John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy affirms support for apollo programme at Rice University in Houston, September 12, 1962

John F. Kennedy affirms support for apollo programme at Rice University in Houston, September 12, 1962

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. He served from 1961-1963. He was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massashusetts. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President as well as the youngest to die in office.

Kennedy attended Harvard and after he graduated he entered the navy. After the war, Kennedy was elected Congressman in 1947. He went on the Senate in 1953. In 1955, when Kennedy was recovering from a back surgery, he wrote “Profiles in Courage”. The book won a Pultizer Prize in history.

He met Jacqueline Bouvier and married her in September 1953. She was working for the Washington Heralds Inquiring Camera Girl. She was a charming first lady and the American public looked to her for her sense of fashion and style.

Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic President. He campaigned against Richard Nixon and won by a tight margin. The election eventually hung on the results from Cook County (Chicago), which was controlled by the Democratic Mayor, Richard Daley. Kennedy was the first “self-selected” presidents. Because of his young age, record in Congress and his religion, had he gone the “old-fashioned” route, he most likely would have been rejected.

However, he used his great charm, used his biography and used a large amount of his family’s money to win the primary Democratic votes in a few small states. He also courted the media and the strategy proved to be successful. He presented himself as the people’s choice.

Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson, the Senate Majority Leader as his running mate. The campaign was vigorous against Richard Nixon. Kennedy won by one of the closest in the history of the US.

John F. Kennedy with his family

John F. Kennedy with his family

The inaugural address made by Kennedy may be one of the most recognized in all of history with the often quoted “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”.

Kennedy had an early failure with he authorized the April 1961 Cuba invasion at the Bay of Pigs. He also did not fare well at the 1961 Vienna Summit. Kennedy who usually could charm men or women with a one-on-one encounter, could not charm the Soviet Premier Khrushchev.

When Kennedy learned that in Cuba, the Soviet Union was building missile sites, Kennedy showed his leadership style. As the world watched Kennedy and Khrushchev played what seemed a real life chess game. Kennedy pledged to never invade Cuba and then Khrushchev removed the missiles. Kennedy went on to negotiating the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963.

The situation in South Asia was another one that Kennedy had to deal with. When Kennedy became President there were a couple hundred US military personnel in South Vietnam. Kennedy increased the number to more than seventeen thousand. When Kennedy signed off on a general’s plot to overthrow Ngo Dinh Diem the die was cast.. After Diem’s assassination, South Vietnam became a so-called American protectorate.

During the Cold War it seemed that all energy and focus was on curbing the Soviet Union. Domestic policy seemed to dovetail with the foreign policy. Kennedy’s initial focus on civil rights was the concern that civil right demonstrations were used as a forum for Communist propaganda.

Kennedy got involved with the civil rights movement when police brutality was shown in the South. Kennedy sided with the black minority. In 1962, Kennedy ordered federal troops on the campus of the University of Mississippi to end racial rioting by whites.

Kennedy is attributed to giving America many youthful ideas. He was behind the Peace Corps and supported the space program, giving it the goal of putting men on the moon by the end of the decade.. Kennedy’s youth, his beautiful wife and young kids growing up in the White House, seemed to set the fashion standards for the nation.

Kennedy’s legacy is varied. He is one of the best known Presidents being assassinated at such a young age, but Kennedy was also rumored to be a womanizer and a drug abuser. The Kennedy family is constantly in the public eye and many Kennedys have had some sort of scandal associated with them including rape charges, alcoholism, womanizing and even murder.

Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas. There have been many different theories of his death and it has inspired many books and Hollywood movies.

John F. Kennedy Facts

  • President No.: 35th
  • When did John F. Kennedy serve? 1961-1963
  • What was John F. Kennedy’s party? Democrat
  • Where was John F. Kennedy from? Massachusetts
  • Who was John F. Kennedy’s wife? Jaqueline Kennedy
  • When was John F. Kennedy born? May 29, 1917
  • When did John F. Kennedy die? November 22, 1963
  • Which college did John F. Kennedy attend? Harvard University
  • What was John F. Kennedy’s Jobs Before President? Journalist, author, Served in Navy, Congressman, U.S. Senator
  • What was John F. Kennedy’s height? 6 feet
  • What was the population when John F. Kennedy was president? 179,323,031
  • What hobbies did John F. Kennedy have? Sailing, swimming, football
  • What pets did John F. Kennedy have? Ponies
  • What transportation did John F. Kennedy use? Helicopter, airplane, car
  • How did John F. Kennedy communicate? Telephone, typed letter

Speeches

State of the Union Addresses

Cuban Missile Crisis: Speeches, Letter Exchanges and Statements


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