President Kennedy gave wholehearted support to American efforts in space exploration. During his administration the nation increased its expenditures in that area fivefold, and the President promised that an American would land on the moon before the end of the 1960s. (On July 20,1969, two American astronauts fulfilled the President's pledge by becoming the first human beings to set foot on the lunar surface.)

During his presidential campaign, Kennedy had stressed the necessity of improving the American economy, which was then suffering from a recession. His aim was to follow a fiscally moderate course, and the achievement of a bal_anced budget was one of his major goals. As President he managed to stimulate the sluggish economy by accelerating federal purchasing and construction programs, by the early release of more than $ 1 billion in state highway funds, and by putting $ 1 billion in credit into the home construction industry.

During his administration, however, increasing hostility developed between the White House and the business community. Anxious to prevent inflation, the President gave special attention to the steel industry, whose price-wage structure affected so many other aspects of the economy. After steel manufacturers insisted on raising their prices in April 1962, Kennedy, by applying strong economic pressure, forced the producers to return to the earlier lower price levels. His victory earned him the enmity of many business people, however.

Kennedy sympathized with the aspirations of black Americans, but he included no comprehensive civil rights legislation in his New Frontier program, fearing that the introduction into a conservative Congress of such measures would imperil all his other proposals. The President relied, instead, on his executive powers and on the enforcement of existing voting rights laws. He forbade discrimination in new federally aided housing, appointed a large number of blacks to high offices, and supported Justice Department efforts to secure voting rights and to end segregation in interstate commerce. In 1962 he used regular army troops and federalized National Guard units to force the admission of a black, James Meredith, to the University of Mississippi, and in 1963 he used federal National Guardsmen to watch over the integration of the University of Alabama.

Despite his broad visions of the American future, Kennedy enjoyed limited success in translating his ideas into legislative reality. A coalition of Republicans and conservative southern Democrats in the 87th Congress stopped many of his plans for the introduction of social measures. And even after the Demo_ratic Party increased its majority on Capitol Hill in the 1962 elections. Congress was slow to cooperate, although it probably was ready to do so just before his presidency came to an end.

John F. Kennedy presided over the execlusive branch of the United States government for only a little more than 1,000 days. During that time American involvement in Vietnam and other areas of Southeast Asia increased moderately, but the beginnings of a thaw in the cold war were also noticeable, and in 1963 the. Soviet Union and the United States signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Kennedy's years in the White House were also marked by increased social consciousness by the US government. With the Great Society program of his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Congress eventually enacted a number of Kennedy's proposals, including medical care for the elderly and greater opportunities for black Americans.

In addition to his various governmental programs, Kennedy's presidency was also no_table for a new, vital style. John and Jacqueline Kennedy and their two children, Caroline and John Jr., quickly captured the imagination of the nation, and their activities were widely reported by the media. Cer_tainly the Kennedys exuded a youthful vi-brance, and their interests seemed unending. Jacqueline Kennedy was responsible for redecorating the public rooms of the White House and inviting a glittering array of cul_tural and intellectual leaders to the executive mansion.

An assassin's bullet abruptly ended the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on Novem_ber 22,1963, as he rode in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, Texas. The entire nation mourned the tragic death of the Chief Executive. Many millions watched on television as the 35th President was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

Every state of the United States and almost every nation in the world has erected memorials to Kennedy. One of the monu_ments dearest to his family is the house at 83 Seals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, where the late President's parents lived from 1914 until 1921 and where four of their chil_dren - including John - were bom. The house was repurchased by the Kennedys in 1966 and was designated a National Historic Site by Congress in 1967. On May 29, 1969, the 52nd anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth, the family turned over the deed of the house to the National Park Service.

Both of President Kennedy's younger brothers, Robert F. and Edward M. Kennedy, served in the Senate. Many of the former President's compatriots hoped to see his goals and promise carried forward when Robert Kennedy, who had served as his at_torney general and closest adviser, an_nounced early in 1968 that he would seek the Democratic nomination for President. In another tragedy that shook the nation to its roots, Robert Kennedy was shot down by an assassin just after claiming victory in the California presidential primary. He died in Los Angeles just over 25 hours later, on June 6,1968.

