John F. Kennedy

Topics: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon Pages: 8 (2874 words) Published: January 15, 2013
Whether you knew him as, John, Johnny, Jack, or even just by his initials JFK, John Fitzgerald Kennedy is a well known president and has not been forgotten. He came from a successful family, made a name for himself, and did things never done before. Kennedy was the youngest person, at the age of forty-three, to ever be elected president and the first Catholic president as well. (“Kennedy, John F.”) Kennedy’s short time in office did not go unnoticed, he still ranks among the most beloved American presidents of all time. (“John F. Kennedy.”)

Before becoming President, Kennedy was always well off. He grew up in a wealthy and very successful family who wasn’t hurt by the Great Depression like most families were. ("Kennedy, John F." 850) His grandfather, John E. Fitzgerald, was a skilled politician who served as a congressman and as the mayor of Boston. ("John F. Kennedy.") His father was a successful banker who went on to a career as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as an Ambassador to Great Britain. (Coleman) It wasn’t only his family’s influence that led to his success but some of his own doing as well. After graduating from Harvard, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Navy where he earned his title of being a war hero. He was assigned to command a patrol torpedo boat in the South Pacific. His patrol torpedo boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, despite his injuries, he led the survivors through the waters to safety. (Coleman) Kennedy underwent back surgeries for his injuries but he didn’t let that slow him down. (" John F. Kennedy.") His family’s political success and his war hero status both helped in his political success.

In 1946, Kennedy ran for United States House of Representatives, and won easily with his war hero status, the help of his father’s money, and family connections. In 1952, he won a seat in the United States Senate, and in 1958 was reelected to the Senate. During his time as a senator, he became bored dealing with mostly Massachusetts issues, international issues is what drew his attention. He was well known for his anticommunist views, and wanting more military spending to contain the spread of Soviet power. Two years after his reelection to the Senate, he won the Democratic nomination for President. (Coleman) It is fair to say that his family’s successes and contacts played a substantial roll in his successes.

Soon after he entered the Senate Kennedy knew he wanted an even higher office. In 1957, he lost the chance to run alongside presidential hopeful, Adlai Stevenson, as his vice president, to Estes Kefauver. This defeat was by only a small margin but lead him to the conclusion that he wanted to run for president next term. ("American President: John F. Kennedy.")

Kennedy used his superior organization and financial resources to his advantage and beat his main opponent, Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 Democratic primaries. (“John F. Kennedy.”) The two fought it out in thirteen primaries. Kennedy’s money was no match for Hubert, especially in West Virginia where it is legal to pay workers and voters to show up to the polls. ("American President: John F. Kennedy.")

On July 13, 1960 the Democratic party nominated John F. Kennedy as its candidate for President. ("Life of John F. Kennedy.") Kennedy ran for president against, and defeated his Republican opponent, previous Vice President, Richard M. Nixon. (“Kennedy, John F.”) After Kennedy defeated Lyndon B. Johnson at the Democratic National Convention he then chose Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas senator for his running mate. This was a strategic move in hopes it would help win over the South. ("American President: John F. Kennedy.")

Kennedy was known for his favoritism of conventional forces, calling for more military money, being anticommunist, and wanting to stop the spread of Soviet Power. In his 1960 presidential campaign he criticized the Eisenhower administration. He thought the Eisenhower administration...
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