Biographical Resources on John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

Biography of John F. Kennedy

Biography of Jacqueline B. Kennedy


Campaign, Election and Inauguration 'Kennedy for President' Campaign Button

Lesson Plan: Political Debates: Advising a Candidate
Political debates are an important part of the election process, whether on the local, state or national level. In this lesson plan, students analyze excerpts from the first Kennedy-Nixon debate (September 26, 1960) and a memo assessing the debate from one of Kennedy's advisers. They then use the memo as a model as they watch a current political debate to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate they support.

Lesson Plan: Analyzing JFK’s Inaugural Address 
Lesson Plan: Analyzing the Rhetoric of JFK’s Inaugural Address
Learn more about Kennedy's inaugural speech and enrich your classes with these lesson plans.


Civil Rights in the Early 1960s

President Kennedy meets with the leaders of the March on Washington in the Oval Office on 28 August, 1963. Integrating Ole Miss
Students witness civil rights history firsthand through primary source material. Includes guiding questions for classroom activities and assignments.

Leaders in the Struggle for Civil Rights
These letters and telegrams from key figures help tell the story of the civil rights movement during the Kennedy years. Documents include communications from James Farmer, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young.

1963: The Struggle for Civil Rights
Bring the pivotal events of the civil rights movement in 1963 to life for your students through more than 230 primary sources ranging from film footage of the March on Washington and letters from youth advising the president to JFK’s landmark address to the American people and secret recordings of behind-the-scenes negotiations on civil rights legislation. To foster your students' understanding of this era, lesson plans on each of the seven topics are available in the "For Educators" section of the website. 


The Cold War (Cuba, Space, Test Ban Treaty, Vietnam)

Cuban Missile Crisis Cuban Missle Crisis Map of Missle Range

World on the Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Your students can investigate the rich historical evidence in this online exhibit to analyze the events, decisions, and outcomes of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lesson Plan: The Cuban Missile Crisis: How to Respond?
Students examine primary source documents and recordings. They consider some of the options discussed by Kennedy's advisors during the Cuban Missile Crisis, what groups and which individuals supported each option, and the pros and cons for each alternative.

Space

Americans in Space
Primary source material and classroom activities reveal why exploring space was a priority for the Kennedy administration.

Test Ban Treaty

Lesson Plan: Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
In this lesson plan, students consider the threat of nuclear weapons in the early 1960s and the opportunities and challenges in negotiating an arms control agreement.

The Presidency in the Nuclear Age Weblinks
These annotated weblinks can provide students and teachers with useful documents, images, maps, timelines, and essays about issues related to nuclear armaments since the development of the first atomic bomb.

Vietnam

Lesson Plan: Military Advisors in Vietnam: 1963 
In this lesson plan, students analyze a letter to President Kennedy from a woman who had just lost her brother in South Vietnam and consider Kennedy’s reply which explains his rationale for sending our military to that country.

Vietnam and the Presidency
Read transcripts from an historic two-day conference held at the Kennedy Library on March 10-11, 2006, examining the history of the Vietnam War and the Presidency. Participants included General Alexander Haig, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Special Counsel to President Kennedy Theodore Sorensen, and Special Assistant to President Johnson Jack Valenti.


 The Kennedy White House 

The President's Desk: A Resource Guide for Teachers, Grades 4-12
Invite your students to take a seat at The President's Desk and discover what it means to hold the highest office in the land. This online interactive exhibit features JFK's treasured mementos and important presidential records. Primary sources ranging from recordings of meetings in the Oval Office to family photographs populate the site and provide an engaging and fascinating look into John F. Kennedy's life and presidency. The President's Desk Resource Guide provides an overview of the Desk and suggested curriculum-relevant lesson plans and activities. http://microsites.jfklibrary.org/presidentsdesk

Lesson Plan: The Press Office: A Presidential News Conference Simulation
Students act as members of President Kennedy's Press Office with an assignment to brief him for a news conference. They research issues and events of the early 1960s by exploring the Kennedy Library's website. The lesson culminates with a simulated press conference.


Civic Education

Presidential DebateLesson Plan: Political Debates: Advising a Candidate
Political debates are an important part of the election process, whether on the local, state or national level. In this lesson plan, students analyze excerpts from the first Kennedy-Nixon debate (September 26, 1960) and a memo assessing the debate from one of Kennedy's advisers. They then use the memo as a model as they watch a current political debate to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate they support.

Lesson Plan: Federal Budget Simulation
In this lesson plan, students debate our nation's priorities by establishing their own "simulated" budgets.