Presidency
 
 

JFK-35John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. president, negotiated the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and initiated the Alliance for Progress. 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.

On NOVEMBER 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President; he was the youngest to die, at age 46.

Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. He was the second of nine children, the son of Rose Fitzgerald and millionaire Joseph P. Kennedy who had served as ambassador to Great Britain under Franklin Roosevelt. John attended Caterbury School in New Milford, Conn., then went to Choate Academy in Wallingford, Conn. where he was voted "most likely to succeed." He attended Princeton University briefly, then majored in government and international relations at Harvard.

After a summer tour of Europe in 1939, Kennedy wrote his college thesis on the failure of England to prepare itself against Nazi Germany. Published in book form in 1949, under the title, "Why England Slept," the work became a best seller. He graduated from Harvard in 1940.

JFK-PT BoatBefore Pearl Harbor, Kennedy entered the Navy as a seaman. He was commissioned an ensign assigned to a PT boat squadron which patrolled the Soloman Islands. 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. His heroic rescue of survivors of his crew won him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal as well as the Purple Heart.PT109 pin

After the war, Kennedy worked as a reporter for Hearst newspapers for a short time. One of his assignments was coverage of the United Nations conference at San Francisco in 1945. He decided to enter politics in 1946, and with the enthusiastic help of his brothers and sisters won the Democratic nomination to the House of Representatives in the eleventh district of Massachusetts. His mother and sisters organized teas at the homes of voters, while his father furnished campaign funds. He won the election and as Congressman voted for Truman's welfare programs, including expanded social security benefits, aid to veterans, and old-age benefits. In 1952, Kennedy upset the veteran Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge by winning his seat in the US Senate.

John and Jackie's weddingHe married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, daughter of a wealthy Wall Street broker, on September 12, 1953. ( They had four children, a girl who was stillborne; Caroline, born Nov. 27, 1957; John Fitzgerald, Jr., born Nov. 25, 1960, and Patrick Bouvier, born August, 1963, died two days later.) Meanwhile, as a Mass. Senator, he worked for bills that would help New England industries. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote "Profiles in Courage," which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

He and his family began working tirelessly for his presidential nomination as early as 1956. 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 four television debates with the Republican candidate and current Vice President, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President.

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  • Thirty-Fifth President 1961-1963
  • Born: May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Died: November 22, 1963. Killed by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas
  • Married to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy

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