John F. Kennedy


1.Election of Kennedy

  • Election of 1960

    • Party Affiliation: Democratic Party

  • How close was the election?:

    • Kennedy won by the smallest margin of popular votes since 1888, winning by only 118,574 votes out of over 68 million cast.. However, he received 303 electoral votes compared to 219.

  • New Frontier:

    • Kennedy's challenging acceptance speech where he called upon the American people for sacrifices to achieve their potential greatness. He recognized this as the New Frontier.

2.The Cold War

  • Cold War

    • Kennedy brought a warm heart to the Cold War

      • Proposed the Peace Corps

      • An army of idealistic and youthful volunteers who would bring American skills to underdeveloped countries.

    • Kennedy met with Soviet premier Khrushchev at Vienna in June 1961

      • Soviet leader Krushchev threatend to make a treaty with East Germany and cut of Western access to Berlin.

        • The soviets backed off but started to construct the Berlin Wall in August 1961 designed to plug the heavy population drain from East Germany to West Germany.

    • Secured the passage of the Trade Expansion Act in 1962

      • Authorizing tariff cuts of up to 50% to promote trade with Common Market countries.

    • Flexible Response

      • an array of military options necessary for the crisis at hand.

      • provided a mechanism for a progressive, and possibly endless, stepping-up of the use of force

        • Vietnam

          • Kennedy ordered a sharp increase in the number of U.S. Troops in vietnam.

          • Kennedy encouraged a successful coup against Diem.

          • Despite declaring that it was “their war” Kennedy made dangerous political commitments.

        • Cuba

          • Kennedy extended the friendship with the Alliance for Progress

          • Primarily goal: to help the Good neighbors close the gap between rich and poor and communist agitation.

          • Bay of PIgs 1961

            • Kennedy's foreign policy that failed with the Bay of Pigs mission. A small force of Cuban exiles were to lead a revolt to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba but were captured instead. US reputation was seriously harmed.

          • Cuban Missile Crisis

            • Khrushchev began building nuclear missile bases in Cuba. Kennedy ordered a naval “quarantine”of Cuba 1962. Kennedy warned that any attack from Cuba would be seen as an act of war by the USSR.

            • Krushev finally agreed to pull the missile out and in Return the U.S. would end quarantine.

3.Kennedy and Civil Rights

  • Kennedy had joined the Civil Rights movement after much delay even though many of his supporters in the election were African American

    • Relationship between Martin Luther King Jr. and Kennedy was positive.
    • Congress was mainly Republican or Southern Democrat, making it hard to pass civil rights bills.
    • create the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) to help end racial discrimination in the U.S. government
    • Kennedy gave televised memorable speech on June, 11 1963 that said that the racial situation was a "moral issue"
    • He called for new civil legislation to protect black citizens.
    • With that same attitude Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington.

4. Kennedy’s assassination

  • Assassinated on November 22, 1963,

    • John F. Kennedy was mortally wounded while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

    • His apparent assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed by Jack Ruby before standing trial.

    • The Warren Commission was called to investigate Kennedy's death and found that Oswald had acted alone to kill Kennedy. However there are still theories about what happened that continue today