The Speech Preparation of J.F.K.
From the first moments of his presidency, John F. Kennedy evoked a strong sense of security and spirit of idealism in the American public. He reassured the citizens of their nation's strengths, and by declaring one of history's most famous questions, inspired them to better serve their country. The charismatic, young president dazzled the world not only with his physical poise and eloquence, but also with his simple, yet intense, use of rhetoric and voice. Identified by a fervent delivery, Kennedy's distinct style and appeal as a leader progressed throughout his short career as a public speaker and elected official. His speeches, though mostly composed by Ted Sorensen, adequately conveyed Kennedy's sincere convictions, poetic influences and directly reflected his intellectual pragmatism towards politics.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts, into an innovative and politically oriented family. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was a Harvard graduate and ambassador to Great Britain during Roosevelt's administration, while his grandfather had twice been the mayor of Boston. Descended of Irish Catholic heritage, the Kennedys came from less than humble beginnings, but Joseph was a dedicated man who had a driving ambition to succeed. His father's financial accomplishments enabled Kennedy to obtain a superior education and considerable advantage in life. As a young boy, he was an avid reader of history and poetry with a photographic memory, yet he spent only one year at Canterbury, a Catholic institution in Connecticut, before transferring to the prestigious Choate Academy, which he also disliked. These schools provided Kennedy with no intellectual excitement, and he finished with a ranking only slightly above the middle of his class (Schlesinger, 81). Later, he studied at Harvard, and was an active student who participated in football, swimming, wrote for the Crimson, and aptly concentrated his studies in the field of government.
After graduating cum laude at Harvard, Kennedy was faced with the problem of choosing a career. He worked for several months as a reporter for the Hearst newspapers until he ultimately decided to return to Boston and concentrate on politics. Kennedy viewed government as an honorable profession - one that could place a party or man in the position to make changes for the better (Salinger, 65). At the time, Kennedy was viewed as a man who did not enjoy public speaking and needed much improvement, but he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and then to the U.S. Senate. Then problems with his back caused Kennedy to undergo several surgeries. During his extensive convalescence he occupied himself by composing a study of noteworthy political acts of bravery by eight United States Senators (Summers). Profiles in Courage received the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957, and, in turn, served as a main source for the material...