Academic journals for high school students

Academic journals

Introducing academic journals for high school students

“The First 1960 Presidential Debate:Television’s Lasting Impact on Elections”

Danielle Sung

Philips Exeter Academy


While television was first developed in 1927, it wasn’t after the end of World War II in 1945 that television became a prominent source of news and entertainment for American households. As the medium gained recognition, its impact on the audience grew. During the first televised presidential debate in 1960 between Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, Kennedy looked confident on camera with makeup and a navy suit, while Nixon fell ill a few days before and was seen sweating on camera while wearing a grey suit that camouflaged with the background of the set. While Nixon was leading the national polls prior to the first televised presidential debate, Kennedy became the slight favorite in the general election the following day. The first 1960 televised debate set the precedent of television having great political influence, allowing a politician’s “image” to be considered a crucial factor for the presidency in addition to a candidate’s political viewpoints or policies.

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