Timeline of the presidency of John F. Kennedy

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Presidency of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpg
35th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson
Personal details
Born John Fitzgerald Kennedy
(1917-05-29)May 29, 1917
Brookline, Massachusetts
Died November 22, 1963(1963-11-22) (aged 46)
Dallas, Texas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy
Children Arabella Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Naval officer, politician
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature

The following is a timeline of the presidency of John F. Kennedy, also known as the Kennedy Administration, which began January 20, 1961 when he was inaugurated President of the United States, and ended when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, a span of 1,036 days. This timeline begins on January 2, 1960, the date when then Senator John F. Kennedy announced his intention to run for the Democratic presidential nomination and concludes on November 25, 1963, when the martyred president was buried. Kennedy was the first Catholic President, the youngest elected President (Theodore Roosevelt, who succeeded to the Presidency after William McKinley's assassination, was younger), and the fourth President to be assassinated.

Upon Kennedy's death, in accordance with Constitutional procedure in the case of the death of the President, his Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, succeeded to the Office of the Presidency and took the oath of office of the President of the United States aboard Air Force One less than an hour after Kennedy died. Johnson served out the remainder of Kennedy's term, and was elected to the Presidency in his own right in 1964.

Pre-presidency[edit]

1960[edit]

January[edit]

Kennedy's second draft of his written remarks announcing his presidential candidacy, January 2, 1960.
See also Works related to Statement of Senator John F. Kennedy Announcing His Candidacy for the Presidency of the United States at Wikisource

July[edit]

September[edit]

September 26: Senator Kennedy and Vice President Nixon participate in the first television presidential debate.
  • September 12 - Senator Kennedy delivers a campaign speech in which he strongly reaffirms his support for separation of church and state, which successfully cooled tensions surrounding his Catholicism.[4] When inaugurated, he became the first Catholic President in American history.[5]
  • September 26 - Senator Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon participate in the first televised presidential debate.[6]

October[edit]

  • October 7 - Kennedy and Nixon participate in the second presidential debate, held in Washington, D.C.; NBC journalist Frank McGee moderates.[7]
  • October 13 - Senator Kennedy and Vice President Nixon debate each other for the third time; former Face the Nation anchor Bill Shadel moderates. Kennedy participates from a New York studio, while Nixon participates from a Los Angeles studio.[8]
  • October 21 - Kennedy and Nixon participate in the fourth and final presidential debate in New York; ABC News journalist Quincy Howe moderates.[9]

November[edit]

  • November 8 - The 1960 presidential election is held, the first to have both candidates born in the 20th century, and the first in which the two most recently admitted states, Alaska (January 3, 1959) and Hawaii (August 21, 1959), participated.[10]
  • November 9 - Current Vice President and Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon concedes the presidency to Kennedy.[11] Kennedy's official popular vote margin is 0.1% (112,827 votes) and his electoral margin is 84 electoral votes.[12] Nixon won more states, 26 to 22.[13] The electoral result proves to be the closest since the 1916 presidential election. The election of Kennedy and Johnson as President and Vice President was the last time until the 2008 election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden that two incumbent senators were elected on the same ticket.

December[edit]

December 6: President-elect Kennedy meets with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[14]
  • December 6: President-elect Kennedy meets with President Eisenhower.[14]

1961[edit]

January[edit]

January 20: John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.
January 21:The Cabinet is sworn in by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
January 25: President Kennedy holds the first regular live televised press conference in the State Department Auditorium.

February[edit]

March[edit]

March 1: Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.

April[edit]

  • April 1 - Kennedy meets with Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Kennedy also declares parts of eastern Iowa flooded by the Cedar River to be a major disaster area.
  • April 2 - Kennedy meets with journalists Albert Merriman Smith and Marvin Arrowsmith. The First Family view the film All in a Night's Work.
  • April 12 - The Soviet Union's launch of Yuri Gagarin into low Earth orbit aboard Vostok 1 marks the first time a human being is launched into outer space. Kennedy messages Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, congratulating him on the successful launch of Vostok 1.
  • April 17 - Continuing a concept originating in the administration of his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Kennedy orders the invasion of Cuba in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the communist regime.
  • April 19 - The invasion of Cuba fails and results in a Cuban revolutionary victory. Kennedy's administration is severely embarrassed, so much so that Kennedy stated he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the wind".

