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Preface on Biography of John F Kennedy - History

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Preface of The Biography of John F KenNedy

President John F. Kennedy with Vice President Johnson and Prime Minister NehruPreface

This website on John F. Kennedy has been written moslty the latter half of 2010 and updated in 2017. A portion of the materials presented here appeared as part of our multimedia CD biography of JFK, which was created twenty years ago. A review of the original materials made it clear that much of the information required updating. Much has happened in these past two decades. Many documents have been declassified over time, bringing new facts to light. All has served to put John F. Kennedy 's presidency into a new and more complex perspective. While President Kennedy has always held a special place in the hearts of many Americans, there are those who believe his Presidency has been overrated. They opined that not much could possibly have been accomplished in such a short time. Was not the outpouring of love for this fallen leader the result of just that: a nostalgic love for a President stolen from the nation when he was young rather than admiration born of respect for the late President's accomplishments?

After scrutinizing the Kennedy Presidency, reviewing the documents, examining the images and re-examining the video clips, I have come to a very different conclusion regarding JFK 's contributions to this nation. I believe that John F. Kennedy was the best President of the second half of the twentieth century. Furthermore, I contend that no President since has embodied Kennedy 's exceptional combination of the skills needed to serve as President.

President Kennedy was uniquely prepared for the Presidency. His youth and good looks have often been mistaken for shallowness. This was then, and remains now, a false contention. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama supporters rebutted criticism for the candidate's quite obvious lack of experience with the oft-stated refrain: "But look at President Kennedy, he was young and inexperienced, as well. " I respectfully beg to differ. President Obama cannot be compared to President Kennedy. Though JFK was young, his experiences did, indeed, prepare to become President.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy benefited from a set of circumstances that would serve him well in his quest for the Presidency. He was the son of a very wealthy and politically-connected Father. Young Kennedy went to all the "right' schools. He enjoyed the comfort his family 's money brought him. His was not, however, the young adulthood of the average indolent son of wealthy parents. Circumstances conspired to give young John some very distinctive perspectives on the world around him. First, although he came from wealth, Kennedy was a Catholic. To be a Catholic in the first half of the century meant being an outsider. Second, Kennedy 's Harvard education coincided with the time when the world began its inexorable journey toward World War II. His father was the United States Ambassador to the Court of Saint James, a circumstance that gave Kennedy the opportunity to travel extensively through Europe during the months leading up to the outbreak of the War. His experiences during those months, and in the period following, prompted him to produce a Harvard senior thesis that would become a best-selling book. Then, as the US edged closer to war, Kennedy volunteered for service with the Navy. Though he was initially given a cushy intelligence job in Washington DC, he volunteered for one of the most dangerous of naval assignments, commanding a PT boat. Using his formidable family connections, Kennedy got himself transferred to the most dangerous of naval warfare theaters: the Pacific. There, his PT boat was sunk by the Japanese. Kennedy became a national hero, for orchestrating the rescue of his crew.

Later, Kennedy would spend six years serving as a Congressman, followed by eight years as Senator, before making his run for the Presidency. His 12 years in Congress did not make Kennedy a creature of Congress -- just the opposite. Kennedy recognized the inherent weaknesses of the Congress. He believed that only a strong executive could take the actions required for the US to meet the challenges it faced. As President, Kennedy displayed great strength. While he certainly made mistakes, he learned from them and became a better President as a result. Kennedy 's greatest moment as President was his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. His actions, both large and small, proved JFK to be a President completely in control and keenly aware of what he could and could not accomplish.

President Kennedy led a remarkable life. He was President during extraordinary time. What he might have accomplished as President, had he not been assassinated, will forever remain one of history 's great unknowns. Learn more about the many aspects of Kennedy 's life and his Presidency in the sections ahead.


The Best Biographies of John F. Kennedy

I spent the past 24 weeks reading a dozen biographies of John F. Kennedy totaling just under 8,000 pages: six conventional” biographies, a two-volume series and four narrowly-focused studies of Kennedy’s presidency.

In the end, JFK proved to be everything I hoped for – and more! Like several of the presidents who preceded him, Kennedy’s life is a biographer’s dream.

His forebears were dynamic, endlessly fascinating, occasionally unscrupulous and, from time to time, oddly dysfunctional. Kennedy himself proved to be no less interesting: he was medically infirm, an ardent bookworm, a serial philanderer, often ruthlessly pragmatic and extremely charismatic.

But after spending five-and-a-half months with JFK and experiencing his presidency nine times (three of the books did not cover his time in the Oval Office) I still find Kennedy undeservedly well-ranked by historians. But that’s a subject for another day.

* “An Unfinished Life: JFK 1917-1963” by Robert Dallek (published 2003) – This comprehensive biography was the first book on JFK that I read. It also proved to be my favorite. Dallek provides a devastating early indictment of JFK’s personal behavior, but more than half of the book is reserved for Kennedy’s presidency where his personal affairs take a back seat to the nation’s issues. Overall, Dallek’s biography provides the best combination of insight, balance and color of any of the JFK biographies I encountered — 4¼ stars (Full review here)

* “JFK: Reckless Youth” by Nigel Hamilton (1992) – This was intended to be the first book in a three-volume series but as a result of his “unflattering” portrayal of the Kennedy family Hamilton lost access to important research documents and, regrettably, abandoned the series. This lively 800-page narrative is riveting and provides unparalleled insight into JFK’s relationships with his older brother and his parents (who are painted in an extremely unflattering light). No other biography I read covers Kennedy’s early life better than this volume — 3¾ stars (Full review here)

* “Kennedy: The Classic Biography” by Ted Sorensen (1965) – Written by Kennedy’s long-time adviser and speechwriter, the author’s proximity to JFK proves both a blessing and a curse. Sorensen’s allegiance to Kennedy is quickly obvious – and occasionally distracting – but the narrative covers events from a unique perspective. But in the end it does not provide balanced, comprehensive coverage of JFK and can only serve as the eloquent observations of a staunchly loyal aide — 3½ stars (Full review here)

* “John F. Kennedy: A Biography” by Michael O’Brien (2005) – This 905-page biography is encyclopedic and provides more detail (and more perspectives) on most events than any other JFK biography. But while it is 200 pages longer than Dallek’s biography (its most comparable counterpart) it is no more potent…and its numerous nuggets of wisdom are buried beneath an avalanche of unnecessary verbosity — 3½ stars (Full review here)

