|John F. Kennedy|
|35th President of the United States|
From: January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
|Vice President||Lyndon Johnson|
|U.S. Senator from Massachusetts|
From: January 3, 1953 – December 22, 1960
|Predecessor||Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.|
|Successor||Benjamin A. Smith|
|Former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts's 11th Congressional District|
From: January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
|Predecessor||James Michael Curley|
|Successor||Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.|
|Spouse(s)||Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy|
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often called JFK (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963), was the 35th President of the United States of America, serving for 1,036 days until he was assassinated in 1963. He was the youngest person elected president (Theodore Roosevelt being the youngest to assume the office) and is among one of the most glamorous and popular presidents in American history. His record of presidential accomplishments remains a subject of debate among historians and the public, but after his assassination he became a legendary figure in whom admirers saw the ideals of American mythology incarnated.
An inept, lazy president who spent much of his time womanizing, President Kennedy was middle-of-the-road on domestic issues and conservative on foreign policy. He nominated Byron White to the U.S. Supreme Court, who turned out to be pro-life. As to foreign policy, Kennedy sent military forces into Vietnam and was somewhat hawkish against communist Cuba. In Congress the Conservative Coalition blocked nearly all of his domestic programs, so there were few changes in domestic policy, while the civil rights movement gained strength.
President Kennedy won office because the Kennedy Family had long been leaders of the Irish Catholic wing of the Democratic Party, and the family political power was so strong that it was not until 2021 -- more than 60 years later -- that there was not a member of that extended family in Congress or as president, all as Democrats. The Kennedy style called for youth, dynamism, vigor and an intellectual approach to aggressive new policies in foreign affairs. The downside was his inexperience in foreign affairs, standing in contrast to the vast experience of the president he replaced, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. This inexperience caused a national humiliation in 1961 as he sent CIA-trained Cuban exiles into an ill-prepared attack on Castro's Cuba. At the Bay of Pigs, all the invaders were killed or captured, and he was forced to negotiate for the survivors release giving Cuba medical and food. Kennedy's supporters blamed the fiasco on Eisenhower and the CIA, for JFK inherited the plan; but Kennedy took the blame himself. Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev, seeing for himself Kennedy's inexperience at a summit conference, had built the Berlin Wall as the Soviets escalated the Cold War regarding the status of Berlin, predicting that Kennedy's response would be weak. Khrushchev went too far in 1962 when he sent nuclear missiles into Cuba aimed at the U.S. mainland. For the first time since Pearl Harbor—or indeed since Washington and New Orleans were attacked in the War of 1812—the U.S. was vulnerable to a major attack by an enemy power. Kennedy and Khrushchev reached a compromise whereby the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba publicly, while Kennedy secretly removed obsolete American missiles from Turkey aimed at the Soviets, and also promised that America would never invade Cuba. In Vietnam, Kennedy increased the number of military advisors from 900 to 16,000 to prop up the ineffective, corrupt regime in South Vietnam. Historians are uncertain whether Kennedy would have avoided the failures of Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam.
He was assassinated on November 22, 1963 while riding in his convertible limousine in Dallas, Texas. A Communist sympathizer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was allegedly the only assassin, and afterward Kennedy became a national icon and martyr. His reputation has since been dimmed by reports of his philandering. He is best known for his call to civic virtue:
|“||And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.||”|
President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the Warren Commission to investigate the Kennedy assassination. It released its report in September 1964. The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating JFK, and that there was no conspiracy, though a majority of the population believed that he was part of a conspiracy. Although, among many contradictions, "The Warren committee accepted that the same bullet killed Kennedy and gravely wounded Governor John Connally. Yet, Connally distinctly remembers two consecutive shots (as may be seen in the Zapruder film) and he had never changed his testimony."
Educated at private schools and Harvard College, young Kennedy was an indifferent student until the war in Europe focused his attention. Extensive interviews with major British politicians and observers led to an unusually precocious senior thesis that became an influential book, "Why England Slept" (1940). As second son in the powerful Kennedy Family, he was marked for an intellectual career as a writer or journalist, while his older brother Joseph was slated for politics by their manipulative father, Joseph P. Kennedy. In September 1941, Kennedy attempted to join the U.S. Army but was medically disqualified due the his chronic lower back problems. He then joined the U.S. Navy and attended officer training school. His older brother's death in combat during World War II, combined with JFK's heroic war record as skipper of the PT-109 in 1943, set the stage for his political debut as a Congressional candidate in 1946.
