John F. Kennedy Executive Orders


35th President of the United States

John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, MA on May 29, 1917, and became one of the most charismatic leaders of the United States when he was elected president in 1961. Born into a political family, he graduated from Harvard in 1940; distinguished himself while in the military service (the PT boat incident), and then decided to run for political office after the War. In 1946, he was elected to the U.S. Congress; serving three terms in the House of Representatives and eight years as a Senator. He began to campaign for President in 1956, after narrowly missing being picked as the Vice Presidential candidate by the Democratic Party. His platform was based on the "Rights of Man"- the civil and economic rights necessary to human dignity. In his acceptance speech on July 15, 1960, to the Democratic National Convention, he noted that the nation needed strong and creative leadership in the White House, and that it would be that person’s responsibility to devote "every effort of body, mind and spirit ... to lead our Nation back to greatness". In the general election of November 8, 1960, he won over the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon, in a very close race.

He was sworn in as President on January 20, 1961, and in his inaugural speech, spoke of many of the issues he had campaigned on, mentioning America’s commitment to democracy and liberty; calling for international peace and arms control. Furthermore, he asked that Americans serve their country by stating: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country". He also asked the world community to join together to oppose "the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself".

Many of these ideals are contained within his executive orders. An early E.O. established the Peace Corps, others that reflected his unique administration were the President’s Committee on Equal Employment, (E.O. #10925) and Equal Opportunity in Housing (E.O. #11063) . EO's such as the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (E.O.’s # 10980) and E.O. #11022, Establishing the President’s Council on Aging, and #10914, Providing an Expanded Program of Food Distribution to Needy Families, showed his concern for domestic issues. Even civil rights were acknowledged by E.O. #’s 11111 and 11118, which provided Assistance for the Removal of Obstruction of Justice and Suppression of Unlawful Combinations within the State of Alabama.

The 214 Executive Orders in this collection were scanned from Title 3 of the Code of Regulations at the Knowledge Navigation Center of the University of Michigan Graduate Library and subsequently converted to HTML. Indexes are provided by:


The project was prepared as an independent study for the University of Michigan School of Information. The author wishes to thank the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the staff of the Knowledge Navigation Center of the University of Michigan Graduate Library, Dr. David Hessler of the University of Michigan School of Information, and Grace York of the University of Michigan Graduate Library's Documents Center for their support and advice.

Biographical information provided by Ellen Shea's John F. Kennedy: A Short Biography of the 35th President of the United States (http//

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Maria E. Schieda
School of Information
University of Michigan

Compilation Copyrighted by Maria E. Schieda, 1997
All Rights Reserved
Text of Executive Orders in the public domain

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Last updated on September 6, 1997

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