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John F Kennedy

John F Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, the second oldest in a family of nine children. His great grandparents had come the United States from Ireland in the mid-1800, s after a famine caused severe poverty in that Country. Although their families had not come to the United States with much money, Both of John Kennedys grandfathers became political leaders in Boston. One of them John Fitzgerald, (for whom he was named), was elected mayor in 1905. John Kennedys Father, Joseph Patrick became a very wealthy businessman, he was and adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the United States Ambassador to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940.

John Kennedy (his family called him Jack,) moved to New York when He was ten years old. Since the family spent summer months at their home in Hyannis, Cape Cod, Jack still lived a good part of his life in Massachusetts. As a boy and a young man, he traveled to other parts of the United States and to other countries. After graduating from the Choate School in Connecticut in 1935, he went on to Harvard College and graduated in 1940. That same year he wrote a best selling book, called, Why England Slept, it was about some of the decisions, which led to World War II.

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In 1941, John Kennedy joined the Navy. He became the commander of a small PT boat, assigned to the battle in the Pacific against the Japanese. One night while on patrol, a large enemy ship rammed Kennedys boat. Two men in the crew of thirteen were killed, and the rest led by Lt. Kennedy swam to a nearby deserted island.

There they managed to survive mostly by eating coconuts, until they were rescued a week later. After World War II, John n Kenney had to choose the kind of work he wanted to do. He considered becoming a teacher or a writer but soon he decided to run for political office. In 1946 he was elected to the U.S. Congress, representing a district in greater Boston, Kennedy a democrat served three terms (six years), in the House of Representatives, and in 1952 he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 1953, he married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. The following year he had a serious operation on his back. While recovering from surgery, he wrote a book about several U.S. senators, which 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. Kennedy had narrowly missed being picked as the Democratic Partys candidate for Vice President in 1956.

Soon after, he began a long campaign to become President in 1960. At the convention on July 13, 1960, the Democrats chose Kennedy as their Presidential candidate. Kennedy asked Lyndon B. Johnson, a senator from Texas, to run with him for Vice President. In the general election on November 8, 1960, Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard M.

Nixon in a very close race, the popular vote was 34,226,731 for Kennedy and 34,108,157 for Nixon. The electoral vote was 303 for the Kennedy campaign and 219 for Nixon. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President and also the first Catholic. John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President on January 20, 1961.

In his Inaugural Address, he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, he said. He also asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself. Soon after the election Kennedys second child was born John Jr. One of President Kennedys first important actions was creating the Peace Corps.

Americans who join the Peace Corps go as volunteers to countries requesting assistance. They served as teachers and provided help in areas such as farming, health care and construction. Kennedy also wanted Americas to travel to more distant destinations. In May of 1961, after Alan Shepard became the first America astronaut to fly into space Kennedy asked Congress to spend more money on space exploration, with the goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. During his time as President JFK had to make difficult decisions. Many of the hardest choices concerned the relationship between our nation and the Soviet Union. Since World War II there had been a lot of anger and suspicion between the two countries but never any shooting between Russian and American troops this cold war was a struggle between the Soviet Unions communist system of government and Americas democratic system.

Because they distrusted each other both nations spent enormous sums of money building nucular weapons to use if a war begins hoping to build some trust between their countries. President Kennedy and the soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met in June 1961. One topic they discussed was the German city of Berlin. after World War II, Germany had been divided into two countries: West Germany and East Germany. West Germany like the United States, was a democratic country where people elected their leaders. In East Germany a communist country, like the Soviet Union, the government owned all the farms and factories and made many decisions without the approval of the people.

The city of Berlin was also divided. Through surrounded by East Germany, half of Berlin was part of West Germany. Many East Germans who did not want to live in a communist country had moved to West Berlin. During their meeting Kennedy and Khrushchev strongly disagreed about the future of Berlin. Later that summer the Soviets built a huge wall diving the two parts of Berlin.

For many Americans and the western Europeans, the Berlin wall became a symbol of communism. In the summer of 1963 JFK visited West Berlin and spoke to a large crowd near the wall. He said that America would support democracy in Berlin and that he looked forward to the wall coming down one day. The cold War heated up in October 1962, when an America spy plain secretly flew over Cuba and took photos of several military construction sites. the photos showed that the Soviets were building nuclear missile launchers in Cu …

