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The term "Camelot" was applied to the presidency of John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) by his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929–1994). Camelot refers to the seat of the court of the legendary King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; it has come to mean a place or time of idyllic happiness. (Arthur was a British king; the Round Table was the name for his knights.) Shortly after John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the former first lady was talking with a journalist. She described the years of her husband's presidency (1960–63) as an American Camelot, a period of hope and optimism in U. S. history, and asked that his memory be preserved. She had shown fortitude (ability to deal with adversity or pain) and grace as she guided her family and the country through the president's funeral and was one of America's most beloved first ladies. So when she suggested that her husband's brief presidency was reminiscent of the legends of Camelot, journalists took up the idea.
Further Information: Joseph, Paul. John F. Kennedy. Minneapolis, Minn.: Abdo & Daughters, 2000; "What's the Connection Between Camelot and the Kennedys." Ask Yahoo. [Online] Available http://ask.yahoo.com/19990809a.html, October 26, 2000.
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