Nov. 22, 2010
-- Fifty years ago this month, John. F. Kennedy was elected the 35th president of the United States, the youngest man ever to serve in the office at age 43. During his presidency, American society came to reflect the very qualities that defined Kennedy himself: young, energetic and optimistic. Throughout Kennedy's electoral campaign, photographers were there to capture every moment of the young senator's ascendancy. Explore never-before-seen photos of JFK on the campaign trail in this slide show.
To gain the nomination to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 1960, then-Sen. Kennedy had to go up against veteran politicians that included ex-Gov. Adlai Stevenson, Sen. Hubert Humphrey and his eventual vice president, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Here Kennedy is seen campaigning in a grocery store in West Virginia, a state he won in both the primary and general election.
During both the primaries and the general election, Kennedy's opponents could not match the energy and enthusiasm that JFK generated. Kennedy's supporters, especially his female fans, turned out for him not only in the voting booth, but also for his campaign organization. In this photo, we see a crowd gathered to see Kennedy during one of his last campaign stops.
Kennedy may have had legions of supporters and fans, but he also had his critics. During the campaign, he faced questions about everything from his religion to his youth. Kennedy's Roman Catholicism became such a major issue during the campaign that he eventually addressed it in a speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. "I am not the Catholic candidate for President," he declared. "I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic."
Here, Kennedy is seen campaigning in Illinois in October 1960. On Nov. 18, 1960, Kennedy won the presidency over Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon, leading by a little more than 100,000 votes out of the more than 68 million cast.