Реферат: Институт президенства в США
TOC o «1-3» h z Introduction. PAGEREF _Toc512195739 h 3
Constitution USA… PAGEREF _Toc512195740 h 3
Nation Grows. Washington ThroughJackson. Jefferson. PAGEREF _Toc512195741 h 5
Presidents of the United States. PAGEREF _Toc512195742 h 7
Thomas Jefferson. PAGEREF _Toc512195743 h 8
Jefferson's Reason. PAGEREF _Toc512195744 h 8
The “American Creed" and Mankind's Spiritual History. PAGEREF _Toc512195745 h 9
Jacksonian Democracy. PAGEREF _Toc512195746 h 11
Jonh F. Kennedy. PAGEREF _Toc512195747 h 12
Presidents at a Glance. PAGEREF _Toc512195748 h 18
Excerpts from Inaugural Addresses ofAmerican Presidents. PAGEREF _Toc512195749 h 22
The literature. PAGEREF _Toc512195750 h 24
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The US is a federal Union of 50 states each of themhas its own government. The seat of the central (federal) government isWashington, D.C.
The population of the USA is about 250 million people;most of the population lives in towns and cities.
The United States is rich in natural and mineralresources. It produces copper, oil, iron ore and coal. It's a highly developedindustrial and agricultural country. There are many big cities in the USA, suchas New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and others. The nationalcapital is Washington, D.C. Its population is about 3.4 million. It was builtin the late eighteenth century as the centre of government. It was named afterGeorge Washington, the first president of USA and general of war.
The USA are the fourth largestcountry in the World (after Russia, Canada, and China). It occupies thesouthern part of North America and stretches from the Pacific to the AtlanticOcean. It also includes Alaska in the North and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.The total area of the country is about nine and half million square kilometers.The USA borders on Canada in the North and on Mexico in the South. It also hasa sea border with Russia.
The USA is a presidential republic.The legislative branch of the US Government, or the Congress, represents all ofthe American states. It consists of two parts: the House of Representatives andthe Senate. Each state has two senators, who are elected every 6 years. Asenator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the US for 9 years and livethe state she or he will represent. A representative must be at least 25 yearsold, a citizen for 7 years and live in the state.
USA — the very first state acceptedthe constitution. It is one of the first countries which have establisheddemocracy by the basic form of board. In this report we shall tell about thereasons of occurrence of the constitution and about its influence ondevelopment of the state on an example of president's institute.Constitution USA
With independence came manyproblems. The U. S. were joined together under one government by the Articlesof Confederation. The articles listed the powers of the central government andthe powers of the states. There was a national Congress made up ofrepresentatives from each state. But Congress had almost no power at all. The13 states acted like 13 separate little nations. There were many times whenstates would not cooperate with the central government. They were too busyquarrelling with each other. The U. S. was in danger of falling.
In May 1787 a meeting began in Philadelphia to change the Articles ofConfederation. Representatives from all the states except Rhode Island werepresent. It was soon decided that whole new constitution had to be written. Aconstitution is set of laws by which a country is governed.
This meeting became known as the Constitutional Convention. Washingtonwas chosen president of the convention. A 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin tookpart in its work. A new group of first-rate leaderswere at this meeting. Among these leaders were James Madison and Gouverneur Morris. The people who attended theconvention did their work very well. The Constitution has lasted to thepresent.
What kind of government would be the best for the USA?
The delegates all agreed that the new government should continue to be arepublic. This means that the people would elect representatives to managetheir country.
The delegates knew that they wanted a federal government. In such agovernment the power is divided between the national and the state governments.The national government would collect taxes and borrow money. It would controltrade with foreign countries and between states. The national government wouldprint or coin money. It alone could declare war. All other powers were left tothe states. Matters within a state would be settled by that state.
The members of the Constitutional Convention wanted a government thatwould protect the people's rights, not take them away. So they divided thegovernment's power into three parts, or branches. This is called separation ofpowers.
The legislative branch was the Congress. Its major job was to make laws.The executive branch was the President and his helpers. It was their job tocarry out the laws the Congress passed. The judicial branch was the courts.They had to decide the meaning of the laws.
Each branch had some power over the other two. No one branch would beallowed more power than the others.
A big debate at the convention was over the matter of who would controlCongress. Large states wanted representatives to Congress based on the numberof people in the state. Small states wanted an equal vote with the largerstates. This problem was solved by giving Congress two parts. Regardless ofsize each state would send two representatives to the Senate, one part ofCongress. States with more people would send more delegates to the House of Representatives,the other part of Congress. In order for a law to be passed, it had to gothrough both parts of Congress.
The new Constitution included a way to make changes, called amendments.If things didn't work out, or if the USA grew оchanges, the Constitution could be amended without being entirelychanged. This was to prove helpful very soon.
Nine state governments had to approve the Constitution be fore it couldbecome the law of the land. Many states refused to do so unless theConstitution listed people's rights as well as the rights of the government.They argued that important freedoms must be written down. Once the states werepromised that this would happen, the Constitution would become law.
