John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

Blaize Hite
Mr. Nelson
Modern American Studies, Period 1
5 Novermber 1996

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in the Boston suburb of
Brookline. Kennedy was the son of Joseph P. Kennedy a formerambassador to Great
Britain. Kennedy was much like his father, possesing a delightful sense of
humor, a strong family loyalty, a concern for the state of the nation, endless
vitality and a constant air of confidence no matter how dire the situation
(Kennedy, Sorensen, Harper & Row, New York 1965, Page 18). Growing up in a
priviliged household and graduating with honors from Harvard. He served as an
assistant to his father (1938), naval officer (1941-1945), journalist (1941 and
1945) and Congressman (1947-1953), he had traveled to every major continent and
talked with the presidents and prime ministers, of some thirty-seven countries.
In 1952 he was elected to the United States Senate and in 1953 he married
Jaqueline Bouvier. However one year later a spinal operation brought him to the
edge of death\'s door, causing him to deeply reflect on his character (Sorensen
28). After his dangerous operation he researched and wrote a book, about
democracy. The next year narrowly missing the Vice Presidential nomination of
his party, Kennedy emerged as a national figure in large demand.

"John Kennedy was not one of the Senate\'s great leaders" (Sorensen 43).
Very few laws of great importance bear his name. Even after his initial “
traditionally\' inactive freshman year in the Senate, his chances for major
contributions to the Senate excluding his stances on fair labor reform and
against rackets, were constantly diminished of his Presidential campaign. His
voting record reflects his open minded views, and strengthed beliefs. He was
well liked and respected by many Senators. Kennedy was regarded for his
eagerness and cool logic in debate situations His only real “enemy” was Senator
Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (Sorensen 45).McCarthy\'s rough and wide-ranging
hunts for Red, "pinks" and headlines had stomped on the freedoms of people who
had not committed a crime, and Kennedy was too rational and reasonable a man to
remain indiferent to the extremism known as Mcarthyism. Kennedy often was a
thorn in McCarthy\'s side obstructing many of McCarthy\'s personal choices for
various offices and by serving on certain committies of which McCarthy was
chairman, such as the Government Operations Committee (Sorensen 46).

Kennedy\'s political philosophy revoloved around the idea that one could
not allow the pressures of party responisbility to cloud ones personal
responsibility. Meaning after all was said and done that the decision falls upon
yourself to make the choice regardless of what your party platform was. Of
course the platfrom had significant merit, nevertheless it still came down to
the individual. "Democrats, he said, generally had more heart, more foresight
and more energy. They were not satisfied with things as they were and believed
they could make them better" (Sorensen 71).

"John F. Kennedy wanted someday to be President of the United States"
(Sorensen 95). Not becuase he was dissatisfied with his life as a Senator nor
because he possessed some grand scheme for the future of America. He merely
felt that it was the center of action of the American System. “at least you
have an opportunity to do something about all the probelms which. . . I would be
concerned about [anyway] as a father or as a citizen. . . and if what you do is
useful and succesful, then . . . that is a great satisfaction” (Sorensen 95).
Before the election of 1960 Kennedy used the result of his newfound celebrity
status to do a bit of travelling across the country. Convering more than thirty
thousand miles in twenty-four states, he made over 150 speeches and appearances
in the course of six weeks. He spoke to various conventions, varying from civic
to labor, farmer to youth. However his senatorial duties enabled him to accept
less than 4 percent of the hundreds of invitations that poured into his office,
mainly consisting of important Democratic canidates or fund-raising dinner
chairmen. As the years progressed the fact materialized that his hard work had
finally begun to pay off. His audiences had became larger and even more
enthusiastic. Therefore at 12:30 P.M., on Saturday, January 2, Senator John
Fitzgerald Kennedy walked into a crowded press conference and read a one-page
declaration of his candidacy for the Presidency (Sorensen 122).

"I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United
States. . . . In the past forty months, I have toured every state in the Union
and I have talked to Democrats in