Presidency of John F. Kennedy in The Making of the President 1964

Categories: John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy’s reign as president remained short-lived, but his impact bequeathed a lasting legacy for the future leaders of America. Kennedy’s earnest concern for the American people made him very popular because he constantly had the best interest of the people in mind. In the midst of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy was shot dead, leaving the nation in shambles. His demise left big shoes for Lyndon B. Johnston to fill. Historian, Theodore White argues that Kennedy’s death helped navigate Johnston's presidency by pushing Johnston to seize reforms, such as tax cuts and new civil rights bills.

Johnston preserved handfuls of Kennedy’s unfinished proposals, in hopes for the better prosperity of America.

Brilliantly and coherently written, The Making of the President 1964 illustrates the history of prior presidents and their achievements. White narrates the novel in prose which captivates the emotion felt by the American people. To be specific, the beginning chapter opens with former President Kennedy’s assassinations.

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Graphic details display the despair experienced by the nation, making it feel as if I was present during the death of my president. By using anecdotes of the public’s reaction to the distressing news, White further my ability to comprehend and sympathize with the raw emotions felt. Also, White provides lengthy reasonings and explanations to help clarify any events or activities that led to the rising of Lyndon B. Johnston’s presidency. This allowed me to grasp ideas and situations very clearly because every event included details and explanations.

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To summarize, the book portrayed history in an entertaining fashion that allowed readers to follow along the timeline with ease.

Immigration remains a subtopic that White brushed over in the novel. White predominantly focuses on the civil rights movement, leaving me with lots of questions about immigrants. Prominent throughout American history, immigration persist as a controversial topic; addressing this issue would be a crucial factor of Johnston’s presidency and his impact on the country. I was confused whether the public and the president were wary of foreigners or if they embraced them, especially during this time of war and confusion. Immigration would enhance the thesis because it would help argue how Kennedy’s principles transpired to President Johnston. Their views on immigration could alter and mold the future of the country for many years.

There is an evident distinction between the textbook, The American Promise and the novel, The Making of the President 1964. The textbook's descriptions of both Kennedy and Johnston provide substance but seem to lack in comparison to the novel. The American Promise stated very explicitly President Johnston completed this at this time on this day. Dull, the book fell short of the story-telling properties the novel possessed. Although they maintained similar information, White remained more opinionated to the idea of how Kennedy shaped Johnston’s presidency. The textbook remained more neutral. In addition, The Making of the President 1964 included further personal aspects and showed the President as a whole. This not only displayed what the president accomplished, but who and what he embodied and as a person. The textbook held more plain and straightforward material, whereas the novel further dissects and analyzes the presidents on personal status.

I would highly recommend The Making of the President 1964 to students, teachers, or any history buffs. Those who happen to be looking for an exceptional historical read, this captivating novel simultaneously keeps readers engaged and informed about 1960s politics. White’s theme of the importance of past presidencies provide insight into the complex ideas of the political system during that time period, which continues to influence current politics today.

Updated: Mar 11, 2022
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Presidency of John F. Kennedy in The Making of the President 1964. (2021, Feb 18). Retrieved from

Presidency of John F. Kennedy in The Making of the President 1964 essay
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