James Madison saw to it that these freedoms were written down. Madisonhad been very active at the Constitutional Convention. After the Convention heworked hard to explain the Constitution to the people. Once the new governmentwas started, Madison wrote many amendments that would make rights like freedomthe press, speech and worship part of the Constitution. Ten of these amendmentswere passed by the states. These first ten amendments to the Constitution areknown as the Bill of Rights.Nation Grows. Washington ThroughJackson. Jefferson
April 30, 1789 was Inauguration Day for the young nation's firstPresident. An inauguration is the ceremony that puts someone office. Washingtondid not want to be President. He wanted to live at his beautiful home MountVernon. But he put his love for his country ahead of his own wishes. Washingtontraveled from Mount Vernon to New York City. New York City was the nation'sfirst capital. Washington took the oath of office on the Bible. He promised todo his best to keep, protect and defend the Constitution. The Constitutionlisted the powers and duties of the President.
The new government was started with a Constitution, a Congress, aPresident and little else. Both Washington and the Congress knew that the newgovernment would have to show its strength very quickly.
The job of President was too big for one person alone. Congress formedthree departments to help Washington. These departments went to work on threeof the biggest problems facing the new nation.
The State Department would work on relations with other nations. The WarDepartment would build a national navy and army. It is now called theDepartment of Defense. The Treasury Department would handle the nation's moneyproblems.
Washington chose able leaders for each of these departments. Each leaderwould be called a secretary. Thomas Jefferson became secretary of state; HenryKnox, secretary of war and Alexander Hamilton secretary of treasury.
Each of these men advised the President. Final decisions were made bythe President, however.
The group of advisors became known as the Cabinet. Future Presidentswould all have a Cabinet.
The Constitution called for a third branch of government — a SupremeCourt. All questions about the Constitution and federal laws would be settledby this court. Washington appointed John Jay as head of the Supreme Court. Hewas called the Chief Justice.
In 1791 Congress passed a tax law in order to raise money for the newgovernment. Some people thought they would rather fight than pay these taxes.Washington formed an army to stop them. He showed future Presidents how to be astrong leader.
The nation also grew and expanded while Washington was President. Thenew states — Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee — entered the Union.
Washington could have beenPresident for life. But he didn't feel this was right. He had devoted most ofhis life to helping his country. Now, he was 65 years old and had served twoterms, or four-year periods as President. With the exception of FranklinRoosevelt, every President has followed Washington's two-term tradition. In1797 Washington retired. He went back to the life he loved at Mount Vernon.
Неdid not enjoy it for long time. On December 12, 1799 he was caught in asnowstorm while riding around his farm and became sick. Two days later he died.The second president be-came John Adams. He was a true patriot as well as abrave and stubborn man. Near the end of Adam's term as President, thegovernment moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D. C. The most important ofAdam's deeds was that he took responsibility of the peace with France in 1800.
The third president of the USA was a very remarkable man, ThomasJefferson. He was a man of many talents: He was a lawyer. He wrote theDeclaration of Independence. He was the representative of the United States atthe court of the king of France A person who does this kind of work is called adiplomat. He was the first secretary of state, second vice-president and thirdPresident of the USA. While he was President the size of the country doubled.
He came from Virginia. He served that state as governor and Congressman.As an architect he drew the plans for many building in Virginia. At the sametime he was also a fine violinist and composer. He studied Native Americanlanguages. He knew Greek, Latin and Hebrew. He could speak French and Italian.
His work as scientist and inventor shouldn't be forgotten. He didpractical things such as improving farming methods by in venting a new type ofplow. He experimented with different seeds. He worked much in education.
Jefferson's greatest accomplishment as President was the LouisianaPurchase. At this time Louisiana included just above all the land from theMississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The Mississippi River was a highwayfor those Americans who lived west of the Appalachian Mountains. They tooktheir goods downriver to the port of New Orleans. New Orleans was not part ofthe U. S. It belonged to France which had received the city and the rest ofwhat is called the Louisiana Territory from Spain in 1800.
Americans living in the West were afraid that France would not allowthem to use the port of New Orleans for trade. This was because Napoleon wantedto start another French empire in America. The Americans were to try to buy NewOrleans from the French for ten million dollars.
Haiti was a French colony in the Caribbean Sea. Napoleon needed a strongnaval base in Haiti if he wanted a French empire in America. But a former slaveToussaint L'Ouverture led the people of Haiti in successful fight for freedomat this time. With out Haiti, Louisiana lost some of its appeal for Napoleon.It also looked as though France would soon be fighting Great Britain. If so,France would be unable to defend Louisiana. The soldiers would be needed inEurope. Napoleon decided to sell the entire Louisiana territory to the USA. Itwas bought for 15 million dollars. By this act the USA doubled its size.
Jefferson wanted to know more about Louisiana. He wished to find outabout the Native Americans, the animals, the minerals, the climate and the typeof land. To make such an exploration Jefferson chose Merewether Lewis, hispersonal secretary, and William dark, Lewis's close friend. They were to try tofind a route all the way to the Pacific Ocean. They built a fort and spent thewinter on the shores of the Pacific. In the spring they started the trip home,finally reaching St Louis in September 1806. Their diary was a document ofgreat importance. Jefferson received an excellent report of their journey. Helearned a great deal about the geography of the new territory. He learned aboutthe animals, trees and plants there. The work of Lewis and dark gave the USA aclaim to the Oregon Country. In 1846 this area became part of the USA.Presidents of the United States
Who can be President?Any natural-born citizen ofthe United States who is over the age of thirty-five and has lived in theUnited States for fourteen years or more.
What does a President do?The President is the chiefexecutive of the United States. According to the Constitution, he «shalltake care that the laws be faithfully executed.» From time to time, heinforms Congress in his State of the Union message what has been done and whatneeds to be done.
