John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often called JFK and Jack, was the 35th president of the United States. He was in office from January 20, 1961 until his assassination on November 22, 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 Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War. He was the youngest president of the United States to die in office.
Childhood and education[change | change source]
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood 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). The family was Roman Catholic.
Kennedy graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations. Before World War II began, he tried joining the U.S. Army, but was rejected because he had back problems; he instead joined the 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 for his bravery.
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; a 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.
Presidency, 1961–63[change | change 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 very good speaker and inspired a new generation of young Americans.
In 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 created 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. Kennedy intended to reach a détente with Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro, and to withdraw all US military advisers from Vietnam.
Death[change | change source]
Kennedy was shot dead 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 shot once in the throat and once in the head. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital 4 miles (6.4 km) away and he was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m.
Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, 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.
Legacy[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- "John F. Kennedy Miscellaneous Information". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. Archived from the original on August 31, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- Garrow, David J. (May 28, 2003). "Substance Over Sex In Kennedy Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- John F. Kennedy at White House.gov
- JFK's embrace of third world nationalists
- Dallek 2003, p. 700. sfn error: no target: CITEREFDallek2003 (help)
- "The American Experience – JFK". PBS. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2017-08-31.