The term “Camelot” was used by John F. Kennedy’s wife in describing her husband’s term in office as a period of hope and optimism in the history of the United States of America. According to her, it was a period of tranquility and blossoming peace, which was in reference to the seat of the court of the legendary king Arthur and the knight of the round table. In her interview with journalists, she described her husband’s leadership as suggestive of the legends of Camelot. To many, Kennedy was a person who understood power and also was expressive about it. His inauguration provided a new style of leadership and hope to people; he had visions that were so essential to the needs and expectations of people. He raised the hopes and expectations of the Americans for he took his responsibility with a lot of zeal, which raised America’s stakes in their global confrontation with the soviets.
In his first speech, he urged people to do something for their nation and not ask what the government will do for them. It is from this that before being elected as the president, John F. Kennedy instigated the Peace Corps in the efforts of supporting people in the developing countries. He persuaded the American youths to contribute into the initiative so as to make the world a better place for everyone. The speech was important in changing the way the Americans were thinking as well as in spreading the American political faith around the world. These initiatives were aimed at promoting the world peace and security.
Kennedy responded quickly to the fears of people; for example, he challenged the people and the government to send an American to the moon; a call that was responded positively by the congress who gave the sufficient fund to support the same. On July 1962, a satellite called Geosynchronous was launched and, thereafter, the Apollo initiative, which allowed many people in the United States to go to the moon. Kennedy, throughout his term in office, vehemently spoke of peace such as the speech he gave to the American University. He brought peace by speeding up the economic progress and broader social justice within the framework of personal dignity and individual liberty. This increased the popularity of the United States around the world, which made the Soviets rethink of their relationships with the U.S knowing the existing hostility between the two nations; a United States’ spy plane was shot down in the Soviet space, thereby causing a lot of tension between the two nations.
When President Kennedy took his office in 1961, he prevented the Soviet Union from putting up nuclear missiles in Cuba, which could have, otherwise, reached the United States and threatened to peace and security. Fidel Castro, a president of Cuba, had been outraged when the United States devised a plot to oust him from power, so he decided to turn for help from the Soviet Union. The soviets were more than willing to provide support to Cuba since they served as a good ally due to their strategic positioning near the United States. The presence of missile in Cuba alarmed Kennedy who ordered the navy to put a blockade to Cuba and demanded that the Soviet immediately removing the missiles. He threatened to wage war against the Soviet Union should any missile be fired to United States from Cuba. Kennedy was able to convince the Soviet Union to dismantle the missile as they agreed to ban the nuclear test, which helped to preserve peace for the American people.
He had promised the Americans that he would finance the education for their children, provide some affordable health care facilities and raise their national income. However, most of the promises he made never came to pass as his efforts were frustrated by the Congress, which refused to pass any major reforms. For instance, the efforts to provide federal funds for the quality education both in the elementary and secondary schools, the proposal to save the wilderness land from the development, and the proposal to provide health insurance to the elderly people were thwarted by the Congress. All these ideas and proposals survived after the death of Kennedy to be Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.
President Kennedy did not only bring hope to the people of America, but also to the whole world. His foreign policy helped him to reach the people of East Germany who had been separated by Berlin Wall built in the city of Berlin. It was a wall constructed to prevent the East Germans from getting exposed to America and the rest of Western Europe. It was also meant to prevent people from escaping to freedom in the western part of the city. Those who tried to escape to West Berlin were captured or killed. Escaping to West Berlin was a risky affair since the region between the inner and the outer wall was mined. He joined hands with the people of East Germany to condemn the construction of Berlin Wall, which was finally destroyed as people got freedom and peace they really needed.
Kennedy was a key figure in the fight to end colonization by providing peace to the world; colonization had fronted a challenge to his government in stopping the spread of communism. He acted in Vietnam by committing the American troops to liberate the people of southern Vietnam from the oppressive French ruling. America also supported the liberation of the people of Angola from the rule of Portugal. Many Africans were being harassed and even getting killed by the Portuguese soldiers on plantations. The situation led to the emergence of labor protest, thereby setting pace for the conflict in Angola. Kennedy vowed to halt the increasing spread of communism in the newly decolonized states. Notably, his predecessor, Eisenhower, had put in place a policy of massive retaliation, which threatened to use the nuclear weapon in order to stop the influence of communism on the world. This posed a challenge to Kennedy’s term in office since he did not want to lose credibility by allowing communism to establish themselves in the newly decolonized states. On the other hand, he hoped not to use nuclear weapons or military forces in achieving the same. He also summoned a multinational peace conference in Geneva to end the civil war in Laos.