Although he cannot force Congress to act, he can suggest a program forthem to consider. And as leader of his political party, he can often see thatprogram is carried out, when his party has a majority of seats. He can alsoprevent Congress from acting by using the presidential veto.
The President plays the chief part in shaping foreign policy. With theSenate's approval, he makes treaties with other nations and appointambassadors. But he can also make executive agreements with other nationswithout approval of the Senate.
He nominates Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, and many otherhigh officials. These nominations must be approved by the Senate However, hecan fill thousands of other important posts under his own power.
The President is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and commissionsofficers in all branches of the service.
How is the President elected?The voters of eachstate choose a number of electors equal to the number of senators andrepresentatives they have in Congress. The electoral college, made up of theelectors from every vote for the candidate supported by the voters of theirstate When there are more than two presidential candidates and none gets aclear majority, Congress selects the President from the three candidates whoreceived the most votes.
How long is the President in office?The President iselected to a term of four years. Since Article XXII of the Constitution becameeffective, in 1951, no President may be elected to more than two terms
When does the President take office?The new Presidenttakes office at noon of January 20 of the year following his election, ontaking this oath of office: «I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that Iwill faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will,to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution ofthe United States.»ThomasJeffersonJefferson'sReason
Jefferson's words are written and spoken in the USA many times everyday;most often as if the words, phrases and ideas, by themselves alone, constitutedsome sort of complete statements, some sort of ultimate and final truths aboutman, world and society. This is a deep, though very popular mistake; one thispiece shall try somewhat to amend. The phrases and ideas are admittedly grand,noble and inspiring; most Americans — at least those native born — do not readthese words without emotion (due of course to intellectual and emotionalculture and education). They are an essential part of what it is to be an«American». Even persons in the USA who may only be educated in themost meager way (and there are unfortunately tens of millions in the USA whoare labeled «functionally-illiterate»), often still can at leastrepeat portions of these famous words quoted above. (This author has observedsome of the very poorest, least educated, most socially- and economically — disadvantagedpeople in America- whose daily lives are surrounded by chronic poverty; drugs,uncontrolled crime and random violence; joblessness; hopelessness;
broken families, etc. — repeat small parts of Jefferson's words, intrying to explain their lives. Jefferson could never have pictured this.)
Jefferson had been raised as a child in the moderate beliefs, doctrinesand services of the Anglican Church; it had its original lineage from the RomanCatholic Church, and generally in America became the Episcopal Church. It wasthe established church of the Virginia colony where Jefferson lived. (LaterJefferson would be influential in disestablishing this church. In other words,he was raised as a boy in the traditions and beliefs of the Christian cosmoswith its ancient elements. But this would soon be profoundly challenged. Whenhe, beginning at the age of 16, attended the College of William and Mary, hebegan a rapid transition from a mild, uncritical world of theological beliefsthe Anglican Church is not one of emotional fervor in religion) into the modemcritical ideas of the so-called Enlightenment, into the «Age ofReason». And in fact it is necessary to understand not only what Jeffersonbelieved when he wrote Declaration of Independence at the age of 33, but what hedid not believe, in order to clearly recognize the meaning of the«American Creed».
From his personal notebooks — where he wrote ideas which were of realimportance to him (they also constitute one of the few sources of insight wehave as to the young Jefferson's mind) — we are able to see into his new ideasof the world. Jefferson, while young, was deeply affected by his educationalexperiences at the College of William and Mary, both by his personal contacts(for example, he came to dine and converse regularly with the Governor ofVirginia, whose father had worked for Sir Isaac Newton), as well as by hisreadings. While only one of the seven faculty members at the College was not anAnglican clergyman: Dr. William Small of Scotland; it was he who the youngJefferson was most influenced by. Of him Jefferson later wrote that he was«a man profound in most of the useful branches of science...from hisconversations I got my first views of the expansion of science and of thesystem of things in which we are placed.» (This is a clear, iflater-written, indication of Jefferson's transition from atheological-religious to a natural scientific world-view.)
We know from his notebooks that be was deeply impacted by the writingsconcerning religious and philosophical themes and history of Lord Boling broke(1678-1751), whose works are a rather tedious, rationalist, empiricist critiqueof all of the religious and philosophical systems then known of in the world.Jefferson seems, from his note-taking, to have read all of the several volumesat this early period as a student. (Jefferson would eventually come to assembleone of the greatest personal libraries of his time in America; it became thecore of the current Library of Congress, for, after the British burnt the firstone in 1814, Jefferson sold his personal library of about 6,500 books to the USCongress to rebuild its library. Even with this comparatively small reading inBoling broke, Jefferson received a broader and more solid intellectualeducation than today most Americans do after many years of schooling.)
