Short Biography of John F. Kennedy

Category: History
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John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29th, 1917 in Brookline Massachusetts. JFK was born the second son of nine children from Joseph Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Joseph Kennedy was very wealthy business executive and financier. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy on the other hand was never involved in politics but her father was. John Francis Fitzgerald was a state legislator, a Mayor of Boston, and a U.S. Congressmen. This explains how the Kennedys’ were involved in politics and wealthy at the same time.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy had attended two parochial schools, Canterbury Parochial School (1930-1931) and Choate School (1931-1935). It has been noted that one of his teachers spoke about John later saying that all his students did admire him but not for his accomplishments but his personality. As a young kid, John was very ill at most times during the school year and read various books. He self-educated himself all the time by reading current events and books about his school work.

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As time went on, John enrolled into Princeton University in 1935. He soon had to withdraw due to the illnesses he had always been facing since he was young. After he had recovered from his illnesses he attended Harvard University. At Harvard he majored in government and international relations. It was cut out for a young John F. Kennedy to know he would run for president someday, especially since he majored in this criterion. John had traveled to Europe during his school semester to see firsthand the problems occurring to trigger World War II.

These observations he acquired led him to write his senior paper about the war going on. This eventually became a bestselling book called Why England Slept (1940). Even though John went to Harvard for his main studies, he also attended Stanford University for his graduate studies. In 1941, John enlisted in the Army but got denied due to a physical injury caused by playing football (Back Injury). John did not take “no” for an answer and did various exercises to regain strength back in his back. Eventually the Navy accepted him.

After Pearl Harbor (December 7th, 1941), John requested to be active at sea and acquired an assignment in 1942. John was trained to command a patrol torpedo, which is a small boat that was fast moving and was armed with heavy weapons like torpedoes. During active duty, John had two of his men killed when a Japanese Ship put his boat in half. He saved six other people stranded in the water. He ordered them to swim to a nearby island, where they waited to be rescued.

After John F. Kennedy had displayed great courage in guiding his men to safety and getting rescued, he later on came back home to a regular life again. John did various newspaper work for plenty of months. One of his jobs was to cover a United Nations conference. The conference he covered was the Potsdam Conference which was held to negotiate the terms of the end of World War II. This involved “The Big Three”, Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and our U.S. President at the time, Harry Truman.

It was held in Potsdam, Germany from July 17th to August 2nd, 1945. After the second World War ended and all coverage post war was starting to die down, John still desired a career in politics like he had always wanted. In the year of 1946 Kennedy had became a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the Massachusetts eleventh congressional district. During his campaign for this title, he acquired a large personal organization for the campaign.

At the time the way Kennedy had been talking to the voters was almost unheard of. He had a charming touch to his talks to them. Kennedy was a very pleasing man in his voice and physical appearance. His whole family supported him through the campaign to becoming a House Representative by attending campaign meets etc. His brothers, Robert and Edward Kennedy, were his managers and his Sisters raised the money. Kennedy ended up winning the primary, fall election, and reelection to the House in 1948 and 1950.

He worked on social welfare programs near low-cost living areas. Kennedy was in full support of President Harry Truman’s programs he had started. Everything domestic Truman had done was exactly what Kennedy wanted to do if he had ever been elected president. But however, Kennedy did not agree with how Truman was handling problems internationally.

Kennedy thought that going to war internationally again was the last thing the U.S. needed. Kennedy was in a clear thought process that the U.S. could not hold its defenses to any country in Asia due to that Truman wanted to fight in Korea. In all, Kennedy respected Truman very much in other aspects as had been reported one because he was from New England like Kennedy.

April 1952 marked for when Kennedy stepped further to presidency by running for a seat in the U.S. Senate against Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., a republic liberal. Kennedy won the vote by over seventy thousand votes. This was a big hurt against Lodge because it was a blowout by Kennedy over him for this spot. This truly showed that Kennedy had something going for him. It was just the beginning for John.

After winning the seat in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy started to peak in his life and ended up marrying Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12th, 1953. Bouvier was a beautiful women from Rhode Island and her father was a wealthy financier from New York City. John and Jacqueline had three kids, Caroline, John Jr., and Patrick Kennedy who had died days after his birth. Jacqueline had a stillborn child that was never legally given a name or a birth certificate, but was buried next to Patrick Kennedy in Newport, Rhode Island.