May[edit]

May 25: Kennedy sets out the goal to "land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth".
May 5: President Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, and Vice President Johnson watch the launch of Freedom 7 from the White House Situation Room.
May 5: Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space, when he is launched aboard a Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle on Freedom 7.
May 8: President Kennedy meets with Alan Shepard at the White House.
  • May 2 - The Freedom 7 spacecraft is readied for a launch attempt which would have resulted in the first American human spaceflight; it is canceled due to poor weather and rescheduled for May 5.
  • May 5 - Alan Shepard is launched on Freedom 7 on a sub-orbital spaceflight aboard a Mercury-Redstone rocket, and becomes the first American in outer space. The flight lasts 15 minutes 22 seconds, and reaches an apogee of 187.42 kilometres (116.46 mi), and a maximum speed of 8,277 kilometres per hour (5,143 mph) (Mach 6.94).
  • May 8 - Kennedy meets with Alan Shepard at the White House, to congratulate him on becoming the first American in space. He awards him the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in a ceremony on the White House lawn. The six other Mercury Seven astronauts attends the ceremony, the next of which, Gus Grissom, would launch into space less than three months later.
  • May 25 - In an address to a Joint session of the United States Congress, Kennedy announces full presidential support for the goal to "commit...before this decade is out, to landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" and urges Congress to appropriate the necessary funds, eventually consuming the largest financial expenditure of any nation in peacetime.[18] Though Kennedy had initially been convinced that NASA should attempt a manned mission to Mars, NASA Associate Administrator Robert Seamans spent three days and nights working, ultimately successfully, to convince him otherwise.[19]

September[edit]

  • September 25 - Address before the United Nations General Assembly (JFK's first of two) announcing the US intention to "challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race".

1962[edit]

February 20: John Glenn is launched into space on Friendship 7 and becomes the first American to orbit the Earth.

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

  • March 22 - Kennedy signs into law HR5143 (PL87-423), abolishing the mandatory death penalty for first degree murder in the District of Columbia, the only remaining jurisdiction in the United States with a mandatory death sentence for first degree murder, replacing it with life imprisonment with parole if the jury could not decide between life imprisonment and the death penalty, or if the jury chose life imprisonment by a unanimous vote.[21][22] The death penalty in the District of Columbia has not been applied since 1957, and has now been abolished.[23]

May[edit]

September 12: President Kennedy declares "we choose to go to the Moon in this decade" during a speech on the nation's space program at Rice University.
See also Works related to We choose to go to the Moon at Wikisource
September 12: President Kennedy visits Rice University to deliver a speech on the nation's space program.

September[edit]

  • September 12 - Kennedy delivers a speech at Rice University on the subject of the nation's plans to land humans on the Moon. Kennedy announces his continued support for increased space expenditures, saying "we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

October[edit]

  • October 22 - In a televised address, Kennedy announces the October 14 discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba, making public the Cuban missile crisis. Kennedy also announces a naval "quarantine on all offensive military equipment" to that country.

November[edit]

  • November 6 - The 1962 elections are held. The Democrats lose seats in the House to Republicans, but maintain their majority; they increase their majority in the Senate. Kennedy's brother Ted wins a special election in Massachusetts to represent the state as junior senator, in the seat his brother formerly held and was at the time occupied by Benjamin A. Smith II who had been appointed to the seat upon President-elect Kennedy's victory.
December 12: President John F Kennedy with President Jorge Alessandri of Chile in his visit to the United States of America in 1962.
December 12: President and Mrs. Kennedy standing next to the White House Christmas tree, located in the Entrance Hall.

December[edit]



1963[edit]

January[edit]

January 14: President Kennedy delivers his third and final State of the Union address.

February[edit]

March[edit]

June[edit]

June 26: President Kennedy delivers his now-famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech.
June 11: Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach confronts Alabama Governor George Wallace after Wallace refuses to allow the Court-ordered admittance of African–American students to the University of Alabama. After the confrontation, the students are admitted peacefully.
June 10: President Kennedy delivers the commencement address at American University.

August[edit]

August 28: Martin Luther King delivers his I Have A Dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

September[edit]

  • September 20 - Address before the United Nations General Assembly (JFK's second) stating various specific recommendations to "move the world to a just and lasting peace".
  • September 28 - Dedication of Clair A. Hill Whiskeytown Dam just outside Redding, California in Shasta County. JFK touted the reservoir as the largest of the Trinity County Dams" that "could be used to benefit the farms and lands further south"

October[edit]

Kennedy and his son John, Jr. walk at the White House, October 1963.
October 7: President Kennedy signs the Partial Test Ban Treaty, a major milestone in early nuclear disarmament, despite occurring in the Nuclear Age.