Kennedy was the sickest president since William Henry Harrison, but he successfully kept his multiple maladies a secret from the press and policy makers. Besides Addison's disease, Kennedy's most serious problem was chronic back pain, which surfaced when he strained an unstable back (probably birth-related) a number of times, both in his youth and during his PT boat service during the war. Surgery in 1944 only worsened the condition; by 1954 Kennedy found the pain so acute that he underwent back surgery once again despite the risk of an Addisonian crisis, which nearly took his life.
As a teenager, Kennedy was in and out of hospitals for chronic colitis, stomach problems, and an undisclosed blood condition, which was at first mistakenly diagnosed as leukemia. Dr. Janet Travell, a specialist in the treatment of muscular disorders, was his primary physician after 1955, but other specialists tried any number of different treatments. As president he took seven powerful prescription drugs daily including hydrocortisone, fludrocortisone acetate, and Meticorten for Addison's disease, a malfunction of the adrenal glands; and T3 for hypothyroidism. In addition he regularly took Equanil for anxiety and tension; for his gastrointestinal problems he took anti-spasmodics Lomotil and Bentyl; for weight gain a daily dose of testosterone; and Chlor-Trimeton for his allergies. White House physicians were alarmed when they learned he was seeing Dr. Max Jacobson, a New York City celebrity physician, who injected him with a concoction of amphetamines, steroids, calcium, placenta, and vitamins, a potentially dangerous combination for his chronic back pain. Historians have not identified a single policy decision that seems to have been affected by his physical condition or medical treatments; they believe he never took any illegal drugs.
Although the father had abandoned Boston in frustration, JFK's return to the city restored the family's traditional power base among the large and powerful Irish-American community in Massachusetts. Strong family connections with the Chicago Irish political community (led by Mayor Richard J. Daley) augmented his national Catholic base. JFK always had two sets of advisors, an inner circle of Irish politicians who planned his campaigns, and a Protestant-Jewish coterie of intellectuals (mostly from Harvard) who promoted his stature as the intellectual in politics. That image was solidified by the Pulitzer Prize awarded his Profiles in Courage (1956). JFK possessed powerful assets: an excellent speaker and glib commentator on major issues, a middle-of-the-road political record that offended no one, strong expertise in foreign policy, articulate anti-Communism, unfailing charm and stage presence, a national network of Irish allies, a Catholic base that comprised a fourth of the electorate, and an immense purse that was ready to fund his ambitions, not to mention innumerable relatives who campaigned endlessly on his behalf.
JFK fought his way into the Senate in 1952 by defeating incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the archetypal Yankee. Kennedy largely ignored the old-boy Senate (controlled by his rival Lyndon Johnson) to display his talents through newspaper and television interviews, magazine articles, and highly publicized speeches around the country. Aided by his closest advisor, his brother Robert Kennedy, JFK appealed to conservatives by tolerating Joe McCarthy and launching attacks on corrupt labor leaders, especially Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters Union.
The Kennedy family represented the conservative wing of the Democratic Party, and was known for its anti-Communism and close ties with Republican Senator Joe McCarthy. Many liberal Democrats, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, distrusted JFK primarily because they could never forget the father's break with Franklin Roosevelt or the family's support for McCarthy. Yet with the fading away of Adlai Stevenson (the liberal Democratic candidate in 1952 and 1956), liberals lacked a viable candidate.
Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act and opposed to the 1963 March on Washington by Martin Luther King where King made his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. The March on Washington was organized by A. Phillip Randolph, who was a black Republican.
Not until the presidential election of 1960 when John Kennedy intervened for the release of Martin Luther King, who was jailed by local Democrats two weeks before the election in Atlanta following a non-violent protest, did the majority of Blacks begin voting Democratic en bloc. His brother, Robert Kennedy, who managed the campaign, was furious as to the call with King, and felt it could cost them the election given the promise of three Southern governors not to support John Kennedy if he showed support for King.
His 1957 book, Profiles in Courage, included Sen. Edmund Ross who voted to acquit in the impeachment of Pres. Andrew Johnson, which ended Republican Reconstruction reforms and paving the way for Democrat era of Jim Crow laws and the segregation era.
