The American Presidency, summer 2016

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TheAmerican Presidency, summer 2016StanislavPerkner, Humphreys CollegeModelTerm Paper ProposalStudent

TheOrigins of Presidential Debates: John F. Kennedy vs. Richard M. Nixon(1960)

ThesisStatement:The presidential debates of 1960 contributed to the democratizationofelectoralprocess in the United States.

Theconcept of democracy is defined as a government or institution inwhich people are directly ruled by a supreme power or through asystem representation that is free and fair. For example, in thehistoric 1960 presidential election between vice president RichardNixon and senator John F. Kennedy different states such as Alaska andHawaii were allowed to participate in the voting process (Wilson,Dilulio, &amp Bose Meena).During this time, the media played a crucial role in making publicthe different ideas held by the two presidential aspirants. Throughthis, it can be argued that the media (radio and television) was usedto create public awareness and understanding of the values andleadership skills presented by the two presidential candidates.

Further,it is important to understand that during the Kennedy-Nixonpresidential debate, the rules and settings were used to help set aclear pace under which the presidential discussion was conducted(Wilson,Dilulio, &amp Bose Meena).The rules and settings during the debate sort to create a balance andtransparent ground under which the two candidates received equalopportunities to comment and answer to questions presented by thepanel.

Despiteusing the media to create public awareness and allowing states acrossthe United States to participate in the election process, a number ofhistorians hold the opinion that the increased irregularities (votertheft) fostered John F. Kennedy’s presidential win (Wilson,Dilulio, &amp Bose Meena).Regardless of this opinion held by some historians, it should benoted that the debate and the use of different media platforms by thetwo candidates set them apart within the public eye. It enabled thepublic to identify and understand the presidential candidate whoseleadership vision cut across their various needs and demands in thesociety. That is mainly due to their content presentation andperformance throughout the debate and campaign.

Itis important to acknowledge that the media debates (through radio andtelevision) enhanced Kennedy’s victory as it provided him aplatform to effectively articulate his ideals and visions for hiscountry (Wilson,Dilulio, &amp Bose Meena).


Wilson,James Q., Dilulio John J., Jr., Bose Meena. AmericanGovernment: Brief Version, 11th Edition.Boston: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.