November[edit]

  • November 18 - President Kennedy traveled to Tampa, Florida. There, he visited the military's Strike Command Headquarters, attended a luncheon at the officer's club, made a speech at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and another to the United Steelworker's Union.
  • November 21 - On the final full day of the Kennedy administration, the President asks his economic advisers to prepare the War on Poverty for 1964. Less than two months after the President's assassination, President Johnson introduces the legislation in his first State of the Union address on January 8, 1964, and two of the major pieces of related legislation – the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and the Social Security Act of 1965 – are signed into law on August 20, 1964 and July 30, 1965, respectively.
  • November 22 - Kennedy's administration abruptly ends when he is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested and charged with the murder. Oswald is shot and killed two days later by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

Post-presidency[edit]

November 1963[edit]

November 23: Kennedy lies in repose in the East Room of the White House.
November 22: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in aboard Air Force One as the nation's 36th President hours after the Kennedy assassination.

References[edit]

  1. ^ John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. "John F. Kennedy Fast Facts: Announcement as Candidate for President, January 2, 1960". jfklibrary.org. 
  2. ^ University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs. "Acceptance of the Democratic Party Nomination (July 15, 1960)". millercenter.org. 
  3. ^ W.H. Lawrence (July 15, 1960). "Johnson is Nominated for Vice President; Kennedy Picks Him to Placate the South". nytimes.com. 
  4. ^ National Public Radio (December 5, 2007). "Transcript: JFK's Speech on His Religion". npr.org. 
  5. ^ Public Broadcasting Service American Experience. "Biography: 35. John F. Kennedy". pbs.org. 
  6. ^ New York Times (September 26, 2011). "Sept. 26, 1960: First Televised Presidential Debate". nytimes.com. 
  7. ^ Commission on Presidential Debates (2012). "October 7, 1960 Debate Transcript: The Second Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate". debates.org. 
  8. ^ Commission on Presidential Debates (2012). "October 13, 1960 Debate Transcript: The Third Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate". debates.org. 
  9. ^ Commission on Presidential Debates (2012). "October 21, 1960 Debate Transcript: The Fourth Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate". debates.org. 
  10. ^ John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. "Campaign of 1960". jfklibrary.org. 
  11. ^ Associated Press; Cornell University (November 9, 1960). "Nixon Talks to Supporters, Virtually Concedes Defeat". cornell.edu. 
  12. ^ Russell D. Renka; Southeast Missouri State University (March 1, 2010). "The 1960 Kennedy v. Nixon Election". semo.edu. 
  13. ^ St. Bonaventure University (April 5, 2013). "1960 Election". sbu.edu. 
  14. ^ a b "December 1960 Chronology - Eisenhower Presidential Papers - Eisenhower Memorial Commission". Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. February 1, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  15. ^ United States Congress Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. "Swearing-In Ceremony for President John F. Kennedy Forty-Fourth Inaugural Ceremonies, January 20, 1961". senate.gov. 
  16. ^ Yale University Law School. "Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy". yale.edu. 
  17. ^ Whealan, Ronald E. (October 30, 2005). "January 21, 1961". John F. Kennedy Library. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  18. ^ "NASA Langley Research Center's Contributions to the Apollo Program". Langley Research Center. November 21, 2004. Retrieved January 10, 2010. "Answering President Kennedy's challenge and landing men on the moon by 1969 required the most sudden burst of technological creativity, and the largest commitment of resources ($24 billion), ever made by any nation in peacetime. At its peak, the Apollo program employed 400,000 Americans and required the support of over 20,000 industrial firms and universities." 
  19. ^ "Robert C. Seamans Jr.". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. June 10, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2010. "President Kennedy had been convinced that America needed to send a man to Mars and back before the decade was out. Bob [Seamans] told me the story of working three days and nights trying to put together, clearly and succinctly, the case for the President that we cannot hit that goal, we need to go to the Moon." 
  20. ^ Riechmann, Deb (2008-07-29). "Bush: Former Army cook's crimes warrant execution". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  21. ^ Whealan, Ronald E. (2005-12-05). "March 22, 1962 - The White House Diary". John F. Kennedy Library. Retrieved 2009-08-28. [dead link]
  22. ^ Whealan, Ronald E. (2006-01-19). "Kennedy Legislative Record, Page 2 - Summary of the Three Year Kennedy Record (Legislation)". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  23. ^ "Norton Letter to U.S. Attorney Says Death Penalty Trial That Begins Today Part of Troubling and Futile Pattern". Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  24. ^ J. F. Kennedy (February 20, 1963). "Victor Harry Feguer -- Petition for Commutation of Death Sentence". The Smoking Gun. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "I have reviewed your letter of January 21 regarding the application for clemency in behalf of Mr. Feguer. Taking all factors into account, it is my decision that the petition should be and is hereby denied." 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the National Archives and Records Administration document "The White House Diary".

External links[edit]