John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Presentation by Mitchell knopf

Short biography

  • Born to an Irish-Catholic family on May 29,1917 in Brookline Massachusetts
  • He was the second child in family of 4 brothers(named Joe,Robert,Jean,and Teddy)and 5 sisters(Rosemary, Kathleen,Eunice,and Patricia)
  • He was named after his mother's father, John Francis Fitzgerald Kennedy(commonly known as honey fritz)
  • JFK was commonly referred to as Jack
  • From his birth he suffered many diseases such as whooping cough ,measles,and chicken pox.
  • He suffered from scarlet fever before he was three years old.He was hospitalized upon diagnosis. During this trial his father visited the hospital to be at his son's side every day. Kennedy recovered a month later. This along with other instances made his family joke about how if a mosquito were to bite him,that the mosquito would die soon after.
  • He first moved from Brookline to Boston in 1920.
  • His family had many summer homes.
  • Father encouraged competition. The children often competed on who got the most chores.John often lost these competitions.
  • In one competition,Joe, JFK's older brother, and John collided while riding bicycles. Joe remain unscathed, but John had to get 28 stitches.
  • He was a very popular kid at Chrute, a boarding school in Connecticut. However he didn't always do his best in school, with the exception of history and English.
  • His father responded to his son's habits : "Now Jack, I do not see myself as a nagger, for goodness knows that is the worst thing a parent can be, and I also feel that you know if I didn't feel that you had the goods, I would feel more charitable towards your failures"
  • He was involved in many activities in school.
  • He entered Harvard in 1936.
  • While playing football he ruptured a disk in his spine. After this injury, his back bothered him for the rest of his life.
  • In 1937, his dad became ambassador to England. Kennedy often received letters from his father about the current conditions in Europe, such as the growing Nazi regime in Germany. This helped spark his early interest for European government and history.
  • In 1939,he took a summer off to visit Europe.
  • When Kennedy came back from his trip to Europe, he wrote a thesis on how England was unprepared for a war with Germany. This eventually got published in a book called "Why England Slept".
  • Soon after writing this he got a cablegram from his father saying:"Two things I always knew about you,One is that you're smart, the other is that you are a swell guy"
  • After graduating he and his brother Joe joined the navy. Joe was sent to Europe,where he was shot down and killed, and Jack was sent to the south Pacific
  • He was assigned a torpedo patrol boat named PT-109. This boat had a crew of only 12 men and Kennedy was the commanding officer of the boat. The primary missions Kennedy and his crew accepted during his career in the Second world war was to stop or hinder Japanese supply lines.
  • On August 2nd 1943, a Japanese destroyer rammed PT-109. The boat was split in half and 2 of the crew members were dead upon impact.
  • Kennedy was able to find one of the crew members, Patrick McMahon, and swam him to the rest of the crew, despite Kennedy's damaged back. He then led the rest of the crew to the nearest island,towing Patrick with him.
  • After a week on the island Kennedy and his crew were rescued.He was then awarded both the navy and marine corp. medals for leadership and courage.
  • After the war Kennedy was considering a career in teaching or writing.However his father convinced him to run for congress in the 11th Massachusetts congressional district.
  • He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946
  • After 3 terms in the House of Representatives, he decided to run for the senate. He was elected in 1952.
  • Soon after being elected to the senate he married Jacqueline Bouvier. Early into his marriage, his back started to hurt. He needed two operations on his spine. During this time he,along with others, wrote "Profiles in Courage", which detailed US politicians that had risked their careers to fight for their beliefs.
  • His first child,Caroline, was born in 1957.
  • After 3 years he decided to run for president. One of his most controversial promises and platforms for his campaign was he would address the wants of the Civil rights movement. He also would attempt to decrease poverty in the US and around the world. He won a very close race against Richard Nixon.A factor of his victory in his election was the fact that he was part of the first televised presidential debates.
  • John F Kennedy was the youngest man to be elected president and the first catholic to be elected president.
  • Before his inauguration his second child, John Jr., was born.
  • JFK was sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th, 1961.
  • His address called for fighting communism and poverty world wide. It also has the famous line "Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country".
  • Congress initially turned down many of his requests. However he found one victory in the establishment of the Peace Corp and prioritization of NASA.
  • In June 1961, Kennedy met with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. This meeting was not very calm, Nikita once threatened to cut off allied access to Berlin. As a result of this meeting, the Berlin wall was built 2 months later. Kennedy in response to this made 5 new army divisions , and re activated nuclear tests.
  • In August 1961, Kennedy approved an attack on Cuba. He was assured that this attack would overthrow then Cuban leader:Fidel Castro.Instead most of the invasion force was killed ore capture. After hearing about this failure, Kennedy said "How could I have been so stupid?".
  • To ensure that an event like the Bay of Pigs invasion wouldn't happen again, Kennedy established ex-com, a group that formulated decisions for problems and possible soviet retaliation for such reactions.
  • By this time Kennedy's work schedule usually involve him to start working at 7:00 AM and stop working at around 12:00 AM.
  • In the summer of 1962, US spy planes found missile sites under construction in Cuba. Kennedy chose to blockade the island to prevent further missiles and placement of nuclear bombs in Cuba.He promised to end the blockade when all missile in Cuba were moved and the missile site were destroyed. Khrushchev eventually agreed to these terms on the condition that US missile in Turkey would be moved.
  • During his presidency he met with many civil rights leaders such as MLK. However he did suspect that King was communist.
  • Once when King was in jail in Montgomery , Kennedy did encourage MLK's wife.
  • While on his way to a luncheon in Dallas, Kennedy was shot on November 22 1963. He died at 12:30 PM

