Forty nine years ago this Thursday, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Wikicollecting takes a look at the enduring fascination with JFK among collectors.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected President of the United States in 1961. A popular and charismatic leader, Kennedy’s Presidential career was marked by some of the most significant events and paradigm shifts of the last century. He both utilised and was defined by the media more than any President that came before him, and this position in the public eye is partly what has made him so collectible.
In the lead up to his election, the first ever televised U.S. Presidential debate took place. Kennedy’s charm against Richard Nixon swung public opinion in his favour. These debates are considered a milestone in American political history, the moment at which television began to play a dominant role in politics.
Television continued to chart and shape Kennedy’s career, promoting his public persona and his young family, reporting on his actions, divulging details of his affairs. His assassination became the first major television news event of its kind, uniting the nation by broadcasting information of his shooting, his death, the arrest of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and the subsequent live footage of Oswald’s death at the hands of Jack Ruby. Kennedy’s funeral was also broadcast to the world.
Kennedy’s political career is remembered vividly, and by many affectionately. He was, and remains, a liberal icon, for his outspoken support of the Civil Rights movement and speeches on World Peace. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the major event of his career, the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. Kennedy was seen as a hero, efficiently negotiating the western world out of danger.