* “Jack: A Life Like No Other” by Geoffrey Perret (2001) – This full-scale (but lightweight, at just 400 pages) biography is easy to read and decidedly informal. Unfortunately, it also provides less insight or analysis of Kennedy than most other biographies. And while readers new to JFK may appreciate its lack of “complexity” almost everyone else will finish this biography still feeling hungry — 3 stars (Full review here)

* “A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy” by Thomas Reeves (1991) – This study quickly proves to be a captivating, but flawed, critique of its subject. Devoted to exposing the hypocrisy hidden beneath Camelot’s polished veneer, it feels more bluntly partisan, and less scholarly, than Nigel Hamilton’s somewhat similar “JFK: Reckless Youth.” But where Hamilton covers three decades in about 900 pages, Reeves covers JFK’s entire life in just half of that — 3 stars (Full review here)

* “Jack: The Struggles of John F. Kennedy” and “JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy” by Herbert Parmet – This two-volume series was published between 1980 and 1983 and totals nearly 900 pages (excluding notes and bibliography). Offering a thoughtful and balanced perspective on Kennedy, this series is serious, scholarly and solid. But where it was the “go to” reference on Kennedy for years, documents which have become available since its publication have left it somewhat stale. Parmet’s writing style also leaves JFK and his family feeling a bit flat and lifeless. Imagine that! — 3½ star (Full reviews here and here)

* “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys” by Doris Kearns Goodwin (1987) – This non-traditional biography of JFK is actually a family history which ends with a focus on John F. Kennedy – but only up to his presidential inauguration. Despite its heft (943 pages) it is engrossing, clever and insightful. Unfortunately it also left Goodwin embroiled in a plagiarism scandal. But for readers unconcerned with the author’s failure to adequately cite sources – or her awkward effort to conceal her sins – it is a wickedly entertaining and perceptive (if too friendly) treatment of Honey Fitz, Rose Kennedy and Joseph P. Kennedy. The book does not end as strongly as it starts and the weakest player (ironically) is JFK himself who receives less focus than he deserves — 4½ stars (Full review here)

* “A Thousand Days: JFK in the White House” by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (1965) – This Pulitzer Prize-winning tome (with 1,031 pages) is part memoir, part biography and part interpretive history with a nearly exclusive focus on the Kennedy presidency. The author served as Special Assistant to President Kennedy, providing him an advantageous perch from which to view JFK’s presidency. Schlesinger’s reputation as a historian is unquestioned, but his book proves dense, dry and often tedious – as well as uneven in emphasis and highly sympathetic to Kennedy. A classic, perhaps, but not a balanced account of the Kennedy presidency — 3 stars (Full review here)

* “President Kennedy: Profile of Power” by Richard Reeves (1993) – This unique (and extraordinarily revealing) book follows JFK almost moment-by-moment through his presidency. But where most biographies are written from the point of view of the biographer, Reeves’s audience often views the world through Kennedy’s own eyes. Unfortunately missing from the book is much insight on Kennedy’s family and friends, and there is little analysis to be found. But for a unique point of view, and as a supplemental book on JFK, “Profile of Power” is hard to beat — 3¾ stars (Full review here)

* “JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President” by Thurston Clarke (2013) – Ostensibly focused on the last weeks of Kennedy’s life, this book is more comprehensive than its title suggests. Almost continuously throughout its 362 pages it reaches back in time to Kennedy’s past in order to provide unfamiliar readers with adequate context. The resulting lack of continuity, however, is perhaps the book’s greatest weakness. Most confounding, however, is the book’s failure (despite its sub-title) to demonstrate that Kennedy was on the verge of greatness when he was assassinated. Otherwise, a stimulating and enjoyable read — 3½ stars (Full review here)

Best Biography of John F. Kennedy: “An Unfinished Life: JFK 1917-1963” by Robert Dallek

Honorable Mention: “JFK: Reckless Youth” by Nigel Hamilton (though “incomplete”)


A New Biography of John F. Kennedy Might Calm Your Election Jitters

“JFK himself will remain firmly embedded in history as long as worthy biographies about him continue to appear in each new age,” says Barbara A. Perry about Fredrik Logevall’s new work: JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956. Perry (@BarbaraPerryUVA) is the Gerald L. Baliles Professor and Director of Presidential Studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. She is writing a book on the political relationship between JFK and Eleanor Roosevelt. You can hear her conversation with Fred Logevall on his new biography here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VKPMm1Dwn8.

Even the most ardent John F. Kennedy aficionados couldn’t be blamed for exclaiming, “Really? Another biography of JFK?” At last count, all books on the 35 th president total more than 40,000. But the number of biographies alone on Abraham Lincoln number over 16,000.

For now, and some time to come, the new tome, JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, elegantly penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard historian Fredrik Logevall, will constitute the definitive work on Kennedy. It is a two-volume enterprise, so the just-published volume ends before the young Massachusetts senator begins his improbable race for the White House. Stay tuned for the riveting narrative of how the great-grandson of Irish potato-famine refugees became the first Roman Catholic president (Joe Biden would be only the second) and how he governed in a turbulent presidency that lasted barely 1,000 days but ended so tragically and shockingly that it seems forever burned in the American psyche.

Despite that emotive justification for writing additional books on John Kennedy, is there anything new to report? Since the last scholarly biography appeared in 2003, Professor Robert Dallek’s An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, an archival treasure trove has come to light, including the vast papers of JFK’s parents, Joe and Rose Kennedy Jacqueline Kennedy’s compelling eight-hour oral history, conducted by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. just a few months after the assassination the Miller Center’s release of the Edward Kennedy Oral History Project opening a portion of Robert Kennedy’s papers and the lifting of redactions in other family members’ interviews. Authors have mined these resources for initial takes on their subjects, but no one has revisited them with Logevall’s intent to tell John F. Kennedy’s complete life story. In addition, previously classified documents have been released and will particularly enlighten Vol. 2.

As my Miller Center colleague, Professor Marc Selverstone, observes, the JFK literature covers an arc that began shortly after his death with memoirs from the knights of Camelot’s round table, nostalgia-infused stories on the golden age of a fallen president. Schlesinger, Ted Sorensen, Pierre Salinger, Dave Powers, Kenny O’Donnell, Paul Fay, and Ben Bradlee all produced paeans to their hero, as did the president’s long-time secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, and even the Kennedys’ British nanny, Maud Shaw. Inevitably, revisionism followed, starting in the 1970s and revealing the “dark side of Camelot.” A third wave of scholarship, including Logevall’s new book and his award-winning 2012 study of the Vietnam War, constitutes a balanced approach to the 35 th president—examining his successes and failures, triumphs and tragedies, heroic traits and profound character flaws.

Yet even if readers are familiar, as I am, with the wealth of information that has circulated on the most potent political dynasty in American history, they will find much to discover in the new biography. No author has taken a deeper, more detailed, or thoroughly nuanced approach to the document trail and other resources available in the Kennedy Presidential Library. Logevall provides meticulous analysis of young John Kennedy’s copious letters, student essays and Harvard senior thesis, diary entries as JFK traveled in pre-World War II Europe, missives from the South Pacific combat zone, and journalistic articles drafted as a military veteran for Hearst newspapers on the founding United Nations conference and Britain’s 1945 election. The formation of Kennedy’s character, intellect, powers of observation, and Weltanschauung, as Logevall weaves the threads of archival material, produces a rich tapestry.

Edward, Jacqueline, John, and Robert Kennedy at a UVA Law School event (c. 1958). Courtesy of UVA Law Library.

Collegiate JFK, journeying through Europe just prior to World War II, was no Alexis de Tocqueville observing American democracy in the 1830s. Yet Logevall discovers the bases for Kennedy’s crucial diversion from his father’s petty personality, isolationist world view, and appeasement policies—a departure absolutely necessary for young Jack’s successful political career. This book’s overarching addition to the Kennedy canon results from the discerning eye of a renowned foreign policy historian, originally from Scandinavia, which allows Logevall to avoid the American-centric hagiography of the Camelot legend. A “life and times” approach to writing biography is frequently revealing, but it is most fruitful when the subject’s life corresponds directly with clear demarcations in history that the biographer comprehends so completely.

Born just as the United States entered World War I, encouraged by his mother to sate his curiosity by reading and traveling widely, coming of age when his father’s “America First” ambassadorial policies in the UK utterly failed, hardened by Solomon Islands combat for which he volunteered despite his frail health, and tempered by the Cold War’s bitter peace, John Kennedy emerged as an “idealist without illusions.”

By the time Vol. 1 concludes, JFK is a confirmed Cold Warrior, convinced that only an internationalist foreign policy can save the world from communism. So different from today’s polarization, Kennedy, although a tough politico in the mold of his maternal grandfather and namesake, Mayor John F. (Honey Fitz) Fitzgerald of Boston, treated opponents as adversaries, not enemies. And despite his tendency toward healthy skepticism, he maintained an unshakable faith in democratic pluralism—but one that the polity must nurture through civic activism. In the earliest speeches that he composed at the beginning of his congressional career in the late 1940s, JFK quoted Rousseau, “As soon as any man says of the affairs of state, ‘what does it matter to me?’ the state may be given up for lost.” In our COVID-ridden land, torn asunder along racial, geographic, socioeconomic, partisan, and ideological fault lines, Kennedy’s stirring appeal to serve the nation rings with more urgency than ever.

When Jacqueline Kennedy labeled her husband’s presidency, based on the lyrics from Lerner and Loewe’s Broadway musical about England’s mythical King Arthur, she cited JFK’s favorite lyrics: “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, known as Camelot!” Even if such legends eventually fade, as Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III’s recent U.S. Senate primary loss may indicate, JFK himself will remain firmly embedded in history as long as worthy biographies about him continue to appear in each new age.

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Biography Of John F. Kennedy

Tech John F. Kennedy Diamond Burks MGMT1115-Leadership (41921) Trudy Dunson February 24, 2015 John F. Kennedy is the leader I will be discussing in my paper I will be talking about his life, before and during his presidency, what type of leadership he was also what his leadership says about what type of followers he had. John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts May 29, 1917 Rose and Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. was a very illness child and his mother make a annotation on John notecard


Biography of John F Kennedy

John F Kennedy was a famous 35th President of the United States. John F Kennedy was born on 29 May 1917 in Massachusetts, USA. John F Kennedy died on 22 Novomber 1963.

John F Kennedy’s Works & Achievements was Pulitzer Prize (1973), Known For Contribution in Civil Rights and his Nationality United States.

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States and first American President to be born in the twentieth century. The former president has many firsts credited to him including the honor of becoming the first president to have won a Pulitzer Prize.

John F. Kennedy was the only practicing Roman Catholic to be President and the second youngest president of America, being elected to the office at the age of 43. Considered as the most authoritative and charismatic president of the United States, John F. Kennedy was also famous for bearing many similarities with Abraham Lincoln.

John F. Kennedy’s effective administration during the Cuban defense crisis, African civil rights and Vietnam War successfully thwart the outbreak of the Third World War making him the most popular and influential President in the America.

John F. Kennedy served the U.S. for two years beginning from 1961 until 1963, when he was assassinated during a political trip to Texas.

John F. Kennedy Early Life & Education

John F. Kennedy was born on 29 May 1917 in Brookline in Massachusetts to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald and was their second son. John F. Kennedy attended Brook line’s Public Edwards Devotion School and Nobel and Greenough Lower School before moving into its successor Dexter school.

John F. Kennedy graduated from Choate in June 1935 and then went to London in an attempt to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) as his elder brother had studied. Although John F. Kennedy got the entry to the LSE but he could study there for only a week and had to return back to America after only three weeks because of severe illness.

John F. Kennedy was diagnosed with Jaundice and was hospitalized for about a couple of months.

In 1936 John F. Kennedy was admitted to Harvard College and till 1940 he had traveled throughout South America. In 1940, John F. Kennedy completed his thesis about British participation in the Munich Agreement and attended classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the same year.

After Education John F. Kennedy, who always wanted to be in US army volunteered to get an entry in the Navy and got an admission there after initial rejection. It was then the Japanese attack occurred on the Pearl Harbor and John F. Kennedy, who was serving in the US navy, emerged as a War Hero.

John F. Kennedy Entry into Politics

Aftermath of the Second World War, John F. Kennedy, who wanted to be a journalist decided to step into politics despite the fact that he had never thought about it seriously. In 1946, he ran for the seat of Mayor of Boston and defeated his rival Republican by a huge margin and remained in the congress for 6 years before entering the Senate in 1952.

