Chronology 1960




  • March 5-March 7, 1957: “Congress sanctions the “Eisenhower Doctrine.””
  • May 6, 1957: “John F. Kennedy wins a Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage.”
  • July 24, 1959: Nixon and Khrushchev have their “kitchen debate” in Moscow.
  • September 3, 1959: Prohibition Party Convention nominates Rutherford L. Decker for President.
  • 1959: New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller conducts an exploratory tour, but does not continue pursuing the nomination
  • Party “Favorite sons” Lyndon B. Johnson, Stuart Symington, and Adlai E. Stevenson do not campaign in the primaries; they hope to garner the nomination by becoming the “compromise” candidates after the primary contenders do not gain enough delegates to capture the nomination.
  • January 2, 1960: “Senator John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.”
  • January 9, 1960: “Vice President Nixon announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.”
  • January 13, 1960: “Eisenhower declares his support for Nixon.”
  • John F. Kennedy and Humphrey lack connections with the party leaders and go through the primaries to get delegate support. Kennedy participates in 9 primaries; wins Wisconsin with heavy Catholic vote
  • March 8, 1960: New Hampshire primary, Democrat Kennedy 85%
  • March 26, 1960: “Senator Lyndon B. Johnson will probably announce his candidacy for President a month or two before the Democratic National Convention.”
  • April 5, 1960: Wisconsin primary, Kennedy 56%, Humphrey 44%, Kennedy wins Wisconsin with support of the heavy Catholic vote.
  • April 12, 1960: Illinois primary, Democrat Kennedy 65%, Humphrey 8%
  • April 19, 1960: New Jersey primary, Democrat unpledged 100%
  • April 26, 1960: Massachusetts primary, Democrat Kennedy, 92%, Humphrey 1%, Pennsylvania Primary;  Democrat Kennedy 71%, Humphrey 4%
  • May 1, 1960: “Soviet Union shoots down a U-2 reconnaissance plane over Russia; President Eisenhower’s summit meeting with Khrushchev later was canceled over the incident.”
  • May 3, 1960: Indiana primary; Kennedy, 81%; Ohio primary, Michael DiSalle 60% ; Washington, D.C. primary, Democrat Humphrey, 57%
  • May 5, 1960: “Soviet Union announces it has shot down an American U-2 spy plane.”
  • May 7, 1960: “Eisenhower acknowledges that the United States has been conducting U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union. Khrushchev announces that Francis Gary Powers, a downed U-2 pilot, has admitted to spying on the Soviet Union.”
  • May 10, 1960: Kennedy ran against Hubert Humphrey in West Virginia, heavily Protestant population won with over 60% of the vote, proves Kennedy appeal beyond Catholic electorateNebraska primary, Democrat Kennedy 89%, Humphrey 4%;
  • West Virginia primary, Democrat Kennedy, 61%, Humphrey 39%
  • May 16, 1960: “Paris Summit between the Soviet Union and the United States ends when Eisenhower refuses to apologize for the U-2 flights and Khrushchev refuses to meet with the President.”
  • May 17, 1960: Maryland primary, Democrat Kennedy 70%, Unpledged 8%
  • May 20, 1960: Oregon primary, Democrat Kennedy 51%, Humphrey 6%
  • May 24, 1960: Florida primary, Democrat George Smathers, 100%
  • June 7, 1960: California primary, Democrat Pat Brown 67%
  • June 7, 1960:  South Dakota primary, Democrat Humphrey 100%
  • Spring 1960: “Eisenhower cancels a trip to Japan due to anti-American sentiment.”
  • 1960: Kennedy travels the country persuading various state delegates to support him. When the convention opens, Kennedy is still missing a few dozen votes to garner the nomination.
  • July 1960: Lyndon B. Johnson, and Adlai Stevenson II, officially announce their candidacies (working privately previously) the week before the convention. Adlai Stevenson hopes to receive the nomination, but after two failed campaigns, the party is looking for a “fresh face.”
