CAHSS Faculty Books and Book Chapters

An Example for Other Small Nations to Follow”: John F. Kennedy, Ireland and Decolonization

An Example for Other Small Nations to Follow”: John F. Kennedy, Ireland and Decolonization

Book Title

Globalizing the U.S. Presidency: Postcolonial Views of John F. Kennedy



Document Type

Book Chapter



Publication Date



Cyrus Schayegh


decolonization, diplomatic relations, globalization, Ireland, John F. Kennedy, small states, United States


David P. Kilroy Remembered by many observers as the highlight of his 1963 state visit, in an emotional address before the joint houses of the Oireachtas, John F. Kennedy referred to Ireland as “the first of the small nations in the twentieth century to win its struggle for independence. ” Kennedy promoted the young republic as an example of postcolonial modernization for emerging states in Africa and Asia to emulate. Veteran Irish parliamentary reporter Brian Inglis noted that “hardened politicians wept in their seats” as Kennedy characterized Ireland’s leaders as men who knew “the meaning of foreign domination” and praised them for now providing a voice for other small nations on the world stage. Kennedy’s message resonated strongly with political leadership on both sides of the parliamentary aisle, most of whom were veterans of Ireland’s armed independence struggle between 1916 and 1921. Officials in the Irish Department of External Affairs...

Book Description

Using John F. Kennedy as a central figure and reference point, this volume explores how postcolonial citizens viewed the US president when peak decolonization met the Cold War. Exploring how their appropriations blended with their own domestic and regional realities, the chapters span sources, cases and languages from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe to explore the history of US and third world relations in a way that pushes beyond US-centric themes.

Examining a range of actors, Globalizing the U.S. Presidency studies various political, sociocultural and economic domestic and regional contexts during the Cold War era, and explores themes such as appropriation, antagonism and contestation within decolonisation. Attempting to both de-americanize and globalize John F. Kennedy and the US Presidency, the chapters examine how the perceptions of the president were fed by everyday experiences of national and international postcolonial lives. The many examples of worldwide interest in the US president at this time illustrate that this time was a historical turning point for the role of the US on the global stage. The hopes and fears of peaking decolonization, the resulting pressure on Washington, Moscow and other powers, and a new mediascape together ushered in a more comprehensive globalization of international politics, and a new meaning to 'the United States in the world'.


Bloomsbury Academic


London, England, U.K.

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Arts and Humanities | Social and Behavioral Sciences


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An Example for Other Small Nations to Follow”: John F. Kennedy, Ireland and Decolonization
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