Gene Barretta asks in his book Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare: “How much could these two presidents have in common?” The answer is: an amazing amount.
100 Years Apart
Abraham Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. He was nominated to be a vice-presidential candidate in 1856. And he was elected president in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1946. He was nominated to be a vice-presidential candidate in 1956. And he was elected president in 1960.
Their vice-presidents were born one hundred years apart. Lincoln’s (second v.p) in 1808 and Kennedy’s in 1908.
Lincoln defeated Stephen A. Douglas born in 1813 and Kennedy defeated Richard M. Nixon born in 1913 in their respective presidential bids.
Lincoln’s secretary was Mrs. Kennedy and Kennedy’s secretary was Mrs. Lincoln.
Lincoln’s second vice-president was Andrew Johnson. Kennedy’s vice-president was Lyndon B. Johnson.
Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation giving freedom to slaves living in the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Kennedy proposed civil rights laws to end segregation and discrimination of African-Americans. He gave a speech in 1963, a few months before his death, outlining these laws. Kennedy’s successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Both presidents were assassinated on a Friday shortly before a major holiday — Lincoln before Easter and Kennedy before Thanksgiving.
We know the two assassins by three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, and Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin.
Booth shot Lincoln in a theater. He was captured in a barn that served as a warehouse storing tobacco. Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse, The Texas Book Depository, and was captured in a theater. Both men were killed soon after the assassinations.
Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare has many more examples comparing these two great presidents.