Kennedy devised a new way of dealing with communism and the embarrassment that it posed to America. He gave grants to South America, the Caribbean, and Central America in efforts to quell the pro-communist states and reduce income inequality. These efforts provided the people with comfort and peace, and many of them lauded the leadership of Kennedy. He funded anti communist groups and troops in Vietnam to fight communist insurgents. He also authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to oust unfriendly governments in the world so as to make it a peaceful place to live in.
There was rampant racial discrimination since whites and blacks were not treated equally. The blacks were never allowed to hold any position in government, and also not allowed to mix with the whites at public utilities such as restaurants, bars, as well as, washrooms. Despite living in ghettos, they were not allowed to sit in the front seats of buses. Kennedy tried to change all these by appointing many blacks to federal positions in his administration. He also banned discrimination in housing since many blacks were reportedly living under deplorable conditions, while the rich whites enjoyed better housing and could not agree to sell their homes to blacks.
Kennedy went on to ask the blacks to register as voters in order to have a voice in the government. This gave them the ability to elect leaders who would provide good leadership and address their plight. They were able to voice their grievances and receive favors from the leaders. Kennedy made it clear to the nation and the world that the rights of the blacks were being violated. He proposed to introduce the new Civil rights laws in order to give every person in America, regardless of color, race, religion and creed, the rights to vote, go to school, get the meaningful employment in any part of the country and be well provided with some government services without any form of segregation. This is the main reason why many term Kennedy’s leadership as idealized years. He supported major legislations that prohibited segregation in housing, interstate transportation, as well as establishing an affirmative action in federal hiring and legal actions in courts to curb discrimination in the country. He knew that if he supported discrimination against blacks, the message of equality would be undermined.
The economic development in America was at a very low pace due to the tight fiscal policies; it is during Kennedy’s term that monetary policies were loosened in order to keep the interest rates down and the tight fiscal policies ended, which encouraged the growth of the economy. There had been two recessions before that led to an increase in the unemployment rate. During his leadership, Kennedy made the economy prosper. There was an increase in the industrial production; the employment rate as inflation remained steady below 1%. However, one downside of his presidency was the decline at the stock market, which caused the inflammatory increase in the price of steel. This made the corruption flourishing in the steel manufacturing industry leading to a decline in growth, unemployment, and numerous strikes. Kennedy acted by replacing all steel executives who had illegally colluded in bringing down the industry. He appointed his brother, Robert Kennedy, to be in charge of ensuring that the industry increased the production and revived the economy that had been dwindling. He invented the economic policy through the Keynesian tax cut and wage, which then led to the expansion of trade in the United States of America.
Kennedy promised and brought to an end the menace brought about by organized groups in the country; he signed into law crucial bills that made it illegal to bet on telephone, which then paved way for commercial racketeering. He encouraged people to take care of the environment and facilitate the community development projects in the aim of making the world a better and a more peaceful place to be. He is, thus, referred to as a Camelot of the time while his term in office is constantly known as the idealized years.
Kennedy was also concerned with human rights; for example, he signed into law a bill that sought to do away with death penalty. As a result, death sentence was replaced with life imprisonment. Kennedy’s term as the president of the United States made it possible for people to enjoy the right to life. He is also remembered for overhauling the American immigration policy, which dramatically increased an influx of immigrants from the European nations, as well as Asia and Latin America. John F. Kennedy destroyed the system of immigrants’ selection based on their country of origin; it was mandatory that they be selected for the purpose of family reunification. He saw this as an extension of civil rights and a platform for improving the lives of the American people and the world, at large. A good gesture towards alleviating human suffering was when he addressed the plight of the people of Seneca who had been hit by flood. He ordered the government agencies to obtain more land and humanitarian assistance to help the displaced families.
In conclusion, Kennedy was able to communicate and inspire many people in his speeches, thereby increasing his rating as the best leader in time. He appointed talented and able leaders into office who aided him in his administration, as well as managing effectively the country’s major foreign policies, especially in dealing with Berlin and Cuba. The period during Kennedy’s leadership was characterized with tranquility and peace. In addition, John F. Kennedy was able to turn the ailing economy around and increase industrial production, employment rate, and curb inflation. The former president Kennedy did not only bring hope to the people of America, but also to the world.