When Adlai Stevenson allowed the delegates to choose the vice-presidential nominee in 1956, Kennedy sought the position but was narrowly defeated by Stevenson's two-time primary rival, liberal Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.
By 1960, Kennedy was the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination to face Richard M. Nixon, with the biggest question mark whether his Catholic base of support would be outweighed by anti-Catholicism of the sort that hurt Al Smith in the 1928 race against Herbert Hoover. Prohibition was no longer an issue, and fear of Tammany-like bossism had faded away with the demise of most big city machines. The Kennedy juggernaut defeated rival Hubert Humphrey, a fellow liberal, in the West Virginia primary, a state with so much poverty and so few Catholics that party leaders were convinced they had a winner. Kennedy won over the party's intellectuals by his effective academic connections, while shaming doubters by a brilliant performance before the Protestant ministers of Houston. There he enunciated the position that he did not speak for the Catholic Church on matters of religion, and it did not speak for him on public affairs. He was able to take that position because there were no high intensity moral issue such as abortion at that time.
Although Kennedy's religiosity consisted of nominal attendance at Sunday Mass, he excited tens of millions of Catholics who saw his election as president as confirmation of their full recognition as true Americans. With 8 of 10 Catholics voting for Kennedy, he ran up majorities in ethnic strongholds like Chicago that provided the narrow margin of victory against Richard Nixon. Apart from a few pockets of anti-popery among some Midwestern Lutherans and Southern Baptists, fears of Catholicism largely disappeared from the voting booth after 1960, and Kennedy gets credit for bringing Catholics into the American political mainstream.
Kennedy was primarily interested in foreign policy. Weeks after his memorable inaugural address sounded the tocsin for vigorous anti-communism, he encountered disaster when the invasion of Cuba failed at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, and he was forced to pay ransom of $53 million U.S. dollars in food and medicine in exchange for the 1,113 prisoners and 76 other exiles being held in Cuba. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, sensing weakness, pushed hard on the Berlin issue, and was able to build the Berlin Wall in East Berlin, despite Kennedy's later rhetoric, "Ich bin ein Berliner!" ("I am a Berliner!")
He launched the Peace Corps by executive order in 1961, putting his brother-in-law Sargent Shriver in charge. It was mainly designed to be a new weapon in the U.S. Cold War arsenal, one that could reach the people directly at the grass roots not merely their national leaders. Kennedy in the 1960 campaign promised to form the agency, saying:
- "I believe that as a counter to the flood of well trained and accomplished tacticians now helping nations with their problems that the Communists are sending out, I believe an American Peace Corps...could be trained to help these people live a life of freedom in agriculture, in handiwork, in road building, in government and other skills, young Americans who will represent the cause of freedom around the globe."
The Peace Corps has been endorsed by all subsequent presidents; nearly 200,000 Americans have served helping underdeveloped nations through personal humanitarian aid. It is still in operation, albeit with a modest record of achievement.
Kennedy paid a state visit to Ireland in 1963 - the first state visit of an American President to the country, which had secured independence from Britain forty years earlier. Kennedy visited his ancestral home in County Wexford, and was greeted by huge crowds in the cities of Dublin, Limerick and Cork. He told crowds that once he had completed his term as president, he would like to become US Ambassador to Ireland, and live there.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Khrushchev and Castro went too far in 1962, secretly setting up medium range missiles in Cuba equipped with nuclear warheads that threatened the southeast United States. In his greatest moment, Kennedy rejected invasion plans but imposed a blockade and demanded the missiles be removed immediately. Khrushchev publicly backed down, but privately got Kennedy to agree to removing the older U.S. Jupiter missiles from Turkey; while Castro secured the promise that the United States would never invade his island. Realizing how close they had come to war, Kennedy and Khrushchev became much friendlier in public. In 1963, they signed a test ban treaty which eliminated nuclear testing above ground or in space; the treaty was further designed to hobble China and other countries trying to build their first bombs. The Cuban missile crisis reversed Kennedy's image of ineptness in foreign policy, but his quiet, escalation of military involvement in Vietnam set the stage for the whirlwind reaped by his successor.
As senator, JFK had shown limited interest in domestic affairs apart from labor union corruption. Working with his high-powered economic advisors he proposed a Keynesian program to stimulate the economy, not by higher spending but by tax cuts. No matter: most all of his domestic policy initiatives went anywhere. Congress was effectively controlled a conservative coalition of Republicans and southern Democrats. Kennedy authorized the de-segregation of federal housing. He later proposed the civil rights bill, which passed after his death. He boosted the NASA space program and pledged to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. Likewise he proposed tax cuts, all which occurred after his death.
