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The Kennedy Administration

  1. How did Kennedy become Democratic candidate for the Presidency?
  2. What was the significance of the 1960 election?
  3. What was Kennedy's political philosophy?
  4. How effective was Kennedy in office, considering both domestic and foreign policy?
  5. Who killed Kennedy? How can we account for the myths surrounding Kennedy?

Major Problems in American History, Volume II: Since 1865

Chapter 13 "The Sixties: Left, Right and the Culture Wars", pp. 396-426.

This Week's Reading:

JFK Kennedy Inaugural address:
Speech on Space exploration, Rice University, Texas, 12 September 1962:

Key Texts

Irving Bernstein, Promises Kept: John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier (1991)

John Morton Blum, Years of Discord: American Politics and Society (1991)

Alan Brinkley, Liberalism and Its Discontents (1998) [Ebook]; Thomas C. Reeves, A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy (1991)

Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot (1996)

Godfrey Hodgson, America in Our Time: From World War Two to Nixon (1976)

Maurice Isserman, and Michael Kazin (eds), America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (2000)

Douglas T. Miller, On Our Own: Americans in the Sixties(1996)

Further Reading
Dominick J. Cavallo, A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History (2001)

Dale Carter, The Final Frontier:The Rise and Fall of the American Rocket State (1988)

Chafe, The Unfinished Journey)

Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (2000)

Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot (1996)

David Heyman, RFK: A Candid Biography (1998)

Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976)

William Leuchtenberg, A Troubled Feast: American Society Since 1945 (1983 edn.)

Arthur Marwick, The Sixties (1998))

Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001)

Thomas C. Reeves, A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy (1991)

W.J. Rorabaugh, Kennedy and the promise of the sixties (2004)

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (1965)

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (1978)

Theodore White, The Making of the President,1960 (1961)

Tom Wicker, JFK and LBJ (1969)


Carl M. Brauer, ‘Kennedy, Johnson, and the War on Poverty’, Journal of American History, 69:1 (Jun 1982), pp. 98-119

Gary Gerstle, ‘Race and the Myth of the Liberal Consensus’, Journal of American History, 82:2 (1995), pp. 579-586

Martin Luther King, ‘John F. Kennedy’, Transition, 15 (1964), pp. 27-28

Marcus Raskin, ‘JFK and the Culture of Violence’ (in AHR Forum), American Historical Review, 97:2 (1992), pp. 487+ 486+ 488–499

Michael Rogin, ‘JFK: The Movie’ (AHR Forum), The American Historical Review, 97:2 (1992), pp. 500-505

Thomas J. Sugrue, ‘Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940-1964’, Journal of American History, 82:2 (1995), pp. 551-578

Websites and (both are official sites)