Historical Investigation on 1960 Election: How Televised Debates Affect the Outcome of the Election

United States presidential election, 1960, Richard Nixon, United States presidential election debates

To what extent did televised debates affect the outcome of the presidential campaign during 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon?

Frank Guo
IB Candidate
Word Count: 1,850

Part A: Plan of Investigation
This investigation evaluates the extent to which the televised debates affected the outcome of the campaign in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. In order to evaluate the impact of the televised debates, this investigation will focus on the general public evaluations of candidates both prior, during, and after the Great Debates of 1960. The evaluation before the debates will be used to compare to the evaluation after the debates in order to determine the impact that great debates had on the 1960 Presidential Election.

The two sources selected for evaluation, The First Modern Campaign Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960 by Gary A. Donaldson and The Power of Television Debate: The First Kennedy-Nixon Debate Revisited by James N Druckman. Both of these sources will be evaluated for their origins, purposes, limitations, and values.

PART B: Summary of Evidence
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born into a wealthy Catholic family in Massachusetts. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, had been a prominent American investor, business man, and government official. Kennedy made numerous recognizable works during his years in Harvard Law School that later helped him in becoming the Senator of Massachusetts in 1955. Additionally, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and played football while in college. He married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953 and later had two children. When he was running for president in 1960 as the Democratic nominee, he was recognized by the public as an athlete, intellectual, war hero, family man, and passionate liberal. At 43, Kennedy was the youngest and only Catholic candidate to ever run for President. He relied on a liberal motto of “moving again” and used an estimate of $1.5-$2.5 million on his campaigns....
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