oswald at 1:15 PM. When the officer went to question the man, he was shot three times at close range and killed instantly.

A local nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot the twenty-four year old male to death the next morning. John F. Kennedy was then buried in Arlington National Cemetery, where an eternal flame now stands. His burial was viewed by millions of American viewers on national television. This was held as the most emotional week in American history. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was one of the most important presidents of all time. He delivered many speeches promoting his pro-Civil Rights attitude. John wished for social equality not only of colored people, but of women also.

Throughout his three years as president he left an impression never to be matched by any president or leader to come. Although he had many successes, JFK also had a few failures. He took these failures and took responsibility for his own actions. Kennedy also provided many programs to help the less fortunate people of the world. His Peace Corps, Alliance For Progress, and Nuclear Test Ban Treaty helped save an astonishing amount of lives throughout the world. John F. Kennedy led a remarkable life and affected the people of his time enormously. In my mind, John was the greatest president to live and one for future leaders of America to follow.

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