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Home : Biography : American Presidents
BIOGRAPHY : American Presidents

 

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J.F.K. Biography

On May 29, 1917 John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was Joseph P. Kennedy's second son. J.F.K was one of nine children. His brother and sisters were named: Joseph Jr., Robert F., Edward M., Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, and Jean. J.F.K's Father served as first chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission during Franklin Roosevelt's administration. J.F.K's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, also served as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. Joseph P. Kennedy was a self-made millionaire and had high hopes for all his children encouraging each of them to do their best, no matter what.

Kennedy's education was very important in the family. Kennedy first went to elementary school in Brookline, but then when they moved to Riverdale he went to school there. In 1930 J.F.K finished elementary school at the age of 13.

Kennedy went to high school at Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. In 1931 he transferred from Canterbury to Choate Academy in Wallingford, Connecticut. In 1935 Kennedy graduated from Choate Academy when he was 18 years old. When he graduated he was voted "Most likely to succeed." By his fellow class mates.

Kennedy went to College at Princeton University, but he developed Jaundice, a disease where ones liver becomes bad and the poisons in your body back up, and was forced to drop out of the university. A year later, when Kennedy felt better, in 1936 he entered Harvard University. Kennedy's major was in government and international affairs.

In 1939, J.F.K went to Europe. He visited many different countries and interviewed politicians and statesman. Kennedy sent his father their views of the upcoming war, World War II.

In Kennedy's thesis paper he explained why Britain wasn't ready for World War II. His thesis became a best seller book called 'Why England Slept.' Kennedy graduated from Harvard in 1940. He went on the Stanford University Business School, but he dropped out after only 6 months.

During World War II Kennedy enlisted in the U.S Navy. After the Pearl Harbor attack Kennedy applied for sea duty. He got it and was assigned to Patrol just off the Solomon Islands. On August 2, 1943 a Japanese destroyer destroyed the boat. Kennedy, with an injured back, guided his crewman to safety and also dragged one of his crewman to shore. He was given the Marine and Navy Corps medal, for his courage, and the purple heart, for his bravery. Later on in 1943 he developed Malaria and was sent back to the United States. He never went back to sea, but he became an instructor for the Navy.

John F. Kennedy ran for a spot on the House of Representatives in 1946. After that in 1947 he became a senator. Doctors soon discovered, when he was sick, that there was a problem with his adrenal glands. J.F.K. ended up having to take everyday for the rest of his life. Kennedy was one of the people that voted for most of the social welfare programs of president Truman. John F. Kennedy was liked in the House of Representatives and was reelected two more times after 1946. The first time was in 1948 and the second time was in 1950.

At a dinner party in 1951, Kennedy met Jackie Lee Bouvier, his future wife. Her father was vary wealthy and so was Kennedy's parents. She was a vary educated women. John F. Kennedy married Jackie Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953. On August 23, 1956 they stillborn daughter. Later on, on November 27, 1957, they were blessed with a daughter. They named her Caroline. Then they were blessed with a son an November 25, 1960 and they named him John F. Kennedy Jr. Then another tragic loss, they had another son on August 7, 1963 but was born premature and died two day later. His name was Patrick Bouvier.

In June, 1956 J.F.K worked very hard to get the nomination for vice president. He went up against Senator Estes Kefauuver. At the end Kennedy didn't get the nomination, but instead of crying about it he prepared for the presidential election in 1960. One thing that showed he really wanted to be president is he spent almost every weekend campaigning. Lots of the Democratic leaders thought J.F.K would not be a good president because of his age, family fortune, religion, and his relative inexperience in international affairs. Kennedy figured the only way he would win the election is to win as many states as he could. He was running for the nomination against Lyndon B. Johnson, Stuart Symington, and Stevenson. Of course Kennedy won choosing Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate, or vice president. Republicans chose Richard M. Nixon and Henry Cabot Jr. to run against.

In the campaign it was going to be a hard fight. Only one of them would become president and they both wanted it so badly. Both opponents were young and well known. Nixon had a major advantage over Kennedy because he was vice president under Eisenhower. This election was the first time presidential candidates debated face to face. These debates helped Kennedy get the national recognition he needed. Kennedy won the presidential election and became the 35th president, he was also the second youngest president to be elected, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest. Kennedy beat Nixon 34,221,344 to 34,106,671 popular votes and 303 to 219 electoral votes.

J.F.K was inaugurated on January 20, 1961. As he was inaugurated he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."(Encarta95)   As President, Kennedy had a lot of responsibility. The Kennedy administration got the minimum wage raised from __BODY__ to __BODY__.25. They also got congress to pass legislature to aid economically challenged areas. They also passed the presidents trade expansion to cut tariffs so we can trade freely. The most successful program Kennedy made was the U.S. Peace Corps. This program was made to help people on developing nations and to raise their living standards.

In March 1962, steel companies gave the steel workers better benefits, but not more money. Kennedy thought it was great because it didn't cause inflation. Then, on April 10, the steel company wanted to raise prices. In May of 1962, the stock market took a drastic fall. Some people blamed Kennedy's administration.  Kennedy proposed a 10 billion dollar tax cut, which he thought if taxes were lower, people would spend more and new businesses would arise. The new businesses' taxes would make up for the 90 billion dollar cut.

During the Kennedy administration, civil rights became a major issue. African Americans wanted equal rights. Protests were happening all over the United Stares. Kennedy was forced to order 3,000 federal troops to keep the peace when an African American went to an all white school. On August 28, 1963, over 200,000 white and black people marched on Washington D.C. to demonstrate their demands on equal rights.  Kennedy had to do something, so he asked Congress to pass legislation making it so all hotels, motels, and restaurants to allow anyone inside regardless of race. He also wanted congress to allow toe attorney general to begin court suites to desegragate schools. Kennedy said, "The time has come for the Congress of the United States to join with the executive and judicial branches in making it clear to all that race has no place in American life or law."

On April 17, 1961 Cuban rebels tried to overthrow Fidel Castro, a dictator. They did not succeed. Kennedy took the blame for the whole thing since it was planed by the U.S. In October of 1962, the U.S. found out that the Soviet Union had missals in Cuba that were capable of hitting U.S. cities. Kennedy quickly ordered the navy to not allow any ships with missals to get to Cuba. Then Soviet Premier Nikitis S. Khrushchev ordered all Soviet missals removed.  In 1961, The Soviet Union sait they would give East Germany, which was run by communists, control overland and air routs to Berlin. The Soviet Union just wanted relinquish the combined control over Berlin.  In September 1961, the Soviet Union began atomic testing in the atmosphere then the U.S did. So the U.S., Soviet Union, and Great Britain signed a treaty saying atomic testing can only be done underground. This treaty was signed in July of 1963.

John F. Kennedy was assassinated by an unknown person on November 22, 1963. He was shot to death while driving through the streets of Dallas. John F. Kennedy was later found that he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, but some people think this isn't true. Some people think Oswald didn't act alone and many other theories.

While Lee Harvey Oswald was being transferred to the county jail a nightclub owner named Jack Rubenstein shot him to death. People all over the United States witnessed the shooting.

John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The whole world attended the funeral, over 90 representatives from different countries attended the funeral on November 25. His wife, Jackie Kennedy, lit an eternal flame to burn over the president's grave. The first thing Lyndon B. Johnson did when he became president was name the National Aeronautics and Space Administration The John F. Kennedy Space Center.



 

 



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