A new issue that Kennedy had not anticipated blazed into view as the civil rights movement in the South, led by Martin Luther King, produced dramatic confrontations for JFK with segregationist Democrats, especially Governors George Wallace of Alabama, and Ross Barnett of Mississippi.
In addition, Robert Kennedy allowed the FBI to wiretap MLK Jr's phone on a trial basis due to suspicion that Dr. King's associates were Communist; this was later expanded during Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency; which undermined King.
In September 1962, Kennedy sent federal marshals and Army MP's to enforce a federal court order that African American student James Meredith be admitted to the University of Mississippi. Violent resistance by certain townspeople left two civilians dead, hundreds injured, and 166 federals injured. The June 1963 confrontation in Alabama was nonviolent, and although Wallace did back down, the event boosted his visibility as a leader of segregationist southern Democrats.
To deflect attention from its ties to Oswald (who had defected to the USSR for several years), the Soviet Union fabricated a disinformation campaign to blame the assassination on US conservatives. On November 23, 1963–the day after Kennedy was killed–a memo from KGB chairman Vladimir Semichastny asked the Kremlin immediately to publish an article in a “progressive paper in one of the Western countries …exposing the attempt by reactionary circles in the USA to remove the responsibility for the murder of Kennedy from the real criminals, [i.e.,] the racists and ultra-right elements guilty of the spread and growth of violence and terror in the United States.” According to Boris Yeltsin, the result was an article appearing two months later in the communist-controlled British journal Labour Monthly, stating, “[M]ost commentators, have surmised a coup of the Ultra-Right or racialists of Dallas . . . [that], with the manifest complicity necessary of a very wide range of authorities, bears all the hallmarks of a CIA job.” Next, Joachim Joesten, a former member of the German Communist Party, wrote Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy? claiming that Oswald was “an FBI agent provocateur with a CIA background.”
To further link the assassination to the CIA, the KGB's Section A for Disinformation and Active Measures produce a clumsy forgery of a letter supposedly from Oswald to CIA officer E. Howard Hunt, asking for information "before any steps are taken by me or anyone else," according to secret documents smuggled out of Moscow by former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, and published by him and Cambridge University's Christopher Andrew, dean of British historians of Soviet espionage. Agents passed the forged letter anonymously to unwitting US conspiracy theorists; it appeared in a self-published assassination book, and a Dallas newspaper even claimed that a handwriting expert declared it to be genuine.
Joesten's book was published in the US in 1964 by KGB agent Carlo Aldo Marzani (code-named "Nord"), who was paid $672,000 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the early 1960s, according to Mitrokhin's documents. The book was positively reviewed by Victor Perlo (an American KGB agent code-named "Raid") in New Times, which was a KGB front at one time printed in Romania, according to Lt. Gen. Ion Pacepa, the highest-ranking defector from the East bloc. I.F. Stone, a Soviet "agent of influence" code-named "Blin," followed with an article suggesting that Oswald may have been "the tool of some rightist plot." In 1966 came Mark Lane's bestseller Rush to Judgment, alleging that Kennedy was assassinated by a right-wing US group. Documents in the Mitrokhin Archive show that the KGB indirectly sent Mark Lane $2,000, and that KGB operative Genrikh Borovik was in regular contact with him. According to Pacepa, Semichastny's memo thus "generated the Kennedy conspiracy that has never stopped."
Pierson (2007) argues that the liberal media turned Kennedy's death into a martyrdom against racism, ignoring Kennedy's weaker interest in race and his strong opposition to Communism. Oswald's strong Communist ties were downplayed, and instead, the conservative city of Dallas was made the guilty party. Incoming president Lyndon Johnson used the martyrdom theme to rally support for his liberal programs, painting them as memorials to Kennedy until Johnson won reelection in 1964 by a landslide over conservative leader Barry Goldwater.
