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Kennedy and Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States of America. He served as President when the country was under war. Abe Lincoln was born in 1806 and grew up in the countryside as a pioneer. His mother died at a young age and he had a sister. His father married a widow that had three children and Abe Lincoln liked her very much. Every day he attended school and worked very hard on his father’s farm. John F. Kennedy was born in 1917 and died in 1963. John grew up in Massachusetts in a very wealthy and politically powerful family.

His father was ambassador for Great Britain and his mother was the daughter to John F. Fitzgerald, who was a congressman and major of Boston. John Kennedy was a Harvard Graduate. He was the one in the family expected to accomplish great things. JFK has 3 children, John Jr. , Caroline and Patrick. John Jr. died in a plane crash, while on his way to his brother Robert’s daughter Cory’s wedding. Patrick died when he was 6 weeks old while JFK was in office. Caroline is the only persona live in this family. JFK’s brother Robert ran for President after him but was assassinated in 1968.

He was the Attorney General before this. His other brother, Ted is now the U. S. Senator for Massachusetts and also his older brother Joe was killed in World War II, flying a plane. JFK was enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was awarded for being brave. AFter the war, he got a seat in Congress in a Boston district. When he was Senator, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage. Kennedy was elected in 1960. While he was in office, he suffered back pain from injuries from the war. Kennedy was then assassinated in 1963.

One of Lincoln’s first opponents was Douglas, they were running for U. S. Senate. Douglas was a two-term Senator with a great background and Lincoln was self-educated and only had one term in Congress. The odds were stacked against Lincoln’s “vast moral evil” of slavery, he started to make more Republicans like him, and they thought he would be great for the Presidency in 1860. Besides Lincoln who was running was J. C. Breckinridge (Southern Democrat). John Bell (Constitutional Union) and Stephen Douglas (Northern Democrat).

Lincoln won the Presidency with 180 electoral votes and 1,865,593 popular votes. Lincoln was part of the republican party. At first, that party thought Senator William H. Seward, would be their candidate for president, but they rejected him and his talk of “irrepressible conflict” between North and South. So Lincoln became the new candidate, and he pledged to stop anymore spread of slavery. The Southern thought Lincoln would be the worst thing to ever happen to the U. S. and they viewed him as a “black republican”. After the civil war another big issue was the Reconstruction.

But he was assassinated before he could put his plan into effect. Lincoln’s Vice President Andrew Johnson, he took over Lincoln’s plan to reconstruct, but he changed it a little. One difference was that he tried to take the voting privileges away from planters and wealthy landowners of the South. But, however, the Southerners did like his policies, because he thought that white men alone must manage the South. The South states agreed to Johnson’s terms and they then set up new governments and elected representatives to Congress.

After the Freedman’s Bureau and Civil Rights act was passed, but Johnson vetoed them. But Congress cam back and overrode the presidents vetoes and the also made the 14th amendment. Johnson was impeached shortly after because he removed the Secretary of War and he can’t do that. Kennedy was the nominee for the Democratic party, who was running for President. Running against him was Vice President, Richard M. Nixon, who was on the Republic party. NIxon hoped that Eisenhower’s popularity would help him in the running. But Kennedy won the election by less than 119,000 votes.

Two main reasons why Kennedy won, was the televised debate and the civil rights issue. On the televised debate, both candidates were knowledgeable on their issues. But however, this was more of an “image” debate. Kennedy looked healthier and was quick and cool, while Nixon was just the opposite. Kennedy also scored some more points, when they got Martin Luther King out of his sentence, of four months of hard labor, just for a minor traffic violation. This got more African-Americans to vote for Kennedy.

Kennedy’s Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson started off as an English teacher at Sam Houston High School in Houston. When Johnson was President, he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Johnson was big on Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1957. After Lincoln’s election, many Southern states, fearing Republican control in the government, seceded from the Union. Lincoln faced the greatest internal crisis of any U. S. President. After the fall of Ft. Sumner, Lincoln raised an army and decided to fight to save the Union from falling apart.

Despite enormous pressures, loss of life, battlefield setbacks, generals who weren’t ready to fight, assassination threats, etc. , Lincoln stuck with this pro-Union policy for 4 long years of Civil War. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. This was Lincoln’s declaration of freedom for all slaves in the areas of the Confederacy not under Union control. Also, on November 19, 1863, Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address which dedicated the battlefield there to the soldiers who had perished. He called on the living to finish the task the dead soldiers had begun.

Lincoln’s domestic policies included support for the Homestead Act. This act allowed poor people in the East to obtain land in the West. Also, Lincoln signed legislation entitled the National Banking Act which established a national currency and provided for the creation of a network of national banks. In addition, he signed tariff legislation that offered protection to American industry and signed a bill that chartered the first transcontinental railroad. Lincoln’s foreign policy was geared toward preventing foreign intervention in the Civil War.

Lincoln was re-elected as President with Andrew Johnson as his running mate. Lincoln defeated the Democrat George McClellan on November 8, 1864. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant. Two days later Lincoln addressed a crowd outside the White House. Among other things, he suggested he would support voting rights for certain blacks. This infuriated a racist and Southern sympathizer who was in the audience: the actor John Wilkes Booth who hated everything the President stood for. President Kennedy started new expectations in American politics.

He represented a new generation of politicians. In his inaugural address, he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. ” He described his policies as those of the New Frontier. He asked for legislation to speed economic growth, cut unemployment, rehabilitate depressed areas, aid education and provide additional medical care for the elderly. Congress was slow in approving the legislation that Kennedy requested, but eventually many were approved. Kennedy fought hard on behalf of civil rights.

During his term of office, a black man, James Meredith, enrolled at the formerly all-white University of Mississippi. He had to be protected by the National Guard. Street rioting then happen. It was a time when “freedom riders” were moving throughout the South, attempting to desegregate areas under public domain. The Justice Department, under the leadership of the President’s brother, Robert Kennedy, worked to uphold the civil rights of the those protesting racial discrimination in the South. Also JFK visit Berlin to speak with Nikita Khrushchev about his vision of a new frontier, which means tearing down the wall.

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