Looking back at the past for the future with John F. Kennedy | Teen Ink

Looking back at the past for the future with John F. Kennedy

June 20, 2008
By Anonymous

During many desperate and volatile times throughout human history, the hopeless have looked for a leader to guide them out of anguish and into triumph. These leaders have ranged from Adolph Hitler after World War One, when Germany was devastated by the treaty of Versailles, to Franklin D. Roosevelt working to rejuvenate America after it was stricken by the Great Depression, To John F. Kennedy in securing stability in America during one of the most frantic times in U.S history. In fact, John F. Kennedy, one of the most influential people in American history, has left a legacy that has affected the entire world and still lives on to this day because of the various foreign and domestic decisions made throughout his presidency.

Friday, January 20th, 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy steps up to the podium to give his inaugural address before the American public, and thus begins his epic journey in restoring stability in the United States and securing freedom and justice within America. Though many were skeptical and doubted his chances of success because of his youth and his proclaimed “inexperience”, John F. Kennedy’s actions showed the world what hard work and determination could achieve. His inaugural address was an eloquent and elaborate speech conveying his plans for America and the ways in which he planned to achieve these goals. Kennedy said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty”. Kennedy’s speech reflected his later actions, as he bared the burdens, met the hardships, supported all friends, opposed all foes, and unfortunately, paid the ultimate price. These successes and triumphs of JFK reverberate to this very day, as the decisions he made and carried out have shaped the future, and their results have proved his speech as truth as he accomplished his goals in a short three years.

This Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, brought the world to the edge of their seats as the two superpowers in the world came to a deadly stalemate, in the most dramatic event to occur in the Cold War. Within mere minutes, all of mankind could have become extinct with the simple press of a button creating nuclear holocaust. With good diplomacy not only did President Kennedy halt and peacefully end the Cuban Missile Crisis, but he was also able to meet with Nikita Khrushchev and negotiate peace terms with the U.S.S.R. Kennedy faced many other international challenges during his presidency such as the Bay of Pigs, the Space Race, the heightening tensions in Vietnam, and further interactions with the Soviet Union and Communism alike. In response, He kept pressure on Communist countries, led the program that put man on the moon. He supported friends in South Vietnam and in West Berlin, and opposed foes in North Vietnam and in the U.S.S.R. These are examples of how John F. Kennedy kept his promises to the world, these very promises he introduced in his inaugural address.

Much credit can be given to President Kennedy for the success of the Civil Rights Movement and the bettering of American society. Although Kennedy was not very proactive in the fight for civil rights at first, he did this for a specific reason. Kennedy believed that supporting civil rights causes would do nothing but anger those in Congress because Congress was dominated by white southern democrats. Supporting such a cause would only anger them and make further legislation difficult to get passed. Soon after this, Kennedy began to push for civil rights causes. Both JFK and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, believed in racial integration in schools, in bathrooms, and in public as well. It is because of the Kennedys the reverend Martin Luther King JR. was released from jail early, as both brothers supported the efforts and fight of both Martin Luther King JR. and the African-American community. In addition, President Kennedy addressed the nation on television and asked the American public to stop and realize the United States was founded by several different people representing several countries. He stated that the United States was built on one of the basic principles, that “All men are created equal”, and that the African-American push for social justice was an American and just fight. Therefore, He presented what would become The Civil Rights Act of 1964, making racial integration the law everywhere throughout the United States, a huge milestone in the Civil Rights movement.

John F. Kennedy brought hope and promise to the American citizens and to the world. He took a struggling nation and a struggling world, helped them to their feet, and got them running again. Today, many citizens of America look at the state of the country with a negative perspective as one of the worst times in American history. From the War in Iraq, to poor health care, to a downward spiraling economy, the situation in America just keeps getting worse. Maybe the scope of all our problems cannot be seen clearly because we are living in the present and not looking back at the past. Many have heard the saying, “History repeats itself”, but we should ask ourselves, “Does time ever change?” Maybe time repeats itself in order to teach society, and from this we should study and learn from it. In this chaotic time, Americans will also look towards a leader who will restore hope within them and stabilize the country, just as John F. Kennedy did. We need another JFK to pull America off the ground, dust her shoulders off, and get her running again, another historic and monumental leader with the characteristics that make John F. Kennedy such an influential person, who will live on throughout American History forever.

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