In the 1956 presidential election, Kennedy was given a choice for the vice presidential nominee race but finished second in the party. Although, John F. Kennedy failed in his run for the post, he received a lot of exposure which proved to be valuable for his political career later.

In the same year his book Profiles of Courage was published. The book which described eight events in which U.S. Senators risked their careers by sticking to their personal beliefs, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957.

In 1958, John F. Kennedy defeated hisRepublican opponent by a huge margin and subsequently was re – elected for his second term in the Senate.

John F. Kennedy Presidency

On January 2, 1960, John F. Kennedy officially declared that he wanted to take part in the race for President of the country despite his lower position within the party.

In the first televised debate among the Presidential candidates in the US history, a cool and calm, yet always alert John F. Kennedy debated Republican candidate and Vice President Richard Nixon. As it appeared during the debate, in the national popular vote he defeated Richard Nixon though by a very narrow margin of 0.2%.

John F. Kennedy took oath as the 35th President of the United States on 20 January 1961. In his inaugural speech he called for the people of America to fight against the common evils of man, tyranny, poverty, disease and war.

John F. Kennedy Foreign Policy

One of the most sensitive issues during his presidency was the Cuba Missile Crisis which began on 14 October 1962 when John F. Kennedy was informed of a serious nuclear threat from Cuba. An agreement was reached between the Soviets and the U.S. according to which the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles if America promised never to invade Cuba and removed its missiles stationed at Turkey.

The crisis which could have led to a nuclear war between these two countries cautioned the U.S. President against the USSR.

Vietnam crisis took place in early 1963 with John F. Kennedy increasing the number of U.S. military in Vietnam fearing its tie up with communists. Though is believed that he had decided to withdraw the U.S. troops after the 1964 presidential elections, the real situation remains unclear as he was assassinated in the late 1963.

John F. Kennedy held strong view against communism and following the division of Germany, John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin on 26 June 1963, where he gave a speech criticizing communism.

John F. Kennedy was believed to have a leading hand in instigating a coup against the government of General Abdel karim Qaseem in Iraq, who had captured the power by overthrowing the Western – allied Iraqi Monarchy.

The Kennedy administration helped the new established Baath Party government in the mass killing of suspected communists, which included doctors, teachers, lawyers and political figures.

John F. Kennedy Domestic Policy

The Kennedy government’s domestic program the ‘New Frontier’ provided funds for education, health and for the elderly and brought tax reforms, revising the income tax cuts. John F. Kennedy’s major step came with his proposal for a new immigration policy that became known as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

John F. Kennedy had assumed the power with the promise to end the racial segregation in America and during his two – year presidency he openly supported the African Civil Rights Movements.

John F. Kennedy’s constant efforts and intervention resulted in the abolishment of racial segregation in schools, buses and hotels and secured the early release of King Martin Luther from jail. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, just a year after his death.

It was John F. Kennedy, who dared to set a goal for his nation as high as landing on moon for the first time in world’s history. John F. Kennedy negotiated with the Soviet Union- who was far ahead of America in terms of space technology- in 1961 and 1963 and persuaded Sergei Khrushchev for the joint venture of moon landing.

The agreement could not be formalized because of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and the first man landed on moon after six years of his death, on 20 July 1969.

John F. Kennedy Assassination and Funeral

John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963 in Dallas, Texas. He was on a political trip when the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot him twice in the neck and head. Lee Oswald was held for the murder, but before he could be indicted or tried he was killed by Jack Ruby on 24 November.

An investigation ensued which concluded that Lee Harvey was the lone conspirator though with contradictory statements of eyewitness the real cause still remains disputed.

John F. Kennedy’s body was buried at a permanent burial place at Arlington National Cemetery on 14 March 1967. John F. Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and their deceased children were buried at the same place later.

John F. Kennedy Family & Personal Life

John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on 12 September 1953. The couple drew media attraction for their love for art and their meeting with high profile writers, intellectuals and artists in White House.

The couple led a glamorous life with their popularity that was more like Hollywood Stars rather than Presidents and the First Lady. John F. Kennedy, who was known for his sense of humor, and Jacqueline also experienced many tragedies in their personal life.

Jacqueline had a miscarriage in 1955 and a still birth in 1956. Their newborn son died in 1963 just after two days of his birth. Caroline, their daughter and John Jr. were their only children to survive into the adulthood. With John dying in a plane crash in 1999, Caroline became the only surviving member of John F. Kennedy’s family.

John F. Kennedy Timeline

1917 – John F. Kennedy was born on 29 May 1917.
1935 – John F. Kennedy graduated from Choate in June 1935.
1936 – John F. Kennedy was admitted to Harvard College.
1940 – John F. Kennedy completed his thesis about British participation in the Munich Agreement.
1946 – John F. Kennedy contested for the seat of Mayor of Boston.
1952 – John F. Kennedy entered the Senate in 1952.
1953 – John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on 12 September 1953.
1956 – John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles of Courage was published.
1957 – John F. Kennedy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the book.
1961 – John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States on 20 January.
1962 – Cuba Missile Crisis began on 14 October 1962.
1963 – Vietnam crisis took place in early 1963.
1963 – John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin on 26 June 1963.
1963 – John F. Kennedy negotiated with the Soviet Union in 1961 and 1963 for the joint venture of moon landing.
1963 – John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963.
1964 – The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.
1965 – The Immigration Act came into effect.
1967 – John F. Kennedy’s body was buried Arlington National Cemetery on 14 March 1967.


Kennedy Biography

On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President he was the youngest to die.

Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.

Back from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President, and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President.

His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.

Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society.

He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.

Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a band of Cuban exiles, already armed and trained, to invade their homeland. The attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro was a failure. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union renewed its campaign against West Berlin. Kennedy replied by reinforcing the Berlin garrison and increasing the Nation’s military strength, including new efforts in outer space. Confronted by this reaction, Moscow, after the erection of the Berlin Wall, relaxed its pressure in central Europe.

Instead, the Russians now sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. When this was discovered by air reconnaissance in October 1962, Kennedy imposed a quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. While the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians backed down and agreed to take the missiles away. The American response to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail.

