Introduction to the Kennedy Presidency

On January 9, 1961, just 11 days before his inauguration as 35th President of the United States, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy delivered an eloquent and well-received address to the Massachusetts Legislature. On that day, even the most loyal Kennedy supporters could hardly imagine that the nation was about to embark on one of the shortest but most memorable administrations of the 20th century.

Rags to Riches: A success story to inspire any American

To many around the world, the United States has been known as "a land of opportunity." Many of the 37.5 million immigrants who entered this country between 1840 and 1940 came in the belief that they would not only escape persecution, but also embark on a life of freedom and success. A life that would, in turn, yield greater opportunities for their children. As the grandson of Irish immigrants, the story of Joseph P. Kennedy, the President's father, is typical of the hopes of these immigrants.

Mass Media Savvy: The First President

While television was still in its infancy in the 1950's, by 1960 it was becoming a powerful social force in American society. President Kennedy was the first president to understand and use the potential of television.

Physical Appeal: A youthful and attractive First Family captivates the American Public

President Kennedy was handsome, youthful, and a decorated war The Kennedy family at Hyannisport hero. He was the first president to be born in the 20th century and, at 43, the youngest ever elected president. He was also a published author with an Ivy League education. His looks, wit, and intelligence appeared as a sharp contrast from the older and more staid presidential styles that preceded him.

Drama of the Times: A leader during times of fear and trouble

The 1960's are often described as a turbulent decade. The years of President Kennedy's Administration coincided with some of the most dramatic and politically complex events of recent memory.

Assassination: A national tragedy uniting all Americans

Any leader's assassination becomes a national tragedy. But when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, he had only served 1065 days, less than three years. And while he was not the first President to be murdered in office, the outpouring of grief at his death represented nothing less than a national psychological trauma. For four days, businesses closed while, for the first time, Americans watched television and mourned collectively. Just two days later, they together witnessed the televised murder of the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswal