“Camelot” – Boy King
“With as much artifice as conviction, the Kennedys helped to generate the myth of Camelot – the beautiful and stylish wife, the active and
attractive leader, the high culture, the entourage of brilliant and dedicated public servants – a time that belonged, by design, with the legends of chivalric courts.”
Background: Everything came easy to him because of his family name.
Educated at Harvard.
His mother’s side of the family was very politically connected.
His father made his
money in shipping and in whiskey during prohibition.
Joe Kennedy invested in Hollywood before it became famous.
His brother, Joe Jr., was the star of the family (athletically
and whatnot), he was being groomed to be the 1
Catholic President, but died in WWII.
JFK became competitive academically.
Kennedy’s were the first family to use the White House publicly and socially, first to have public tours.
JFK recognized the power of television to get to Americans.
important. Myths:War Hero image – decorated Naval Officer, Portrayed as a family man Healthy, athletic Liberal democrat
Man (Reality)Bad back, addicted to prescription pain killers,Indecisive,As a member of the House opposed to Vietnam but as President pushed ahead quickly without really
knowing why Conservative Many mistresses – family values not in tact 1. Peace Corps – created it, represented the benevolent side to Kennedy’s commitment to activism2. Space
Program – Sputnik and space race… vows to get man to moon first3. Housing Act of 19614. Passage of the 24
amendment5. Cuban Missle Crisis – 1963, Russia attempting to
build nuclear missile (IRBM’s) launch platforms in Cuba, US finds out through satellites, blockades Cuba, Russian shipments turn around at the last moment, a deal is made trade
Russia’s missiles in Cuba for ours in Turkey (we were going to take them out anyway)5. Bay of Pigs – Cuban exiles, trained by the US CIA, invaded Cuba to attempt to overthrow
Castro, defeated6. No real Civil Rights laws passed. “What was killed [in Dallas] was not only the president but the promise… the death of youth and the hope of youth, of the
beauty and grace and the touch of magic… He never reached his meridian: we saw him only as a rising son.” ~James Reston
Lost to JFK in 1960 Democratic Primary, asked to run as JFK’s VP, accepts.
Resented the Kennedy family because everything came to them seemingly too
His family wasn’t as affluent as the Kennedy’s.
Stepped into Presidency after JFK’s assassination. Had a lot accomplished in his first year of presidency.
“You’ve got to
give it all you can your first year, every day while I’m in office I’m going to lose votes, I’m going to alienate people, I’ve got to get this legislation passed.”1. Civil Rights Act of
1964 – he was against Kennedy’s Civil Rights Bill while VP, but he understood the importance of being linked with Kennedy, portraying himself as the “dutiful executor” of