Unlike Richard Nixon, what was John F. Kennedy's background?A) a self-made man from a small town in California. B) born in a middle class Protestant family. C) a large supporter of Eisenhower's...

Unlike Richard Nixon, what was John F. Kennedy's background?

A) a self-made man from a small town in California.

B) born in a middle class Protestant family.

C) a large supporter of Eisenhower's ideas.

D) wealthy and part of a politically powerful family.

Expert Answers
larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your correct answer is D. Kennedy's father was Joseph Patrick Kennedy, a self made millionaire whom Franklin Roosevelt had appointed as ambassador to Great Britain. The elder Kennedy was obsessed with the idea that one of his four sons should be President of the United States and planned to use his influence (and money) to bring that about. He originally planned for that son to be his first, Joseph P. Junior, but he was killed in World War II. John Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier from a prominent Boston family.

Unlike Kennedy, Richard Nixon was from Whittier, California, and largely self made. He was Quaker by faith, and had served two terms as Vice President for President Eisenhower. He had supported Eisenhower's programs, and in the 1960 campaign bitterly attacked Kennedy for suggesting that Eisenhower should apologize for the U-2 spy plane incident. However, Nixon did not have Kennedy's good looks or suave demeanor. Because he refused to wear makeup during the famous presidential debates, he made a poor appearance on television, which may well have cost him the election.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John F. Kennedy was a very privileged man from a powerful family.  His father was a rich businessman who served at one point as the US ambassador to Great Britain.  By contrast, Richard Nixon was not from any sort of privilege.  He was, instead, the son of a small businessman from the town of Yorba Linda, in California.  Thus, the answer is D.

While Kennedy was privileged and attended private schools his whole life, Nixon was neither.  He had to work in the family store from a young age.  He attended public schools through high school. Nixon was from a middle class family where Kennedy was from a rich family.  Nixon was Protestant where Kennedy was Catholic.  Nixon was a supporter of Eisenhower's policies (in fact, he was Eisenhower's vice president).  As a Democrat, Kennedy was not a supporter of Eisenhower.

Some commentators believe that Nixon's drive to overcome this modest childhood was part of what drove him to obsess about his enemies, eventually leading to his downfall in the Watergate scandal.

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