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By: Andrew Moore. GENESIS : A HARVARD GRADUATE . In September of 1936 after attending Princeton for half a semester, John F. Kennedy enrolled in Harvard University (One of America’s top university’s).

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genesis a harvard graduate

In September of 1936 after attending Princeton for half a semester, John F. Kennedy enrolled in Harvard University (One of America’s top university’s).

JFK quickly became one of the most prestigious students of his class. Kennedy graduated as Cum Laude or Latin Honors.

During his years of study he would serve as secretary to his diplomatic dad, Joseph Kennedy.

JFK graduated with a degree in international affairs.

Before his enrollment at Stanford, JFK writes, Why England Slept which became a best seller.

After his graduation from Harvard, JFK enrolled in classes at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

After graduating from Stanford, JFK attempted to enlist into the Army. But he was rejected because of his chronic lower back issues.


a navy fighter

After the Army’s rejection, JFK attempted for enlistment in the Navy and was accepted. He is put into Navy Reserve.

JFK spent time in the Navy’s Intelligence Office but was sent to officer training and PT Boat training due to Pearl Harbor.

After training, Kennedy was assigned to the PT-109. He would eventually become a lieutenant and be assigned as Captain of the PT-109 which would be put into the wars Pacific Theater.

While on night patrol near the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer, Amagiri rammed into JFK’s boat.

Kennedy gathered his surviving crewman and retreated to a nearby island. While retreating Kennedy towed a badly burned crewmate to the islands despite his re-injured back.

Kennedy would win the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his action.

Kennedy was honorably discharged in early 1945, just prior to Japan's surrender. Kennedy's other decorations in World War II included the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars, and the World War II Victory Medal.

His discharge occurred because of his back injury and a serious case of malaria.


Left: Picture of John F. Kennedy in the PT-109.

post dischargement

After his honorable discharge, John F. Kennedy was employed by the International News Service.

During his time at the News Service, JFK covered many famous meetings and conferences.

Examples include, his coverage of the U.N. Conference.

Another example was his coverage of the famous Potsdam Conference.

After some time at the News Service, JFK became interested in politics and decided to run for the House of Representatives.


Above: Picture of the “big three” at the Potsdam Conference.

In 1946, U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat in the Democratic 10th Congressional district in Massachusetts.

After this, Kennedy ran for the seat and beat his Republican counterpart by a big margin.

In the 1947, John Kennedy voted against the Taft-Hartley Act.

Kennedy served as a Representative for six years with a mixed voting record.

In the 1952 Kennedy decided to run for the U.S. Senate and won against opponent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.

During his time as Senator he underwent several spinal operations in which were life threatening.

It wouldn’t be until 1956 that JFK got involved in the Senate. It was this year that he would get nominated to become Vice President to Presidential nominee, Adlai Stevenson. Even though nominated, he would lose to opponent, Estes Kefauver.

After this occurrence, JFK spent the next few years voting on bills that retained to civil rights.

In 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate, defeating his Republican opponent, Boston lawyer Vincent J. Celeste.

After his 1958 re-election, JFK severely injured his “liberal status” because of his support of Joseph McCarthy.

In the year 1959 JFK decided to run for President and began his campaigning process.


Above: Posters promoting Kennedy’s senate and congress elections.

the democratic convention and the birth of a new frontier

Before Kennedy could become president he had to defeat his democratic counterparts.

His counterparts included, Hubert Humphrey, Stuart Symington, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Pat Brown.

When John Kennedy began his campaign for presidency in 1960, he knew it would be a tough election. Kennedy’s campaign staff included manager, Bobby Kennedy. The rest of the staff included Ted Sorensen, Larry O’ Brien, Ken O’ Donnell, Dave Powers, Steve Smith, and Pierre Salinger.

The 1960 Democratic National Convention was held in Los Angeles, California.

The final vote for Kennedy would top out at 806 votes. Kennedy had won the primary with over 100 votes to spare.

But the primary’s wouldn’t be over until Kennedy picked a Vice-President. Thus he picked Senator Lyndon B. Johnson because he was the closest to Kennedy with 409 votes.

Kennedy’s campaign staff included manager, Bobby Kennedy. The rest of the staff included Ted Sorensen, Larry O’ Brien, Ken O’ Donnell, Dave Powers, Steve Smith, and Pierre Salinger.

Above: Picture of JFK during his Democratic National Convention Speech.

kennedy v s nixon

Kennedy’s Main Point was to become more advanced than the Russians.

Kennedy blamed President Dwight D. Eisenhower for America’s lag in economics and military.

Kennedy believed that the Russians were more advanced and that it would take a lot of national recovery; The New Frontier.

The blame game on Eisenhower didn’t sit well with Nixon.

Nixon believed that Eisenhower had done many great things for America during the 1950’s.

Nixon used the stance of “I’ll keep the peace and prosperity.”

He used this basis on Eisenhower, who he looked up to.

