John Fitzgerald Kennedy

35th President of the United States, from 1961-1963

Election of 1960

  • Democratic Party: John F. Kennedy with Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Republican Party: Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
  • Kennedy was unpopular because he was a Roman Catholic
  • This cost him votes, especially from the Sun Belt
  • The Democrats thought the US needed to catch up as it had fallen behind in the world economy
  • The Republicans thought the US was fine and just needed a little push
  • Kennedy used the television to broadcast his views, making him a popular image, whereas Nixon used the radio. Each became popular in his respective area
  • Kennedy barely won the popular vote and the electoral vote
  • Johnson's influence in Texas helped Kennedy win in a few states
  • Kennedy, at 43, was the youngest person to become president
  • Appointed many leaders into government, including his younger brother Robert

The Cold War

  • "Flexible Response"
  • Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara suggest a policy where the military could adapt, causing more military spending


  • Veitnam War
  • US decided not to get involved militarily
  • President of South veitnam attained his position unfairly
  • used the US Aid he received for his own benefit
  • Became a right-wing dictatorship, which the US didn't want
  • US encouraged a coup to overthrow Diem


  • Cuba
  • 1,200 exiles arrive at the "Bay of Pigs" wanting help defeating Fidel Castro
  • US offers supplies and support
  • Air Support is denied by congress
  • Castro sides more with USSR after Exiles surrender
  • Standoff occurs when the US realizes USSR moved nuclear missiles to cuba
  • causes Cuban Missile Crisis, a week of quarantine in response
  • Khrushchev accepts agreement and removes weapons


  • Berlin Crisis
  • USSR demands West Berlin be cleared of Western troops
  • France, Britain, and US reject conditions
  • USSR builds Berlin Wall around West Berlin instead, not letting anyone in or out
  • Erected in 1961, destroyed in 1989

Kennedy and Civil Rights

  • Kennedy promises to make civil rights acts
  • Calms violent protests by sending federal troops when local police refused to do their job
  • friend to Martin Luther Kind Jr. a clergyman famous for his Montgomery bus boycotts
  • King led a peaceful March on Washington to support Kennedy's civil rights proposal
  • Proposed new civil rights movements before his death

Kennedy's Assassination

  • Assassinated in Dallas, Texas whilst visiting, on November 22, 1963
  • Killed by Lee Harvey Oswald former US Marine and USSR Defector
  • Oswald was never sent to trial because he was killed by Jack Ruby on the way
  • Because there was no hard evidence for anything, many conspiracy theories still exist