The presidential campaign in 1960 was somewhat different from everything the U.S. citizens had known about elections before. In the race between Kennedy and Nixon, Americans were trying to choose the best candidate. Both candidates were military veterans and professional politicians. Both had sufficient political experience and held similar views with regard to many issues. The television debates in 1960 became one of the most important public events of the coming decade. Unfortunately, John F. Kennedy was not able to realize all his plans, and his assassination still remains one of the most mysterious and confusing events in the history of the U.S. Really, presidential election of 1960 was not merely an election; rather, it was the race between the two worldviews, which were very similar but which nevertheless belonged to the two different people. John F. Kennedy was born in 1917 and had Irish roots. In 1940 he graduated with a science degree and in 1941 joined the U.S. Navy. Immediately after the war he worked as a journalist with special interest to foreign politics. He was a loyal supporter of Truman and actively voted for social welfare legislation in the U.S. Before his nomination for Presidency he was elected to the Senate and in 1960 became the Democratic Party?s presidential candidate (Barnes 24). That year he was fated to compete with another talented leader ? Richard M. Nixon. Nixon was born in 1913 in California. He graduated from Whittier College and Duke University Law School with a brilliant record. During the WW2 Nixon, like Kennedy, was a Navy lieutenant commander. In 1950 he was elected to the Senate and two years later became Eisenhower?s running mate. In the presidential race, he represented the Republican Party (Lytle 55). That year, the most controversial topic of discussion was associated with the economic growth in the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Bearing in mind the rates of economic progress the U.S.S.R. experienced at that time, American economists projected that by 1984 the Soviet Union would be far ahead of the United States (Dover 93). At the same time, presidential elections of 1960 were different from everything else because for the first time in the political history, the U.S. was involved into televised presidential debates. Beyond discussing economic issues and military race, Nixon and Kennedy could not find agreement on the topic of U.S. involvement with the two off coast islands of China. The several stages of televised debates were designed to cover as many issues as possible: domestic relations, China issues, relationships with Cuba ? all those the presidents discussed in the course of the televised debates that gathered more than 70 million viewers (Kraus 33). Since that time, televised debates have become the distinctive feature and an essential component of presidential politics in the U.S. and all over the world. Presidential elections of 1960 were also marked with another political feature ? the fact of Kennedy applying for Presidency almost before the beginning of the election race. It would be fair to say that ?most potential candidates now announce their intentions to seek the Presidency or to remain on the sidelines during the year preceding the actual election. This is a relatively new phenomenon and is a consequence of the party reforms of the late 1960s and early 1970s? (Dover 95). In the presidential race between the two candidates in 1960, Kennedy was the one to declare his desire to run for Presidency in January 1960; until present, he remains the only candidate in the history of the American politics who was so brave as to make such announcement several months before his victory. At present, a candidate waiting for so long will certainly lose a nomination (Dover 96). In 1960 Presidential Elections, John Kennedy with his Vice Presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson altogether got 49.72% of the popular vote (34,220,984 votes) and 56.4% (303 votes) of electoral vote. Richard Nixon and his Vice Presidential candidate Henry Lodge got only 49.55% (34,108,157 votes) of popular vote and 40.8% (219 votes) of electoral vote (National Election Results). In his foreign policy, Kennedy paid special attention to the quality and the progress of American-Soviet relations. The new President was increasingly concerned about the ways the United States could utilize to secure a place among the major political powers in the world, and to make sure that America could easily defeat the U.S. in its military and industrial attempts. In one of his speeches, Kennedy said: ?No nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space? (Dover 102); as such, space program has become one of the distinctive features of Kennedy?s race for political dominance. In domestic policy, Kennedy pursued the principles of tight fiscal policies; he voted for the implementation of the new civil rights legislation; in terms of immigration, Kennedy sought to disrupt the principles that provided certain ethnic groups with privileges, and saw those initiatives as a natural extension of his political and civil liberties vision.
ConclusionPresidential elections of 1960 were different from everything else American citizens ever knew about politics. The two candidates were equally powerful and wise to deserve being elected the new President. Both held similar views about numerous issues, and both looked like worthy candidates for the most responsible political post in the country. In 1960 for the first time the presidency and political race were driven by televised political debates. The two candidates had to publicly discuss the issues of foreign and domestic policy. Although economic prosperity of the U.S. was the issue of the major concern, both candidates were also willing to discuss American relationships with China and Cuba. Until present, Presidential elections of 1960 stand out as the bright example of a fair political fight, with the nation having played the first and the primary role in choosing its new President.
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