Presidents at a Glance



1. George Washington


The first President, he determined in large measure what the job of President should be. Held the country together during its early days and gave it a chance to grow. Ranked by historians as a "great" President.

2. John Adams


Saved his country from an unnecessary war. Ranked by historians as a "near great" President.

3. Thomas Jefferson


Bought the Louisiana Territory and doubled the size of the country. Made sure the government stayed in the hands of the people. Ranked by historians as a "great" or "near great" President.

4. James Madison


Allowed the country to get into unnecessary war, but made peace as quickly as possible. Ranked by historians as an "average" President.

5. James Monroe


Took Florida from Spain. Created the Monroe Doctrine. Signed the Missouri Compromise. Ranked as one of the best of the "average" President.

6. John Quincy Adams


Rated by some historians as a failure because little was done during his term. Some historians rank him as "average".

7. Andrew Jackson


Did more to show how great the powers of the office were than any President after Washington. Used these powers to help make laws. Ranked by historians as a "great" or "near great" President.

8. Martin Van Buren


Was caught in one of the nation's worst financial depressions. This was unfairly blamed on him. Ranked by historians as an "average" President.

9. William Henry Harrison


Was President for only one month.

10. John Tyler


Made clear that on the death a President the Vice President became President with all the powers of the office. Served as a President without a party. Ranked by most historians as "below average".

11 .James Knox Polk


Bullied a small, weak nation (Mexico) into fighting a war it did not want, but added California and much of the South-west to the United States. Settled the Canadian border without war. Ranked by historians as a "near great" President.

12. Zachary Taylor


Knew little about the duties of a President but faced his problems honestly though with little political talent. Served only two years. Ranked by many historians as "below average."

13. Millard Fillmore


Sent the U. S. fleet to open trade with Japan. Helped pass the Great Compromise of 1850. Ranked by historians as "below average."

14. Franklin Pierce


Put through the Gadsden Purchase acquiring what is now southern Arizona and New Mexico. Favored the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the door to the Civil War. Ranked by historians as "below average."

15. James Buchanan


Faced the final breakup of the nation over slavery. Tried hard to prevent war but made matters worse instead of better. Ranked by historians as "below average."

16. Abraham Lincoln


Held the nation together in its most difficult time. In a speech at the Gettysburg battlefield he said it was the people's duty to make sure "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." More than any other one man, he helped make these words come true. Ranked by historians as a truly "great" President.

17. Andrew Johnson


Took office in a. time of great trouble. Fought for what he believed was right, but did not have the power to persuade and lead men. Was impeached by Congress and came within one vote of being removed from office. Ranked by historians from "near great" to "below average."

18. Ulysses Simpson Grant


Was personally honest, but many of the men around him were crooks. His administration was one of the most dishonest in American history. One of the three Presidents rated as a "failure".

19. Ruthertord

Birchard Hayes


Ended the period of Reconstruction. Tried to reform the federal government after the Grant administration. Tried to improve the civil service system, but met with little success. Ranked by historians as "average."

20. James Abram Garfield


Was killed only a few months after taking office. Yet his death may have done more to improve honesty in government than he could have done had he lived.

21. Chester Alan Arthur


Helped pass the first effective civil service laws and administered them honestly. Helped develop a modern navy. Ranked by historians as "average."

22 and 24. Grover Cleveland

1885-1889 and 1893-1897

Made needed reforms in the federal government. Helped restore the confidence of the people in their government. His intentions were always good, but his methods sometimes failed. Ranked by historians as a "near great" President.

23. Benjamin Harrison


Favored a strong foreign policy. Enlarged the navy. Wanted a better civil service, but Congress continually opposed him. Ranked by historians as "average."

25. William McKinley


Allowed the United States to be pushed into war with Spain, but made the United States a world power. Acquired the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico as United States possessions. Ranked by historians as "average."

26. Theodore Roosevelt


Brought tremendous energy and vitality to the office of President. Used the powers of his office to control the power of huge business concerns. Worked to establish national parks and forests and the Panama Canal. Ranked by historians as one of the "near great" President.

