Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Frank Riddel

Second Advisor

Robert Sawrey

Third Advisor

Paul Lutz


In 1960, John F. Kennedy, a wealthy New England Catholic, traveled to a rural, Protestant state to contend in an election that few thought he could win. While many scholars have examined the impact of Kennedy’s victory in the West Virginia primary, few have analyzed the importance that his visit to the state in 1960 and his ensuing administration had on West Virginia. Kennedy enacted a number of policies directed specifically toward relieving the poverty that had plagued West Virginia since statehood. The Kennedy administration funded highway construction, worker training programs, and area development at levels the state had never before experienced. Kennedy’s relationship with West Virginia helped create a new cultural identity of West Virginians as proud, hardworking people.


Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.

Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1960.

Primaries -- West Virginia -- History -- 20th century.

West Virginia -- Politics and government.