Why do Americans think the JFK assassination was a conspiracy?I need this for a thesis statement to start an essay, the only reason i have so far is "the government wont release the documents of...

Why do Americans think the JFK assassination was a conspiracy?

I need this for a thesis statement to start an essay, the only reason i have so far is "the government wont release the documents of his murder"

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One conspiracy theory is that the Mafia had a vendetta against the Kennedy family. This theory has these facts:  To ensure his son's election, Joe Kennedy met in Chicago with the mob because victory in Illinois was the key to Kennedy's winning, Sam Giangana, who belonged to the Chicago Outfit [syndicate], was thus instrumental in Kennedy's winning the state as he turned out the union vote [the unions were infiltrated with mobsters] and had influence with mob-related or protected businesses throughout Cook County.  Richard J. Daley (the "last of the Big Bosses"), the extremely powerful mayor of Chicago, also turned out the precinct vote--even dead people voted according to official records.

Part of the deal that Joe Kennedy had made with the Mafia was that during JFK's term of office he would "look away" from mob activities.  However, Robert Kennedy, his brother, was appointed Attorney General.  Contrary to the agreement of his father, Robert Kennedy launched the most aggressive investigation of the Mafia ever witnessed--the exact opposite of what was agreed upon. (All of this information was presented on a NBC documentary with Peter Jennings)

The theory is that a hit-man shot Kennedy as retaliation by the Mafia and then disappeared into the drainage system and came out a grate farther from the scene and escaped.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you want to find a whole lot of stuff about this, just Google "JFK conspiracy" and you will be able to get much more stuff in much more detail than we can give you on here.

The major reason for Americans thinking it was a conspiracy is the fact that people do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald really would or could have pulled this off alone.  Because some people believe this, they start to look for all sorts of evidence that (to them) proves that the government's story is not true.

I also think that a major reason for belief in the conspiracy is that many Americans do not trust government.  When the government says something is true, they are automatically disposed to disbelieve it.


ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The unimaginable occurred with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Whenever something like this happens, people begin looking for deeper, more menacing meanings. People of the time did not think that Oswald had the means or intelligence to plan this killing. Johnson stepped in so quickly to fill Kennedy's shoes, that his actions muddied the waters. Ruby shot Oswald, and people wondered if this was to keep him silent. All those facts when paired with other wild rumors such as faked autopsy results, add up to conspiracy theories. A lot of these theories could be put to rest if the documentation of the events and the findings would be released.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There have simply been too many unanswered questions and mysteries associated with his killing that the government has either been unable or unwilling to address.  There are tens of thousands of pages of documents which, while the 40 year time window for declassifying them has passed, were kept secret.  Actions like this are like food for conspiracy theorists.

I also think there is a segment of society that simply likes the idea of a conspiracy, forgetting how difficult it would be to conceal such a secret as this for this long.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is all true, and it never hurts when it's a presidential assassination.  The politics and the drama are all at a heightened level and even more so with this particular President.  While we know a little more truth about him now which would put some tarnish on the shine, Kennedy was a young, charismatic President with a beautiful wife and kids, who created a figurative Camelot.  When it's about emotions on such a grand scale, it doesn't take much to cry conspiracy. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
There are so many conspiracies! Americans basically think anything that can't be explained is a mystery. Kennedy's death was senseless. It also had a huge impact on that generation, and arguably still does today. Naturally people would like to make it more than it was. There are also still a lot of unanswered questions.
lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think something else that plays into the conspiracy is the fact that Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Most people point to this as further evidence of the conspiracy, Oswald was killed to prevent him from talking.