John F. Kennedy
|John Fitzgerald Kennedy|
|35th President of the United States|
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
|Vice President||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Succeeded by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|United States Senator
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
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
|Preceded by||James Curley|
|Succeeded by||Tip O'Neill|
|Born||May 29, 1917
|Died||November 22, 1963
|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), also known as JFK, was the 35th president of the United States of America. 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 be assassinated in office.
Early life[change | edit source]
John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. 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.
John 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 two days.
Presidency[change | edit source]
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.
Assassination[change | edit source]
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 striking him in the “base of the neck,” and exiting through his throat and the second bullet striking him in the upper right portion of his head, killing him. 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.
Investigation[change | edit source]
The government investigated the murder and decided that Oswald was the only person involved, and he had fired three shots from the window of a warehouse on the corner of Dealey Plaza. Most people at the time believed this was true. However, other alternative theories as to what could have happened have developed. Some are:
- A belief that the bullets could not have hit Kennedy in the place they hit him if they had really been fired from the warehouse.
- Many theorists suggest that Oswald conspired with others to kill the president. These include enemies like the KGB, the Mafia or Fidel Castro. Some even think it may have been the CIA or Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Only one person was ever put on trial: Clay Shaw, but he was found not guilty.
- Some have also argued that the gunshots were fired so quickly there must have been more than one assassin shooting at the President. This could be supported by the fact that "Most witnesses recalled that the second and third shots were bunched together."
What happened after his death[change | edit source]
After Kennedy died, Lyndon Johnson (his Vice President) took over and put many of Kennedy's ideas into law (see Great Society).
References[change | edit source]
- John F. Kennedy at White House.gov
- Warren 1964, chpt. 3, p. 110.
- Dallek 2003, p. 700.
- "The American Experience – JFK". http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/35_kennedy/kennedy_legacy.html.
Other websites[change | edit source]