The Catholic community took his assassination hard, and immediately elevated JFK to a sort of sainthood status, celebrating that he had liberated them from second class citizenship. Johnson in 1964 successfully retained the Catholic base JFK had fostered, but that was the last hurrah. By 1966 Catholics started showing their disillusionment with Johnson, who never recovered from the wave after wave of urban riots, nor from the disillusionment of his Vietnam War policy. With the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968, and the failure of youngest brother Ted Kennedy to recover his brothers’ national base, the Kennedy legacy increasingly became the romantic memory. Reports of JFK's affairs, and detailed reports of his multiple grave medical problems fascinated the public but failed to break the myth that if JFK had lived, his second term would be a story of political triumphs restoring people's faith in government. The assassination was so incomprehensible that hundreds of conspiracy theories have sprung up with over 350 people and organizations have been named as guilty of the event. Donald Trump has since reaffirmed that he will release the documents pertaining to the JFK assassination, despite earlier reports indicating he'll delay them.
Kennedy appointed liberal Arthur Goldberg to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as Byron White (who held both liberal and conservative positions). Kennedy's image appears on the American half-dollar coin.
Was Kennedy a liberal or a conservative?
Kennedy was arguably a moderate; his policies appeal to both conservatives and liberals. He apparently offered symbols for the liberals while following a conservative course in foreign and most of his domestic policy. After his death Kennedy's legacy was picked up by liberals, and there is a vague notion to the effect that Kennedy was a progressive in the same vain as his successor, Lyndon Johnson.
To be a liberal in the days when Kennedy was in politics, 1946–63, meant supporting the programs of the New Deal, following in the footsteps of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and upholding the New Deal Coalition. Support for labor unions was important; support for civil rights had been a minor issue (and one more associated with the Republican Party). Hostility to the Catholic Church was common among liberals. In foreign policy liberals had turned away from Roosevelt's détente with the Soviets and had adopted the containment policy. Liberals rejected rollback, that is efforts to remove Communists regimes from power. Verbal support for the United Nations was standard rhetoric, although in practice it meant little. The symbolically most important issue of them all for liberals was opposition to Joe McCarthy and his style of aggressive anti-Communism.
On most of these points Kennedy was largely on the conservative or moderate side. He had a base in Massachusetts with many strong liberals in academe and labor unions that had to be appeased, so he never attacked liberalism too loudly. He solved the state problem by a close alliance with the Democratic party organizations in the cities, controlled mostly by Irish politicians. JFK's campaign manager and chief confidante was his brother Bobby, a devout Catholic who was in close touch with the Catholic establishment and the local machines. JFK thus maintained very close ties to the Catholic establishment; he carefully followed the required public rituals of the Catholic church. It was a major achievement by Kennedy in 1960 to resolve the religious issue and bring Catholics into the mainstream of American life and to the top ranks of national leadership.
On foreign policy he was a leading anti-Communist hawk; he won in 1960 by attacking Eisenhower's foreign policies as not aggressive enough. When elected he sent forces to invade Cuba and rollback Communism; he increased the military presence in Vietnam; he sent the Navy to confrontation with the Soviets in the Cuban Missile Crisis, forcing the Soviets to withdraw. Liberals have misread these episodes—saying that the Cuban invasion was really Eisenhower's idea; that in Vietnam he might have changed his mind in a second term; and that in Cuba he was liberal because he did not blow the world up.
On the liberal side, he achieved the creation of the Peace Corps. To combat Communism in Latin America he proposed a liberal program of financial and technical assistance and free-food programs, and indicated he would take a sympathetic view of revolutionary movements that have the legitimate objective of bettering the life of the hemisphere's poor and downtrodden. Kennedy explicitly exempted any such movements dominated by "external"—meaning Communist—forces, thereby shutting the door on renewed diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro's Cuba. On domestic issues, a pilot program for food stamps for low-income Americans was launched in 1961. Further, Social Security benefits and food distribution to poor Americans was increased; including free school lunches. In 1961, Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, which required affirmative action by government contractors as to both applicants and employees. It also established the "President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity". Kennedy also established the "Presidential Commission on the Status of Women" which was an advisory commission to investigate: education, income and workplace issues of women. Thereafter, in June 1963, Kennedy signed the "Equal Pay Act" which was to close the so-called wage gap based on sex, though it should be noted that it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Kennedy also endorsed the 1960 Democratic Party platform which expressed support for civil rights and universal healthcare. Although a staunch supporter of Keynesian economics, as Kennedy is often called the first president to openly endorse this economic policy, he reduced the top income tax bracket from 91% to 65%. These tax cuts are heralded by many conservatives as landmark since they, like all other tax cuts, brought economic growth. Kennedy planned deficit spending to promote growth but was hesitant to the displeasure of his more liberal advisers. Liberals argue that he'd support raising the top income tax bracket rate today. Civil rights were not a major concern until 1963. As a senator, Kennedy voted mildly on civil rights legislation and supported then Senate leader Lyndon Johnson's move of having Eisenhower's 1957 Civil Rights Act sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee which at the time was controlled by southern Democrats. On unions, he built up a reputation of strong opposition to union corruption, especially in the Teamsters; he quietly kept on good terms with George Meany, the AFL-CIO leader, while avoiding Walter Reuther, the leader of the liberal wing of the AFL-CIO.
