John F. Kennedy

The First Roman Catholic President

Election of 1960

Republican- Nixon
  • Previous vice president
  • Popular votes- 34,108,157
  • Electoral votes- 219
Democrat- Kennedy

  • New Frontier- fix the economy, cut taxes, strong space program, and reforms in education, health care and civil rights.
  • First Roman Catholic president
  • Youngest president thus far
  • Popular votes- 34,220,984
  • Electoral votes- 303

Four televised debates were held- Kennedy looked more appealing for president

The Cold War


  • Civil war in Laos, US didn't send in troops but peace was 'declared' at the fourteen power Geneva conference
  • Flexible response- Defense Secretary McNamara came up with flexible response, increased spending on conventional military operations to avoid having to use nuclear warfare in battle
  • 1961- Kennedy sent in more and more troops to Vietnam
  • April 17, 1961- 1200 anticommunists exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs to overthrow Fidel Castro but this failed any may were jailed
  • October 1962- American planes spotted in Cuba nuclear missiles pointed at the United States
  • Cuban Missile crisis- US found out that there were fully functional nuclear weapons in Cuba and they were authorized to use them
  • October 28- Khrushchev agreed to pull the nuclear weapons from Cuba
  • 1963- Pact for no nuclear trial explosions in the atmosphere was signed by the US and the USSR
  • Creation of a Moscow-Washington hot line provided for immediate communication in crisis between the two leaders
  • Kennedy gave a speech were he lay ground for peaceful coexistence with communist USSR
  • Berlin Crisis of 1961- many highly educated people fled from East Germany to West Germany hurting the economy of East Germany. East Germany stated that all of Germany is under communist rule.
  • Berlin Wall- East Germany built it in 1961 to keep East Germans from escaping

Kennedy's Assassination

  • November 22, 1963- Dallas, Texas- President JFK was shot in the head
  • Lee Harvey Oswald- assassin- was shot by Jack Ruby (somebody who wanted to avenge JFK's death)
  • Vice President Lyndon B Johnson was sword into presidency aboard an airplane

JFK and Civil Rights

  • Freedom Riders- racial equality group that was violent in their protests causing the Federal government to send troops down to the South
  • Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr worked together after Kennedy made sure that none of King's associates were communists
  • Voter Education Project- help to register the Black population in schools
  • Campaign against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama was a violent task
  • --- Kennedy in response gave a televised speech calling for a civil rights bill
  • King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech after the March on Washington (which was a peaceful equality march) and slow progress was made after that

Martin Luther King Jr

Famous "I Have A Dream" speech given after the March on Washington