27. William

Howard Taft


Worked hard for conservation of natural resources. Helped improve the Post Office system. Fought to break the power of the trusts. Ranked by historians as "average."

28. Woodrow Wilson


Reformed the banking laws. Worked to improve the antitrust laws, to help the American worker, and to lower the tariff. Tried to stay out of World War I, then tried hard to make it a "war to end all wars." Worked for a League of Nations to keep the world at peace. Failed, but left an ideal of which people still dream. Ranked by historians as a "great" President.

29. Warren Gamaliel Harding


In large measure let Congress and his Cabinet run the nation. Was more loyal to his friends than to his country. His was probably the most dishonest administration in United States history. Ranked by historians as a "failure."

30. Calvin Coolidge


Believed the powers of the President should be very limited and that government should leave business alone. Took very little action but restored honesty and dignity to the presidency. Ranked by historians as "below average."

31. Herbert Hoover


Saw the country plunged into its worst financial depression and was unfairly blamed for it. Tried to improve business, but his efforts were not enough. Ranked by historians as "average."

32. Franklin

Delano Roosevelt


Saw the United States through two grave crises: the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II. Promoted laws that changed the course of American government. Ranked by historians as a "great" President.

33. Harry S. Truman


Was faced by important decisions and made most of them correctly. Established the Truman Doctrine by which the United States would help other nati-ons trying to stay free of Communist control. Worked for social welfare and civil rights laws. Ranked by most historians as a "near great" President.

34. Dwight David Eisenhower


Ended the war in Korea. Tried to lessen troubles with the Soviet Union. Sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce school integration. Ranked by most historians as "average."

35. John Fitzgerald Kennedy


Worked for equal rights for all citizens. Established the Peace Corps. Forced the Soviet Union to withdraw its missiles from Cuba

36. Lyndon Baines Johnson


Pushed more important laws through Congress than any President since Franklin Roosevelt, including civil rights and antipoverty measures. Tried unsuccessfully to make peace in Vietnam

37. Richard Milhous Nixon


Ended U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Opened relations with Communist China. His administration was caught in one of the worst political scandals in American history.

38. Gerald Rudolph Ford


His fair and open administration helped to heal the wounds of Watergate. Improved relations with China. Was the first person to occupy the White House without having been elected either President or Vice President.

39. Jimmy

(James Earl) Carter


Helped bring about a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Improved relations with Latin America by giving control of the Panama Canal to Panama. Worked to improve human rights throughout the world.

40. Ronald Wilson Reagan


Built up U. S. military power Worked to reduce inflation and led the fight to reduce taxes. The national debt increased massively during his administration. In his second term, he began arms-limitation talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

41. George Herbert Walker Bush


His election marked the 200th anniversary of the U. S. presidency. Presided during the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communist rule in Eastern Europe. In the Persian Gulf war, led a coalition of nations in driving the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

42. Bill (William Jefferson Biythe) Clinton


Won back many of the Democratic and independent voter" who supported Reagan during the previous decade. The first President born after World War II, he took office in a time of transition. The Cold War was over, and Americans were beginning to focus on problems at home, including the national debt and a sluggish economy.


Excerpts from Inaugural Addresses of American Presidents

Every four years when the new President of the United States is introduced into his office, i. e. inaugurated, he takes the oath of office and delivers a speech on the steps of the Capitol.

The American Dream

Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; enlightened by a benign religion, professed indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter - with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people?

Thomas Jefferson, 1801

The Unity of the Nation

One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action.

In your hands, my dissatisfied country-fellowmen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one "to preserve, protect, and defend it."

Abraham Lincoln, 1861

Good Will and World Politics

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.

This much we pledge - and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do - for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not

always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them supporting their own freedom and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding on the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required - not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge, but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

John F. Kennedy. 1961

The literature

1.     English 17 1998 page 12

2.     English 48, page 1

3.     English 16 1996 page 2-3

4.     English 19 2000 page 14-15

5.     . .

6.     , -, 1995

  1. SpeakOut 2000 6, page 2-3, 4-5

: 1, 2, 3

2009 .