KGB vs. Barack Essay

Submitted By meghan7925
Words: 2689
Pages: 11

Kennedy & Obama: Their Presidency’s Since 1789, the citizens of the United States of America have had the privilege of electing their own president into office. They entrust this person with the task of leading the American people, and with the power of speaking for those who can’t. The president is responsible for creating policies, both domestic and foreign, that not only benefit the United States of America itself, but also help those countries who we have the pleasure of sharing our world with. With these policies, presidents need to help find a balance between what all of the people want, and what the best decision for America is. It is not an easy job, as our country covers more land than the continent of Europe, and therefore our government has to deal with the angry backlash of people who do not agree with the policies we set forth. One person in power cannot please everyone, and this is exactly the kind of scrutiny that John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama have experienced during the extent of both their presidencies. Viewed as a liberal, John F. Kennedy was president from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. He was known for being the youngest man to be elected president, and belonged to the Democratic Party. Some domestic factors he dealt with involved civil rights and the economy, while on the foreign end he was faced with problems between America and the USSR and Cuba. Barack Obama was also a first; elected in 2008, he is the first black man to become president. Also viewed as liberal and part of the Democratic Party, Obama has made many domestic reform policies that target American healthcare and the current economic and unemployment disasters in our country. Outside of our borders, Obama is focused on the tense situations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Both presidents were faced with events unique to their own time, and both handled them accordingly. As for John F. Kennedy, domestic legislation during his first two years can be described as stalled at best. The major situation that plagued Kennedy’s presidency within America’s borders was the issue of civil rights. Ultimately Kennedy did support the idea of an integrated America, and this platform helped him secure the presidency during his election. “More than 70 percent of African Americans voted for Kennedy” and “when he took office in January 1961, African Americans had high expectations for the new administration.”1 Unfortunately, Kennedy was very cautious in advancing on any civil rights agenda during the first two years of his presidency. The Democrats did have a majority in Congress, but held it by a very narrow margin. Most of these Democrats were Southerners, who were extremely opposed to civil rights legislation.2 This meant that Kennedy had to tread lightly, as he did not want to lose the support of the South. He did not actively push for civil rights legislature, although he did speak out against segregated schools and “appointed [many] African Americans to high-level positions in the administration.”3 Sadly, this wasn’t enough, and violence continued to break out all across America, lead by racist groups vehemently against the idea of a joined country. The attacks on The Freedom Riders, James Meredith, and Martin Luther King Jr. at the Demonstrations in Birmingham proved to show that Kennedy’s slow moving tactics weren’t working, and that the American people wanted action immediately. In all of these events, Kennedy sent federal reinforcements to protect those from violence, but that was all. It wasn’t until 1963 that Kennedy finally started to really push for civil rights legislature. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see it pass, as he was assassinated in November of 1963. Lyndon B. Johnson used his southern connections to pass the Civil Rights Act and stated it was a way to honor President Kennedy.4 Another domestic problem Kennedy faced during the time of his presidency was the slow economy and high unemployment rate.