Kennedy now contended that both sides had a vital interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and slowing the arms race–a contention which led to the test ban treaty of 1963. The months after the Cuban crisis showed significant progress toward his goal of “a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion.” His administration thus saw the beginning of new hope for both the equal rights of Americans and the peace of the world.


On May 29, 1917 John F Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. His parents were Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald. John F. Kennedy had eight siblings, three brothers and five sisters. The Kennedy family

would end up becoming one of the most influential families in politics, and John F. Kennedy would be one of the most beloved presidents in U.S. history. From the time he was young till the last years of his life John F. Kennedy was constantly battling some medical condition or another. As a child he had whooping cough, measles, and the chicken pox. When he was 3 he got scarlet fever, which can be very deadly. When he was older he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. It wasn’t till after his death that his bad health was made known.

John F. Kennedy’s father demanded that all of the kids excel in school, especially his sons. They were to compete against one another. John F. Kennedy and his siblings went to the most prestigious schools, including the Noble Greenough Lower School, and Choate. Even though his grades were considered average, he was smart, athletic and very involved. This made him quite popular in school. Despite his popularity he always felt he was living in the shadow of his older brother Joseph Kennedy Jr. Joseph always excelled more then John. In fact it was Joseph who had announced to everyone when he was a young boy that he would be the first Catholic to become President. John started attending Princeton in the Fall of 1935. He had to leave after contracting Jaundice. After recovering from Jaundice he attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country, Harvard University. Kennedy graduated with an honorary degree in international affairs in June of 1940. His thesis “Why England Slept” was published and became a “best-seller”.

John F. Kennedy served in WWII. He had first volunteered for the U.S. Army, but was rejected because of a back injury he acquired playing football when he was younger. The U.S. Navy accepted him in 1941. He earned the rank lieutenant, and commanded a patrol torpedo boat (PT boat). In August of 1943 his patrol boat was making a night-time raid near the olomon Islands, the boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer. Injuring his back even more, Kennedy still managed to pull another injured crew member 3 miles across the ocean. He reached an island where he and his crew were eventually rescued. He received numerous medals for his courageous act.

Kennedys older bother, Joseph Jr., was killed in WWII. To try and fill his spot, John F. Kennedy became active in politics. In 1946 a seat in the House of Representatives opened, Kennedy ran for the seat and beat his opponent. He was reelected twice, but there was a mixed voting record. Then in 1952 he ran for Senate using the slogan “Kennedy will do more for Massachusetts”. Kennedy was considered the “underdog” by most, but he still came through and defeated Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. with a margin of approximately 70,000 votes.

In 1951 John F. Kennedy was considered “the most eligible bachelor”. At a dinner party in May he met a beautiful young woman named Jacqueline (Jackie)Bouvier who interviewed him for a newspaper column. There paths crossed once more, but this time it was different. She had gotten engaged to John Husted in December of 1951. But they were interested in each other , so Jackie broke off her engagement in March of 1952. John introduced her to his family that coming summer. They dated very privately for a while. Johns father was I impressed. He thought she had a enormous amount of class, which was a characteristic he found suited for the wife of a politician. About a year later their engagement was announced on June 24, 1953. They had a short engagement. They were married on Sept 12, 1953, at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 1955 Jackie was pregnant but unfortunately had a miscarriage, then in 1956 Jackie became pregnant again while John F. Kennedy was planning for the 1956 National Democratic Convention. Sadly the baby was stillborn. Jackie was very sad. They still wanted to have children and on November 27,1957, they welcomed a baby girl named Caroline Bouvier Kennedy. Then three years later they had John F Kennedy Jr. on November 25, 1960.

At the 1956 National Democratic Convention, Kennedy campaigned for the Vice President nomination. Unfortunately he was not chosen. This didn’t make him any less ambitious. He decided to run for president in the elections of 1960. Kennedy won the primary elections, despite suspicions about Kennedy being Catholic. Then in July of 1960 the Democratic Party elected Kennedy to run for president. He then asked one of his opponents in the primary elections, Lyndon Johnson, to be his running mate. He needed Johnson for the southern states. This election was already predicted to be a close one. His opponent was Vice President Richard Nixon. Kennedy and Nixon debated in September and October in the very first televised US presidential debates. Having the presidential debates televised was monumental. It created a whole new aspect in deciding who would win. On TV Kennedy was way more calm and composed, where Nixon seemed nervous and unsure. But then on the radio, it was Nixon who sounded like the more pronounced speaker. On November 8 Kennedy beat Nixon in a very controversial race. Even though Nixon had won the Popular votes, Kennedy still won the Electoral votes.

On January 20, 1961 Kennedy was inaugurated. Kennedy made a step in the right direction when he created the “Peace Corps”. This program was made to aid underdeveloped countries. Kennedy dealt with many things during his presidency They In April of 1960, Kennedy gave orders to invade Cuba. This act is known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”. They were hoping to take Fidel Castro out of power. Within a couple of days, Castro’s government had killed most of the men, and he had to negotiate to get the rest home safely. When the U.S. obtained photos showing that Soviets in Cuba had ballistic missiles sites in construction, Kennedy was in a tough positions. If he tried invading, that would put the U.S. in great danger. But if he did nothing the U.S. would still be in danger and the U.S. could seem weak. About a week later, Kennedy started negotiating with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Luckily they came to an agreement and the missiles were removed. Needless to say, Kennedy was careful when confronting the Soviet Union.

That was only foreign policies! Here in the U.S., Kennedy dealt with the Civil Rights Movement. Even though the Supreme Court had ended segregation in schools, there was still schools not abiding by the laws. Segregation in local businesses, and on buses were becoming heated issues. Kennedy sent federal marshals and troops to ensure that a student was able to enroll in a particular college. Kennedy supported racial integration and civil rights. In 1963 Kennedy he also made one of the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history. Larger then the one made by Reagan. Kennedy supported the “Space Race” in which the U.S. competed against the Soviet Union on exploring space and landing a man on the moon. The U.S. was behind in this race, and he wanted greatly to catch up. He asked congress to approve more then twenty two billion dollars for “Project Apollo”. Its goal was to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

Kennedy’s presidency had many successes. But on November 22, 1963 his success would come to a devastating end. When Kennedy arrived in Dallas, Texas he stepped of the plane flashing his golden smile for the tons of people who were there to get just a glimpse of him. He was in Dallas to make some speeches. The day was like any other day for the president. He was riding in a car, top down, sitting beside the first lady. Their was a massive crowd gathered on each side of the street, watching as the president passed, waving. Then all of a sudden, through all the excitement, a shot was heard. The president fell over onto his wife. There was chaos amongst the all of the vehicles in the line. Then another shot was fired and that bullet hit Senator Connally. One more shot was fired, hitting Kennedy in the back of the head. The two cars sped to a nearby hospital. The doctors did all they could, but John F. Kennedy died at approximately 1:00 p.m. on November 22, 1963. His death traveled fast by phone and the media. Later a man named Lee Harvey Oswald would be arrested for the crime but would never stand trial.

