Last Updated 16 Apr 2020

President John Kennedy Was a Great President

Category Cuba, Kennedy
Essay type Research
Words 1409 (5 pages)
Views 469
"The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been” (Henry). This quote from Henry Kissinger is a representation of the Kennedy term in office. President Kennedy took the world to a whole new level; he succeeded in many tasks in his short time as president. John F. Kennedy was great president because of his involvements in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Peace Corps.

On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy “informed the world” that the Soviets were building secretive missile bases in Cuba, very close to Florida. President Kennedy decided to take the peaceful route in handling is major crisis. As President, his first move was to talk to Premier Nikita Khrushchev and demand the removal of all missile bases, and “deadly content” in Cuba. Secondly, President Kennedy had “U. S. forces around the world…placed on alert. More than 100,000 troops deployed to Florida for a possible invasion of Cuba. Additional naval vessels were ordered to the Caribbean.

B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons were in the air at all times. ” (The World). He ordered a naval quarantine/blockade on Cuba to prevent Russian ships from bringing additional missile and construction materials to the island (Goldman). Because of President John Kennedy’s strong efforts to prevent this huge nuclear war, two main things came out of it. One of which is the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. On August 5, 1963, the United States, Soviet Union, and United Kingdom signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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This treaty “prohibits nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space, allows underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test, and pledges signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances. ” (Nuclear). Also, because President John Kennedy decided to take the peaceful route to settling this dispute, he prevented a huge nuclear war from happening, maybe even another World War.

Premier Nikita Khrushchev described it as, “The two most powerful nations had been squared off against each other, each with its finger on the button. ” (Nuclear). If this other World War or massive nuclear war would have occurred, just think of where we would be today. “The founding of the Peace Corps is one of President John F. Kennedy’s most enduring legacies. ” (Founding). As soon as President Kennedy became the President, he vowed to help Americans be “active citizens. ” One of his first moves in office was to create the Peace Corps.

The way he came up with this idea of the Peace Corps was when he spoke to students at the University of Michigan during a campaign speech and challenged them to live and work in other countries to dedicate “themselves to the cause of peace and development. ” (Peace). The main purpose for this was so “Americans can volunteer to work anywhere in the world where assistance is needed. ” (John F. Kennedy, the 35th). This answers President Kennedy’s call to “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. ” (Founding). President John Kennedy was very involved in the Peace Corps.

He got to know all of the volunteers very well. Peace Corps volunteers became known as “Kennedy’s Kids” because if the special bond President Kennedy felt with them. Volunteers in the Peace Corps “help people of interest countries meet their needs for trained workers”, they help others understand the Americas better, and also to help people of America understand those of other countries. In the 1960s, the Peace Corps was immensely popular because of his campaign speech at the college, which encouraged newly graduated college students to join and help around the world.

From that point in time, the Peace Corps continue to grow. Today, more than 195,000 volunteers have served in over “139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation. ” (Peace) Today’s world is a lot different compared to the world in the 1960s. The Peace Corps continually change with the times. People still volunteer as much, and even more than they did in the 1960s. Issues in other countries have severed over time, but because of the Peace Corps, people can help lessen this severe issue.

The last effect of President Kennedy’s involvement is that because volunteers traveled around the world, we now know more about others’ cultures and traditions. The volunteers of the Peace Corps would live in different host countries, and adapt to their surroundings. They would learn multiple traditions and witness many cultural practices. When volunteers would return home, they would share their many experiences with family and friends, thus causing it to be spread and learned throughout the world. In the late 1950s, the Space Race was initiated when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite.

From that point on, the Soviet Union and United States faced off to be the first country to land on the moon. President Kennedy feared that if the United States were not the first to land on the moon, that everyone would see them as a weak country that is “behind communist Russia” (Mills), and he did not want that image for his country. On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy submitted the lunar landing program to congress (Mills). In a meeting between President Kennedy, vice president Johnson, and Premier Khrushchev, they all decided that conquering space was a huge ordeal.

Both countries wanted to show their military strength and scientific superiority. Premier Khrushchev wanted to show that communist technology was superior. According to President Kennedy, “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” (Mills). Without President Kennedy’s persistent thrive to enter space, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Before his time, space travel was just a dream.

Sadly, on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas for a NASA meeting of some sort. His vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, however, carried on his “lunar landing” wish. Finally, in 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon, thus ending the space race between Russia and the United States. Landing on the moon was the story of the century. According to a Jefferson City, MO newspaper, “the walk on the moon, although viewed via television, still seems like a chapter from Jules Verne’s fantasies. If] the moon-walk not been televised, we believe there would be many in the world who still would be doubting” (Mills).

The placement of the flag on the moon was an unforgettable sight- one which will be long remembered by man, especially the grateful and proud Americans. In President Kennedy’s campaign for president, he promised “executive, moral, and legislative leadership to combat racial discrimination” (John F. Kennedy John). One of his first actions was to appoint many African Americans into office. One of which was Thurgood Marshall, a federal judge, and he directed the NAACP.

Because of all of this, African Americans felt as if they actually had “friends” in the justice department. In May of 1961, the Kennedy Administration sent officials to protect Martin Luther King, Jr. from a mob during the “freedom rides” (John F. Kennedy John). His Civil Rights Address was a turning point for the country, and this also meant that President Kennedy could potentially lose the south and his 1964 election, or it would “dead lock congress” (John F. Kennedy John). Everything that President Kennedy did for this Civil Rights Movement helped change the course of discrimination in the world.

He put a stop to public display of discrimination by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also attempted to deal with the problem of African Americans being denied the right to vote in the South. Also, his brave Civil rights Address, which could have cost him his election, moved an immense amount of people. It changes their minds on the topic of discrimination, and in today’s world, discrimination is very slim. In all of these events in history, President Kennedy changed the world for a better. From preventing a huge nuclear war from happening, to stopping discrimination; President Kennedy is the definition of a great president.

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