  • July 1960: Liberals who would have supported Stevenson already are pledged to Kennedy by the time Stevenson announces his candidacy.
  • July 12, 1960: Johnson challenges Kennedy a televised debate before a joint meeting of the Texas and Massachusetts delegations, which Kennedy wins.  demonstrating Johnson was not viable beyond the South. “Senator Lyndon B. Johnson seized the headlines momentarily in what was widely regarded as a last-ditch bid to slow the bandwagon of Senator John F. Kennedy.” Johnson attempts to make Kennedy Absenteeism in the Senate an issue.
  • July 11-15, 1960: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. Leroy Collins (Florida) serves as chairman.  The convention nominates on the 1st ballot, John F. Kennedy (Massachusetts) for President and Lyndon B. Johnson (Texas) for Vice President. Johnson is unable to collect enough delegate support with his negotiations; Kennedy had more delegate support going into the convention, but not enough to garner the nomination. There is a stop-Kennedy drive at the convention,  delegates consider Adlai Stevenson as a compromise candidate. Kennedy asks Johnson who had run against him to be his running mate.
  • July 14, 1960: Johnson accepts the Vice Presidency position on the ticket, and is unanimously nominated.
  • July 11-15, 1960: There is a controversy with the civil rights plank; Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. of North Carolina wants to delete several portions, including the initiation of school desegregation 1963 deadline; Civil Rights Commission, permanent agency, attorney general’s power to file civil injunctions. Future member of Congress Patsy Mink of Hawaii gives a televised speech before the delegates in support. Senator Ervin’s motions are defeated.
  • July 15, 1960: Senator John F. Kennedy gives an address accepting the Democratic Party Nomination for the Presidency of the United States in Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles.
  • July 11-15, 1960: Norman Mailer attends the convention and writes his famous profile of Kennedy, “Superman Comes to the Supermart,” Esquire publishes the article.
  • July 1960: Nixon and Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York secretly met Rockefeller’s Manhattan apartment to devise the Republican platform “compact of Fifth Avenue”
  • July 25-28, 1960: Republican National Convention convenes at the International Amphitheatre, in Chicago, Illinois and nominates on the 1st ballot, Richard M. Nixon (California) for President, and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (Massachusetts) for Vice President. Nixon wins all but ten votes on the first ballot, and chooses Henry Cabot Lodge at his running-mate.
  • July 28, 1960: Richard Nixon gives an address accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
  • Nixon pledged to campaign in all 50 states, in order to attract independents, Democrats; most grueling campaign schedule in history.
  • August 29, 1960: Vice President Nixon enters the Walter Reed Army Medical Center with a knee infection which keeps him hospitalized for two weeks. Although his advisors want him to abandon his 50 state pledge; he insists in continuing. All his campaign appearances, including a Labor Day engagement in New York, are canceled until the treatment is completed.
  • Main theme of the Democratic campaign is America’s “decline” under the Republican administration; attempted to undercut Nixon’s accusations that he was inexperienced. Stumping, over 200 television commercials
  • Nixon campaigns as a more experienced and known candidate, minimizes party labels in speeches, and emphasizes that voters should pick the pick the better man, Nixon forms ad hoc groups to manage advertisement, naming it Campaign Associates. Nixon campaigns as the more experienced candidate in domestic and foreign policies in comparison to Kennedy’s “youth and immaturity,” uses statements such as “After each of my foreign trips, I have made recommendations which were adopted.”….
  • August 24, 1960: President Eisenhower’s news conference on Domestic and Foreign Matters. “President Eisenhower undercuts Nixon’s experience claim when reporter Charles Mohr of Time asks the President during a press conference which major decision Nixon had been involved in and Eisenhower responded, “If you give me a week, I might think of one.” Eisenhower supposedly makes the comment as joke, but it is so damaging the Democrats used in a campaign commercial.
  • August 27, 1960: “By all normal standards, President Eisenhower pulled the political boner of the week when he said of Vice President Nixon that “he was not a part of decision-making” in the administration because “no one can make a decision except me.”” Nixon and His Chief claim the President is letting Nixon stake out his own positions.