He was assassinated by Jack Ruby as he was taken from City Hall. Kennedys death was a huge tragedy in the heart of Americans. He was one of the most beloved presidents in U.S. history. He charmed the people with his blue-eyes and that infamous smile. I stood in Arlington Cemetery looking at the grave site of John F. Kennedy, not really appreciating all he had done for our country.

This assignment gave me the opportunity to really see all his accomplishments and how loved he really was. John F. Kennedy was a great President


Biography

Synopsis
Born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate before becoming the 35th president in 1961. As president, Kennedy faced a number of foreign crises, especially in Cuba and Berlin, but managed to secure such achievements as the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and the Alliance for Progress. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Early life
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Both the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys were wealthy and prominent Irish Catholic Boston families. Kennedy's paternal grandfather, P.J. Kennedy, was a wealthy banker and liquor trader, and his maternal grandfather, John E. Fitzgerald, nicknamed "Honey Fitz," was a skilled politician who served as a congressman and as the mayor of Boston. Kennedy's mother, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was a Boston debutante, and his father, Joseph Kennedy Sr., was a successful banker who made a fortune on the stock market after World War I. Joe Kennedy Sr. went on to a government career as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as an Ambassador to Great Britain.
John F. Kennedy, nicknamed "Jack," was the second oldest of a group of nine extraordinary siblings. His brothers and sisters include Eunice Kennedy, the founder of the Special Olympics, Robert Kennedy, a U.S. Attorney General and Ted Kennedy, one of the most powerful senators in American history. The Kennedy children remained close-knit and supportive of each other throughout their entire lives.
Joseph and Rose Kennedy largely spurned the world of Boston socialites into which they had been born to focus instead on their children's education. Joe Kennedy in particular obsessed over every detail of his kids' lives, a rarity for a father at that time. As a family friend noted, "Most fathers in those days simply weren't that interested in what their children did. But Joe Kennedy knew what his kids were up to all the time." Joe Sr. had great expectations for his children, and he sought to instill in them a fierce competitive fire and the belief that winning was everything. He entered his children in swimming and sailing competitions and chided them for finishing in anything but first place. John F. Kennedy's sister Eunice later recalled, "I was twenty-four before I knew I didn't have to win something every day." Jack Kennedy bought into his father's philosophy that winning was everything. "He hates to lose at anything," Eunice said. "That's the only thing Jack gets really emotional about—when he loses."
Despite his father's constant reprimands, young Kennedy was a poor student and a mischievous boy. He attended a Catholic boys' boarding school in Connecticut called Canterbury, where he excelled at English and history, the subjects he enjoyed, but nearly flunked Latin, in which he had no interest. Despite his poor grades, Kennedy continued on to Choate, an elite Connecticut preparatory school.


Although he was obviously brilliant—evidenced by the extraordinary thoughtfulness and nuance of his work on the rare occasions when he applied himself—Kennedy remained at best a mediocre student, preferring sports, girls and practical jokes to coursework.
His father wrote to him by way of encouragement, "If I didn't really feel you had the goods I would be most charitable in my attitude toward your failings . I am not expecting too much, and I will not be disappointed if you don't turn out to be a real genius, but I think you can be a really worthwhile citizen with good judgment and understanding." Kennedy was in fact very bookish in high school, reading ceaselessly but not the books his teachers assigned. He was also chronically ill during his childhood and adolescence he suffered from severe colds, the flu, scarlet fever and even more severe, undiagnosed diseases that forced him to miss months of school at a time and occasionally brought him to the brink of death.
After graduating from Choate and spending one semester at Princeton, Kennedy transferred to Harvard University in 1936. There, he repeated his by then well-established academic pattern, excelling occasionally in the classes he enjoyed, but proving only an average student due to the omnipresent diversions of sports and women. Handsome, charming and blessed with a radiant smile, Kennedy was incredibly popular with his Harvard classmates. His friend Lem Billings recalled, "Jack was more fun than anyone I've ever known, and I think most people who knew him felt the same way about him." Kennedy was also an incorrigible womanizer. He wrote to Billings during his sophomore year, "I can now get tail as often and as free as I want which is a step in the right direction."
Nevertheless, as an upperclassman, Kennedy finally grew serious about his studies and began to realize his potential. His father had been appointed Ambassador to Great Britain, and on an extended visit in 1939, Kennedy decided to research and write a senior thesis on why Britain was so unprepared to fight Germany in World War II. An incisive analysis of Britain's failures to meet the Nazi challenge, the paper was so well-received that upon Kennedy's graduation in 1940 it was published as book, Why England Slept, selling more than 80,000 copies. Kennedy's father sent him a cablegram in the aftermath of the book's publication: "Two things I always knew about you one that you are smart two that you are a swell guy love dad."
Shortly after graduating from Harvard, Kennedy joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned to command a patrol torpedo boat in the South Pacific. On August 2, 1943 his boat, PT-109, was rammed by a Japanese warship and split in two. Two sailors died and Kennedy badly injured his back. Hauling another wounded sailor by the strap of his life vest, Kennedy led the survivors to a nearby island, where they were rescued six days later. The incident earned him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for "extremely heroic conduct" and a Purple Heart for the injuries he suffered.


