John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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Over the course of thousands of years man has become civilized. We have tried to make things better with new inventions and ideas. With these new ideas and new ways of living there have been problems associated with them. Man invented the wheel, which really improved the way he lived. But then he discovered that something as insignificant as a little hole in the ground could be his enemy when he was using the wheel. Man discovered fire and learned the good and bad that can come from it. Then later on in evolution man decided there should be a way of ranking people, like the wolves.
To jump ahead a little bit in time, man invented democracy. We got this from the ancient Greeks and decided it would be the best way to run this country (America), and the most efficient. There would be senators, congressmen, a supreme court and a president, as well as lots of people behind the scenes to help this democracy work. But just like the wheel, this democracy had problems. People didn’t always agree with how decisions were made, or how things should be run. Most people settled these differences by voting for someone else, or trying to get others to vote for someone else with them. Sometimes they would hold protests. And in the heat of the moment people would say things that appealed to the crowd, and the crowd went along with it whether they agreed with it or not. Ever since there was the first president, people have been out to get him. That job has been a high risk one and will be for years to come. Several presidents have been assassinated, including John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
     John F. Kennedy was born in 1917. He was the youngest man ever elected to the office of president and the youngest man to ever die in office. He was of Irish decent and also was in the United States Navy. Some called him a “war hero” but some would argue with that, due to his reported “hot-dogging” in the Navy, which did a high amount of destruction to piers and PT boats. Most people would have been kicked out of the military or at the very least court marshaled with those sorts of actions, but due to his father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy’s position and wealth, those actions were overlooked.

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Kennedy was also the first Catholic president elected to office. This brought about much controversy. Many people didn’t like the idea of a Catholic president. They thought he would allow the Pope to make decisions about our country. Another reason people didn’t want JFK as a president was because he was far too young and they believed that he would be inexperienced. They also believed that he wouldn’t be able to appeal to the “common folk” because of his wealthy upbringing. He grew up very rich and people didn’t think that he could fit the job. But to argue with this, some people wanted a young president because they liked his fresh energy. Many people also liked his ideas of civil rights but some people felt he was too liberal.
     In November of 1963 President and Mrs. Kennedy came to Texas with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. The main purpose of his trip was to heal a split in the Democratic Party before the 1964 Presidential campaign, in which Kennedy planned to run for a second term. Unfortunately he didn’t get very far.
     On November 22, 1963, about 12:30 p.m., Kennedy rode past friendly crowds on his way to a luncheon in downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy sat next to the president and Texas Governor John B. Connally sat next to his wife, in front of the President and First Lady. Around 12:31 p.m. three shots rang out killing Kennedy and seriously wounding Connally.
     Some witnesses said that the assassin’s bullets were fired from a 6th floor window in the Texas School Book Depository, a building along the motorcade route. Police ran into the building trying to find the killer, or even another witness, but had no luck. Then they began a search for an employee of the building who had left the scene a few minutes after the shooting. The employee, Lee Harvey Oswald, is said to have shot and killed President Kennedy around noon and then a Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippit, while resisting arrest.
Oswald was finally arrested in a theater a short while later, and was charged with the murders of President Kennedy and Officer Tippit. The police questioned Oswald for two days straight but he kept denying both murders. The police said that the evidence against Oswald was overwhelming and there were just too many fingers pointing in his direction to just let him go. A major piece of evidence was an Italian rifle with a telescoping sight, which was found in the School Book Depository that had been ordered by Oswald through a mail order.
     On Sunday, November 24, two days after the president’s assassination, Oswald was scheduled to be taken from the Dallas city jail to the county jail. As he was led to an armored car, he was interrupted by a Dallas nightclub owner, Jack Ruby. Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd and shot Oswald to death. He was taken to the same hospital that the president had been taken to. Oswald died 48 hours after Kennedy.
     There were many different theories and possibilities of how Kennedy could have been shot. The “magic bullet” theory is one of the most famous of them all. In this theory it states that one single bullet could have done all the damage. One single bullet from the assassin’s gun (60’ high) entered Kennedy’s shirt 5 inches below his collar, bounced off a bone in Kennedy’s chest, and left his body near his tie knot. The bullet then entered Connally’s body, shattering his 5th rib, then exited under his armpit only to enter his right wrist, shattering it. Many believe this theory but there is only one question, where is the bullet? They found only one bullet and that one was unmarked. There wasn’t a scratch on it.
     The Warren Commission investigated the assassination and decided Oswald was the only assassin. Oswald was a communist, married to a Russian woman and had applied to be a Russian citizen. He was an ex-marine and had become an expert marksman. It was found that he had ordered the rifle found at the scene from a catalogue.
     On these facts, among others, the Warren Commission found Oswald to be the one and only gunman and its report to the country raised many questions. It also brought out many conspiracy theories that claimed Oswald was just a part of a group of conspirators bent on getting rid of President Kennedy.
     Oswald was killed before anyone had a chance to really investigate the case and Jack Ruby also died soon after. Then, once the Warren Report was published, the case was officially closed.
     Several theories of conspiracy came forward giving several reasons, including one that the CIA was behind the killing because of Kennedy’s dealings with Russia and his ideas on nuclear weapons.
     One popular conspiracy theory was that Kennedy did so much to help Black people that he had angered many powerful southern groups and they had put together an elaborate plan to get rid of him.
     Some people felt that the Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, who had never really gotten along with JFK had something to do with his death. They felt LBJ slid too easily and quickly into the role of president. They felt it almost seemed he was ready and waiting on that November day.
     People still argue over these conspiracy theories and still no one can agree. There have been too many years and too many deaths. We will probably never know exactly how or why President Kennedy died.
     So you can see that our so-called “civilization” has come a long way from the beginning. Man has invented many wheels these past hundreds of thousands of years and fire has become an important part of many new and exciting inventions. We have come a long way but we still have a very long way to go.
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