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John F. Kennedy

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy
John F Kennedy.jpg
35th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1953 – December 22, 1960
Preceded by Henry Cabot Lodge
Succeeded by Benjamin Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by James Curley
Succeeded by Tip O'Neill
Personal details
Born May 29, 1917(1917-05-29)
Brookline, Massachusetts
Died November 22, 1963(1963-11-22) (aged 46)
Dallas, Texas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1953-1963, his death)
Children Arabella (stillborn, 1956)
Caroline (b. 1957)
John, Jr. (1960-1999)
Patrick (August 1963)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly known as "Jack" or by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States. He was in office from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. He was the youngest President elected to the office, at the age of 43. Events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement and early stages of the Vietnam War. He was the youngest President of the United States to die in office.[1]

Early life

Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. He was the second of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969). His father was a businessman and later US ambassador in the United Kingdom from 1938 until 1940. His mother was Rose Fitzgerald (1890–1995). She was the daughter of Boston mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald.

Kennedy graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor in Science. During World War II, he served in the US Navy. When his PT boat was sunk by a Japanese destroyer in 1943, he seriously injured his back. He still saved his surviving crew, for which he was later rewarded with a medal.

He was elected to the US Congress in 1946, and the US Senate in 1952. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. The couple had four children; stillborn daughter (b. 1956), Caroline (b. 1957), John (1960–1999) and Patrick, who was born prematurely in August 1963 and lived only for two days.


Official White House portrait

Kennedy was a member of the United States Democratic Party. He beat his Republican Party opponent Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. Kennedy was the youngest president ever elected. He was also the first Roman Catholic President and the first president to win a Pulitzer Prize. Kennedy was a great speaker and inspired a new generation of young Americans.

During the beginning of his term, he approved the CIA's plan to invade Cuba. After the invasion turned out to be a failure, the Cuban Missile Crisis began. During the crisis, Cuba ordered a lot of nuclear missiles from the Soviet Union. It was the closest the world was to having a nuclear war. Kennedy ordered US Navy ships to surround Cuba. He ended the crisis peacefully by making an agreement with the Soviet Union. They agreed that the Soviet Union would stop selling nuclear weapons to Cuba. In return, the U.S. would take its missiles out of Turkey and promise to never invade Cuba again.

He also created a plan called the New Frontier. This was a series of government programs, such as urban renewal, to help poor and working class people. He made the Peace Corps to help poor countries all over the world. He agreed to a large tax cut to help the economy. He also called for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which would make discrimination and segregation illegal. Near the end of his presidency, Kennedy was intending to reach a détente with Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro, and to withdraw all US military advisers from Vietnam.[2]


Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was being driven through the city in an open top car, along with John Connally, the Governor of Texas. As the car drove into Dealey Plaza, shots were fired. Kennedy was hit twice. The first bullet struck him in the upper back and exited through his throat. The second bullet struck him in his head. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital 4 miles (6.4 km) away. At 1:00 p.m., Kennedy was pronounced dead. Lee Harvey Oswald was the prime suspect in the murder, and he was arrested on the same day for the murder of a policeman called J. D. Tippit. Oswald denied shooting anyone and was killed two days later on November 24 by Jack Ruby.

Kennedy had a state funeral on November 25 three days after his murder, near to the White House, where his body was laid to rest in Arlington, Virginia.


After Kennedy died, Lyndon Johnson (his Vice President) took over and put many of Kennedy's ideas into law (see Great Society).

Kennedy was a very popular president and still is today. He is considered one of the best presidents, ranking highly in public surveys and opinion polls.[3][4]


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