"Hail To the Chief"

Essay by samickz April 2004

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The presidency of John F. Kennedy is one of the most remarkable in America's political history. In his three year term as president, Kennedy was faced with some of the most challenging social, political, and economic issues that our country has ever seen. His choices and policies regarding events like the Vietnamese War and the Cuban Missile Crisis would be key parts in shaping our country today. Despite the glorified image of Kennedy that many Americans hold to today, there is another side of his presidency that is often missed. When one takes a closer look at the details of his rise to power, as well as the real ideals--not those presented to the public--behind his political decisions, they would see that his presidency cannot be summed up by his public image, but can be understood by carefully examining the circumstances surrounding his administration.

In order to understand how Kennedy's political strength grew to where it did, it is first important to look at his early political training.

After high school, Kennedy studied for a while at the London School of Economics in 1935. From there he entered Princeton University, but was unable to stay because of an attack of jaundice. In 1936 he enrolled at Harvard University, where he graduated in 1940. Kennedy gained invaluable political experience even when he was still at Harvard. He twice visited Europe to watch international politics at his father's side; his father was the Ambassador to England at that time. He did not cease his studies after Harvard, but went on to study at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in California. By the time that Kennedy's political career started, he was already well studied in economics and politics.

Kennedy volunteered for the army in 1941, at the brink of World War...