John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy's Upbringing

  • JFK was born on May 29th, 1917 and was the second of nine children
  • His parents, Joseph Patrick Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy were second generation Americans whose grandparents moved here from the Irish Potato Famine in 1848
  • His grandpa on his father's side, Patrick J. Kennedy, was a boss of a political ward in Boston
  • His grandpa on his mother's side, John F. Fitzgerald, was a mayor in Boston and US congressman
  • His father was a successful man as he became a self-made millionaire after graduating from Harvard. During the FDR administration, he served as a chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and US Ambassador to Great Britain
  • Enrolled at Harvard in 1936, active in sports
  • joined the navy as a commander of a patrol torpedo boat that was meant to prevent Japanese ships from delivering supplies to their soldiers
  • He was later awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his leadership and courage rescuing his crew from a collision with a Japanese ship

Influential People

  • both of his grandpas and his father influenced him and inspired him to launch a political career of his own
  • John Quincy Adams, Robert A. Taft, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, and George Norris were all influential people in JFK's life with acts of courage that was worth writing about in his book, Profiles in Courage


  • After learning of JFK's lack of effort, his father sent him a letter encouraging him and telling him he has great potential in his life and can be a "worthwhile citizen"
  • Due to his father's job, JFK became very interested in politics and world affairs
  • started learning more about history and government once he returned to Harvard and he eventually wrote a thesis over the German invasion of Poland.
  • After WWII, JFK consulted with his dad and decided to officially pursue a political career, where he ran and won a seat for Massachusetts's 11th congress district in 1946
  • JFK later served 3 terms in the House of Representatives and ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate against Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. where he won
  • After gaining mass popularity, he decided to run in 1956 and nearly got the nomination for vice president
  • After losing this election, he was determined to win and ran for president in 1960
  • On July 13th, 1960, he won the nomination for the Democratic Party and got Lyndon B. Johnson to run as Vice President with him
  • On November 8th, 1960, they won, beating Richard Nixon, becoming the first Catholic president and the youngest president at just 43 years old


  • Sworn into office on January 20th, 1961
  • Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy helped restore the White House
  • First President with televised speech directed to American People
  • Concerns- nuclear war between US and Soviet Union, segregation in south
  • Helped launch moon mission
  • Advocated for equal rights, stated civil rights was a moral crisis in the USA
  • Ignored US foreign policy for Cuba Missile Crisis; ordered quarantine of Cuba to prevent supplies coming from Soviet Union
  • Bad relations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
  • Tensions weakened in 1963 and Kennedy proposed a Limited Nuclear Bomb Treaty to stop atomic bomb testings on ground, underwater, or in atmosphere
  • Soviets and Britain signed it, making it one of the greatest accomplishments in his term in office
  • During JFK's term, he sped up aid and increased military advisers to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
  • On November 22nd, 1963, JFK was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald as he was making his way through cheering crowds

Defining Quote

"We chose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

This shows that Kennedy was not willing to give up on anything because it was difficult. In fact, he embraced challenges because that was what made him more successful and influential.


If JFK were to be in this time period, he would've been praised for his courageous and friendly attitude. He could have been just as successful if not more successful now than he was in the 60s because his bold decisions and persuasive speeches could solve the treatment of African Americans in today's society as well as the police brutality issues and gun control.

If I were to have his skills, I would use them to strengthen the fight against Global Climate Change and make people more aware of whats actually happening to the environment.

Political Cartoon

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John F. Kennedy accomplished many things throughout his presidency such as establishing the Peace Corps, landing a man on the moon, and starting the civil rights movement. However once he died, his legacy essentially "paved the way" to more space exploration programs, made the peace corps stronger to help more people worldwide, and led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Historiography- "JFK: Civil Rights Leader or Bystander?"

Although President John F. Kennedy was viewed by many as one of the greatest civil rights activists in history, his political actions and style of advancing the movement caused his legacy to be questioned, if he really was a civil rights leader. During the 1960 election, the civil rights movement was gaining speed, with protesters fighting for equal rights by having sit-ins at campaigns and peaceful marches. Both Kennedy and his opponent, Richard M. Nixon, advocated for equal rights, they avoided making absolute solutions to equal rights, as it was feared they would suffer politically. Kennedy’s efforts to sympathize with Martin Luther King and his wife led to him winning the electoral vote and the African American popular vote. Once Kennedy won president, he did not push for civil rights issues immediately and instead focused on other efforts, as he was told by family members that he would damage his presidential bid in 1964 if he moved too quickly on civil rights so instead he focused on one at a time. Once the Congress of Racial Equality began fire-bombing buses in Alabama, this was when Kennedy decided it was time to fully fight for civil rights. After this, more cases sprung up, such as a black man that enrolled at classes at Ole Miss, which sparked uproar. Kennedy enforced his authority by sending federal troops to contain this feud and make sure that the black man, James Meredith was able to attend his classes. It wasn’t until a very violent protest in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 that Kennedy would have to take decisive action on the civil rights movement. Kennedy worked very quickly to formulate a speech that would appeal to all civil rights activists and protesters. The speech framed civil rights as a moral issue, which caused immediate action to take place, resulting in the creation of the civil rights act of 1964.

The author’s wrote this article as if they were questioning John F. Kennedy’s true motivation for the civil rights act of 1964, but they were truly supportive of his actions. Throughout the article and each topic stated, the authors always chose to speak of the people opposing Kennedy’s influence as “some” and there was some form of supportive text. Kennedy’s speech in 1963 was one of his most impactful speeches and is still influential today, which was conveyed through the authors’ word choice, saying that his speech was beautiful and unique.

JFK's Inaugural Address

JFK's Inaugural Address

Speaker- John F. Kennedy

Occasion- Inaugural Address

Audience- Citizens of America

Purpose- To inspire Americans that they can help make this country thrive, and share his goals as president

Subject- Establish peaceful foreign relations and to promote equality

Tone- Optimistic and Patriotic

Rhetorical Strategies:

Anaphora- “to those” to emphasize the goals of JFK’s presidency to other nations, “Let both sides” addressing that America and other nations understand each other and their goals

Chiasmus- “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” to evoke emotion and motivate people to act for their country

Campaign Slogan: "Without Progress, There is Failure"

John F. Kennedy’s will to succeed and his motivation to make progress was very impactful during his presidency. His will led to historical moments in American History, such as landing a man on the moon and extending space exploration programs and the passing of the civil rights act of 1964, which combated segregation, desegregating all African Americans

John F. Kennedy's American Experience

John F. Kennedy may have had a short presidential term, but he revolutionized American politics. He was an extremely charismatic and intelligent leader who helped America make great progress through one of the more challenging periods in American politics. His policy of foreign peace, launching the space program, advocating for African-American rights, all have and still do impact America today and has helped to make America maintain itself as one of the global superpowers.

Work Cited