Presidential Biography of JFK
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Presidential Biography of JFK
Modern American Studies, Period 1
5 Novermber 1996
Theodore C. Sorensen.
New York: Harper & Row, 1965. 783 pp.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in the Boston suburb of
Brookline. Kennedy was the son of Joseph P. Kennedy a formerambassador to Great
Britain. Kennedy was much like his father, possesing a delightful sense of humor, a strong
family loyalty, a concern for the state of the nation, endless vitality and a constant air of
confidence no matter how dire the situation (Kennedy, Sorensen, Harper & Row, New
York 1965, Page 18).
Growing up in a priviliged household and graduating with honors from Harvard. He
served as an assistant to his father (1938), naval officer (1941-1945), journalist (1941 and
1945) and Congressman (1947-1953), he had traveled to every major continent and talked
with the presidents and prime ministers, of some thirty-seven countries. In 1952 he was
elected to the United States Senate and in 1953 he married Jaqueline Bouvier. However
one year later a spinal operation brought him to the edge of death’s door, causing him to
deeply reflect on his character (Sorensen 28). After his dangerous operation he
researched and wrote a book, about democracy. The next year narrowly missing the Vice
Presidential nomination of his party, Kennedy emerged as a national figure in large
“John Kennedy was not one of the Senate’s great leaders” (Sorensen 43). Very
few laws of great importance bear his name. Even after his initial “traditionally’ inactive
freshman year in the Senate, his chances for major contributions to the Senate excluding
his stances on fair labor reform and against rackets, were constantly diminished of his
Presidential campaign. His voting record reflects his open minded views, and strengthed
beliefs. He was well liked and respected by many Senators. Kennedy was regarded for
his eagerness and cool logic in debate situations His only real “enemy” was Senator
Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (Sorensen 45).McCarthy’s rough and wide-ranging hunts
for Red, “pinks” and headlines had stomped on the freedoms of people who had not
committed a crime, and Kennedy was too rational and reasonable a man to remain
indiferent to the extremism known as Mcarthyism. Kennedy often was a thorn in
McCarthy’s side obstructing many of McCarthy’s personal choices for various offices and
by serving on certain committies of which McCarthy was chairman, such as the
Government Operations Committee (Sorensen 46).
Kennedy’s political philosophy revoloved around the idea that one could not allow
the pressures of party responisbility to cloud ones personal responsibility. Meaning after
all was said and done that the decision falls upon yourself to make the choice regardless of
what your party platform was. Of course the platfrom had significant merit, nevertheless
it still came down to the individual. “Democrats, he said, generally had more heart, more
more energy. They were not satisfied with things as they were and believed they could
make them better” (Sorensen 71).
“John F. Kennedy wanted someday to be President of the United States”
(Sorensen 95). Not becuase he was dissatisfied with his life as a Senator nor because he
possessed some grand scheme for the future of America. He merely felt that it was the
center of action of the American System. “at least you have an opportunity to do
something about all the probelms which. . . I would be concerned about [anyway] as a
father or as a citizen. . . and if what you do is useful and succesful, then . . . that is a great
satisfaction” (Sorensen 95). Before the election of 1960 Kennedy used the result of his
newfound celebrity status to do a bit of travelling across the country. Convering more
than thirty thousand miles in twenty-four states, he made over 150 speeches and
appearances in the course of six weeks. He spoke to various conventions, varying from
civic to labor, farmer to youth. However his senatorial duties enabled him to accept less
than 4 percent of the hundreds of invitations that poured into his office, mainly consisting
of important Democratic canidates or fund-raising dinner chairmen. As the years
progressed the fact materialized that his hard work had finally begun to pay off. His
audiences had became larger and even more
enthusiastic. Therefore at 12:30 P.M., on Saturday, January 2, Senator John Fitzgerald
Kennedy walked into a crowded press conference and read a one-page declaration of his
candidacy for the Presidency (Sorensen 122).
“I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. . . .
In the past forty months, I have toured
View Full Essay
Kennedy family, Progressivism in the United States, Richard Nixon, Ted Sorensen, John F. Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., United States presidential election, Kennedy, Profiles in Courage, Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign
More Free Essays Like This