jfk successes

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Elected in 1960 as the 35th president of the United States, 43-year-old John F. Kennedy became the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic to hold that office. He was born into one of America's wealthiest families and parlayed an elite education and a reputation as a military hero into a successful run for Congress in 1946 and for the Senate in 1952. As president, Kennedy confronted mounting Cold War tensions in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. He also led a renewed drive for public service and eventually provided federal support for the growing civil rights movement. His assassination on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, sent shockwaves around the world and turned the all-too-human Kennedy into a larger-than-life heroic figure. To this day, historians continue to rank him among the best-loved presidents in American history.
Like other great communicators - including Winston Churchill before him and Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama since then - he was someone who took word-craft very seriously indeed.

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Recipe for Success

1. Contrasts
2. Three-part lists
3. Contrasts combined with lists
4. Alliteration
5. Bold imagery
6. Audience analysis
He had delegated his aide Ted Sorensen to read all the previous presidential inaugurals, with the additional brief of trying to crack the code that had made Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address such a hit.

Fifty years on, the debate about whether he or Sorensen played the greater part in composing the speech matters less than the fact that it was a model example of how to make the most of the main rhetorical techniques and figures of speech that have been at the heart of all great speaking for more than 2,000 years. Most important among these are:

Contrasts: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"
Three-part lists: "Where the strong are just, and the weak secure and the peace preserved"
Combinations of contrasts and lists (by contrasting a

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