The Comparison of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy
The youngest of all the great powers in the world the United States has the longest history of the presidency. In the history of the American elections, 45 people were in power. Thus, it is possible to make general conclusions about the most significant and authoritative political figures in the US. Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy are considered the most revered and famous US presidents in the US history. Obviously, other American presidents do not remain without public attention (Solheim 15). Nonetheless, the two presidents enjoyed the widest popularity as the individuals because of their political activities and biographies. Due to the great number of coincidences in the lives of Lincoln and Kennedy, it is important to compare and contrast their biographies.
Abraham Lincoln is an American politician and the 16th US President. Lincoln was born in the family of farmers in the state of Kentucky in 1809 (Browne 3). Later, the family moved from Kentucky to Illinois. In 1834, Abraham was elected to the House of Representatives of the State of Illinois (Browne 56). In several years, Lincoln became a leader of the Whigs in the House of Representatives. The future president received a license for legal practice, was officially admitted to the legal profession, and founded a law firm. At the end of four terms in the House of Representatives of Illinois, Lincoln tried to participate in the elections to the House of Representatives of the Congress. Nevertheless, Abraham was defeated twice. In 1846, Lincoln was elected as a member of the Whig Party (Browne 60). In mid-May 1860, the national republican convention was held in Chicago (Browne 60). The delegations of different states turned their attention to Lincoln and he was nominated as a candidate for the party in the presidency in the third round of voting. In fact, Lincoln did not conduct an active campaign. The future president promised the voters to relieve the country from slavery and eventually achieved the goal. Lincoln's best expression of the concept of democracy and its significance for the whole world was the famous Gettysburg Message - a brief speech at the opening of the military cemetery in Gettysburg. The president ruled the country during the civil war in America, which represented an extremely difficult period for both Abraham Lincoln and the whole country. By the end of the first term in office, Lincoln gained many enemies. However, the opponents were not strong enough to prevent presidential nomination. Nevertheless, Lincoln assumed that he would be defeated in the elections since the northerners were experiencing difficulties in the war of the North and the South (Browne 87). The capture of Atlanta restored the confidence of the North and Lincoln was elected for a new term. When Lincoln took the oath of the president for the second time, it was clear for the citizens that the war between the South and the North was coming to an end. In the evening of April 14, Lincoln was shot by the actor John Booth during a visit to the Ford Theater in Washington (Browne 95). Actually, Abraham Lincoln died without regaining consciousness. The whole country was shocked because of a sudden death of the president.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy is the 35th President of the United States. John grew up in a Catholic Irish family. Kennedy's father was a politician, businessman, and diplomat (Meagher and Gragg 7). In 1936, Kennedy entered Harvard University (Meagher and Gragg 11). Moreover, John Fitzgerald Kennedy participated in the military battles during World War II. The future president served in the navy in the Pacific, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant. In fact, Kennedy commanded the torpedo boat, which was bombarded by a Japanese destroyer. John Kennedy took an active part in the rescue of the crew members. After the war, the future president worked as a journalist but decided to go into big politics according to his father's instructions. Kennedy's career began in 1946, when he was elected to the House of Representatives of the US Congress from the Democratic Party. In 1952, Kennedy was a candidate for the Senate and defeated his rival from the Republican Party with an advantage of 70 thousand votes. Several years later, the future president was re-elected. On July 13, 1960, the Democratic Party formally nominated Kennedy as the candidate for the presidency of the United States (Meagher and Gragg 27). Actually, John Kennedy beat the Republican nominee Richard Nixon in the process of voting and became the youngest president in US history. The plan of action of the new president was called New Frontier. According to the New Frontier, the Congress approved the creation of the Peace Corps, liberalized social insurance, raised minimum wages, and passed laws on housing construction, assistance to the impoverished regions of the country, the retraining of the workforce, and the payment of benefits to the temporarily unemployed. During Kennedy's presidency, the exploration of outer space was highly promoted and the Apollo program was launched. Instead of the obsolete doctrines of massive retaliation and dropping communism, the administration of John Kennedy proclaimed the doctrine of flexible response. At the same time, Kennedy approved US intervention in the civil war in South Vietnam. During the period of Kennedy's reign, Berlin and Caribbean crisis took place. At the end of 1963, the president began a series of trips around the country by preparing for the upcoming election year (Meagher and Gragg 102). November 21, Kennedy flew to Texas. The next day, the presidential motorcade triumphantly marched through the streets of Dallas, where gunshots rang out in the sight of a large crowd of people, which gathered to greet the president. According to the official data, there were three shots (Meagher and Gragg 105). Actually, the doctors could not help the president and he died from the injuries. Similar to the case of the murder of Abraham Lincoln, the United States was shocked to learn of the death of John Kennedy.
The summary of the biographies of the two outstanding political figures reveals numerous similarities in the life and career. The fate of the US President John F. Kennedy strikingly resembles the fate of his predecessor, Abraham Lincoln. The latter was elected to Congress in 1847 and Kennedy in one hundred years (OReilly and Dugar 6). Both presidents studied law and were associated with civil rights movements during their rule. The presidents were in the military service before participating in politics. Lincoln became president in 1860 and Kennedy in 1960 (OReilly and Dugar 7). During their political term, the country experienced political and military difficulties. Therefore, both politicians aimed at getting the country out of the crisis. For this purpose, both Lincoln and Kennedy conducted different reforms. The presidents contributed to the implementation of the political process in the country even in wartime. Kennedy and Lincoln managed to keep free speech, avoided the restrictions of civil liberties, and had a successful agrarian reform, which contributed to the development of agriculture in arid areas of the country. Numerous similarities connected with the deaths of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy need to be mentioned. Actually, both presidents were shot. Lincoln was shot at the Ford Theater, while Kennedy was shot in the Ford Lincoln limousine (OReilly and Dugar 18). Moreover, both shooters were killed before the trial (OReilly and Dugar 20). All the similarities in the biographies of two political figures are outstanding.
Nevertheless, the biographies of two presidents contain certain differences. In fact, one of the differences applies to the origin of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. Lincoln was from a poor family, where all the family members were illiterate. Abraham Lincoln was the first in the family, who learnt to read and write. Due to a difficult financial situation, Lincoln could not afford to attend an expensive school. The book Life of Abraham Lincoln informs that the boy's thirst for learning was not to be satisfied with the meager knowledge furnished in the miserable schools he was able to attend at long intervals (Browne 32). Therefore, Lincoln spent much time on self-education. However, John Kennedy's childhood was completely different. As mentioned above, Kennedy's father was a businessman and a politician. Thus, Kennedy was growing in the world of politics starting from birth. The future president attended a prestigious school and university. Despite the difference, both presidents were highly intelligent and enjoyed reading. Authors Michael Meagher and Larry Gragg state that Jack found solace in reading. His interest in books charted the young man's future path (1). In such a way, both presidents shared the similar interest books.
Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy represent vivid political figures in the history of the United States and the whole world. Interestingly, there are many similarities in the lives of these politicians. Both presidents aimed at establishing and defending democracy. Abraham Lincoln brought the most significant achievement by uniting the warring states under a common national idea and ensuring the further development and prosperity of the country. John Kennedy continued the idea of his predecessor. Despite the general love and recognition, the lives of both American presidents ended tragically. Nowadays, many facts regarding life and death of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy remain undiscovered.
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