Politics

Ask Not

A photo essay

November 22, 1963

A photo essay

America Didn’t Sleep

By shoring up U.S. military strength and resolve, President Kennedy persuaded the Soviet Union to back down in Berlin and Cuba, bringing a measure of peace to a world frightened about the threat of nuclear war.

The Legacy of John F. Kennedy

Historians tend to rate JFK as a good president, not a great one. But Americans consistently give him the highest approval rating of any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Why?

Memo to the Next President

As the 1960 presidential campaign was taking shape, an eminent political scientist examined the top candidates' leadership strategies for bringing an obstinate Congress to heel.

The Purpose of Poetry

Those SOBs

"My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it until now," President Kennedy famously said when he felt steel executives had double-crossed him by raising prices.

The Baleful Influence of Gambling

The president's brother came to be considered one of the nation's most effective attorneys general. His interest in organized crime, dating to his Senate staff work during the 1950s, led him to crusade against illegal gambling, which was known to finance criminal enterprises.

The Politics of Poverty

Kennedy's concern for the plight of the poor never turned into a broad legislative program. But his successor seized on the issue, claiming it was the martyred president's last wish that he do so.

How Could Vietnam Happen?

"Many in government or close to it," The Atlantic noted in 1968, "will read the following article with the shock of recognition." An insider explained the bureaucratic imperatives that muzzled dissenters and kept policy makers ignorant of foreign cultures.

LBJ: Oswald Wasn’t Alone

Was President Kennedy murdered because of his actions against Cuba? His successor suspected so.

The Limits of Power

In an issue that went to press just before President Kennedy's death, The Atlantic described how JFK's difficulties in influencing events had brought gloom to the White House.

Courage in a Pillbox Hat

Remembering Jacqueline Kennedy's public dignity in the face of catastrophe

When RFK Played the What-If Game

In 1966, The Atlantic assigned the NBC News correspondent Douglas Kiker to take the measure of the late president's brother and political heir, who, seeing the presidency as his destiny and his due, was biding his time until Lyndon B. Johnson was out of the way.

A Dad, a Cad

JFK was a loving family man who doted on his children—and a philanderer who seduced an intern in his wife's bed.

The Cultural Meaning of the Kennedys

Jack, Jackie, Bobby—or is it Elvis, Marilyn, Ringo? The Kennedys have left the realm of politics to reign as entertainment superstars, at the intersection of Washington and Hollywood.

Passing the Torch

The 42nd president assesses the civil-rights accomplishments of the 35th.

How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers

Taxpayers fund the stadiums, antitrust law doesn't apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. It's time to stop the public giveaways to America's richest sports league—and to the feudal lords who own its teams.

JFK’s New Industrial State

As New England’s textile-mill business and other industries fled to the low-wage South, a freshman senator from Massachusetts suggested a solution.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, A Eulogy

"It is in keeping with the Atlantic tradition that we should strive to give the long view of our late president," the magazine noted shortly after Kennedy's tragic death. "We turn to Harvard's leading historian, Samuel Eliot Morison, for an estimate of President Kennedy's place in history."

The Real Meaning of Ich Bin ein Berliner

In West Berlin in 1963, President Kennedy delivered his most eloquent speech on the world stage. The director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum tells the evocative story behind JFK’s words.

Losing Is the New Winning

How we came to fetishize failure

JFK vs. the Military

President Kennedy faced a foe more relentless than Khrushchev, just across the Potomac: the bellicose Joint Chiefs of Staff argued for the deployment of nuclear weapons and kept pressing to invade Cuba. A presidential historian reveals that Kennedy's success in fending them off may have been his most consequential victory.

The Man and the Myths

The Architect of School Reform Who Turned Against It

Diane Ravitch's second revolution

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Magazine

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In