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John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or JKF as he was famously called, was the 35th American president. Better remembered for his inaugural speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country,” JKF did not end his first term as a president because he was assassinated some two years later into his presidency. The aim of this paper is to research about JKF’s background, his run for presidency and his presidency.

JKF Background

John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29th, 1917. John Kennedy was named to honor his mother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy’s father who was the Boston mayor popularly known as Honey Fitz. John was moved schools between Massachusetts and New York and later at Connecticut in The Choate School for his 9th to 12th grade years. Kennedy graduated from Choate in 1935. In schools Kennedy attended, he participated in many committees and activities like golf, swimming and football. In the year 1936 John was officially enrolled in Harvard University. He was a very enthusiastic student and enjoyed his history and government classes with a constant level of grades. In Harvard as an upperclassman, Kennedy had a special interest in political philosophy and his thesis “Appeasement in Munich” was later to become a bestseller. He graduated from Harvard University in 1940 and joined the Navy where he was assigned to the south Pacific as a commander of patrol torpedo boat as lieutenant (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum).

Jack’s mission in the military was to stop Japanese ships to deliver supplies to their soldiers. In 1946, Jack run for the congress in Massachusetts’ 11th congressional district and he successfully won. This was the beginning of Jack’s political career. He married, Jacqueline Bouvier, who at 24 years was a writer with the Washington Times-Herald.

JKF Run for Presidency

After his marriage, at the age of 36 John F. Kennedy was elected senator, and during this stage he wrote a book about US senator which was called Profiles in Courage while undergoing a surgery for his ailing back. During the year 1956 John wanted to run for vice president but it was unsuccessful so he decided to run for president the next election. JKF started to become a popular politician and was almost picked as a running mate in 1956. JKF decided however to run for presidency in the following elections. He began to prepare for his presidency by working long hours and travelling all over the US on weekends. The Democratic Party nominated John as a candidate for presidency on July 13th, 1960. On November 8, 1960 John was running against the Republican vice president Richard M. Nixon. John F. Kennedy was the first catholic and at the age of 43 was the youngest president to be elected (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum).

JKF Presidency

John F. Kennedy became the 35th president on January 20, 1961. He wanted all Americans to be active citizens and have a say in what’s happening in the US. It was during his inaugural speech that Kennedy offered the now memorable injection, “Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.” JKF was determined as the president to get America moving by launching sound economic plans after the WWII. He responded to urgent demands by taking aggressive action against equal rights by calling for the legislation of civil rights. Kennedy’s vision for America as the president included the central role of arts in the society and to the quality of the national culture as being vital in society. He brought American idealism through the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progression in his plan to aid developing nations. This is because he believed in the cause of equal rights and called for new civil rights legislation in his country (The White House).

The jkf library reports that his hatred for racism resulted to the 1954 High Court ruling that banned segregation in public schools. Although segregation continued in buses, restaurants and some public schools in the South, many Americans joined hands to protest against such injustices. One of the major issues that President Kennedy had to deal with was racial discrimination. During that time black and white in general were not allowed to be in the same places in the same time, for example restaurants buses and schools. In 1954 John F. Kennedy announced that the US supreme court with the new rule that public schools will no longer have segregation. Although some regions still practiced segregation, many Americans from all races and background protested against the inequality. That is why in 1963 he proposed stronger laws to curb racism. It was through his administration that the world saw an equal rights for all Americans as well as peace efforts for the world (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum).

It was shortly into his presidency that JKF faced the harsh reality of the communist challenge. It was shortly after his graduation that JKF sent a contingent of trained Cuban exiles, trained in the US and armed, into their own country to try to overthrow Fidel Castrol, the then president. This mission became a failure. Shortly after this episode, the USSR converted to their earlier calls against West Berlin. Kennedy’s action was increasing the nation’s military strength and reinforcing the Berlin garrison. After the erection of the Berlin wall, the USSR reacted by relaxing its pressure in Europe. However, Russia sought to establish its nuclear missiles in Cuba. After this idea by Moscow was discovered, JKF imposed quarantine on all weapons (offensive weapons) headed for Cuba. The world yet again was staring at another war, a nuclear war, but the Russians backed away took their missiles. JKF’s response to the impending crisis in Cuba convinced USSR of the vainness of a nuclear blackmail. The president asserted that both sides had an important interest to stop the spread of nuclear weapons as well as slow the arms race. This contention led to the test ban treaty of 1963. After the Cuba crisis, JKF’s goal of seeing "a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion" showed significant progress (The White House).

As the president, JKF was also eager to see that the US was ahead of the USSR in its space programs and space explorations. He thus asked Congress to approve $22 billion for the Project Apollo which resulted to the first man landing in the moon at the end of a decade. 

The First Lady

The Kennedy’s brought a new spirit to the White House and his wife, Jacqueline who supported her husband. She shared the same interest in American history. She thought that the white house should be a place where people can visit and celebrate the American history. The first lady raised the profile of American art by inviting a range of artists, intellectuals, and writers to White House dinners. She may have had an impact to the president’s love for popular culture and loved such songs as Twisting at the White House.

During Kennedy’s campaign for White House, Jacqueline has intended to take an active role in the campaign but realized that she was pregnant and she opted to stay at home. She however was involved in answering letters, television shows, writing a weekly newspaper column, and taping election commercials. During JKF presidency, she proffered to remain her privacy and that of her young children. She is however remembered for reorganizing White House entertainment and restoring JKF’s presidential home (Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy| The White House).    

JKF Is Shot

The president was shot on November 22, 1963. The previous day, November 21, 1963, the president was in Texas for a political tour. As his motorcade was zooming past a street in Dallas amid cheering crowds, a gunman aimed and shot the president injuring him seriously. Shortly after the shooting, the president passed away. The only suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested by police on the same day of the shooting and charged with JKF murder. However, on November 24, 1963, another man Jack Ruby killed the suspect thus concealing any evidence about the JKF shooting. A commission called the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the shooting and assassination of the president.

JKF Legacy

Americans were devastated by the news of JKF’s shooting. His death caused anger and grief across the nation. It is 49 years since he died and 9 presidents have been elected since. But JKF’s brief history as the president of America still stands out for his accomplishments, leadership qualities, and personality. He was said to be cool especially on how he approached the Cuba and USSR mission. His compassion to fight for programs to fight for the poor, the minorities, the marginalized, and the old also stand out. I picked JKF because I feel that although he may have has a short stint at the White House, he made tremendous improvements in the lives of many people. JKF may have made a share of his own mistakes, JKF was very optimistic of what the future held believing that if people put the country’s interests first and worked together, they will solve their common problems.

Code: Sample20

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