However, Kennedy's older brother, Joseph Kennedy Jr., who had also joined the Navy, was not so fortunate. A pilot, he died when his plane blew up in August 1944. Handsome, athletic, intelligent and ambitious, Joseph Kennedy Jr. had been pegged by his father as the one among his children who would some day become president of the United States. In the aftermath of Joe Jr.'s death, John F. Kennedy took his family's hopes and aspirations for his older brother upon himself.
Upon his discharge from the Navy, Kennedy worked briefly as reporter for Hearst Newspapers. Then in 1946, at the age of 29, he decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives from a working class district of Boston, a seat being vacated by Democrat James Michael Curly. Bolstered by his status as a war hero, his family connections and his father's money, Kennedy won the election handily. However, after the glory and excitement of publishing his first book and serving in World War II, Kennedy found his work in Congress incredibly dull. Despite serving three terms, from 1946 to 1952, Kennedy remained frustrated by what he saw as stifling rules and procedures that prevented a young, inexperienced representative from making an impact. "We were just worms in the House," he later recalled. "Nobody paid attention to us nationally."

Congressman and Senator
In 1952, seeking greater influence and a larger platform, Kennedy challenged Republican incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Once again backed by his father's vast financial resources, Kennedy hired his younger brother Robert as his campaign manager. Robert Kennedy put together what one journalist called "the most methodical, the most scientific, the most thoroughly detailed, the most intricate, the most disciplined and smoothly working state-wide campaign in Massachusetts history – and possibly anywhere else." In an election year in which Republicans gained control of both Houses of Congress, Kennedy nevertheless won a narrow victory, giving him considerable clout within the Democratic Party. According to one of his aides, the decisive factor in Kennedy's victory was his personality: "He was the new kind of political figure that people were looking for that year, dignified and gentlemanly and well-educated and intelligent, without the air of superior condescension."
Shortly after his election, Kennedy met a beautiful young woman named Jacqueline Bouvier at a dinner party and, in his own words, "leaned across the asparagus and asked her for a date." They were married on September 12, 1953. Jack and Jackie Kennedy had three children: Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Kennedy.
Kennedy continued to suffer frequent illnesses during his career in the Senate. While recovering from one surgery, he wrote another book, profiling eight senators who had taken courageous but unpopular stances. Profiles in Courage won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for biography, and Kennedy remains the only American president to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Presidential Candidate and President
Kennedy's eight-year Senate career was relatively undistinguished. Bored by the Massachusetts-specific issues on which he had to spend much of his time, Kennedy was more drawn to the international challenges posed by the Soviet Union's growing nuclear arsenal and the Cold War battle for the hearts and minds of Third World nations. In 1956, Kennedy was very nearly selected as Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson's running mate, but was ultimately passed over for Estes Kefauver from Tennessee. Four years later, Kennedy decided to run for president.
In the 1960 Democratic primaries, Kennedy outmaneuvered his main opponent, Hubert Humphrey, with superior organization and financial resources. Selecting Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate, Kennedy faced Vice President Richard Nixon in the general election. The election turned largely on a series of televised national debates in which Kennedy bested Nixon, an experienced and skilled debater, by appearing relaxed, healthy and vigorous in contrast to his pallid and tense opponent. On November 8, 1960, Kennedy defeated Nixon by a razor-thin margin to become the 35th President of the United States of America.
Kennedy's election was historic in several respects. At the age of 43, he was the youngest American president in history. He was also the first Catholic president and the first president born in the twentieth century. Delivering his legendary inaugural address on January 20, 1961, Kennedy sought to inspire all Americans to more active citizenship. "Ask not what your country can do for you," he said. "Ask what you can do for your country."
Kennedy's greatest accomplishments during his brief tenure as president came in the arena of foreign affairs. Capitalizing on the spirit of activism he had helped to ignite, Kennedy created the Peace Corps by executive order in 1961. By the end of the century, over 170,000 Peace Corps volunteers would serve in 135 countries. Also in 1961, Kennedy created the Alliance for Progress to foster greater economic ties with Latin America, in hopes of alleviating poverty and thwarting the spread of communism in the region.
Kennedy also presided over a series of international crises. On April 15, 1961, he authorized a covert mission to overthrow leftist Cuban leader Fidel Castro with a group of 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban refugees. Known as the Pay of Pigs Invasion, the mission proved an unmitigated failure, causing Kennedy great embarrassment.
In August 1961, to stem massive waves of emigration from Soviet-dominated East Germany to American ally West Germany via the divided city of Berlin, Khrushchev ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall, which became the foremost symbol of the Cold War.
However, the greatest crisis of the Kennedy administration was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Discovering that the Soviet Union had sent ballistic nuclear missiles to Cuba, Kennedy blockaded the island and vowed to defend the United States at any cost.


After several of the tensest days in history, during which the world seemed on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles in return for Kennedy's promise not to invade Cuba and to remove American missiles from Turkey. Eight months later, in June 1963, Kennedy successfully negotiated the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, helping to ease Cold War tensions. It was one of his proudest accomplishments.
President Kennedy's record on domestic policy was rather mixed. Taking office in the midst of a recession, he proposed sweeping income tax cuts, raising the minimum wage and instituting new social programs to improve education, health care and mass transit. However, hampered by lukewarm relations with Congress, Kennedy only achieved part of his agenda: a modest increase in the minimum wage and watered down tax cuts.
The most contentious domestic issue of Kennedy's presidency was civil rights. Constrained by Southern Democrats in Congress who remained stridently opposed to civil rights for black citizens, Kennedy offered only tepid support for civil rights reforms early in his term. Nevertheless, in September 1962 Kennedy sent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to Mississippi to use the National Guard and federal marshals to escort and defend civil rights activist James Meredith as he became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1962. Near the end of 1963, in the wake of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Had a Dream" speech, Kennedy finally sent a civil rights bill to Congress. One of the last acts of his presidency and his life, Kennedy's bill eventually passed as the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Assassination
On November 21, 1963, President Kennedy flew to Dallas, Texas for a campaign appearance. The next day, November 22, Kennedy, along with his wife and Texas governor John Connally, rode through cheering crowds in downtown Dallas in a Lincoln Continental convertible. From an upstairs window of the Texas School Book Depository building, a 24-year-old warehouse worker named Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine with Soviet sympathies, fired upon the car, hitting the president twice. Kennedy died at Parkland Memorial Hospital shortly thereafter, at the age of 46.
A Dallas nightclub owner named Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald days later while he was being transferred between jails. The death of President John F. Kennedy was an unspeakable national tragedy, and to this date many people remember with unsettling vividness the exact moment they learned of his death. While conspiracy theories have swirled ever since Kennedy's assassination, the official version of events remains the most plausible: Oswald acted alone.
For few former presidents is the dichotomy between public and scholarly opinion so vast. To the American public, as well as his first historians, John F. Kennedy is a hero—a visionary politician who, if not for his untimely death, may have averted the political and social turmoil of the late 1960s. In public opinion polls, Kennedy consistently ranks with Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as among the most beloved American presidents of all time. Critiquing this outpouring of adoration, many more recent Kennedy scholars have derided Kennedy's womanizing and lack of personal morals and argued that as a leader he was more style than substance. In the end, no one can ever truly know what type of president John F. Kennedy would have become, or the different course history may have taken had he lived into old age. As historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote, it was "as if Lincoln had been killed six months after Gettysburg or Franklin Roosevelt at the end of 1935 or Truman before the Marshall Plan." The most enduring image of Kennedy's presidency, and of his whole life, is that of Camelot, the idyllic castle of the legendary King Arthur. As his wife Jackie Kennedy said after his death, "There'll be great Presidents again, and the Johnsons are wonderful, they've been wonderful to me—but there'll never be another Camelot again."