Blame Eisenhower!

Below and Right: Posters promoting JFK’s presidential election.

kennedy vs nixon debates
Kennedy vs. Nixon: Debates
  • The four Kennedy-Nixon debates were the turning points for the election.
  • All of the debates were televised.
  • Kennedy’s Advantages: Used makeup, very enthusiastic, and seemed comfortable. He also looked as if he were in good health.
  • Nixon’s Disadvantages: Nixon looked sick, pale, scruff (five-o-clock shadow) and wore no make up for the TVs.
  • Nixon would often appear very nervous during the debates and he also would sweat a lot. Nixon seemed almost uncomfortable speaking in front of America-not a good presidential quality.
  • The debates were watched by an estimated 70 million Americans.

Above and Left: Pictures of Kennedy and Nixon during debates.

prejudice against john f kennedy
Prejudice Against John F. Kennedy?


One of the key factors that hurt John F. Kennedy’s presidential candidacy was the fact that he was Roman Catholic.

Many non-Catholics or protestants were highly afraid that if JFK became president he would take orders from the Pope in Vatican City.

On September 12, 1960 Kennedy made a speech to The Greater Houston Ministerial Association on his belief in separation of church and politics.

He stated, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.”

After this famous speech, JFK promised to respect the separation of church and state. He said he wouldn’t allow the Catholic Church to try to persuade him about public matters.

Even though he promised to many Protestant Americans of his separation from the church, he still probably lost votes due to his Catholicism.

election results kennedy wins
Election Results: Kennedy Wins!
  • The election on November 8,1960 is one of the most known elections ever.
  • The election was very close between Kennedy and Nixon.
  • Nixon had won a lot of the middle states and the west coast.
  • Kennedy had won the south and some of the middle states.
  • Kennedy would end up with 34,220,984 popular votes.
  • Kennedy would get 303 electoral votes.
  • Nixon would end up with 34,108,157 popular votes.
  • Nixon would get 219 electoral votes.
  • Kennedy’s popular vote percentage was 49.72%.
  • Nixon’s popular vote percentage was 49.55%.
  • This Presidential election was one of the closest election’s in United States history.

Left: New York Times election issue, Kennedy Wins!

election controversy
Election Controversy
  • A lot of Republican politicians believed that Kennedy had benefited from voting fraud.
  • Supposed example’s of this included his vice-president’s home state of Texas and Illinois, home of Mayor Richard Daly’s political influence on Chicago.
  • Many Republican leaders tried to overturn the votes but failed.
  • After the Republican’s failure of overturning the votes, many journalist tried to persuade the public that the Mobster, Sam Giancana played a role in Kennedy’s election win.
  • None of these reasons would stop the election results: Kennedy had won!

Pictures: The supposed culprits of the false voting fraud. Clockwise: Lyndon B. Johnson, Mayor Richard Daly, and Mobster Sam Giancana.

swearing in and taking office
Swearing In and Taking Office
  • John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States at noon on January 20,1961.
  • In his speech he pushed the issue of citizens being active in America.
  • He said, “ Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”
  • This quote became known all over the United States.
  • He also mentioned that the nations of the world should combine efforts against “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.“
  • JFK also mentioned that none of these things would be done within his first 100 days of office or they might never be done. But that he would try his best at getting rid of these things.
  • After his inauguration speech, Soviet ruler Nikita Khruschev congratulated JFK on his speech.

Above: JFK at his inauguration in Washington D.C.

first things first foreign policy
First Things First: Foreign Policy
  • John F. Kennedy’s foreign policy was taken over by American-Russian controversy and problems.
  • The Americans and Russians had a a lot of international confrontations.
  • John F. Kennedy had been warned about Khrushchev's abrasive style in dealing with international issues.
  • On June 4, 1961: Kennedy met with Khrushchev in Vienna.
  • The meeting was about the issue with the supposed treaty between Moscow and East Berlin.
  • After the meeting JFK was very angry, feeling as if though he had been bullied and felt very offended.
  • The Vienna Meeting was not a good start to JFK’s Cold War.
  • The U.S.S.R eventually blocked West Berlin from East Berlin by building the Berlin Wall.
  • JFK believed this would block the United State’s rights in Berlin.
  • This would start a political war between Russia and the U.S.
  • Many thought there would be nuclear war because of the bad relations.
  • John F. Kennedy also stated his support for African Independence by stating, “ For we, too, founded a new nation on revolt from colonial rule.”

