Compare and Constrast Essay on John F. Kennedy

This essay has a total of 1021 words and 5 pages.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy
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

In 1946, Kennedy ran successfully for a Boston-based seat in the U.S. House of
Representatives; he was reelected in 1948 and 1950. As a congressman he backed social
legislation that benefited his working-class constituents. Although generally supporting
President Harry S. Truman's foreign policies, he criticized what he considered the
administration's weak stand against the Communist Chinese. Kennedy continued to advocate a
strong, anti-Communist foreign policy throughout his career. Restless in the House,
Kennedy challenged incumbent Republican senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., in 1952. Although
the Republican presidential candidate, Dwight D. Eisenhower, won in Massachusetts as well
as the country as a whole, Kennedy showed his remarkable vote-getting appeal by defeating

A year later, on Sept. 12, 1953, Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier. The couple had three
children: Caroline Bouvier (b. Nov. 27, 1957), John Fitzgerald, Jr. (b. Nov. 25, 1960),
and a second son who died in infancy in August 1963.

Kennedy was a relatively ineffectual senator. During parts of 1954 and 1955 he was
seriously ill with back ailments and was therefore unable to play an important role in
government. Critics observed that he made no effort to oppose the anti-civil libertarian
excesses of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin. His friends later argued, not entirely
persuasively, that he would have voted to censure McCarthy if he had not been hospitalized
at the time. During his illness Kennedy worked on a book of biographical studies of
American political heroes. Published in 1956 under the title Profiles in Courage, it won a
Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957. Like his earlier book on English foreign policy, it
revealed his admiration for forceful political figures. This faith in activism was to
become a hallmark of his presidency.

In 1956, Kennedy bid unsuccessfully for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination.
Thereafter, he set his sights on the presidency, especially after his reelection to the
Senate in 1958. He continued during these years to support a firmly anti-Communist foreign
policy. A cautious liberal on domestic issues, he backed a compromise civil rights bill in
1957 and devoted special efforts to labor legislation. By 1960, Kennedy was but one of
many Democratic aspirants for the party's presidential nomination. He put together,
however, a well-financed, highly organized campaign and won on the first ballot. As a
northerner and a Roman Catholic, he recognized his lack of strength in the South and
shrewdly chose Sen. Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas as his running mate. Kennedy also
performed well in a series of unprecedented television debates with his Republican
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