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10. The Character Question: JFK Behind Closed Doors
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Kennedy’s character and his private life, focusing in particular on: (i) the views of Kennedy’s character found in the accounts of Thomas Reeves (A Question of Character), Gary Wills (The Kennedy Imprisonment) and Seymour Hersh (Dark Side of Camelot); (ii) Kennedy’s history of womanising, including his relationships with Judith Campbell and Ellen Rometsch; (iii) Kennedy’s history of drug-taking, including the figure of Max Jacobson; and (iv) the connection between Kennedy’s private life and his public role as President.
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 - The Character Question: JFK Behind Closed Doors [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-john-f-kennedy-1961-63/the-character-question-jfk-behind-closed-doors
White, M. "The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 – The Character Question: JFK Behind Closed Doors." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Nov 2019, https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-john-f-kennedy-1961-63/the-character-question-jfk-behind-closed-doors