They engraved the name “Arabella” in the tomb stone. While in Senate, John F. Kennedy continued to progress with the low-cost housing people and tried to help them. He also passed bills to improve New England’s economy by aiding the Massachusetts fishing and textile industries. Overtime, Kennedy’s back injury from his early life started to creep back up on him. He was on crutches during the year of 1954, until he went through a major operation. While he was recovering, he ended up writing biographies on Americans. His book of biographies, Profiles in Courage, win the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957.

At this point in Kennedy’s life, he had been full of various accomplishments but the people loved how he acted more so than his achievements. Kennedy was an all around person, great father, great senator and a great person. His achievements were just for the writing. But the writing he did sparked a lot of attention nationally. After losing vice presidential nomination in 1956, he decided to run for president. He announced his candidacy in January 1960.

Kennedy was nominated for president with Lyndon B. Johnson as his vice president. Kennedy was aware this would be no easy challenge due to the fact, at the time, current Vice President Richard Nixon would run against him in the election. Kennedy was approached by his religion multiple times, this would obviously cost him votes in a common thought. But Kennedy resolved this by saying that no church should influence what a president should do and no priest should tell people who to vote for based on religion. Multiple televised debates were held between Nixon and Kennedy.

The people fell in love with Kennedy due to his looks and lovable personality. Some also say that Nixon would have beat Kennedy in the televised debates if Nixon didn’t look so ill. Also some say Nixon would have won if it was not televised at all but over the radio. Nixon had all the political answers for the people asking but people just loved John F. Kennedy, a young, good looking, roman catholic man with a happy family. Kennedy ended up winning the election against Nixon by only a little room to spare. Three-hundred and three electoral votes for Kennedy and two-hundred and nineteen electoral votes for Nixon.

Kennedy was now the Thirty-Fifth President of the United States. In a matter of no time, Kennedy got straight to work as being President. He faced the first crisis with Cuba. April 17th, 1961, fourteen hundred Cuban exiles, supported by the U.S., invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy received a note from the Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev that he would assist Cuba resist an attack. Even though the Bay of Pigs was a failure to Kennedy, it proved that he could overcome certain problems occuring in the world. Kennedy controlled things domestically as well by protecting civil rights amongst Americans.

The Kennedy’s sent six-hundred Federal Marshals to the state of Alabama to protect the “Freedom Riders”, which was a group of northern idealists who were with the Civil Rights Movements by riding busses in the south, black and white people riding the busses equally. October 22, 1962 Kennedy had told the nation that Russia had sent nuclear missiles to Cuba. Kennedy immediately blocked all shipments to and from Cuba.

This headline sparked what is now known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy had ordered a naval brigade of ships to block off Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually Russian ships got close to the Naval brigade and stopped. They alerted the U.S. they would pull all their missiles from Cuba. Kennedy brought up the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which eventually resolved this conflict between the United States, Russia, and Cuba. Although the Cuban Missile Crisis was just resolved, another issue had arrived in Southeast Asia.

Little did Kennedy know, or anyone for that matter, that this would be the last conflict he would ever pursue. Kennedy decided to defend South Vietnamese through their civil war with North Vietnam. South Vietnamese were threatened by North Vietnamese with their communist government and that they (North Vietnam) would take over South Vietnam. As Kennedy was supporting South Vietnam, he went to Dallas, Texas to visit with the first lady.

On November 22nd, 1963 thousands of people gather to see John F. Kennedy and the First Lady trot on their way through the Dallas streets. At 12:30 P.M., President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. The Limousine races to Parkland Memorial Hospital where an hour later John F. Kennedy is pronounced dead. Still to this day many believe in conspiracy theories based on his death on November 22nd, 1963. The man held responsible for assassinated Kennedy is Lee Harvey Oswald.

Plenty of people in America will argue to this day that even though John F. Kennedy had a short presidency, he still is one of the best presidents, or actually he was truly the best. Kennedy brought great vibes to the country and he showed what it truly means to work for your country with great honor. “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” (John F. Kennedy).

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Short Biography of John F. Kennedy. (2019, Dec 19). Retrieved from