Kennedy had a pro-business reputation and sponsored policies such as tax cuts and low inflation that conservative businessmen wanted. On taking office he called for a "full-fledged alliance" with business. He did get into a brush-up with the steel industry when the steelmen broke their promise to him to keep prices down; that move made Kennedy more popular among the anti-business liberals, but Kennedy never proposed major legislation that business opposed. He named Douglas Dillon, a leading Republican businessman, as his Secretary of the Treasury. On dealing with unemployment, he never proposed New Deal-esque programs but instead had a package that was acceptable to conservative Republicans.
Crime was a signature issue for Kennedy, and on taking office he promised a major crackdown on organized crime, thus appealing to conservatives. On appointing Brother Bobby as Attorney General, he quipped, "I can't see that it's wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law." On the liberal side, Kennedy asked Congress for federal aid for school construction and more money for federally assisted housing. They did not oblige. Although liberals assert that the Vietnam War was initiated and supported by conservatives, Kennedy did increase the number of military advisers and special forces there which helped set up the full military combat commitment made by his successor, Lyndon Johnson.
Joe McCarthy was a close friend of the Kennedy family. Joe Kennedy was his biggest financial backer. Bobby Kennedy began his career as an aide to McCarthy. JFK was not close to McCarthy, but he refused to attack him publicly or to vote for his Senate censure in 1954 when McCarthy's career was collapsing. Kennedy was very friendly towards Republicans and appointed some to positions in his cabinet, namely Robert S. McNamara.
- "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."
- "The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us." Oct 26, 1963
- "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
- "The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity." Speech in Indianapolis, April 12, 1959
- "We cannot negotiate with those who say "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable.""
- "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." 
- Kennedy's alleged murderer was Lee Harvey Oswald. Mrs. Kennedy was the former Jacqueine Lee Bouvier, later Jacqueline Onassis.
- Both presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Kennedy were elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in '46.
- Both presidents Lincoln and Kennedy were elected the President of the United States in '60.
- Both presidents Lincoln and Kennedy died on a Friday.
- Lincoln was shot in "Ford's Theater". Kennedy was shot in a "Lincoln" car made by "Ford".
- Both Lincoln and Kennedy had Vice Presidents whose surname was Johnson.
- What was the conclusion of the Warren Commission on the assassination of JFK?
- I am a patsy.
- Donovan (1961) pp. 106-107
- Ballard (2002) pp. 12, 36
- Dallek (2003); James N. Giglio, "Why Another Kennedy Book?" Reviews in American History, Volume 31, Number 4, December 2003, pp. 645-656 in Project MUSE
- Dallek (2003)
- Giglio (2003)
- JFK's father Joe Kennedy was a major supporter and close personal friend of McCarthy, and Robert worked for a while for McCarthy. McCarthy dated one of JFK's sisters.
- Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Chris Matthews, Simon and Schuster, Nov 6, 2012, p. 309.
- Quote Nov. 4, 1960, Chicago speech online see also T. Zane Reeves, The Politics of the Peace Corps & Vista (1988) p. 20.
- Why Martin Luther King Was Republican, Human Events, August 16, 2006
- Herst, Burton (2007). Bobby and J. Edger. pp. 372–74
- FBI transcript: Lee Oswald to the Socialist Party of America, Warren Commission Hearings, CE 2240, Vol. XXV, p. 140, October 3, 1956
- The best studies of Kennedy's relations with liberalism are William E. Leuchtenburg, In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan (2001) pp 63-120 [ excerpt and text search]; Alonzo Hamby, Liberalism and Its Challengers: From F.D.R. to Bush (1992) excerpt and text search. Leuchtenburg is a liberal and Hamby is a conservative; both are excellent historians.
