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Analytical Essay on John F. Kennedy: Way of Life and Way to Presidency

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

On November 22, 1963, President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Although this was one of the main events that many people remember about Kennedy’s legacy, he had a lot of impact from the start during his presidency. In his early life, John F. Kennedy came from a wealthy family. During these early years, Kennedy would live a tough, but also easy lifestyle. With his family’s great reputation, he would ease his way into Harvard and find his love in the political scene. After finishing school, Kennedy would join the military, earning heroic honors and “escaping death” before entering his political career. While finding his way in the political world, Kennedy would move from Congressman to Senator. After seeking national attention from his senator position, Kennedy was now on his journey to enter the White House. Overcoming doubts and rumors and taking part in the Great Debate, John F. Kennedy would win the Presidential election and make an early impact as the President of the United States. With having a very successful First One Hundred Days, he would face greater problems such as The Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. After overcoming these major problems, Kennedy would balance political and foreign affairs, while keeping the American people safe. With his days counting down as Camelot, Kennedy would promote the Space Program and keep an eye on Vietnam before being assassinated. After his assassination, Kennedy became a global icon leaving a legacy that would be looked up to for a very long time. Whether it being from the Cold War, Civil Rights, or his leadership inspiring a nation, Kennedy’s legacy will be preserved and admired as one of the greatest leaders that ever took office in the United States.

After Joe and Rose Kennedy got married, they had their first son Joseph Patrick Kennedy in 1915. Two years later on May 29, 1917, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in their family home. With Kennedy’s father mastering the stock trade market, and selling stock shares, the Kennedy family became millionaires within six years. While the family’s money helped shelter John from the Great Depression, it also sheltered him from social morale. John from a young age believed that as a Kennedy, he was entitled to special treatment. Feeling entitled, John had a hard time throughout school, coming home with mediocre grades and always getting in trouble. His father Joe, would have to get him out of trouble numerous times, for instance the Muckers Club. John and his friends formed a club called the “Muckers” and would often find themselves in bad predicaments. With the boys in danger of being expelled, John’s father Joe convinced the headmaster to let John stay as long as he discontinued the club and promised to do well in his studies. In spite of all the troubles throughout school, John earned the title “most likely to succeed.” Although he had unlikely grades to fit that title, John’s personality was what got him to be a lovable person. Towards the end of high school, headmaster St. John came to love Kennedy as well, despite all the headache he put him through. After graduating highschool from Choate in 1935, John F. Kennedy had grown tall, lanky, and good-looking. While getting admitted into Princeton University, Kennedy got very ill and eventually had to withdraw from University a year later. While recuperating, John made the decision to apply at Harvard. With his father being Joe Kennedy, his admission was a sure thing. Although he scored very low on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, John was still accepted three days later for the Fall semester. During his

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time at Harvard, his father was appointed ambassador to Great Britain, thus making John's curiosity intensify in foreign affairs. With John’s curiosity in foreign affairs blossoming, he majored in government and international relations. He took numerous classes on contemporary international politics. Kennedy became interested in determining the reasons why nations took diverse actions. He believed international cooperation was a key to success. At the end of his senior year at Harvard, John’s senior thesis was on international affairs. It was something he worked harder than ever before. With his thesis being so marvelous, it was published into a book called Why England Slept. With his book becoming a best-seller, he knew he wanted to do something more meaningful in life than just sit around and live off his book earnings. Kennedy wanted to join the armed services, and with a war going on with other countries, John wanted to enlist in the Navy to serve his country.

Although John F. Kennedy had many health problems, Joe Kennedy arranged a physical examination with Captain Alan Kirk, an old American embassy friend, to pass John’s physical test. Without no record noted about John’s health problems, Kennedy had passed the physical test with ease. Agreeing with me is Jessica McElrath, the author of The Everything John F. Kennedy Book, as she states, “According to Jack’s report, Jack had endured a normal childhood illness and currently abided by a diet without fried food” (McElrath 46). Thus stating, there was no indication of John having any health problems and was fit for war. After passing the physical examination, Kennedy secured a spot in the Navy in 1941. He was responsible for summarizing reports received from overseas for bulletins. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kennedy’s workload took much more importance by working seven nine-hour days. On July 23, 1942, Jack received orders that he was bound for combat. A little less than a week later, he entered training at midshipman’s school at a branch of Northwestern University in Chicago. After his training, John wanted to command a patrol-torpedo (PT) boat, which was a motorized torpedo boat. With a combination of his father’s help and John’s outstanding interview, he secured a spot. After graduating from PT training, he would remain in Melville to train other squadrons. With wanting to go into combat, John contacted his grandfather Honey Fitz to help Kennedy secure a spot in that role. John got his wish and was reassigned to the war zone. John arrived at the Solomon Islands in March 1943. His first taste of combat came the moment he arrived, when his captain was killed by an air raid from the Japanese. After that event, Kennedy was assigned to command PT 109. On August 1, Kennedy’s PT was sent to Blackett Straight to engage a Japanese convoy. As the Japanese Convoy passed the PT boats, Kennedy’s boat sustained a lot of damage. With John surviving the collision, he made the decision that his crew members should swim three miles away to a nearby island. While living off little supplies, the crew was rescued six days later. It didn't take long for the press to get a hold of the situation as The New York Times ran a story entitled “Kennedy’s son is a hero in Pacific as destroyer splits his PT boat.” and the Boston Globe titling their headline, “Kennedy’s son saves 10 in Pacific; Kennedy’s son is heo in the Pacific.” After going back to the war, six weeks later, Kennedy was exhausted. Supporting this is Jessica McElrath, as she states, “After six intese weeks of battle, Jack was drained. He wished to go home...his back and stomach pain increased” (McElrath 72). After returning home, John underwent surgery and decided to retire on March 1, 1945. After a quick role as a journalist, Kennedy greatly considered a political career. Kennedy’s decision was influenced more and more from his father. With John developing speaking skills and winning over voters, Kennedy won his first political victory on June 18. A few months later, John won the House seat over his opponent in November 1946.

As a new member of the House, it was said that Kennedy’s first priority was setting up his new office. After Kennedy’s office was to his liking, his focus was now turned to working for the voters. Kennedy grew uncomfortable with the idea of an unbalanced budget. He objected to the bill of giving tax cuts, because he thought it was unfair to lower-income citizens, he also believed that the bill would lead to economic insecurity. Although he didn't get a majority of the votes, he still tried to represent the poor. As the House failed to act on the importance of social welfare issues, such as a plan to address the housing shortage, Kennnedy responded with WWII veterans being the main group hurt by the problem. With the house refusing to act on the shortage, Kennedy won favor with his constituents, especially veterans who viewed his stance on the issue as audacious. There was also the issue of providing federal aid to schools. For the most part, Kennedy agreed with the position of many Americans. He felt that if money was given to public schools, then religious schools were entitled to. In the end, Kennedy’s stand on providing federal aid to schools and a balanced budget won out. After succeeding on his stance of having a balanced budget, Kennedy found that being a House member left him with lots of time to have a “bachelor style” social life. His charm and good looks remained his best qualities. Agreeing with me is Deborah Heiligram, the author of High Hopes: A Photobiography of John F. Kennedy, as she states, “Kennedy was a charming man, and women found him irresistible” (Heiligman 29). As Kennedy lived for the moment, he finally came into a realization of what his future could be. He never really considered of being a member of the House a stopping point in his political career. By 1951, Kennedy had his goals on advancing beyond the House of Representatives, and he also argued that communism in the government no longer existed. This paved the way for the next move in his political career.

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Analytical Essay on John F. Kennedy: Way of Life and Way to Presidency. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
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