World War II and a Future in Politics

Soon after graduating, both Joe and Jack joined the Navy. Joe was a flyer and sent to Europe, while Jack was made Lieutenant (Lt.) and assigned to the South Pacific as commander of a patrol torpedo boat, the PT-109.

Lt. Kennedy had a crew of twelve men whose mission was to stop Japanese ships from delivering supplies to their soldiers. On the night of August 2, 1943, Lt. Kennedy’s crew patrolled the waters looking for enemy ships to sink. A Japanese destroyer suddenly became visible. But it was traveling at full speed and headed straight at them. Holding the wheel, Lt. Kennedy tried to swerve out of the way, but to no avail. The much larger Japanese warship rammed the PT-109, splitting it in half and killing two of Lt. Kennedy’s men. The others managed to jump off as their boat went up in flames. Lt. Kennedy was slammed hard against the cockpit, once again injuring his weak back. Patrick McMahon, one of his crew members, had horrible burns on his face and hands and was ready to give up. In the darkness, Lt. Kennedy managed to find McMahon and haul him back to where the other survivors were clinging to a piece of the boat that was still afloat. At sunrise, Lt. Kennedy led his men toward a small island several miles away. Despite his own injuries, Lt. Kennedy was able to tow Patrick McMahon ashore, a strap from McMahon’s life jacket clenched between his teeth. Six days later two native islanders found them and went for help, delivering a message Jack had carved into a piece of coconut shell. The next day, the PT-109 crew was rescued. Jack’s brother Joe was not so lucky. He died a year later when his plane blew up during a dangerous mission in Europe.

When he returned home, Jack was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his leadership and courage. With the war finally coming to an end, it was time to choose the kind of work he wanted to do. Jack had considered becoming a teacher or a writer, but with Joe’s tragic death suddenly everything changed. After serious discussions with Jack about his future, Joseph Kennedy convinced him that he should run for Congress in Massachusetts' eleventh congressional district, where he won in 1946. This was the beginning of Jack’s political career. As the years went on, John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, served three terms (six years) in the House of Representatives, and in 1952 he was elected to the US Senate.

Soon after being elected senator, John F. Kennedy, at 36 years of age, married 24 year-old Jacqueline Bouvier, a writer with the Washington Times-Herald. Unfortunately, early on in their marriage, Senator Kennedy’s back started to hurt again and he had two serious operations. While recovering from surgery, he wrote a book about several US Senators who had risked their careers to fight for the things in which they believed. The book, called Profiles in Courage, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957. That same year, the Kennedys’ first child, Caroline, was born.

John F. Kennedy was becoming a popular politician. In 1956 he was almost picked to run for vice president. Kennedy nonetheless decided that he would run for president in the next election.

He began working very long hours and traveling all around the United States on weekends. On July 13, 1960 the Democratic party nominated him as its candidate for president. Kennedy asked Lyndon B. Johnson, a senator from Texas, to run with him as vice president. In the general election on November 8, 1960, Kennedy defeated the Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon in a very close race. At the age of 43, Kennedy was the youngest man elected president and the first Catholic. Before his inauguration, his second child, John Jr., was born. His father liked to call him John-John.


John F. Kennedy: Biography, Presidency and African Americans

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America, from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963 Kennedy was a supporter of civil rights and set many changes for civil rights in motion before his assassination on 22nd November 1963, barely after a thousand days in office. International factors meant that Kennedy struggled to focus on civil rights issues, as well as it being at the bottom of the list when people were asked “what needs to be done in America to advance society?” Therefore, Kennedy focused on other issues such as improving health care and helping the lowest wage earners he argued that by improving these for the poor, it would effectively be civil rights legislations as African Americans would benefit the most from these two changes in the legislation. Kennedy put pressure on federal government organizations to employ more African Americans in the American equivalent of Britain’s civil service

Kennedy was doing more than any president before him to have more African Americans appointed to federal government posts. In total, he appointed 40 to senior federal positions including five as federal judges. Kennedy appointed his brother, Robert, as Attorney General which put him at the head of the Justice Department. Their tactic was to use the law courts as a way of enforcing already passed civil rights legislation. The justice department brought 57 law suits against local officials for impeding African Americans who desired to register their right to vote. The Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity (CEEO) was created by Kennedy to ensure that all people employed within the federal government had equal opportunities of employment in addition, there was a requirement for all those firms that had contracts with the federal government to do the same if they were to gain further federal contracts. Conversely, the CEEO only concerned themselves with those already in employment as it did nothing to actively get employment openings for African Americans.

The voluntary activity of Kennedy came when James Meredith forced his hand as he applied to a white-only college, the University of Mississippi, in September 1962 to do a doctorate he was rejected by the university. Meredith received legal aid from the NAACP and fought his case with the Supreme Court ruling in his favour. When he enrolled at the university, 500 marshals were sent to maintain law and order it became violent and peace was not maintained with nearly 200 of them were injured. Kennedy then federalised the Mississippi National Guard and sent federal troops to the university.

Furthermore, the 1963 Birmingham affair, a series of lunch counter sit-ins, marches on City Hall and boycotts on downtown merchants to protest segregation laws in the city, provoked Kennedy to take further action and the justice department was ordered to Birmingham and improvements rapidly took place with desegregation of public facilities and better employment prospects for African Americans. After Kennedy’s death, only praise was accumulated upon the murdered president however, more recently he has been criticized as a president who did nothing with his power.