Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) So many times in the past, those of us who have stood up for the rights of the human race, who have proposed and even implemented change, have been liked by a majority but through the hatred of the minority they are destroyed. Sometimes this destruction is literal, for example assassination. This was the case for Robert F. Kennedy, born on November 20th, 1925 and who died on June 5th, 1968, with three bullet wounds to his chest. This is who I will be talking about today. In his forty three years of life, Robert F.
Kennedy achieved so much. During his life, RFK gained the trust and respect of the American people, he delivered some of the most famous speeches of all time and gained some of the highest positions that can be possibly attained in the U. S. Senate, including Attorney-General. RFK wrote five books and many other publications on politics and various issues that were confronting his nation and his generation. Another one of RFK’s accomplishments was the founding of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation to rebuild one of New York City’s worst ghettos.
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In 1963, JFK, Robert Kennedy’s brother and president of the U. S, was assassinated. Determined to continue his brother’s vision, Kennedy re-entered public life. In 1964 he ran for the U. S. Senate for New York and won by a margin of more than 700,000 votes. One of RFK’s final achievements during his life was the winning of five presidential primaries, all of which were southern states whose opinions of RFK were famously hateful. RFK would most probably have become the president of the U. S if it wasn’t for his death. However, Robert F.
Kennedy didn’t just stop achieving things once he died, but only continued to gain so much more recognition. In 1978 he received posthumously the Gold Medal of Honour, and in the months and years after his death multiple organisations were formed and roads, public schools and other facilities across the U. S. were named in his memory. However, not only did he achieve all these phenomenal things but while doing so maintained his roles as a good father to his eleven children, a supportive husband to his wife Ethel, a respectful son and a caring brother to eight other siblings.
He stuck by his family members in every situation. So, now that you know what Robert F. Kennedy achieved, it’s probably about time I told you why he achieved so much and what change he implemented to gain such a response to his actions even today. One of the areas of life in which RFK created reform in was law and its enforcement. Upon his arrival to the Department of Justice in 1951, he was determined to change the department’s previous neglect of these organised crime and assigned a high priority aggressive campaign against mobsters.
He overcame the FBI’s indifference to the pursuit of these corrupt businessmen and the Mafia, and established a federal law enforcement agency whose sole purpose was to investigate organised crime. Another change that RFK implemented was that he significantly increased the funds and manpower for the Department of Justice’s Organised Crime Section and successfully lobbied the Congress for legislation that would expand federal powers against organised crime.
These changes that RFK implemented and encouraged to be implemented resulted in organised crime convictions increasing from only a minor fourteen cases in 1960 to a more substantial three hundred and seventy three cases in 1963. Robert F. Kennedy’s role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s has been often ignored or downplayed due to his sometimes seemingly naive actions that he was forced to take to protect his brother’s presidency.
However, from the beginning of his career RFK sought to create change in the ways that the African American people were treated with racism by the Anglo-Saxon Americans, particularly in the South. As a consequence of his position as Attorney General, RFK implemented multiple changes including the desegregation of multiple schools and public facilities, he gained support for the southern African Americans to be able to register to vote, he shaped new civil rights legislation including the famous Civil Rights Act of 1964, and helped to integrate multiple universities across Mississippi and Alabama.
I believe that the different characteristics that helped Robert F. Kennedy rise and become a powerful leader in the society that he lived in were that: * He was a persuasive speaker who used his charisma and honesty to gain the trust of the nation. * He was determined and this allowed for him to reach the multitude of goals that he set for himself, for example without this determination RFK would never have been able to implement any change in relation to the abolishment of racism in the Civil Rights Movement or the increased convictions of organised crime. Through goal setting and planning, RFK was able to be a visionary and look at the big picture as well as try and achieve his goals through determination, assertiveness and proper resource management. For example, the increased convictions of organised crime would not have been achieved without RFK setting his goal and originally having the dream of alerting the American people of the corruptness of the Mafia. RFK had the ability to work collaboratively with others, and although many cried nepotism when his brother gave him the position of Attorney-General, through the brothers’ cooperation and cohesiveness they actually achieved so much for the U. S. Shoulder to shoulder these two great men lead the U. S. in the right direction they both enforced and implemented change. * Finally, he was enthusiastic and not afraid to stand up for what he believed in. Without this enthusiasm and bravery, RFK wouldn’t have achieved anything. Robert F.
Kennedy did not adopt just one leadership style, but he utilised at least four different leadership styles to finally achieve the influence that he gained over an entire generation of people. Firstly, RFK was a people oriented and task oriented leader. He concentrated on completing tasks such as the various cases that he had to represent the government for as Attorney-General, or the capturing of Jimmy Hoffa during his fight against crime. He was confident, highly intelligent, self-motivated, obviously influential and a good, persuasive communicator which was demonstrated in his numerous awe-inspiring speeches.
All these qualities go hand in hand with a task oriented leader, but to be an effective leader one has to utilise both the styles of people oriented and task oriented. RFK was forever concerned about the welfare of the people that he represented and he tried to represent and achieve all the things that the American people needed. An example of his utter concern for the welfare of the American people is what he said the day after Martin Luther King died when he had just arrived at a rally for his campaign and when he decided to address the public about the events that had occurred.
He had asked profusely “Do they know? Do they know that Martin Luther King has died? Do they know? ” This proves that he was concerned about the people and wanted to maintain an honest relationship with the American people while looking after the group’s welfare as he wanted someone they could trust to break the news to them. RFK was also good at group conflict resolution and this was proved furthermore in his speech after Martin Luther King’s death as he calmly addressed the American people and asked them to not seek violent revenge.
RFK was also a transformational leader. He empowered his constituents and even the entire population of the U. S. through his great skills in communication and speeches. He was motivational and evoked change within the American community. RFK was obviously a cultural leader as his goal was to unite everyone no matter what their background, race, creed, or religion was and empower everyone so that they could make more of a positive contribution to society.
RFK achieved this through sharing his opinions and ideas with the citizens of America and his actions generated loyalty from nearly all members of society. It disturbs me greatly that this world we live in has lost so many of its most valued and inspiring members through hate. Yes, in the short time that Robert F. Kennedy was alive he did implement a lot of changes and inspire others to make change, but just imagine what he could have done if he was still alive; he could have been president, he could have even introduced fantastic legislation.
However, I have to stop fantasising and imagining what may have happened if he remained alive and wasn’t assassinated because sadly he was. So, really, we have to appreciate the changes RFK did implement while he was alive which included the increased conviction of organised crime as well as the fighting and struggling for civil rights for African Americans. RFK was inspirational, influential, motivational, and persuasive and we should feel privileged that we had him on our planet for the short time that he was here. Bibliography Cardona Castro, F (2004). John F. Kennedy. London: Edimat Books, Ltd.. * Heymann, C. D. (1999). RFK: a Candid Biography of Robert F. Kennedy. London: Arrow. * (2010). Robert Kennedy Biography. http://www. notablebiographies. com/Jo-Ki/Kennedy-Robert. html. Last accessed 15 May 2011. * (2006). Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968). http://www. gwu. edu/~erpapers/mep/displaydoc. cfm? docid=erpn-rfk. Last accessed 15 May 2011. * (2007). Robert F. Kennedy Speech ~ Mindless Menace of Violence . http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=0_Vll-t0H6A. Last accessed 14 May 2011.