Essay: The assassination of John F. Kennedy

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was an immense contributing factor to several aspects of American life. It can be said that his assassination impacted America forever; discuss the impact it had culturally, socially, and politically, on the country as a whole, as well as advantages and disadvantages of these effects.


John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, was assassinated on November 22nd 1963. As JFK was driving through the streets of Dallas, Texas, bullets were fired at his motor vehicle and struck him in his neck and head. This was evidently an enormous shock to the United States, and essentially changed America forever with regards to numerous factors including their engagement in Vietnam and a vast loss of trust for the United States government.

The new sources of news

A strikingly significant effect, which had occurred almost immediately, was the change in leading news sources. For over 200 years newspapers had always been the leading source of news, until the day of the assassination. The televised news report covering the assassination, according to John Giokaris, a journalism and politics graduate from Loyola University, ‘was the longest uninterrupted news event in TV history until the 9/11 attacks.’ *

The TV reporting didn’t stop there. Walter Cronkite (As seen in *Addendum A) guided America through the process of the whole case, setting a permanent trend in news-reporting history. This leads one to wonder whether TV news companies were anticipating an event of such magnitude.

Loss of trust in the government

It can be said that the assassination as a whole took a strikingly abundant toll on the vast majority of American citizens. A significant effect includes the immense sum number of such citizens losing trust in their government. As one can imagine, as a voting citizen, one places one’s trust in the government of choice, so if such a government is undergoing a state of panic, who can the country look towards for help? A sense of vulnerability is created, therefore eradicating/eroding? the trust that they had once placed in the government.

A countrywide poll, conducted by Dan Alcorn*, shows that national distrust in the government hit the greatest decline for 30 years to come, in 1964, one year subsequent to the assassination. Although distrust in the government created tension throughout the country, it can be said that it could have, too, had a positive effect on the caution of voters, causing them to think more as to who exactly they believe should take charge.

Conspiracy theories

The distrust previously mentioned, was fuelled vastly by conspiracy theories. Naturally, when it became apparent that there was no definite clarity with regards to motives, many individuals felt that they needed justification. This immense desire for truth led to the establishment of numerous conspiracy theories, some bizarrely outrageous, and some rather more believable, yet all were essentially conspiracy theories, each with no rock solid evidence that may convince one beyond reasonable doubt.

Following a thorough investigation, it can be said that Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Most modern theories revolve around the idea that Oswald was working with a team, or had been hired by a specific group of people. A strong lust for truth still exists in modern-day America, and these theories provide a sense of justification.
You could perhaps add the whole Mafia angle as well as the Marilyn Monroe one’seeing that you are writing about conspiracy theories’

The U.S involvement in Vietnam

Edging a significantly fine line, distinguishing conspiracy from truth, the question of whether JFK’s death, fuelled the immense escalation of engagement in Vietnam, is often raised. Although the number of American troops in Vietnam was on a slight rise during JFK’s term in office, he had always been opposed to the idea of depositing immense amounts of troops in other countries, as he displayed in Cuba. You can say that he was succeeded by his vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson, who leapt at the opportunity to go into Vietnam practically ‘with guns blazing’, throwing Kennedy’s caution to the winds. LBJ staged an attack on a US battle ship the USS Maddox in order to get Congress to give him the okay to send thousands of troops to Vietnam.

Troops would have inevitably remained in Vietnam, regardless of JFK’s death, due to his sheer determination to sustain Eisenhower’s policy and support the Diem government; the real question that lingers is to what extent the USA would have engaged in Vietnam, should JFK not have been assassinated.


In conclusion, it can be said that the death of John F. Kennedy triggered immense changes within the United States of America, which despite the shock and mourning his death had brought, consisted of both negative and positive effects.

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