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John Fitzgerald Kennedy * 1961-1963, page 1

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, page 1 Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), page 1 of 2
Thirty-Fifth President
Term of Office: 1961-1963

America's first Catholic president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or "JFK" as he became known, was elected president in 1960. A Democrat, he and his vice-presidential running mate, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973), defeated the Republican Party candidate, Richard Milhous Nixon.

During World War II Kennedy's PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese ship. Though injured, Kennedy led the survivors to shore. His boat, PT 109, was produced in miniature as a tie clasp and pin in various styles during the campaign. Kennedy served in the Congress and the Senate prior to his election to the presidency in 1960. His inauguration speech is remembered for the famous line, "Ask not what your country can do for you...ask what you can do for your country."

His administration, though short-lived, was marked by several crises. These included the failed invasion of Cuba in 1961 by a group of Cuban exiles and which became known as the Bay of Pigs. In addition, the Berlin Wall separating East from West Berlin, Germany was erected in 1961 by the Soviets. The year 1962 brought the Cuban Missile Crisis, when America confronted Russia over the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba. On the domestic front, several new programs were initiated, some of which remain today such as the Peace Corps. He also called for new civil rights legislation, which is symbolized in the "Kennedy for Equality" button depicted here.

The first nationally televised presidential campaign debate was held in the 1960 campaign between Kennedy and Nixon. The Kennedys brought youth, vigor, and culture to the White House. The latter was most profoundly symbolized by JFK's wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929-1994), who he married in 1953.

The "Mamie Start Packing" button is a reference to Mamie Eisenhower (1896-1979), the wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It simply infers that Kennedy would win the 1960 election and moving into the White House while the Eisenhowers would be departing.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the fourth President to be killed by an assassin's (Lee Harvey Oswald, 1939-1963) bullet on November 22, 1963 while traveling in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, Texas. He had served exactly 1000 days in office.


Al Feldstein

Al Feldstein

Further research indicates that the black and white "Kennedy for Equality" button was actually from Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 Presidential campaign.

Collection Location:
LaVale, Maryland

Campaign paraphernalia, United States, History; Presidents, United States, Election, History.

United States, 1896-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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