On May 29, 1917, John Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. His full name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. P.J. Kennedy, Kennedy’s paternal ancestor, was a wealthy banker and drug dealer. John E. Fitzgerald, nicknamed “Honey Fitz,” was a professional politician who served as a congressman and the mayor of Boston. Kennedy’s mother, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was a Boston debutante. His father, Joseph Kennedy Sr., was a wealthy banker who made a fortune after World War I on the stock market. Joe Kennedy Sr. became the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman and an ambassador to the United Kingdom during his government service. Fitzgerald and Kennedy were both affluent and well-known Irish Catholic Boston families.
John, also known as “Jack,” was the second oldest of nine remarkable siblings. Eunice, the Special Olympics organizer, Robert, the United States Attorney General, and Ted, one of the most influential senators in American history, are among his brothers and sisters. Throughout their lives, the Kennedy siblings remained close and protective of one another.
He was sickly as a child and struggled with health issues throughout his life. From 1936 to 1940, he attended private schools such as Choate and Harvard, where he majored in Political Science. Kennedy’s father had been appointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom. After a visit there in 1939, he wanted to study and write a senior thesis on why the United Kingdom was so unprepared to defeat Germany in World War II. The article, a penetrating study of Britain’s failures to face the Nazi threat, was so well received that it was published as a book, Why England Slept, upon Kennedy’s graduation in 1940, selling over eighty
thousand copies. Kennedy was an influential and accomplished undergraduate who graduated with honors as Cum Laude.
Shortly after graduation from Harvard, Kennedy entered the US Navy and was assigned to command a patrol torpedo boat in the South Pacific. Due to his back pain and other medical issues, Kennedy was initially turned down by both the Army and the Navy. He didn’t give up, and in 1941, he admitted into the Navy thanks to his father’s political connections. Kennedy passed the Navy Officer Candidate School but missed another physical examination. He used his father’s connections once more, determined not to waste his military career alone behind a desk. He was able to enroll in a new PT boat training program with their assistance.
His transport, PT-109, was rammed by a Japanese warship on August 2, 1943, and cut in half. Two sailors died, and Kennedy’s back was seriously wounded. Kennedy took the survivors to a small island, where they were rescued six days later, after dragging another injured sailor by the strap of his life jacket.
On the other hand, Kennedy’s older brother, Joe Jr., who had already enlisted in the Navy, did not have the same luck. He was a pilot who died in August 1944 when his plane blew up. His father had identified Joseph Kennedy Jr. as the son of his children who would become President of the United States someday. Following Joe Jr.’s disappearance, Kennedy assumed responsibility for his family’s wishes and dreams for his older sibling.
Before running for the House of Representatives, Kennedy worked as a writer. Kennedy, a Navy war hero, was elected to the House of Representatives in November 1946. Richard M. Nixon, a retired Navy man whose career arc would later overlap with Kennedy’s, was also in this class. Kennedy spent three terms in the House of Representatives, winning reelection in 1948 and 1950 and earning a reputation as a moderate Democrat.
He did prove himself to be a free thinker, not necessarily toeing the party line, as shown by his opposition to the Taft-Hartley Act. This anti-union bill was unanimously approved by both the House and Senate during the 1947 to 1948 session. Since he was still a freshman member of the minority party of the House who was not a member of any of the relevant committees, Kennedy had no choice but to speak out against the measure, which he did.
John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, spent six years in the House of Representatives before being elected to the United States Senate in 1952. John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier, a columnist for the Washington Times-Herald, on September 12, 1953, shortly after being elected senator at 36. They had three children: Caroline, John Jr., and Patrick.
Senator Kennedy’s back began to suffer again early in their marriage, and he had two operations. He wrote a book on many US Senators who sacrificed their lives to campaign for what they believed in while recovering from surgery. In 1957, the novel Profiles in Courage earned the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Caroline Kennedy, the Kennedys’ first child, was born the same year.
Kennedy was on his way to becoming a well-liked senator. He was almost chosen to run for Vice President in 1956. Despite this, Kennedy wanted to run for president in the next race.
Road to White House
The Democratic Party elected him as the presidential nominee. Kennedy invited Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson to run for Vice President alongside him on July 13, 1960. Kennedy was nominated to run for President against Nixon, who was then Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower. At his nomination speech, Kennedy outlined his vision of a “New Frontier.” Nixon made the error of meeting Kennedy in interviews, which were the first televised presidential debates in American history, and during which Kennedy came off as youthful and vital.
In his campaign for the White House, Kennedy faced two significant obstacles: his youth and faith. Many Americans were alarmed by the possibility of such a young man, untested on the international stage, leading the country at a time of looming Cold War danger, particularly after Dwight Eisenhower, who projected a soothing grandfatherly picture.
Kennedy subjected Nixon to a series of televised debates to counteract Nixon’s advantage of national acceptance. Nixon, an accomplished debater, agreed. The arguments between the two parties marked the first widespread use of television, which would become a hallmark of American election campaigns. Seventy million viewers watched the first debate. On black-and-white screens, the Richard Nixon that audiences saw looked pallid, nervous, and uneasy. Kennedy, on the other hand, looked calm, tanned, and telegenic.
John Kennedy narrowly beat Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon in the general election on November 8, 1960. Kennedy was the first Catholic and the youngest man to be voted president at the age of 43.
Kennedy aimed to encourage all Americans to become more responsible people in his legendary inaugural speech on January 20, 1961. He said, “Ask not what your country can do for you.” “Ask what you can do to your country.”
President John F. Kennedy went to Fort Worth, Texas, for a campaign appearance on November 21, 1963. The next day, November 22, Kennedy and his wife, Texas Governor John Connally, drove in a Lincoln Continental convertible through shouting crowds in downtown Dallas. A 24-year-old warehouse worker and a former Marine with Soviet sympathies named Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president twice from an upstairs window of the Texas School Book Depository building. Kennedy died soon after at Parkland Memorial Hospital, at the age of 46.