JFK: The Dynamics Of Montana, 1958-1963

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Laythe, Joseph
Political History; United States History
thesis / dissertation description
I began this project in the Fall of 1986 as an assignment for a class--Research Seminar in History. As I searched for a topic I realized that there were many definitive accounts on John Kennedy--ranging from his political career to his sex life. There was, however, no detailed account of his experiences in Montana. It was from this point which I began to investigate the relation between JFK and Montana. In this paper I will discuss the dynamic change of Kennedy's popularity in Montana from 1958 to his death in 1963. No where, however, will the researcher find, among the stacks of accounts on Kennedy, the specific cause of Kennedy's defeat in Montana in 1960 or his rise in popularity. Thus, in this paper, through the use of interviews, newspapers, and other sources I have made inferences as to how and why these events occurred. Through such resources I was able to enter the minds, as best I could, and attempted to estimate their opinions. This paper is purely inferential, but as I think you will agree, very logical in its conclusion. I made use, during my work, of three important and valuable men—Joe Reber, Tim Babcock, and J.D. Holmes. The interviews and telephone discussions with these men gave me valuable insights into the perception of Montanans concerning JFK. They knew him and were integral in Montana government and public opinion at the time of his presidency. My thanks go to these three men.