Why is President John F Kennedy such a famous and controversial figure in history?

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1. Why is President John F Kennedy such a famous and controversial figure in history?

The Kennedy years have taken on an almost legendary status in the history of America. His death was the cutting down of a man in his prime of presidency. JFK presidency was also considered to be one of the most successful in American History. However Kennedy was seen to play the “good cop, bad cop” role during his presidency causing many raised eye brows in America. Kennedy is such a famous and controversial figure in history. The mixed feeling and doubts towards JFK adds to his profile of being both famous and controversial.

JFK came to light due to his own actions or lack of actions. As, he was the first born president in the twentieth century.  Making him the youngest president to take the White House. His religion caused many disillusioned votes for presidency. As he was the first Roman Catholic president. For America being dominantly protestant, this caused doubt and was a major talking point across America. JFK was also the 35th president of the United States of America. Making him a world leader with a high profile at such a young age. His election portrayed a new dawn for America. The Kennedy years were becoming an age of idealism and hope. In Kennedy first speech as president, his inaugural address. He described America as the start of something exciting. His speech was patriotic and used metaphorical descriptions of his aims in order to make a connection with the people. Even at the start of Kennedy’s presidency he makes a strong impression, encouraging support. Eventually, to rise his profile. Kennedy was also widely known for his “unsafe” aims and polices which were radical and required a remarkable amount of euthanasiam. His domestic policies aimed to introduce civil rights law for American Blacks. This would offer protection for the most vulnerable members of American society. This aims added to his profile as he was seen trying to change America for the better.

        However source E written by Malcolm X, a black activist critics Kennedy for not doing enough to help the negroes in USA. Malcolm X refers to his policies as a joke. He accuses Kennedy for letting “white dogs attack black babies.” This makes Kennedy a hated but famous character amongst many black activists.

        Adding to his inspiring aims, he was president during the cold war. The war against communism. Kennedy foreign policies during the cold war served public humiliation on America when the world learned of the Bay of Pigs Fiasco in 1961. This was a failed invasion of Cuba sponsored by CIA. This was a major embarrassment for Kennedy as he found himself caught in a dramatic and dangerous event of the Cold War – The Cuban Missile Crisis. After this it was seen as Khrushchev was testing the young presidents’ nerves. While the world held its breath, fearing conflict between two superpowers. Kennedy had to decide what to do about the Cuban Missiles. At a time in the cold war were USSR seemed to be winning. As Kennedy resolved the problem and defended the USSR on this crisis. He showed America he was prepared to stand up and fright against the war on communism. This highlights the ability of Kennedy as a great president raising his profile.

        Kennedy was seen as a vision of style and glamour. Married to the First Lady of America, who was beautiful. The couple were treated as celebrities. He was becoming more into the public eye and more famous due to the growing aid of television. He was the people’s president as they could relate to him. The people of America could see themselves in him. His fame was significantly increased by his assassination, which led to a great deal of controversy.

Kennedy was a famous figure but also an extremely controversial figure. In the public eye, Kennedy seemed the remarkable husband, with good health. Meanwhile his family with his beautiful cultured wife, Jackie appeared to be idyllic. Both images however were built around deception. As the, charismatic president had romantic affairs. He had been something of a playboy in his youth and his womanizing continued throughout his years during the white house. Many of his mistresses included, most famously, the film star and international sex symbol Marilyn Monroe. These indiscretions were kept secret by the loyalty of his family.  It was also seen as if Kennedy was addicted to pain killing drugs not a man who is a picture of good health. However JFK suffered from a bad back and Addison’s disease, a potentially fatal condition that made him reliant on cortisone injections throughout his political career. His doctors kept this quiet and his state of health was never revealed to general public. As it would have torpedoed his aspirations.

        Kennedy also appeared to have strong links with the Mafia. Kennedy was accused of ringing the votes for presidency with the mafias help. As he only won presidency by a small margin. Also during the Cuban Missile Crisis he gave permission to the CIA to assassinate the Cuban leader. This caused many turned heads back in America.

Finally the assassination of Kennedy, this is what makes him such a famous and controversial figure in history. As his death lead to the unsolvable mystery of who shot JFK? Was it the Mafia? Alone gun man? Communist? Many theories have been made up for who shot Kennedy. But even now the crime still remains unsolved.


2. According to sources B, C, F and H what were the main aims and policies of the Kennedy administration?

Kennedy’s election was portrayed as a dawning of a new era. He came as president with a set of radical polices and a remarkable amount of euthanasium. The White House welcomed new plans, as American was becoming an age of idealism and hope. Sources B, C, F and H highlight his range of aims and policies. Some viewed his aims as ambitious and inspirational.

        Source B is an extract from John F Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961. This is his first national speech to the public as the President of the United States. There is patriotic tone to his speech, as he is trying to motivate and make a connection with the people to share his ambitions with them. In source B John F Kennedy’s aim was directed to the people of American. It was a plead to the American citizens to help each other to make America a stronger state. As he says “ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for you country.” Asking the people to contribute positively to the running of America in this new era, act as an inspiration to other countries. Also in source B; President J.F.K highlights the importance of human rights; A new social policy that would offer protection for the oldest and most vulnerable members of American society. President J.F.K was “unwilling to permit the slow undoing of those human rights” after America had always been committed to them. The address expresses hopes for aspiration rather than any specific policies.

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           Source C written by John Vick, a historian. Written for a history book called “Modern America” in 1986. So, the extract should have a balanced and accurate view of what happened. The aims outlined in Source B weren’t made definite by J.F.K he was unclear in what his policies were, to prevent any broken promise to the public. In source C his basic aims and polices are a lot clearer. He aimed to make a lot of important changes in America. However, Kennedy’s aims and policies weren’t successful. He had opposition with the congress (American ...

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