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The 1960 presidential election was not decided by one event, tactic or blunder. John Kennedy’s selection of Lyndon Johnchild as Vice President, his convincing rebuttals to strikes on his religion, inendure and wellness, and Republican errors all had actually an extensive bearing on the outcome.

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However, Kennedy won above all because he was Nixon’s equal in substance and premium in style. As the initially absolutely media-conscious and also heavily-marketed presidential candiday, Kennedy was able to impress upon the country the idea that it had actually entered a brand-new date and also that he was its right leader.

Daddy’s money

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Kennedy’s route to power was smoothed by his father’s money and also influence. As a precocious young politician he never before had to court sponsors, and also was able to completely outspfinish his enemies in neighborhood elections.

On the nationwide phase this benefit was a much less pronounced, but Joe Kennedy was still able to bankroll the campaign and impact proceedings from the fringes.

The Catholic question

Criticism of Kennedy’s religion was a persistent thorn in his side. Indeed, Robert Dallek attributes the fine margin of victory in the latter to, ‘an unyielding are afraid of having actually a Catholic in the White House’.

Undoubtedly the concept that a president can have a salient, ‘praemunire’ allegiance to the Vatican was anathema to many Americans. Kennedy’s counter-discussion, which he deployed to particular impact in the West Virginia main, was watertight.

By affirming his loyalty to the First Amendment, outlining the reality that his religion had actually not affected his wartime company and also introducing the concept that discrimination against one religious beliefs creates a dangerous paradigm, Kennedy demonstrated the frail basis of the assaults.


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Smear tactics

Nixon’s was recognized for running tough, ruthless campaigns, and also the Kennedy team anticipated smear tactics. It acted by publishing a ‘Campaign Sourcebook’ – a condensed collection of counter-debates that, together with the issues of endure and also religion, additionally addressed pertains to over Kennedy’s wellness.

On the last concern Kennedy had also procured the services of two significant doctors, who issued a statement proclaiming that he was totally qualified of ‘meeting any type of obligation of the Presidency without the need for special medical treatment’. At finest, this obscured the reality.

Lyndon Johnson

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Kennedy’s selection of Lyndon Johnboy as Vice President anchored substantial southern support at the risk of alienating northern liberals. Kennedy moved to recover disenchanted liberal support by courting leading liberals.

Eleanor Roosevelt, that had been Kennedy’s most vocal movie critic after the McCarthy affair, having actually met via Kennedy, was moved to remark that he ‘really is interested in helping the world of his own country’ and also worthy of her assistance.

It is clear that Kennedy’s initiative significantly enhanced his electability, however it is regularly the case in elections that error quite than enterprise is the determining variable. In both the nomicountry and also presidential races Kennedy benefited from blunders and also tactical misjudgements of his opponents.

In the nomination race he was aided by Johnson’s and also Stevenson’s sleeping candidacies, for he had the ability to use momentum gathered in the primaries to secure a first-ballot victory and also kill their possibilities.

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In the presidential race it need to be listed that from the outcollection Nixon was functioning from a position of family member weakness. As the establishment’s candiday he had to challenge approximately criticism over the sluggish economy, the communist revolution in Cuba and also the U2 incident.

Nixon additionally hurt his campaign by pledging to visit eexceptionally state in the Union. By visiting unswayable Republihave the right to or Democratic strongholds, he wasted precious time and also energy.

Additionally, perhaps the the majority of severe single mistake was Eisenhower’s declaration once asked what Nixon had added as VP: ‘If you provide me a week I can think of one.’ This was a throwamethod comment that was intfinished to reflect Eisenhower’s exhaustion, however it was a gift to the Democratic cause.

The JFK mystique

However, if one is to talk around one single aspect that won the election for Kennedy, then one must examine Kennedy’s uniquely captivating and also multi-faceted picture.

He was a man of literary stature, a Pulitzer Prize winning author. He, prefer the incumbent president, was a battle hero. He was one of a glamorous household, a family members that worked through great diligence and also evident success to breakthrough his career.

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On the family members, it is no exaggeration to say that Kennedy symbolised the household more than any kind of various other presidential candidate in history. Not just was he the figurehead of an extremely famous clan, but he additionally had actually a young, photogenic family members with Jackie Kennedy, a celebrity in her very own ideal.

The first televised debate provided Kennedy’s picture huge exposure. Up to the first December doubts about his endure had threatened to destroy his project, however the conflict concerned weaken Nixon’s superiority and allay doubts about Kennedy’s character.

The statistics indicate its meaning – a Gallup poll from September put Nixon leading by a point (47-46), but a post-debate poll saw Kennedy leading by 3 (49-46).

The controversy lacked substantive conversation, so the audience’s response was based generally on cosmetics and also style. In this respect Kennedy was the clear winner – his crisp dark suit stood out on the display screen, and also his tanned complexion gave an impression of wellness and also vigour oppowebsite the grey-suited, perspiring Vice President.

In summary


1956 was among the many remarkable years of the twentieth century. All throughout the globe, plain world spoke out, filled the streets and also city squares, and took up arms in an attempt to win their flexibility. Those in power combated earlier, in a despeprice bid to shore up their place. It was an epic dispute, and also one which made 1956 - favor 1789 and 1848 - a year that adjusted our people.
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Arthur Schlesinger Jr. declared that the central worry for Kennedy’s 1960 campaign was ‘a brand-new epoch.’ He was ideal.

Many kind of Americans were willing to think in a guy who might gain the nation moving aobtain and challenge the changing world, and on a variety of fronts Kennedy resonated through this will.

His youth – he was the initially president born in the 20th century, and the youngest up to that allude. With Each Other through his glamour and style, he produced an irresistible alentice that supplemented his considerable political skill and also resources.

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His 1960 election victory ushered in a brand-new breed of politics focused approximately picture and presentation. This tradition shows that Kennedy’s victory was attributable in substantial meacertain to his distinct and captivating style.