Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He was the youngest president ever to be elected, the first Roman Catholic president, and the first president to be born in the 20th century. Although, he didn’t get the chance to live out his term and possible another one, he impacted the entire world. No other president was so popular, especially with the young people. John F.
Kennedy was born May 29th, 1917, child of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy. John had eight brothers and sisters: Joseph P. Jr. (1915), Rosemary (1918), Kathleen (1920), Eunice (1921), Patricia (1924), Robert F. (1925), Jean (1928) and Edward M.
(1932). All of the children were born in Brookline, Massachusetts. They were all very competitive due to their parents. The only thing that was important to them was winning. John grew up in the nineteen twenties and thirties at his birth place of Brookline, Massachusetts.
John had once stated, “life is unfair,”1 yet for him the statement was definitely not true. His childhood consisted of many things. Coming from a wealthy family let him have the freedom to do what most kids couldn’t. That still didn’t keep him from behaving like other kids. He and his brothers and sisters all participated in things such as sailboat races, tennis matches, or even just a simple game of touch football. All family members were always encouraged to get involved with government issues. Small talk wasn’t allowed at the Kennedy dinner table2.
They discussed world and national issues. The impact of these discussions wouldn’t be seen until later. Joseph and Rose were trying to prepare their sons for public life and prepare their daughters for marriages to distinguished young men. In 1937, the Kennedy family moved to Great Britain so that John’s father could become the American ambassador there for three years. John stayed in the United States for an education at Harvard University. John was a very good student at Harvard, yet he didn’t make the high grades that his brother had. So, John joined two clubs and spent most of his time working on a newspaper published at Harvard, “Crimson”3.
When he had finished his school term his father decided to let him tour Europe. When he was there he started to become interested in wars and politics, after noticing Hitler’s actions. John went back there the following summer and saw how Hitler never gave up and continued to strengthen his army. He knew of the war that was soon coming. The United States had sided with Great Britain, so he knew he would have to go into the war.
So, he went to enter the Air Corps, but was turned away because of his back problems. Instead he went for the position on naval officer and passes the health analysis. He was assigned to the intelligence division, he thought it was very boring. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked, John was sent for motor torpedo (PT boat) training4. Officer Kennedy soon became Lieutenant Kennedy.
In Tulagi, John was assigned to a dirty old looking boat that had already been through nine months of combat. John experienced his first real combat when his boat was attacked by a Japanese fighter plane. Only two men were injured that time. They continued to stay there until one night when a full size Japanese ship came full speed at Kennedy’s boat. The boat was demolished and the Japanese thought that all of the men had been killed.
All of the men were forced to swim to Plum Pudding Island , three and one half miles away, with Kennedy leading them. After his triumph he was promoted to Full Lieutenant and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving his crew. He also received a Purple Heart for the severe back injury he suffered from the collision. After that, he took command of another PT boat and took part in many more missions. For John one particularly bad thing happened in this war, his brother died. Which impacted his life so greatly. The family had expected his brother Joe to run for public office.
Now that he was gone, John was now the eldest son and it was now his responsibility. In 1946, he had the chance to run for Congress. Though he was still weak from his war injuries, he campaigned aggressively. He won that election that November, he was only 295. He served three terms as a Democratic Congressman, from 1947 until1953. In 1952 he ran for U.S. senate against Henry Cabot Lodge. He won that election and less than a year later he enhanced his appeal to the people.
He married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953. He was a very popular and successful Senator. He had almost become Stevenson’s vice presidential running mate in 1956. His speech on concession brought him into over 40 million homes in America. He quickly became one of the most famous political figures in the country.
Already his campaign for 1960 nomination had begun. Kennedy had to make extreme efforts toward this campaign. People were saying that no Roman Catholic man could ever become president. His mission was to prove them wrong. The press loved him, he and his wife appeared on magazine covers, photographers followed them everywhere. He had to do a number of speeches and appearances.
So, to transport him and his staff around the country, his father bought him a forty passenger Convair aircraft6. In January 1960, Kennedy formally announced his presidential candidacy. His rivals were Senators Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota and Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas.
Kennedy knocked Humphrey out of the way and was still battling the rumors of a catholic president. He dealt with that by winning the primary in West Virginia, which is primarily Protestant. He was nominated on the first ballot, and chose Johnson as his running mate. Kennedy narrowly won the general election against Nixon. He was inaugurated on January 20, 1961.
At the inauguration is where he made his famous speech. The speech was about America’s revolutionary heritage. Which is when he made this famous quote,” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”7 Kennedy’s first year in office brought him cons …