John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
In one of the many memorial services following the brutal murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, it was said that "President Kennedy had everything in the world, but time." Only Franklin D. Roosevelt had such an emotional impact on the American people. Presidents Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon one could take or leave. One could agree or disagree with their policies, their actions and tactics, but it was difficult to become emotionally involved with them.
Kennedy, like Roosevelt, was charismatic and, like Roosevelt, played the emotional scene for all it was worth. Roosevelt, living in the hey-day of radio, used words for optimum effect; Kennedy, living in the age of television, used image for effect. Kennedy's impact on America was far greater than his accomplishments as an elected official would indicate. It has become fashionable to criticize Kennedy, land indeed we do not hesitate to do so. But in attacking Kennedy the elected official, his detractors have a tendency to lose sight of Kennedy the man and Kennedy the image. Too many scholars read the sterile words in the Congressional Record or examine the titles and articles in Kennedy legislation and appraise Kennedy from the dry leaves of paper. Too many people remember the Kennedy image and fail to see Kennedy the human being. It is our hope to fall into neither abyss.
Kennedy the elected official was created by the thoughts and experience of Kennedy the man. It is our purpose to show what were the thoughts and experience of Kennedy the man, how these thoughts and experiences shaped the elected official, and how the elected official then attempted to impose his thoughts and experience upon the American public. Finally, we will discuss and analyze the impact of Kennedy on the American scene.