If Jefferson lived uncritically in the Christian cosmos as a child,Boling broke's critical works (and not only this author) would have deeplyaffected the Jefferson's young understanding — and this effect in his ideas andphilosophy lasted for the rest of his life. So that when we look to see whatJefferson did mean of man and cosmos when he wrote the words still famousaround the world today, we find that he did not hold a religious or spiritualview of man and cosmos, as had the early settlers (and still many ofJefferson's contemporaries) of the «age of faith» in Americanhistory. Indeed, Jefferson had rejected most of their ideas and beliefs,believing rather in a material, physical, natural scientific view of man andworld. (He held a Deist view of God, as the original creator, who had orderednature and life through the «laws of nature», but otherwise wasdetached from earthly life. And in general he tended to reduce all religion tomorality.) Closer to Darwin in spirit and time (of whose later writings hecould know nothing of course), Jefferson would later symptomatically placebusts of Bacon, Locke and Newton in his self- designed home of Monticello — which is now become a place of American pilgrimage. This is an indication ofhis lifelong adherence — beginning as a student — to a natural-scientific viewof man and world. Jefferson rejected most religions and metaphysicalphilosophies and their ideas as myths. (He especially disliked for examplePlato, St. Paul, Athanasius and Calvin.) Sometimes he viewed them as thedeliberate fabrications of priests and kings to manipulate and control theirpeople. Jefferson thought that man's «reason» should rule man.The“American Creed" and Mankind's Spiritual History
Jefferson's words came to be repeated on e. g. «Fourth of JulyCelebrations» throughout America over the years and came to be a sort ofcreedal statement as to what it means to be «American» — as we sawalso in the President's address in November of 1995 But in fact very fewAmericans are clear about either the original context or meaning of the«American Creed» — the «cosmos» of these words — or ofJefferson’s rejection of most of the spiritual beliefs which many of theseAmericans personally hold, commonly blended together with Jefferson'scontrasting, antithetically-conceived grand expressions! In other words, theseideas from 1776, still alive today, are in fact only truly to be understoodwithin a scientific-natural view of man, nature, society. God and world. Andthis is so even though the religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs ofthe vast majority of the US people — who often use them in close associationwith Jefferson's phrases, when they explain and understand America and life — were in fact rejected by Jefferson before (and after) he wrote them. His humanand social ideals were conceived within a natural cosmos of man; they areideals of man in this world. He had rejected a spiritual cosmos andanthropology to man.
Jefferson would, symptomatically, at the end of his great life (devotedlargely to serving America) attempt (unsuccessfully) to exclude the teaching ofreligion from the University of Virginia which he had brought into being.Contrariwise, most Americans — in their (generally) extremely limited knowledgeof even their own nation's history-place together views which Jefferson himselfconsidered to be fundamentally antithetical. The beliefs of a greater spiritualcosmos, e.g. Dante's world's, the spiritual-metaphysical beliefs of man andworld, cannot properly be fit inside of Jefferson's world and his ideals — atleast not realistically intellectually. The cosmos of the «AmericanCreed» has its own reality and dignity — but it is not such that all ofthe ideas which Americans have come to place inside of its famous phrases, can,truthfully and unproblematically, be placed.
In my view — and no one who reads this great man's biography can doubthis devotion and service to America, Jefferson was true to the history, realityand life of mankind in his time. One of his biographers called him «one ofthe most devoted disciples of the Age of Reason». (Nostalgia and longingfor the «age of faith» — like the time before the «Fall ofMan» — is understandable; but the «age of reason» was, if not aninevitability or necessity of history, still nevertheless a new more realisticrelationship of man to nature. So that no mere easy return to the past is trueor realistic.) He was a realistic man of science; he could not and would notrest in the «age of faith». And, as was characteristic of this andlater time, once the Bible and religion were subjected to the «age ofreason», the beliefs of the «age of faith» could never beimmediately accepted unquestioned again.
While he was close to Darwin in his scientific attitude, he would havedeeply lamented Darwin's eventual rejection both of a creator God (chance andnatural selection rather than divine design) and the view of man's reason andconscience as special «gifts» (Jefferson) of God to man.
In fact, Darwin and Jefferson (as well as many of their contemporariesof course), were offended by many of the same «unbelievable» aspectsof Christianity and in relationship to Jefferson's phrases as well!
Here is an aspect — perhaps even more fundamental and definitive in someways than the problem of the popular and noble «American Dream» — ofhow Americans are unaware and unconscious of the lineage of their own spiritualand intellectual origin and history. Very, very few even college-graduate Americanscould even begin to give a serious account of the relation-ship between theirown personal spiritual beliefs, the cosmos of their «American Creed»and the intellectual and spiritual history of mankind (e.g. Indo-Europeansources, Dionysus the Areopagite's cosmography, Dante's Comedy, even Newton,Laplace, et al). They are simply unaware and uninformed of how America's«ideas» acutally stand inside of not only European, but Occidentaland world intellectual and spiritual history. Indeed, I am certain that even thecurrent President of the USA himself- himself an active Christian SouthernBaptist believer — would find it difficult to give such an account of therelationship of his Baptist religious beliefs, to the natural ideas of man andcosmos in the «American Creed» which he had cited in his November1995 speech, in which he defined America to the world. But American ideals — the cosmos of the American Creed-do stand within the entire spiritual andintellectual history of Mankind — however little this may be clearly conceivedand worried by Americans themselves.
The cosmos of the «American Creed» is a natural, not aspiritual one. The failure to recognize and understand this clearly cannot beof spiritual and intellectual hope, health and help to Mankind. If America isnow in many ways leading the world, it should, presumably, know and understandmore deeply and clearly what America and her ideals are actually about.Jacksonian Democracy
Andrew Jackson became the U. S. President in 1828. For weeks thousandsof people had been coming to Washington, D. C. to see his inauguration. Jacksonwas the hero of common people. He was truly a President of the people.