Compare/Contrast-the 1920's

  • During the 20's the US entered an age of isolationism, having been battered from world war one. Kennedy's peace corp,and war on poverty would have been vastly unpopular.He would also probably try to extend US aid and privileges to our territories in the pacific.
  • His many affairs with non-conformists like Marilyn Monroe would probably increase his interest in groups such as the flappers and thus give the flapper's movement a little more popularity.
  • Due to the popularity of nativism and the reemergence of groups such as the KKK, Kennedy's many interactions with civil rights leaders and his view of civil rights as an inevitable change would be seen in a negative light and might have cost him his election
  • The first red scare was a major concern during the Roaring 20's and due to Kennedy's presidency being at the height of the Cold War, he would have fought against socialism with an increased zeal as he would not have to fear the use of nuclear weapons.

What I would've done with his skills

I would probably have not been a politician actually. Instead, being a second son in my family, I would be a writer. As seen by Kennedy's publishing of "Why England Slept" and "Profiles in Courage" he was an exemplary writer, and had it not been for his older brother's death in World war 2 , there is a high chance that he would've pursued a career as a writer. I would probably frame today's problems in a way that is understandable to that average man. I would also present solution to problems like ISIS's popularity and gay rights that would help today's society. I would probably also focus on Europe in my books and probably write some books on European historical figures. Also due to my interest and knowledge about technology, I would write about the possibilities of technology in this day and age.


  • Due to his the fact that he was constantly ill, he saw almost every day as his last and saw his life as a delegate thing. This influenced his fun-loving attitude, and perhaps made the media compare him and his family to King Arthur's Camelot.
  • His father was a huge influence on JFK. He gave Kennedy his work ethic and often suggested what he should do as a career. There is a very real chance that if it wasn't for his father and his suggestions being in JFK's life, he would have not been our president during this time.
  • Kennedy also came from a family of politicians. This influenced him and gave him a slight interest in government. This could also be attributed to his fathers work as ambassador to England.
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Quote-"Mankind must put an end to war, before war puts an end to mankind"

Modern campaign slogan: 2016-A year of increased prosperity and rapid communication

Speech analysis -JFK's Inaugural address

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Historiography- Why JFK still matters

This article focuses first on the assortments made by others of John F Kennedy's supposed popularity.The article dismisses the idea that Kennedy was just a charismatic celebrity, or popular because of his assassination in office. The article first focused on how Kennedy's general likability and campaign was able to overcome the dislike of Catholics during the 1960's. While this is impressive I do believe that his success should be attributed to the fact that he was able to maintain composure and aesthetics due to the televisions debate. The author then continues to illustration Kennedy's importance though his involvement in civil rights movement. Although most of the policies and laws that addresses the wants of the civil rights movement , he was a prominent figure and constantly met with leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. This article then down grades and acknowledges some of his faults. The article hypothesizes that the Cuban missile crisis, one of Kennedy's shining moments in his administration , would not have been a huge problem or probably wouldn't have even happened if Kennedy had not approved the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion. Kennedy's many affairs against his wife is then induced into this argument. A conclusion is then drawn that it was not his action during his presidency,or the media's coverage of Kennedy that made him a lasting figure in history. Instead it was his youth, and optimism that he brought to the presidency that was revolutionary and will forever go down in history.

Periodic sentence-Difficult as it may be for younger Americans to conceive, anti-Catholicism was endemic in American society half a century ago, and Kennedy's election was nearly as dramatic a breakthrough in that era as the election of the first African American president was in this one.

Participial phrase-Kennedy was a trans formative figure, not just a charismatic celebrity.

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