The Legacy of John F. Kennedy Essay

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Our Fellow American
The late president John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said, “Sure it's a big job; but I don't know anyone who can do it better than I can” (“John F. Kennedy” BrainyQuote.com). Kennedy was a young and fresh political figure at the time of his election in 1960. The thirty-fifth president of the United States was born May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the youngest president ever, as well as the first and only Roman Catholic president (Bass, et al.). His presidency was shortened by an assassin on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy preceded his presidency with a term in the U.S. House of Representatives (1947-1953) and a term in the U.S. Senate (1953-1961) (“John F. Kennedy” History.com). Kennedy, a
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Kennedy went on, however, to risk his political career for these same rights. In response to an outburst at the University of Mississippi after the admittance of a black student, the president said from the oval office on June 11, 1963, “It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated.” Despite Kennedy’s assassination shortly after this proclamation, the Civil Rights Act passed through Congress just weeks later under President Johnson. As JFK intended, the Civil Rights Act afforded equal rights to whites and blacks alike (Kozak). Kennedy is remembered for following through on promises made during his campaign. One of Kennedy’s memorable feats in domestic affairs was the advancement of our space program (Armstrong, Lovell, Cernan). In a 1961 address to Congress he said,
“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft.”

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