Objective: Chapters 1-2 "The Best and the Brightest" begins in the early days of the Kennedy administration, as Kennedy is assembling his cabinet. This lesson discusses Kennedy's election and the recent historical context in which he was elected.
1. Research activity. Give students reference materials and ask them to research the years before Kennedy's election. What were the major issues facing the country? What stance did Kennedy take on these issues?
2. Short presentation. Ask students to spend some time preparing and then delivering presentations about the constituencies who supported Kennedy. Who were his supporters? What did they expect from him?
3. Class discussion. Why did Kennedy's election mark a new path for the country? In what way did Kennedy feel like a breath of fresh air to Americans?
Homework: Write a short essay that describes the historical significance of Kennedy's election. What precedents did he set?
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