John F Kennedy

JFK: His Life and Legacy On November 22, 1963, while being driven through the streets of Dallas, Texas, in his open car, President John F. Kennedy was shot dead, apparently by the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. The world had not only lost a common man, but a great leader of men. *From his heroic actions in World War II to his presidency, making the decisions to avert possible nuclear conflict with world superpowers, greatness can be seen. Kennedy also found the time to author several best-selling novels from his experiences . His symbolic figure represented all the charm, vigor and optimism of youth as he led a nation into a new era of prosperity. From his birth into the powerful and influential Kennedy clan, much was to be expected of him. Kennedy was born on May 29,1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father, Joe, Sr., was a successful businessman with many political connections. Appointed by President Roosevelt, Joe, Sr., was given the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and later the prestigious position of United States ambassador to Great Britain(Anderson 98). His mother, Rose, was a loving housewife and took young John on frequent trips around historic Boston learning about American So 2 revolutionary history. Both parents impressed on their children that their country had been good to the Kennedys. Whatever benefits the family received from the country they were told, must be returned by performing some service for the country(Anderson 12). The Kennedy clan included Joe, Jr., Bobby, Ted and their sisters, Eunice, Jean, Patricia, Rosemary, and Kathleen. Joe, Jr., was a significant figure in young John’s life as he was the figure for most of John’s admiration. His older brother was much bigger and stronger than John and took it upon himself to be John’s coach and protector. John’s childhood was full of sports, fun and activity. This all ended when John grew old enough to leave for school. At the age of thirteen, John left home to attend an away school for the first time. Canterbury School, a boarding school in New Milford, Connecticut and Choate Preparatory in Wallingford, Connecticut completed his elementary education(“JFK” 98). John graduated in 1934 and was promised a trip to London as a graduation gift. Soon after, John became ill with jaundice and would have to go to the hospital. He spent the rest of the summer trying to recover. He was not entirely well when he started Princeton, several weeks later in the fall of 1935. Around Christmas the jaundice returned and John had to drop out of school. Before the next school year began, he told his father he wanted to go to Harvard(“JFK” 98). On campus, young people took interest in politics, social changes, and events in Europe. The United States was pulling out of the Great Depression. Hitler’s So 3 Nazi Germany followed aggressive territorial expansion in Europe. It was at this time that John first became aware of the vast social and economic differences in the United States. In June 1940, John graduated cum laude(with praise or distinction) from Harvard. His thesis earned a magna cum laude(great praise)( “JFK” 98). After graduation, John began to send his paper to publishers, and it was accepted on his second try. Wilfrid Funk published it under the title Why England Slept. It became a bestseller. John, at twenty-five, became a literary sensation. In the spring of 1941, both John and Joe, Jr., decided to enroll in the armed services. Joe was accepted as a naval air cadet but John was turned down by both the army and navy because of his back trouble and history of illness(“JFK” 98). After months of training and conditioning, John reapplied and on September 19, John was accepted into the navy as a desk clerk in Washington. He was disgusted and applied for a transfer. In June 1941, Kennedy was sent to Naval Officers Training School at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and then for additional training at the Motor Torpedo Boat Center at Melville, Rhode Island. In late April 1943, Lieutenant John F. Kennedy was put in command of a PT 109, a fast, light, attack craft in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Kennedy saw action in the form of night patrols and participated in enemy bombings. On August 1, 1943, during a routine night patrol, a Japanese destroyer collided in the darkness with Kennedy’s craft and the PT 109 was sunk. Through superhuman effort, the injured Kennedy heroically swam So 4 back and forth rescuing his wounded crew. Two were killed in the crash. The injury had once again aggravated his back. Still, Kennedy pushed on swimming from island to island in the South Pacific hoping for a patrol to come by. The lieutenant had no idea he had been in the water for eight hours. Finally, an island was spotted that could provided cover from Japanese planes. With no edible plants or water, Kennedy realized that he and the crew must move on. The next day, he once again attempted to search for rescue. After treading water for hours, the lieutenant was forced to admit no patrol boats were coming. He turned back for the island but was swept away by a powerful current. Kennedy collapsed on an island and slept. He recovered enough energy to return to the island and gathered the crew to move to another island in search of food. JFK was now desperate enough to seek help from natives on a Japanese controlled island. After making contact with the natives, Kennedy persuaded the natives to deliver a message written on the back of a coconut shell to allied forces. The coconut fell into the hands of allied scouts and a patrol was sent. The coconut would appear again on the desk of an American President(Anderson 35). The crew of the PT 109 were given a hero’s welcome when they returned to base, but Kennedy would have none of it. He refused home leave and was given another boat. In constant pain from the back injury, JFK soon contracted malaria, became very ill, and lost twenty-five pounds. He was forced to give up command and was sent So 5 home to Chelsea Naval Hospital near Hyannis Port. The lieutenant received the Purple