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John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpg
35th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1953 – December 22, 1960
Preceded by Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
Succeeded by Benjamin A. Smith II
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by James Michael Curley
Succeeded by Tip O'Neill
Personal details
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

(1917-05-29)May 29, 1917
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died November 22, 1963(1963-11-22) (aged 46)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Cause of death Assassination (gunshot wound to the head)
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Political party Democratic
(m. 1953)
Children 4 (including John Jr. and Caroline)
Parent(s) Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.
Rose Fitzgerald
Relatives See Kennedy family
Education Harvard University (BA)
Stanford University
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Navy
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank US Navy O3 infobox.svg Lieutenant
Unit Motor Torpedo Squadron 2
 • Patrol Torpedo Boat 109
 • Patrol Torpedo Boat 59
Battles/wars World War II
 • Solomon Islands campaign
Awards Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
American Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with 3 service stars)
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often called JFK or Jack, was the 35th President of the United States. He was in office from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. He was the youngest President elected to the office, at the age of 43. Events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War. He was the youngest President of the United States to die in office.

Early life

Halloween Visitors to the Oval Office. Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. White House, Oval... - NARA - 194260
Halloween Visitors to the Oval Office. Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. White House 1963

Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. He was the second of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969). His father was a businessman and later a U.S. ambassador in the United Kingdom from 1938 until 1940. His mother was Rose Fitzgerald (1890–1995).

Kennedy graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations. Before World War II began, he tried joining the U.S. Army, but was rejected because he had back problems; instead, he joined the Navy. When his PT boat was sunk by a Japanese destroyer in 1943, he seriously injured his back. He still saved his surviving crew, for which he was later rewarded with a medal for his bravery.

He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1946 and the U.S. Senate in 1952. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. The couple had four children; a stillborn daughter (b. 1956), Caroline (b. 1957), John (1960–1999) and Patrick, who was born prematurely in August 1963 and lived only for two days.


Kennedy was a member of the United States Democratic Party. He beat his Republican Party opponent, Richard Nixon, in the 1960 presidential election. Kennedy was the youngest president ever elected. He was also the first Roman Catholic President and the first president to win a Pulitzer Prize. Kennedy was an excellent speaker and inspired a new generation of young Americans.

In the beginning of his term, he approved the CIA's plan to invade Cuba. After the invasion turned out to be a failure, the Cuban Missile Crisis began. During the crisis, Cuba ordered a lot of nuclear missiles from the Soviet Union. It was the closest the world was to having a nuclear war. Kennedy ordered U.S. Navy ships to surround Cuba. He ended the crisis peacefully by making an agreement with the Soviet Union. They agreed that the Soviet Union would stop selling nuclear weapons to Cuba. In return, the U.S. would take its missiles out of Turkey and promise to never invade Cuba again.

He also created a plan called the New Frontier. This was a series of government programs, such as urban renewal, to help poor and working class people. He created the Peace Corps to help poor countries all over the world. He agreed to a large tax cut to help the economy. He also called for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which would make discrimination and segregation illegal. Kennedy intended to reach a détente with Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro, and to withdraw all U.S. military advisers from Vietnam.


Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was being driven through the city in an open-top car, along with John Connally, the Governor of Texas and their wives. As the car drove into Dealey Plaza, shots were fired. Kennedy was shot once in the throat and once in the head. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital 4 miles (6.4 km) away. At 1:00 p.m., Kennedy was pronounced dead.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, was the prime suspect in the murder, and he was arrested on the same day for the murder of a policeman named J. D. Tippit. Oswald denied shooting anyone and was killed two days later on November 24 by Jack Ruby.

Kennedy had a state funeral on November 25, three days after his murder, near to the White House. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.


After Kennedy died, Lyndon Johnson (his Vice President) took over and put many of Kennedy's ideas into law (see Great Society).

Kennedy was a very popular president and still is today. He is considered one of the greatest presidents, ranking highly in public surveys and opinion polls.

John F. Kennedy quotes

  • "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
  • "Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men."
  • "Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."
  • "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
  • "Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met—obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty."
  • "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."

Interesting Facts about John F. Kennedy

  • John F. Kennedy wrote two books about World War II.
  • During his school years, John F. Kennedy played baseball as a pitcher (right-handed) and third baseman.
  • JFK was a Boy Scout in Troop 2 for two years in Bronxville, New York.
  • Kennedy smoked 4-5 cigars a day.
  • The first bill JFK signed into law was an act restoring military rank to former President Eisenhower. He signed it on March 22, 1961.
  • While he was in the White House, his family had quite a few pets - Two parakeets: Bluebell and Maybell; three dogs: Charlie, Pushinka, and Clipper; and two ponies: Macaroni and Tex.
  • His family had a lot of money. JFK was one of the richest Presidents in America's history.
  • His father, Joseph Kennedy, escaped the infamous 1920 Wall Street bombing.
  • JFK suffered from various health issues, including Addison's disease.

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