Liberty without learning is always in peril, and learning without liberty is always in vain
John ‘Jack’ Kennedy was the 35th President of the USA, who served from his election in 1961 until his assassination in 1963. During that time he presided over the height of the Cold War with the USSR, and oversaw the growth of the American Civil Rights movement.
The youngest man to ever be elected President, JFK was seen as symbolic of a new beginning after narrowly defeating Richard Nixon in the 1960 election. Pivotal to this was the first ever televised debate between presidential candidates. Nixon was visibly tired, sweating and had an injured leg, while Kennedy was wearing television make-up, was freshly groomed and commanded the stage with youthful charisma and charm. This led TV audiences to give him the victory, whereas radio listeners scored the debate as either a draw, or a win to Nixon.
Although his Presidency was cut short, JFK oversaw several crucial events that could have changed the course of history. Not least of these was the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the USSR stationed nuclear weapons in Cuban waters, prompting calls for a US attack which would likely have begun a nuclear war. In the end, JFK was able to work with Khrushchev (the leader of the USSR) to de-escalate the crisis and war was averted.
JFK was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas, while travelling in a motorcade alongside his wife, Jaqueline Kennedy. His death was a pivotal moment in the American consciousness, marking a moment in time that would become a common topic: ‘Where were you when you heard about President Kennedy's assassination?’