Heart, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and a citation from Admiral W. F. Halsey. John’s back failed to recover was an operation was performed on his spine in the summer of 1944. During recovery, Kennedy received word that his brother Joe, Jr. had been killed in action. Joe had been eligible for home leave, but had volunteered for a special bombing mission. The bombs had detonated early and Joe and his copilot were caught in the explosion. Kennedy put his feelings onto paper and a second book was published for the family and close friends. He called it As We Remember Joe. The family- particularly JFK’s father- had assumed that Joe, Jr. would carry on the family tradition and go into politics. Both of his grandfathers had been active in politics(Anderson 41). Now , suddenly, JFK was the oldest Kennedy of his generation. Kennedy’s first chance in politics came when Congressman James Curley from the 11th District of Massachusetts decided to retire in 1946(Gadney 42). JFK won his first Congressional seat by a margin of more than two to one. At the age if twenty-nine, JFK was placed on the front page of the New York Times and in Time Magazine. He was often mistaken in Congress as a Senate page or an elevator operator. It was during this time period in which Kennedy met and fell in love with Jacqueline Bouvier. “Jackie”,as she was known, came from a wealthy Catholic background as prestigious as the Kennedys. She attended Vassar College and the Sorbonne in Paris, France. She So 6 spoke French, Italian, and Spanish fluently. They were wed on September 12,1953, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island. All seemed well, yet after three two-year terms as a Congressman, Kennedy became frustrated with House rules and customs and decided to run for Senate. In 1952, Kennedy ran for Senate against Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Fifteen years older than Kennedy, Lodge was the incumbent of two terms in the Senate. JFK prevailed in the victory but was soon stricken with Addison’s disease during his first year in the Senate and had to operate on a fifty-fifty chance for survival procedure(Gadney 52). While recovering, Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage, a bestseller on examples of moral courage in the lives of eight senators who risked their careers for a great cause or a belief. Kennedy returned to Senate and participated in the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was also chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Labor. JFK believed strongly in education, equal job opportunity, and the civil rights movement. His biggest success came in the form of his Labor Reform Bill which passed by a margin of 90 to 1 in Senate debate. Kennedy’s first child, Caroline, was born during this time. Due to his enormous success in Congress, the Democratic party nominated him for the presidential ticket in 1960. Lyndon Johnson was chosen as the running mate with Kennedy to secure and build upon the democratic bases in the southern states while the Kennedys sought out the younger voters, the factory So 7 workers, and the liberals(Gadney 61). During the Kennedy Administration, a great deal of events were going on.Jackie had given birth to JFK, Jr., while all over the south, the civil rights movement was going in full force with incidents breaking out. Specific attention gathered around a black air force veteran, James Meredith, applied for admission to the University of Mississippi. In Cuba both the Bay of Pigs occurred, in which U.S. supported rebels revolted in a poorly laid out plan of events that fell out beneath them, and the Cuban Missile Crisis in which the Soviet Republic were building missile silos in Cuba, 100 miles away from Florida. The Space Race was in full force with both Russia and the U.S. in competition to reach the moon. U.S. involvement in Vietnam was in the latter stages with plans to withdraw after the 1964 election. On a trip to Dallas to stir up support for the reelection, the President’s auto were coming down elm street when three shots rang out. The first projectile entered at the base of Kennedy’s neck and exited through the back of his head. The second bullet hit Texas Governor John Connally. Seconds later there was another shot and the back of the president’s head was torn away. The assassin- Lee Harvey Oswald with a mail-order rifle fired from the Texas School Book Depository(Warren 5). Oswald had recently applied for a passport to Communist Russia which led to a series of private meetings between Oswald and the Russian Government(Warren 614). Oswald protested his innocence. President Johnson set up what quickly became known as the So 8 Warren Commission headed by Chief Justice Warren to find the motive behind the assassination, The Commission finds the lone, depressed, mentally unstable, anti-social nut kills an American president(“Theories” 1). Other theories have evolved over time such as the Grassy Knoll theory. Witnesses say that a man in black was present and fired simultaneously with Oswald and doubled the actual shots fired(“Theories” 1) Another theory is that the fired CIA director Allen Dulles used his considerable connections and plotted revenge(“Theories 2”). On Nov. 24, 1963 as Oswald was being escorted from the city jail, Jack Ruby shot Oswald with a single shot from a Colt .38 revolver(Warren 350). Ruby was arrested and stood trial in Dallas. He was found guilty and was sentenced to hang. He died in jail of cancer, on January 3,1967. Kennedy was the first President to be born in the twentieth century and was very much a man of his time. He was restless, seeking, with a thirst of knowledge, and he had a feeling of deep commitment, not only to the people of the United States, but to the peoples of the world. Many of the causes he fought for exist today because of what he did for the rights of minorities, the poor, the very old and the very young. He never took anything for granted and worked for everything he owned. Perhaps Kennedy summed up his life best in his own inaugural speech: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”


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