Jackson was a fighter. He took part in the Revolutionary War. Hissoldiers called him «Old Hickory» because hickory wood was thetoughest thing they knew. When he had moved to Tennessee he served its peopleas a lawyer, judge, Congressman and senator. But he won his greatest fame as asoldier. Because of his activities in Florida, the U. S. was able to takecontrol of that area from Spain.
Jackson believed in people who loved him. He felt that common peoplecould run the government. This idea has come to be called Jacksonian democracy.These people elected him as their President. He gave them their first chance toreally have a part in government.
Not everyone benefited while Jackson was President- Women, black andNative Americans were not able to take part in gov_ernment. In fact, in somecases, the government worked against them.
The Cherokee nation serves as an example of what happened to many NativeAmerican tribes and people in Jackson's times. The Cherokees had a great dealof land in Georgia and Alabama. They were farmers. They had roads and lived inhouses. They had a written language and a weekly newspaper. Their governmentwas democratic. But white settlers wanted their land.
The land was promised to the Cherokee nation by treaty. Missionaries,Congressman Henry Clay, and the Supreme Court all said that the Cherokees hadrights to their claims. Even so, the Cherokees were thrown off their land. Theywere told to go to Oklahoma. With soldiers watching them, they had littlechoice but to obey.
This journey lasted several months. Disease, hunger and cold broughtdeath to many. Over 4,000 Cherokees Were buried along the Trial of Tears whichstretched from Georgia to Oklahoma.
Jackson said that their removal was necessary. Without it, he said, theCherokees all would have been killed by white settlers looking for more land.Jackson did agreat deal to make people feel a part of government. But he wasnot ready to give equality to Native Americans. A slave holder, all his lifeJackson did not believe in equality for blacks either.
Yet in Jackson's time, some people were starting to oppose slavery.These people were called abolitionists.JonhF. Kennedy
For many Americans the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy as the 35thPresident of the United States in 1960 marked the beginning of a new era inthis country's political history. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic and theyoungest man ever chosen Chief Executive. He was also the first person bom inthe 20th century to hold the nation's highest office.
Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29. 1917, Kennedy was descendedfrom two politically conscious, Irish-American families that had emigrated fromIreland to Boston shortly after potato blight and economic upheavals had strucktheir homeland in the 1840s. Kennedy's grandfathers, Patrick J. Kennedy andJohn F. («Honey Fitz») Fitzgerald, became closely associated with thelocal Democratic Party; Kennedy served in the Massachusetts legislature, andFitzgerald won election as mayor of Boston. In 1914 the marriage of Joseph P.Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald united the two families. John Fitzgerald Kennedywas the second eldest of Joseph and Rose Kennedy's four sons and fivedaughters.
Joseph P. Kennedy was an extraordinarily successful businessman. Despitethe relatively modest means of his family, Kennedy attended Harvard College,and upon graduation in 1912 began a career in banking. During the 1920s heamassed a substantial fortune from his investments in motion pictures, realestate, and other enterprises, and unlike many magnates of his era he escapedunscathed from the stock market crash of 1929. Joseph Kennedy himself was nevera candidate for elective office, but he was deeply interested in the DemocraticParty. He made large contributions to the presidential campaign of Franklin D.Roosevelt in 1932; in return, Roosevelt appointed him chairman of the recentlyestablished Securities and Exchange Commission, where his business expertiseproved especially helpful in drafting legislation designed to regulate thestock market. In 1937 Roosevelt named Kennedy US ambassador to Great Britain.
Despite his wealth and political influence, the DemocraticIrish-Catholic Joseph Kennedy never won the acceptance of Boston's Protestantelite. He deeply resented this, and determined that his sons' achievementswould equal, if not excel, those of their Brahmin counter-parts. Toward this endhe modeled their lives and education after those enjoyed by the Yankee upperclass.
John Kennedy, like his brothers and sisters, grew up in comfortablehomes and attended some of the nation's most prestigious preparatory schoolsand colleges. He was enrolled at the age of 13 at Canterbury, a Catholicpreparatory school staffed by laymen, but transferred after a year to thenonsectarian Choate School, where he completed his secondary education beforeentering Princeton University. Illness forced him to leave the college beforethe end of Ins freshman year. but the following'. autumn he resumed hisstudies, at Hanard.
Kennedy's college years coincided with a time of world crisis 'Thefuture President had unusual opportunities to combine know ledge gained in theclassroom with his own firsthand observations. As a government major at Harvardhe benefited from the teachings of some of the nation's most prominentpolitical scientists and historians. men who in the late 1930s were acutelyaware of the growing menace of Nazism. Moreover, in 1938 Kennedy spent sixmonths in London assisting his father. who was then serving as US ambassador.«This slay in England gave the young student an excellent opportunity towitness for himself the British response to the Nazi aggression of the 1930s,and he used the insight gained from the experience in writing his seniorthesis. This thesis, in which Kennedy attempted to explain England's hesitantreaction to German rearmament, was extremely perceptive. and in 1940 it waspublished in expanded form in the United States and 6reat Britain under thetitle Why England Slept.
After receiving his B.S. degree cum laude from Harvard in 1940, Kennedybriefly attended ihe Stanford University Graduate School ot Business, and thenspent several months traveling through South America. Late in 1941, when theUnited States' entry into World War II seemed imminent. Kennedy joined the USNavy. As an officer he served in the South Pacific Theater, where he commandedone of the small PT or torpedo boats that patrolled off the Solomon Islands.
