John F. Kennedy


Election of 1960

Democratic: John F. Kennedy
  • Vice President: Lyndon B. Johnson(Senate Majority Leader of Texas)

Republican: Richard Nixon

  • Vice President: Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.(Senator from Massachusetts

Issue of Presidency

  • John F. Kennedy was Roman Catholic
  • Southern Democrats: "I fear Catholicism more than I fear Communism."
  • Large number of northern democrats voted for JFK because of the bitter attacks on the Catholic faith

The Cold War

"Flexible Response"

  • Violence broke out in African Congo after becoming Independent from Belgium
  • UN sent troops, but US provided most support
  • Laos was freed in 1954 but was festering with danger
  • Eisenhower spend money to create peace, but failed to remove the aggressive communist element
  • Kennedy did not have enough troops to send to Laos
  • Create a shaky peace in 1962 through the Geneva Conference


  • The Pro-American, Diem government of Saigon had ruled shakily since partition of Vietnam in 1954
  • Anti-Diem agitators were threatening to over throw government
  • Kennedy order number of military adviser to increase in South Vietnam in 1961
  • Kennedy entered Vietnam to create political stability
  • It was "their war"

Cuban Missile Crisis

1961 Kennedy extended the Marshall Plan for Latin America through the Alliance for Progress
  • Close the gap between rich and poor to suppress communist agitation
  • Ineffective
  • Kennedy stood back while Anti-Castroites were being shot mowed down at the Bay of Pigs
Khrushchev was taking advantage of Communist Cuba by installing nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba

  • Known as the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Kennedy order a naval quarantine on Cuba to removed weaponry
  • US and USSR were on the brink of war
  • Khrushchev gave in; he agreed to remove weapons with America did not invade the island, and remove missiles from Turkey
  • Signed a Treaty with Moscow to ban nuclear testing in this atmosphere


  • Khrushchev tried to make a treaty with East Berlin to cut off westerner access to Berlin
  • Soviets began to construct the Berlin Wall in August 1961 to split West and East Germany
  • Kennedy was more occupied with the Marshall Plan aid and free trade area
  • French President, Charles de Gaulle, was suspicious of Kennedy's intentions.

Civil Rights

The Struggle for Civil Rights

Kennedy pledged to eliminate racial discrimination, but took him nearly two years to begin the process

  • "with a stroke of the pen"

Freedom Riders wanted to end segregation in facilities serving interstate buses

  • A Freedom Ride was torched in Anniston, Alabama in 1961
  • Attorney General Robert was beaten up at another anti-freedom ride riot

Fruitful relationship with Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Tapped his phone because King's advisors had communist affiliations

SNCC and the Voter Education Project

"I may lose the next election... I don't care."

Some southern universities desegregated with no problems, but others became slaughter

  • Kennedy sent in 400 federal marshals and 3,000 troops to ensure Meredith the opportunity to enroll in his first class at University of Mississippi.

Martin Luther King, Jr. began his campaign against discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama

  • Tension and violence broke out as people did not come back alive from the campaigns
  • Kennedy released a Televised speech on June 11, 1963 addressing the issue of discrimination

Kennedy's bills were making little progress by them time of his death

Big image

Assassination of Kennedy

November 22, 1963. Kennedy was shot by a concealed rifleman.

Killer was Lee Harvey Oswald, who was shot to death in from of cameras by Jack Ruby

Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in while on the plane heading back to Washington with Kennedy's body

Later years revealed his scandals of infidelity, and involvement with crime figures