What Was Politically Possible for Kennedy

What Was Politically Possible for Kennedy - What Was...

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What Was Politically Possible for Kennedy? There is an element of truth in both assessments, but neither offers a fully realistic evaluation of the political realities surrounding Kennedy’s presidency. That is, to a large extent, both his defenders and detractors largely ignore what was politically possible in 1961. Instead, the mystique surrounding Kennedy’s presidency has served to both inflate his prospects and exaggerate his shortcomings. Kennedy was no King Arthur, nor was he just a flash in the pan. The most useful analysis begins with the recognition that he was a relatively young president with limited political experience. The real question, then, is how fully he would have grown in the office, and how fully he would have matured politically as president. Clearly, the biggest challenge Kennedy faced was resistance from Southern Democrats, the conservative members of his own party. Their place in the Democratic Party was a legacy of the mid-nineteenth century, when the Republican Party was founded as the anti-slavery party. By 1960, these conservative southerners were clashing repeatedly with the liberal elements within the party, and eventually they would bolt to the Republicans. But in 1960, having won the presidency by a whisker, Kennedy was anxious to retain their support and maintain the full Democratic base. His reluctance to move on several fronts––civil rights, in particular––was tied
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This note was uploaded on 01/04/2012 for the course AMH AMH2010 taught by Professor Pietrzak during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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What Was Politically Possible for Kennedy - What Was...

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