- By contrast, the only Catholic in Eisenhower's cabinet was a plumber who was Secretary of Labor.
- House Republican Minority Leader Charles Halleck said of those proposals: "We find no great quarrel with them, but we do not find them earthshaking." Time Feb. 10, 1961
- RADIO AND TELEVISION REPORT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ON THE BERLIN CRISIS, JULY 25, 1961
Bibliography & Further reading
- Ballard, Robert. Collision With History: The Search for John F. Kennedy's PT 109 (2002)
- Balmer, Randall. God in the White House: A History--How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. (2008)
- Bryant, Nick. The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality (2006) excerpt and text search
- Bugliosi, Vincent. Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President, (2007). Debunks dozens of conspiracy theories and concludes Oswald acted alone. excerpt and text search
- Burner, David. John F. Kennedy and a New Generation (1988)
- Clarke, Thurston. Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America ISBN 0805072136 excerpt and text search
- Clarke, Thurston. JFK's Last Hundred Days (2013), balanced assessment
- Dallek, Robert. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 (2003), standard scholarly biography; stress on medical issues excerpt and text search
- Donaldson, Gary A. The First Modern Campaign: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960 (2007)
- Donovan, Robert J. PT-109: John F. Kennedy in WW II, 40th Anniversary Edition (2001) . JFK's World War II U.S. Navy service; PT-109 and PT-59
- Freedman, Lawrence. Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (2000) excerpt and text search; full text online
- Fursenko, Aleksandr and Timothy Naftali. One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958–1964 (1997) excerpt and text search adds information from Russian sources
- Giglio, James. The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (1991), standard scholarly overview of policies
- Harper, Paul, and Joann P. Krieg eds. John F. Kennedy: The Promise Revisited (1988), scholarly articles on presidency online edition
- Hersh, Seymour. The Dark Side of Camelot (1997), highly negative assessment focused on scandals
- Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam, A History (1991), balanced assessment
- Kunz, Diane B. The Diplomacy of the Crucial Decade: American Foreign Relations during the 1960s (1994)
- Lichtenstein. Nelson, ed. Political Profiles: The Kennedy Years (1976) 621pp; very good short, analytical biographies of 500 major players
- Leuchtenburg, William E. In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Barack Obama (2009) excellent analysis of how JFK tried to replicate FDR's appeal without his liberalism excerpt and text search
- O'Brien, Michael. John F. Kennedy: A Biography (2005), most detailed scholarly biography excerpt and text search
- O'Leary, Bradley & Seymour, L.E. "Triangle of Death: The Shocking Truth About the Role of South Vietnam and the French Mafia in the Assassination of JFK", shows that JFK came from a globalist family but did not oppose the elites until he was going to be exposed by CIA Vietnamese drug operations 
- Parmet, Herbert. Jack: The Struggles of John F. Kennedy (1980); JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (1983), scholarly biography
- Paterson, Thomas G. Kennedy's Quest for Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-1963 (1989) excerpt and text search, Leftists approach disparages anti-Communism
- Piereson, James. Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (2007) excerpt and text search, conservative interpretation
- Pietrusza, David. 1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies (2008)
- Preble, Christopher A. John F. Kennedy and the Missile Gap (2004)
- Reeves, Richard. President Kennedy: Profile of Power (1993), balanced assessment of policies
- Reeves, Thomas. A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy (1991) highly critical assessment of his character flaws by conservative historian excerpt and text search
- Schlesinger, Arthur, Jr. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (2002) , major biography by a close advisor; Pulitzer Prize for Biography and National Book Award winner excerpt and text search
- Schlesinger, Arthur, Jr. Robert Kennedy And His Times (2002) , scholarly biography and National Book Award winner
- Smith, Jean Edward. "Kennedy and Defense: The Formative Years". Air University Review (March–April 1967) online
- Sundquist, James L. Politics and Policy: The Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Years (1968), excellent analysis of the major political issues of the era.
- Council of Economic Advisors, Economic Report of the President (annual 1947- ), complete series online; important analysis of current trends and policies, plus statistcial tables
- Sorensen, Theodore. Kennedy (1966), major biography by a close advisor
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
- John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
- John F. Kennedy. The White House.
- Inaugural Address. January 20, 1961.
- Works by John F. Kennedy - text and free audio - LibriVox