Above Clockwise: Berlin Wall, Cartoon depicting JFK and Khrushchev containing nuclear war, and the Vienna Summit.

kennedy s domestic policy and end to racial discrimination
Kennedy’s Domestic Policy and End To Racial Discrimination
  • Kennedy called his domestic policy the “New Frontier”.
  • Kennedy’s domestic policy focused on federal funding for education, medical care for the elderly, economic aid to rural regions, and government intervention to end the recession.
  • In the 1963 State of the Union, Kennedy proposed substantial tax reform and reduction.
  • Few of Kennedy’s programs passed during his presidency and lifetime.
  • Kennedy’s civil rights stance began with non-involvement in fear of making southern democrats angry at the administration.
  • But as conflict ensued toward the end of his Presidency, he finally pursued the equal rights for African Americans.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was first mentioned in John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech of 1963.
  • In his speech John F. Kennedy asked for legislation to give all Americans the right to be served in any place of service. JFK also asked for greater protection for voting rights.
  • JFK wouldn’t be able to see the passage of the bill because of his death by assassination.
  • The bill would be finally signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and become a law on July 2, 1964.

Pictures: JFK during the State of the Union Address and the 1st page of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

political legacy
Political Legacy
  • From Harvard to his assassination, John F. Kennedy was a very prestigious man.
  • John F. Kennedy was important in the Cold War, Berlin Wall controversy, Civil Rights, Space Program, 1960’s Economy, the Vietnam War, Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Kennedy is best known for his competition with the Russians.
  • The threat of nuclear war was very high during his presidency.
  • John F. Kennedy settled many foreign issues with Russia.
  • For example, the Berlin Wall controversy and the use of nuclear weapons.
  • JFK would play a crucial role in the ban of nuclear weapons test.
  • JFK played a big role in America’s civil rights movement. He was the first to mention a Civil Rights Bill. He wanted to allow freedom of service and stronger protection towards voting rights.
  • JFK played a big role in America’s Space Program by sending men to the moon and his competiveness towards the Russians in terms of the Space Race.
  • He also helped in containment of Cuba’s influence by initiating the Bay of Pigs, an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government. He was also involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which Cuba and America went to head to head in a nuclear threat war.
  • JFK also helped the economy because of his tax reductions.
  • Most importantly John F. Kennedy knew how to motivate his country and put America in the number one spot again. After his Presidency, America became the world power that no one wanted to threaten.

Pictures: Cartoon of JFK trying to convince Canada to produce nuclear weapons. JFK’s presidential photo.

works cited
Works Cited

The American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans. Vol. 12. New York: Dell Pub., 1967. Print.


John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 1963. Photograph. Dallas. Top News Law, 22 Oct. 2010. Web. 19 Mar. 2011. <>.

Why Did JFK Lose To Nixon In York County? 1960. Photograph. York County. York Town Square, 22 Apr. 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2011. <>.

John F. Kennedy 11th Congress Promotional Poster. Photograph. Http:// Fansinaflashbulb, 22 Nov. 2010. Web. 30 Feb. 2011. <>.

JFK Editorial Cartoons. 1960's. Photograph. Kennedy In Cartoons. Web. 20 Mar. 2011 <>.

JFK Editorial Cartoons. 1960's. Photograph. Kennedy In Cartoons. Web. 20 Mar. 2011 <JFK Editorial Cartoons. 1960's. Photograph. Kennedy In Cartoons. Web. .>.

John Kennedy Promotional Poster. 1960. Photograph. Cafe Press. Web. 20 Mar. 2011 <>.

John F. Kennedy's Face. 1963. Photograph. Wild Sound. Web. 20 Mar. 2011 <>.

1963 State of Union Address. 1963. Photograph. Boerner. Web. 20 Mar. 2011 <>.

1964 Civil Rights Act: 1st Page. 1964. Photograph. Rissayo, 2009. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

Vienna Summit. 1961. Photograph. JFK Library. JFK Library. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

work cited
Work Cited
  • Pictures:

Berlin Wall. 1962. Photograph. Berlin, Germany. Mad Mikes America. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

JFK Inaugural Speech. 1961. Photograph. ABC Archives. ABC. Web. 20 Mar. 2011.<>.

Lyndon B. Johnson President Photo. 1965. Photograph. Day Mix. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

Mayor Richard Daley. 1961. Photograph. Chicago, Illinois. Big Mike Science. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

Sam Giancana. 1958. Photograph. Chicago,Illinois. Mafia Wikia. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. <>.

Nixon Debate. 1960. Photograph. The Rag Blog. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

New York Times: 1960 Election. Photograph. Associate Publisher. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

Kennedy Road Sign Promotional Poster. 1960. Photograph. Mahatten Project. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. <>.

John Kennedy Pointing. 1962. Photograph. Phantomp2p. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

1960 Democratic National Convention. 1960. Photograph. American Rhetoric. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

Potsdam Conference. 1945. Photograph. Potsdam,Germany. Student Handouts. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

PT-109. 1944. Photograph. JFK Library, Soloman Islands, Pacific Ocean. JFK Library. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

Navy Symbol. Photograph. Franklin Young. Web. 15 Mar. 2011. <>.

John F. Kennedy Sketch. Photograph. John F. Kennedy Library. JFK Library. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.

JFK Official Presidential Painting. Photograph. JFK Library. JFK Library. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <>.