On April 25. 1943, Kennedy assumed command of P 1 -109, the vessel onwhich, only a little more than four months later, his courage and strength wereput to their first serious test. On the night of August 2, 1943, the Japanesedestroyer Amagiri rammed PT-109. The force of the destroyer sliced the Americancraft in half and plunged its 11 -man crew into the waters of Ferguson Passage.Burning gasoline spewed forth from the wrecked torpedo boat, setting the watersof the passage aflame: but Lieutenant Kennedy retained his composure, directedthe rescue of his crew, and personally saved the lives of three of the men.Kennedy and the other survivors found refuge on a small unoccupied island, andduring the days that followed he swam long distances to obtain food and aid forhis men. Finally, on the sixth day of the ordeal the crew was rescued.
Kennedy's bravery did not go unnoticed. For his deeds in August 1943 hesubsequently received the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.Injuries sustained during his courageous exploits and an attack of malariaended Kennedy's active military service, however. Later in 1943 he returned tothe United States, and in 1945 he was honorably discharged from the navy.
After leaving the navy, Kennedy, like many other young men who hadserved their country during World War II. had to make a decision about hisliterature career. At Harvard he had become increasingly interested ingovernment. but he did hot originally plan to seek public office. Members ofthe Kennedy family had expected that the eldest son. navy pilot Joseph P.Kennedy Jr., would enter politics — a hope cut short when he was killed in aplane crash during the war Deeply affected by his older brother's death. Jonh Kennedyin 1945 compiled a memorial volume. As We Remember Joe. which was privatelyprinted. Shortly afterwards he determined to pursue the career that had beenthe choice of his late brother
Appropriately. Kennedy sought his first elective office in Easl Boston,the low-income area with a large immigrant population that several decades before had been the scene of both hisgrandfathers political activities. Announcing his candidacy for the Democraticnomination for the US House of Representatives in the 11th CongressionalDistrict early in 1946, Kennedy, with the assistance of his family and friends,campaigned hard and long against several of the party's veterans and won theprimary. Since the district was overwhelmingly Democratic, Kennedy's victory inthe primary virtually guaranteed his election in the November contest. Asexpected, on November 5, 1946, he easily defeated his Republican rival and atthe age of 29 began his political career as a member of the House ofRepresentatives.
East Boston voters returned Kennedy to Congress in 1948 and 1950, andfor the six years he represented the 11th District he continuously worked toexpand federal programs, such as public housing, social security, and minimumwage laws. that benefited his constituents. However, in 1952 the youngpolitician decided against running for another term In the House. Instead hesought the Senate seat held by the Republican Henry Cabot Lodge.
The incumbent Lodge was well known and popular throughout Massachusetts;in contrast, Kennedy had almost no following outside of Boston. But from themoment he announced his candidacy for the Senate, Kennedy, assisted by hisfamily, friends, and thousands of volunteers, conducted a massive and intensegrassroots campaign. This hard work brought results: on November 4, 1952, whenthe landslide presidential victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower carried hundreds ofother Republican candidates into local, state, and federal offices throughoutthe nation, the Democratic Kennedy defeated Lodge by a narrow margin to becomethe junior senator from Massachusetts.
On September 12,1953, Kennedy married the beautiful and sociallyprominent Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, who was 12 years his junior. Shortly aftertheir marriage, Kennedy became increasingly disabled by an old spinal injury,and in October 1954 and again in February 1955 he underwent serious surgery. Aproduct of the months of convalescence that followed was his Profiles inCourage, a study of American statesmen who had risked their political careersfor what they believed to be the needs of their nation. Published in 1956,Profiles in Courage immediately became a bestseller, and in May 1957 it won forits author the Pulitzer Prize for biography.
During his years in the House and for the first half of his Senate term,Kennedy concerned himself primarily with the issues that particularlyinterested or affected his Massachusetts constituents. However, when he resumedhis congressional duties alter Ins prolonged convalescence, national ratherthan local or state affairs primarily attracted his attention.
His determination to run for higher office became evident at theDemocratic National Convention in 1956. Adam Stevenson, the party'spresidential nominee, declined to name a running male. and instead left thechoice of a vice presidential candidate to a vote of the delegates. Seizingthis opportunity. Kennedy mounted a strong, if last-minute, campaign lorshenomination in which he was narrowlydefeated by Senator Lstes Kefauver of Tennessee Kennedy's efforts were noentirely unrewarded however. He proved himself to be a formidable contenderand. perhaps more important, lie came to the attention of the millions oftelevision viewers across the nation who watched; the eonvention proceeding. Hewas redeemed to the US Senate in 1958.
Shortly after defeat of Stevenson in 1956. Kennedy launched a nationwidecampaign to gain the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination. During the tourintervening years, ihe Massachusetts senator developed the organisation thatwould help him win his goal. Through his personal appearances, ami writings, healso made himself known to the voters ol the United Stales. Kennedy's tacticswere successful He won all the state primaries he entered in 1960 including a critical contest in West Virginia,where an overwhelmingly Protestant electorate dispelled the notion that aCatholic candidate could not be victorious — and he also earned the endorsementof a number of state party conventions.
The Democratic National Convention of 1960 selected Kennedy as itspresidential candidate on the first ballot. Then, to the surprise of many,Kennedy asked Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who had himself aspired tothe first place on the ticket, to be his running mate. Johnson agreed, and theDemoeralic slate was complete. For its ticket, the Republican NationalConvention in I960 chose Vice President Richard Millions Nixon and Kennedy'searlier political rival. Henry Cabot Lodge.
