Elections Of 1960

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Elections of 1960


The United States presidential election of 1960 marked the end of Dwight D. Eisenhower's two terms as President. Eisenhower's Vice President, Richard Nixon, who had transformed his office into a national political base, was the Republican candidate (Woolley,50).

The Democrats nominated Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy. He would become the first Roman Catholic to be elected President, and he remains the only Roman Catholic to be elected to the Presidency. The electoral vote was the closest in any presidential election dating to 1916, and Kennedy's margin of victory in the popular vote is among the closest ever in American history. The 1960 election also remains a source of debate among some historians as to whether vote theft in selected states aided Kennedy's victory.

Main candidates of election

The election of 1960, waged between two future Presidents,John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon - was one of the most dramatic in American history. These two young men each put up a strong showing, making for the closest popular vote tally in any Presidential election.

Kennedy's Campaign and promises

Kennedy campaigned on the theme of getting the country moving again. He assailed the missile gap with the Russians, and denounced the Eisenhower administration for allowing a Communist regime to come to power in Cuba. During the campaign Kennedy charged that under Eisenhower and the Republicans the nation had fallen behind the Soviet Union in the Cold War, both militarily and economically, and that as President he would get America moving again.

In targeting poverty in America, Kennedy was motivated by more than a sense of or responsibility(Woolley,64). In improving the lot of poor, southern whites, particularly in Appalachia and the rural South, Kennedy hoped to win support of southern members of Congress. By bringing these people into the mainstream, Kennedy also hoped to increase the Democratic electorate in the southern and Border States and stave off a Republican challenge to the party allegiance of white voters.

Nixon forbade his staff from bringing up the question of Kennedy's religion (Catholic), but the issue remained. The final analysis of the election showed that Kennedy's religion ended up helping him more then it hurt him. Nixon criticized Kennedy for his lack of experience (Woolley,73).

In 1960, Kennedy declared his intent to run for President of the United States. Kennedy won key primaries like uus about Kennedy being a Catholic. Kennedy emerged as a universally acceptable candidate for the party after that victory. Major issues included how to get the economy moving again, Kennedy's Catholicism, Cuba, and whether or not both the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the U.S. John Fitzgerald Kennedy captured the Democratic nomination by winning a series of state primaries despite his youth, charges by his opponents that he lacked experience in foreign affairs, and his Catholic faith.

A solid victory in overwhelmingly Protestant West Virginia launched him toward a first ballot victory at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, although he did not reach the 761 votes required for the nomination until the final ...
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