Lee Harvey Oswald, America’s Least Favorite Man

Lee Harvey Oswald sits at the top of the Depository building waiting for Kennedy’s car to pass by at the perfect time.1 Time passes, Oswald’s chance becomes closer, he starts to get a clearer view, and he can barely stand the wait. He is about to commit one of the greatest assassinations known in American history.

President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline on their ride in Dallas just before the shooting | Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

In order to understand this Oswald and what brought him to that floor of the Depository building that day, let’s take a look into his past and see what life was like for him. When Oswald was a teenager he developed strong left-wing political views and became an avowed Marxist. When he was sixteen he joined the Marines in hopes of emigrating to the Soviet Union. He successfully received dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Marines in 1959 and escaped into Russia.2 Oswald lived in Russia for three years before moving back to Dallas, Texas. Oswald visited New Orleans early in 1963 and founded a pro-Castro organization known as the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee,” in which he was the only member. Oswald then returned to Dallas that October and began a low-paying job at the Texas School Book Depository.3

Although Oswald was successful in getting what he wanted, there were complications in his assassination of Kennedy. He fired three bullets, one only wounding Kennedy, the second wounding Governor John Connally, and a third that struck Kennedy in the head, killing him instantly.4

Newspaper Article from JFK’s Assassination | Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

In the few short moments it took for Oswald to assassinate Kennedy, he knew he needed to get out of that building. He quickly rushed out and during his escape managed to kill another man, Officer J.D. Tippett. After killing the officer, Oswald was arrested in a nearby movie theatre at 1:51 pm, and charged with the murder of officer Tippett.5 Oswald was then taken to jail, and was held there for two days before being moved to the county prison.

A series of unfortunate events occurred as Oswald was being transported to the county prison. As he was being transported, Oswald was shot and killed by the owner of a Dallas night club, Jack Ruby.6 Although some may say that what Ruby did was right in trying to get revenge for Oswald murdering a beloved president, he was found guilty of murder with malice and sentence to death. Ruby was a lucky man though; his lawyers were able to fight hard enough to get him out of facing the death penalty.

Lee Harvey Oswald will forever be known as a murderer and assassin. He can be seen as someone that demoralized Americans, and caused so many people to doubt the true nature of people. Oswald has always been seen as an abnormal person, he did so many things that would’ve been red flags if the government had been watching him before the assassination. Oswald was a man of evil nature and will be talked about in history classes across the country until the end of time.

  1. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  2. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  3. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  4. Tom Wicker, “Kennedy is Killed By Sniper As He Rides In Car In Dallas; Johnson Sworn In On Plane,” The New York Times (New York City, New York), November 22, 1963.
  5. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  6. Kalyan B. Bhattacharyya, “Fredric Andrews Gibbs and the Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 20, no. 2 (April 2017): 103.

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This Post Has 52 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Paola Arellano

    John F. kennedy has to be one of my favorite president’s and is of course well known. I have tried to read a lot about him in the past as his assassination is one of the most famous in American history. The fact that Lee made sure that this murder happened in front of the entire world because it was being televised and all of Dallas was watching the president in his car makes me sick to my stomach. This man had no right total another man’s life let alone the president’s. Now that I have read this article I realize his views were completely against that of America’s and moreover that of our president. My question here is why this president specifically? Why didn’t Lee try murdering those before JFK?

  2. Avatar
    Octaviano Huron

    John F. Kennedy was one of the most influential presidents in American history, and Lee Harvey Oswald will forever be shunned as the murderer who committed an unspeakable crime. I had visited Dallas, Texas, on a couple of occasions, and I had seen the street marks where the assassination had taken place. These marks and of the buildings adjacent to them really puts the observer into perspective of how scared and frightened citizens who witnessed this must have been.

  3. Avatar
    Averie Mendez

    Very good article! You did really good research on the topic. I often wonder what Harvey Lee Oswald would have confessed to be his motive for murdering JFK, had Jack Ruby not murdered him. I’ve heard a lot of conspiracy theories revolving about Oswald and Ruby both conspiring together in the assassination & Ruby murdering Oswald to keep him quiet.

  4. Avatar
    Brianna Nevarez

    JFK was the one of the most beloved presidents of America, his charisma and charm won the hearts of many citizens. Why anybody would want to murder him is a mystery. The fact that Lee Harvey plotted to murder the most important man in the United States shows just how troubled he was. He did achieve to immortalize his name forever, which he does not deserve. Assassins do not deserve the mention of their name, not in the news, not in the paper. I think the reason people murder other people of importance or go on killing sprees is because they want that fame, they want the recognition.

  5. Avatar
    Cameron Lopez

    Interesting article, learning about Oswald over the years as the anniversary of Kennedy’s death came I’ve come to find he’s a strange fellow. What he did to America by killing Kennedy was an awful thing. I can see peoples political views on this matter but just because we all have different views does not mean it exempts you to hurt and even kill others. I cant blame Jack Ruby for what he did but he did what he did and he got what he deserved.

  6. Avatar
    Ryan Estes

    This was a very interesting article. I never knew Oswald identified himself as a Marxist. Even if Oswald disagreed with Kennedy’s political views, there are better ways to resolve differences than killing. I also did not know that three bullets were fired and that Kennedy was wounded before he was killed. It is terrifying to watch the video footage of the assassination, as you can see Kennedy’s head get shot. I wish the assassination never happened, because I don’t wish assassinations and murders would happen to anybody. I can only pray for peace in the world and work towards achieving that peace.

  7. Avatar
    Mariah Garcia

    I don’t know much about Oswald life but after reading this article it seems that he was engulfed in his political views. He was, in fact, an interesting character. But, he should have respected other’s political views and understand that what he did was terrible. Unfortunately, he was not in a stable state of mind and had a mental illness that caused so much pain and suffering to the country.

  8. Avatar
    Lilliana Canales

    I see that none of your sources included the National Archives, that would have been very beneficial to your article considering it’s on a President and received many conspiracy theories. The National Archives also would have helped you with your images because the title is “Lee Harvey Oswald, America’s Least Favorite Man” yet there are no images of Oswald, only of Kennedy. Your sources lack diversity, a forensic journal would have been beneficial, a ballistics report would have gone more into depth about Oswald’s bullets, more importantly the one that killed the president. Rubinstein is a British critic when there are many American critics to choose from regarding Lee Harvey Oswald. The source on the times report was a good move as was the neurological article because it focuses on Oswald’s mental state. Article does a great job of explaining who Oswald was before the assassination and it’s commendable that you strayed away from conspiracy theories and used facts.

  9. Avatar
    Madeline Torres

    Oswalds life has always been a mystery to me and now that I have read about it it leaves me wondering what have caused him to act out so erratically. He caused the lives of 2 innocent people who did not deserve to die the way they did. Oswald was in fact not in a stable state of mind and he caused so much hurt in the country, Kennedy was a great president and his life should have never ended that way. As for the officer who’s life was taken for protecting his citizens.

  10. Avatar
    Christopher Hohman

    Nice article. Oswald certainly was a fascinating character. It is a terrible thing what he did to president Kennedy and to that police officer. I can respect people’s political views, but having different political views does not mean that you can kill people. Oswald sounds like he got caught up a little too much in his own crusade. As for Jack Ruby, I cant blame him for doing what he did, but he did kill a guy so he to deserved his sentence

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