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3. Congressman and Senator, 1946-60
About this Lecture
In this module, we continue the story of Kennedy’s rise from his election as Congressman in 1946 to his announcement in early 1960 that he intending to run for President. In particular, we focus on: (i) Kennedy’s performance as US Representative, during which time he was beset by health problems; (ii) his political views at this time – both foreign and domestic; (iii) his election as a Democratic Senator in 1952; (iv) the problem presented by Senator Joe McCarthy, a close family friend but – after 1954 – a persona non grata in US politics; (v) Kennedy’s marriage and the importance of his family in his personal image; (vi) the importance of 1956: the year in which he publishes his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, and where he narrowly misses on being selected as Adlai Stevenson’s running-mate for the Presidential election; (vii) his announcement in early 1960 that he intending to run for the Presidency.
In this course, Professor Mark White (Queen Mary University of London) explores the life and presidency of John F. Kennedy (1917-63). In the first module, we think about the development of Kennedy’s legacy from the mid-1960s to the present day. In the second, we consider his early life and education, before turning in the third to his early political career as a Representative (1947-53) and Senator (1953-60). In the fourth module, we consider his successful campaign for the presidency, before turning in the following three modules to key moments in his presidential career: the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961), the Berlin Crisis (1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). In the eighth module, we think about Kennedy’s record on civil rights, while in the ninth we think about his approach to the increasingly volatile situation in Vietnam. In the tenth module, we think about Kennedy’s private life and the extent to which it had an impact of the performance of his public duties as president, before turning in the eleventh and final module to the importance of Kennedy’s image – as a man of culture, a man of the family, and as a sex symbol.
Mark White is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in US foreign policy in the Cold War and the US presidency since 1945. His recent publications include Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House (2007) and The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Domestic and Foreign Policy (2012)
Cite this Lecture
White, M. (2019, November 25). The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 - Congressman and Senator, 1946-60 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-john-f-kennedy-1961-63/congressman-and-senator-1946-60
White, M. "The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 – Congressman and Senator, 1946-60." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Nov 2019, https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-john-f-kennedy-1961-63/congressman-and-senator-1946-60