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To what extent was Kennedy a great American President?

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Introduction

To what extent was Kennedy a great American President? The aim of this essay is to consider different interpretations in attempt to reach a balanced conclusion to the question "To what extent was Kennedy a great American President?". Alot of people may have different opinions on Kennedy. During his presidency, Kennedy was perceived as being a great, powerful leader and many admired him but after his assassination, people began to see his input for American society in a different light. During his presidency, Kennedy was shown to the world as a caring family man. "If youth and energy were the hallmarks of Kennedy's public image, the key to his success lay with the media, particularly television. The 1960 Presidential campaign was the first in United States history in which the television performances of the two main candidates were crucial in deciding the outcome in the election". (Stephen Hoare, British Historian, 'The Assassination of John F. Kennedy' 1988) This is a secondary source but it is written by Stephen Hoare, a Historian, so he must have done a lot of research into Kennedy so it must include factual information. Stephen Hoare argues that television and the media was the key to his success as a great American President. The following points could be made to support this argument. At the time, television had began to play an important role in putting an image, sometimes biased for their benefit, into peoples minds. ...read more.

Middle

One of the most important issues that Kennedy did not fully act on was indeed racial issues. Kennedy provided an opinion on these issues but held back to act on them eventhough America was deteriorating day by day in equal rights. At the beginning, Kennedy was doing hardly anything on racial problems. When Martin Luther King decided enough was enough, Kennedy expressed his views and willingness to go ahead with equal rights but he waited until he needed to take action before he did anything for civil rights himself. Many may argue that he was all talk and no action until he was forced to take action and then, the only reason he did was for more votes. "Kennedy entered the White House at the moment when the issue of racial oppression could no longer be dodged. He had to act, and so did effectively and (in the main) willingly." (Hugh Brogan 'Kennedy : Profiles In Power' 1996) This is a secondary source but Hugh must have done a lot of research and gained a lot of factual information to write this book. He did not know Kennedy so this cannot be biased. Hugh argues that Kennedy dodged the racial issues until he was forced to take action but then did effectively. Others may argue though that he was just waiting so that he could crush the issue hard. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many people were blind after his death. Too taken up by misery and rememberance of what they saw on television to question him. To them, he saved the world whilst caring for his family and he never broke one section of the law doing so. Remember, they did not know Kennedy. They just knew what they saw. Media can be very misinterprating towards people. The citizens saw what the president wanted them to see. Many years later though, people are now beginning to question him. Evidence has come to light that he was having secret affairs with numerous women. The so called family man was not much of a family man now. Also, evidence has come to light that he was involved with the mafia to kill Castro and Kruschev in the "Bay of Pigs". The innocent, sweet man that saved the world does not seem to be so innocent now. Many people may feel betrayed by him. That he could lie to a whole country when the world was at stake. Many others may argue that even though he may not have been perfect, he did save the world and the whole of mankind in whatever he did and he should be remembered for that. Overall, I believe that Kennedy was partly a great president but partly not. He was not honest to the world and he may not have been the most innocent man on the earth but if he had been, there would be no world today and we would not even be here. ...read more.

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