Throughout the fall of 1960, Kennedy and Nixon waged tireless campaignsto win popular support. Kennedy drew strength from the organization he had puttogether and from the fact that registered Democratic voters outnumbered theirRepublican counterparts. Nixon's strength stemmed from his close associationwith the popular President Eisenhower and from his own experience as VicePresident, which suggested an ability to hold his own with. representatives ofthe Soviet Union in foreign affairs. The turning point of the 1960 presidentialrace, however, may have been the series of four televised debates between thecandidates, which gave voters an opportunity to assess their positions onimportant issues, and unintentionally also tested each man's television»presence." Kennedy excelled in the latter area and political expertshave since claimed that his ability to exploit the mass media may have been asignificant factor in the outcome of the election.
On November 8, I960, the voters of the United States cast a record 68.8million ballots, and selected Kcnnedy over Nixon by the narrow margin of fewerthan 120,000 votes in the closest popular vote in the nation's history. In theElectoral College the tally was 303 votes to 21 John Fitzgerald Kennedy tookthe oath of office as the 35th President of the United States on January 20,1961. A number of notable Americans participated in the ceremonies: Richard Cardinal Gushing of Boston offeredthe invocation, Marian Anderson sang the national anthem, and Robert Frost readone of his poems. Kennedy's inaugural address, urging Americans to «ask notwhat your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,»was memorable. The new Chief Executive also asserted, «Now the trumpetsummons us again… to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle… againstthe common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.»
Both challenges were in keeping with what observers would later mark asKennedy's greatest contribution: a quality of leadership that extracted fromothers their best efforts toward specific goals. Many felt themselvesinfluenced by his later reminder to a group of young people visiting the WhiteHouse — that «the Greeks defined happiness as the full use of your powersalong the lines of excellence.»
Whether because of his-leadership, the climate of the times, or theconjunction of the two, Kennedy's term as President coincided with a markedtransformation in the mood of the nation. Before that, complacent in theirpeace-time prosperity, most Americans were preoccupied with individualconcerns. Now came a widespread awareness of needs not previously recognized.No longer could Americans ignore pressing problems that confronted them both athome and abroad, and increasingly, they showed a willingness to try to effectmeaningful changes. The new mood was one of challenge, but also one of hope.
As he had promised in his inaugural address, Kennedy successfully soughtthe enactment of programs designed to assist the «people in the huts andvillages of half the world.» The Alliance for Progress, a program-ambitious but ultimately less than successful — for the economic growth andsocial improvement of Latin America, was launched in August 1961 at an InterAmerican Conference at Punta del Este, Uruguay. The Peace Corps,
which offered Americans a unique opportunity to spend approximately twoyears living and working with peoples in underdeveloped countries, was a moresuccessful attempt to aid emerging nations throughout the world.
In the realm of foreign affairs, Kennedy's record was a mixture ofnotable triumphs and dangerous setbacks. He allowed the Central IntelligenceAgency to carry out plans laid before his administration for an invasion ofCuba by anti-Communist refugees from that island. Between 1,400 and 1,500exiles landed on April 17, 1961, at the Bay of Pigs, but suffered defeat whenan anticipated mass insurrection by the Cuban people failed to materialize.Severely embarrassed, the administration nevertheless successfully encouragedthe creation of a private committee, which ransomed 1,178 invasion prisonersfor $62 million.
Cuban Premier Fidel Castro, after repelling the Bay of Pigs invasion,turned to the Soviet Union for military support and allowed the Russians toinstall secret missile sites in Cuba. From these locations, 90 miles from USsoil, the USSR could launch missiles capable of striking deep into the Americanheartland. Reconnaissance by US observation planes uncovered the Sovietactivities. Taking a decisive stand President Kennedy, on October 22, 1962,announced that the United States would prevent the delivery of offensiveweapons to Cuba. Kennedy demanded that the USSR abandon the bases andthreatened that the United States would «regard any nuclear missilelaunched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack bythe Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory responseupon the Soviet Union.» After a week of intense negotiations. SovietPremier Nikita S. Khrushchev agreed to dismantle all the installations inreturn for a US pledge not to invade Cuba.
PresidentKennedy gave wholehearted support to American efforts in space exploration.During his administration the nation increased its expenditures in that areafivefold, and the President promised that an American would land on the moonbefore the end of the 1960s. (On July 20,1969, two American astronautsfulfilled the President's pledge by becoming the first human beings to set footon the lunar surface.)
During hispresidential campaign, Kennedy had stressed the necessity of improving theAmerican economy, which was then suffering from a recession. His aim was tofollow a fiscally moderate course, and the achievement of a bal_anced budgetwas one of his major goals. As President he managed to stimulate the sluggisheconomy by accelerating federal purchasing and construction programs, by theearly release of more than $ 1 billion in state highway funds, and by putting $1 billion in credit into the home construction industry.
During hisadministration, however, increasing hostility developed between the White Houseand the business community. Anxious to prevent inflation, the President gavespecial attention to the steel industry, whose price-wage structure affected somany other aspects of the economy. After steel manufacturers insisted onraising their prices in April 1962, Kennedy, by applying strong economicpressure, forced the producers to return to the earlier lower price levels. Hisvictory earned him the enmity of many business people, however.
