Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Nixon-Kennedy Debate

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Associated Press, KENNEDY VS. NIXON TV DEBATE, OCTOBER 1960 (1960). Courtesy of AP/Wide World.

Creator The Associated Press/Wide World Photos
Context Kennedy-Nixon debates in the presidential campaign of 1960
Audience National television audience
Purpose To show how television influenced political events

Historical Significance

These photographs were taken during the Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates in 1960. Seventy million Americans watched John F. Kennedy debate Richard M. Nixon. On television, Kennedy appeared relaxed and energetic while Nixon looked tense. These photographs show the impact that visual images had on viewers who were able to "see" the candidates' appearance, body language, and gestures as never before. After the debate, polls taken of who won the debate differed based on the medium. Radio listeners thought Nixon won the debate, while television viewers thought Kennedy had won. Kennedy himself admitted, "It was TV more than anything else that turned the tide."


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