John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1987 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He joined the navy after his graduating from Harvard in 1940. During World War II, he showed remarkable bravery when Japanese destroyers rammed the USS PT-109. Despite his own considerable injuries, he led several survivors in to safety. He represented Massachusetts, first in the US House of Representative, and later, the US Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953. In 1955, he wrote “Profiles of Courage” which won him the Pulitzer Prize in history.
In 1961, he became the 35th President of the United States. He was the youngest President ever elected and the youngest to die when Lee Harry Oswald assassinated him in 1963, barely past one thousands days into his presidency.
When he first declared his intention to run for presidency, many protestant was suspicious of his Catholic upbringing. (JFK, 2006, para. 14) Thus he made his famous speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Houston, Texas, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters—and the Church does not speak for me” (as cited in John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 14).
His eloquence was again in manifested in his oft-quoted inauguration speech were he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (as cited in John F. Kennedy, 2006, para 16).
He showed remarkable poise and courage when he accepted responsibility for the debacle that was “Bay of Pigs Scandal”. This was an operation cooked up by JFK and his young cabinet to invade Cuba and depose Fidel Castro by training Cuban insurgents. Without Kennedy’s signal, the CIA allowed the Cuban insurgents to infiltrate Cuba. The insurgents were captured and need to be ransomed with fifty-three million dollars worth of food and medicine. From then on, Fidel Castro was wary of the US and possible US attack such as the Bay of Pigs (John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 17).
His poise was again tested during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At this time, the USSR started building intermediate-range ballistic missile in Cuba, this placed Americans under serious nuclear threat. Many of the military leaders and some members of the cabinet pushed him to attack the sites, but doing will place the US in the midst of a nuclear war (John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 18). Nor can JFK just the matter go, the US will be in perpetual state of danger if the missiles are left where they are (John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 18). JFK chose another route altogether, he threatened USSR and Cuba that there will a naval blockade of all Soviet and Cuban ships by the US navy until the missiles are removed from Cuba (John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 18). His tactic worked, JFK and Soviet Premier reached an agreement that led to the removal of the missiles.
JFK has proven himself innovative in coming with solutions to the country’s problems. During the Cold War, there was an opposition to Western influence from USSR and China (Peace Corp, 2006 para.1). In order foster brotherhood and breed understanding between the US and the outside world and to counteract the ugly notions the emerging nations in Africa and Asia about Americans, JFK signed the executive order establishing the Peace Corp (Peace Corp, 2006, para. 6). At present, the Peace Corp continues to operate in several countries all over the world. The agency has also undergone several modifications.
On the home front, many of JFK major programs did not become law until after his death, probably because of his very short tenure. He proposed a tax reform that included tax cuts. Congress passed it into law in 1964. He also proposed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Civil rights was one of the more pressing domestic concern in JFK’s time. There was a clamor to end all state-sanctioned discrimination (John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 28). JFK was a supporter of the civil rights movement and promised to end racial discrimination during his term. But he was hesitant to address the problem in the grassroots level. He feared that grassroots movements would make it more difficult to pass civil rights law in Congress (John F. Kennedy, 2006, para. 28). He did help an African American woman to enroll in University of Mississippi and two African American students to enter the University of Alabama with the help of federal marshals.
He guided the US through a difficult period in history, the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Throughout his short tenure, he was often remembered through his moving speeches. But he was most remembered through his death, it was traumatic and unforgettable event in American history. Americans who were alive during his assassination can still remember where they where and what they were doing when he died.
America had had many good presidents, but a few of them excelled in made an edible mark in history. These presidents stood out not just because of their achievements in office, but because they have truly lived exceptional lives. These great presidents have lived and served the country in the most difficult periods American history, and yet, they have successfully navigated the fate of the country into the great nation it is now. Among these great presidents are: George Washington who became president of an infant state that has just been through a major war, Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, who managed to remind people of the larger picture of the Civil War in his Gettysburg address, and Harry S. Truman the American President in last years of World War II.
The worst American president is George W. Bush Jr. He, too, was elected during a turbulent time in history. He was chosen to guide America after September 11 and the war on terror. All he managed to do is make a mockery of the presidency due to questionable foreign policy and dim-witted speeches.
“John Kennedy.” The White House. Retrieved on December 2, 2006, http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/jk35.html.
“John F. Kennedy.” Wikipedia 2006 edition. Retrieved on December 2, 2006,
“Peace Corps.” Wikipedia 2006 edition. Retrieved on December 2, 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Corps
“Harry S. Tuman.” The White House. Retrieved on December 2, 2006, http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ht33.html.
“Abraham Lincoln.” The White House. Retrieved on December 2, 2006, http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/al16.html.
“George Washington.” The White House. Retrieved on December 2, 2006, http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/gw1.html