Kennedysympathized with the aspirations of black Americans, but he included nocomprehensive civil rights legislation in his New Frontier program, fearingthat the introduction into a conservative Congress of such measures wouldimperil all his other proposals. The President relied, instead, on hisexecutive powers and on the enforcement of existing voting rights laws. Heforbade discrimination in new federally aided housing, appointed a large numberof blacks to high offices, and supported Justice Department efforts to securevoting rights and to end segregation in interstate commerce. In 1962 he usedregular army troops and federalized National Guard units to force the admissionof a black, James Meredith, to the University of Mississippi, and in 1963 heused federal National Guardsmen to watch over the integration of the Universityof Alabama.
Despite hisbroad visions of the American future, Kennedy enjoyed limited success intranslating his ideas into legislative reality. A coalition of Republicans and conservativesouthern Democrats in the 87th Congress stopped many of his plans for theintroduction of social measures. And even after the Demo_ratic Party increasedits majority on Capitol Hill in the 1962 elections. Congress was slow tocooperate, although it probably was ready to do so just before his presidency cameto an end.
John F.Kennedy presided over the execlusive branch of the United States government foronly a little more than 1,000 days. During that time American involvement inVietnam and other areas of Southeast Asia increased moderately, but the beginningsof a thaw in the cold war were also noticeable, and in 1963 the. Soviet Unionand the United States signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Kennedy's years inthe White House were also marked by increased social consciousness by the USgovernment. With the Great Society program of his successor, Lyndon BainesJohnson, Congress eventually enacted a number of Kennedy's proposals, includingmedical care for the elderly and greater opportunities for black Americans.
In additionto his various governmental programs, Kennedy's presidency was also no_tablefor a new, vital style. John and Jacqueline Kennedy and their two children,Caroline and John Jr., quickly captured the imagination of the nation, andtheir activities were widely reported by the media. Cer_tainly the Kennedysexuded a youthful vi-brance, and their interests seemed unending. JacquelineKennedy was responsible for redecorating the public rooms of the White Houseand inviting a glittering array of cul_tural and intellectual leaders to theexecutive mansion.
An assassin'sbullet abruptly ended the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on Novem_ber 22,1963,as he rode in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, Texas. The entirenation mourned the tragic death of the Chief Executive. Many millions watchedon television as the 35th President was buried at Arlington National Cemeteryon November 25, 1963.
Every stateof the United States and almost every nation in the world has erected memorialsto Kennedy. One of the monu_ments dearest to his family is the house at 83Seals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, where the late President's parentslived from 1914 until 1921 and where four of their chil_dren — including John — were bom. The house was repurchased by the Kennedys in 1966 and was designateda National Historic Site by Congress in 1967. On May 29, 1969, the 52ndanniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth, the family turned over the deed of thehouse to the National Park Service.
Both of President Kennedy's younger brothers, Robert F. and Edward M.Kennedy, served in the Senate. Many of the former President's compatriots hopedto see his goals and promise carried forward when Robert Kennedy, who hadserved as his at_torney general and closest adviser, an_nounced early in 1968that he would seek the Democratic nomination for President. In another tragedythat shook the nation to its roots, Robert Kennedy was shot down by an assassinjust after claiming victory in the California presidential primary. He died inLos Angeles just over 25 hours later, on June 6,1968.Presidents at a GlanceNAME SERVED
The first President, he determined in large measure what the job of President should be. Held the country together during its early days and gave it a chance to grow. Ranked by historians as a «great» President.
Saved his country from an unnecessary war. Ranked by historians as a «near great» President.
Bought the Louisiana Territory and doubled the size of the country. Made sure the government stayed in the hands of the people. Ranked by historians as a «great» or «near great» President.
Allowed the country to get into unnecessary war, but made peace as quickly as possible. Ranked by historians as an «average» President.
Took Florida from Spain. Created the Monroe Doctrine. Signed the Missouri Compromise. Ranked as one of the best of the «average» President.
6. John Quincy Adams
Rated by some historians as a failure because little was done during his term. Some historians rank him as «average».
Did more to show how great the powers of the office were than any President after Washington. Used these powers to help make laws. Ranked by historians as a «great» or «near great» President.
8. Martin Van Buren
Was caught in one of the nation's worst financial depressions. This was unfairly blamed on him. Ranked by historians as an «average» President.
9.William Henry Harrison
Was President for only one month.
Made clear that on the death a President the Vice President became President with all the powers of the office. Served as a President without a party. Ranked by most historians as «below average».
11 .James Knox Polk
Bullied a small, weak nation (Mexico) into fighting a war it did not want, but added California and much of the South-west to the United States. Settled the Canadian border without war. Ranked by historians as a «near great» President.
12. Zachary Taylor
Knew little about the duties of a President but faced his problems honestly though with little political talent. Served only two years. Ranked by many historians as «below average.»
Sent the U. S. fleet to open trade with Japan. Helped pass the Great Compromise of1850. Ranked by historians as «below average.»
Put through the Gadsden Purchase acquiring what is now southern Arizona and New Mexico. Favored the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the door to the Civil War. Ranked by historians as «below average.»
Faced the final breakup of the nation over slavery. Tried hard to prevent war but made matters worse instead of better. Ranked by historians as «below average.»
Held the nation together in its most difficult time. In a speech at the Gettysburg battlefield he said it was the people's duty to make sure «that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.» More than any other one man, he helped make these words come true. Ranked by historians as a truly «great» President.
Took office in a. time of great tr