  • 1960: Anti-Catholic tracts are circulated. Norman Vincent Peale, Nixon’s pastor condemns Kennedy on religious grounds, fueling that Kennedy is a victim of religious prejudice
  • September 12, 1960: John F. Kennedy gives a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in an attempt to diffuse the religion issue. The televised address reassures many Protestant voters, but did not completely extinguish the religion issue.
  • September 26, 1960: First Presidential Debate in Chicago: Kennedy wins the first debate. Kennedy appears just as confident, and the experienced equal to Vice President Nixon. Nixon campaigns up to a few hours prior to the telecast of the first debate, and still has not fully recovered, he looks pale, emaciated and with and stumble shows because he refuses to wear make-upKennedy in contrast rests prior to the debate and therefore appears more rested on camera. Kennedy speaks to the audience while Nixon addresses his opponent. The difference in appearances in the candidates affects the public’s perception. Those who watch the debate, name Kennedy the winner, while the radio audience albeit smaller names Nixon the winner.
  • October 7, 1960: Second Presidential Debate in Washington, DC, Nixon wins.  Nixon abides by the rules of television for the next debates (gained weight, rested, wore make-up), however, only a fraction of the amount of viewers watch the remaining debates. 70,000,000 view the first debate, but a combined total of approximately 50,000,000 watch the remaining three debates.
  • October 13, 1960: Third Presidential Debate Broadcast from New York and Los Angeles, Nixon won
  • Mid-October 1960: George Gallup predicts a close election, but refuses to forecast results. Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report though announce Kennedy would win by a good-sized margin.
  • October 19, 1960: Two days before the final debate between Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican candidate Vice President Richard Nixon, civil-rights leader Martin Luther King is arrested. King is jailed along with 52 other blacks who were trying to desegregate a Georgia restaurant. He is sentenced to four months of hard labor based on breaking probation. King’s wife, Coretta, franticly calls Harris Wofford, a Kennedy campaign aide, claiming that “they are going to kill him [King].” Wofford contacts Sargent Shriver, who is married to Kennedy’s sister Eunice. Shriver convinces Kennedy that he should telephone King’s wife, which he did, expressing his concern. Robert Kennedy, the candidate’s brother negotiates with the judge and secures a promise that King would be released on bail. In contrast, Nixon consults with Eisenhower’s attorney general, who advises him not to intervene in the matter. The Kennedys’ intervention gains JFK support from blacks, including King’s father, an influential minister who had previously supported Nixon.
  • October 21, 1960: Fourth Presidential Debate in New York, both candidates perform their strongest and it is considered a tie
  • October-November 1960: President Eisenhower, who had largely sat out the campaign, makes a vigorous campaign tour for Nixon over the last 10 days before the election. (Eisenhower’s support gave Nixon a badly needed boost, and by election day the polls indicated a virtual tie)
  • November 8, 1960: Just before midnight on election night, The New York Times headline their morning edition “Kennedy Elected President” The Times managing editor Turner Catledge writes in his memoirs that he hoped “a certain Midwestern mayor would steal enough votes to pull Kennedy through.”
  • November 9, 1960: Nixon made a speech at 3am, but did not entirely concede, was not a formal concession speech.
  • November 9, 1960: In the afternoon, Nixon gives a formal concession speech, and Kennedy claims victory. Republicans, Nixon and Eisenhower thought voter fraud is involved in the slim margin of victory, especially in Texas, Lyndon Johnson’s home state, and Illinois with Mayor Richard Daley’s powerful Chicago political machine. The electoral votes from those two states determine the outcome of the election.
  • November 10, 1960: Nixon’s campaign staff wants him to contest the election especially in the Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey contests.
  • November 13, 1960: Nixon gives a speech that he would not contest the election.
  • December 19, 1960: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes.
  • Summer 1961: Republican National Chairman, Senator Thruston Morton of Kentucky challenged the results in 11 states, which remained in the courts until summer of 1961, and resulted in a recount giving Hawaii over to Kennedy from Nixon’s column
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