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University of Virginia

The Kennedy Half Century

University of Virginia via Coursera


When John F. Kennedy entered the presidential limousine at Love Field in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, he began his ride into history. That journey continues even today and we call it the Kennedy legacy.

This course will explore the Presidency, assassination, and lasting legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Students will learn how JFK’s life, administration, and tragic death have influenced the general public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed.

Understanding the Kennedy legacy and being able to identify elements of his legacy within the context of modern politics helps understand many of the vexing problems that developed over the last half century as well as many of the challenges that confront us today.

November 22, 1963 was so powerful a moment that in the fifty years since the assassination, every U.S. President that followed JFK has used Kennedy’s words and actions in an effort to craft their own political image. Why does Kennedy’s influence persist, and will it continue? What are the effects?

We’ll address these questions and more as we explore The Kennedy Half Century.

Follow on Twitter: @JFKclass.


  • John F. Kennedy's Rise to Power
  • The Kennedy Presidency and Assassination
  • The Kennedy Legacy Begins
  • The Kennedy Effect Over Fifty Years

Taught by

Larry Sabato



4.3 rating, based on 11 reviews

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  • Helga Maria Saboia Bezerra

    Helga Maria Saboia Bezerra completed this course.

    Excellent course! Through four weeks Professor Larry J. Sabato and the University of Virginia offer an outstanding course on the President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The life and legacy of one of the most charismatic political leaders, who helped to shape the world we live in.
  • Taich

    Taich completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    Interesting overview of Kennedy's impact during and after office but much of it is heavily oriented toward the professor's book which he repeatedly encourages students to purchase and read. It felt more like an advertisement amid a class than seems appropriate.
  • Bob

    Bob completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Having lived through this period, I didn't find much that I wasn't already aware of, but the course was well presented & worthwhile.
  • Catherine Rickey

    Catherine Rickey completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

  • Alan Salsac

    Alan Salsac completed this course.

  • Mick completed this course.

  • Laura Emerson completed this course.

  • Nelson Mokaddem

    Nelson Mokaddem completed this course.

  • Robert L. Everett

    Robert L. Everett completed this course.

  • Annamaria Marinelli

    Annamaria Marinelli completed this course.

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