On May 29, 1917 John F Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. His parents were Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald. John F. Kennedy had eight siblings, three brothers and five sisters. The Kennedy family
would end up becoming one of the most influential families in politics, and John F. Kennedy would be one of the most beloved presidents in U.S. history. From the time he was young till the last years of his life John F. Kennedy was constantly battling some medical condition or another. As a child he had whooping cough, measles, and the chicken pox. When he was 3 he got scarlet fever, which can be very deadly. When he was older he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. It wasn’t till after his death that his bad health was made known.
John F. Kennedy’s father demanded that all of the kids excel in school, especially his sons. They were to compete against one another. John F. Kennedy and his siblings went to the most prestigious schools, including the Noble Greenough Lower School, and Choate. Even though his grades were considered average, he was smart, athletic and very involved. This made him quite popular in school. Despite his popularity he always felt he was living in the shadow of his older brother Joseph Kennedy Jr. Joseph always excelled more then John. In fact it was Joseph who had announced to everyone when he was a young boy that he would be the first Catholic to become President. John started attending Princeton in the Fall of 1935. He had to leave after contracting Jaundice. After recovering from Jaundice he attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country, Harvard University. Kennedy graduated with an honorary degree in international affairs in June of 1940. His thesis “Why England Slept” was published and became a “best-seller”.
John F. Kennedy served in WWII. He had first volunteered for the U.S. Army, but was rejected because of a back injury he acquired playing football when he was younger. The U.S. Navy accepted him in 1941. He earned the rank lieutenant, and commanded a patrol torpedo boat (PT boat). In August of 1943 his patrol boat was making a night-time raid near the olomon Islands, the boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer. Injuring his back even more, Kennedy still managed to pull another injured crew member 3 miles across the ocean. He reached an island where he and his crew were eventually rescued. He received numerous medals for his courageous act.
Kennedys older bother, Joseph Jr., was killed in WWII. To try and fill his spot, John F. Kennedy became active in politics. In 1946 a seat in the House of Representatives opened, Kennedy ran for the seat and beat his opponent. He was reelected twice, but there was a mixed voting record. Then in 1952 he ran for Senate using the slogan “Kennedy will do more for Massachusetts”. Kennedy was considered the “underdog” by most, but he still came through and defeated Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. with a margin of approximately 70,000 votes.
In 1951 John F. Kennedy was considered “the most eligible bachelor”. At a dinner party in May he met a beautiful young woman named Jacqueline (Jackie)Bouvier who interviewed him for a newspaper column. There paths crossed once more, but this time it was different. She had gotten engaged to John Husted in December of 1951. But they were interested in each other , so Jackie broke off her engagement in March of 1952. John introduced her to his family that coming summer. They dated very privately for a while. Johns father was I impressed. He thought she had a enormous amount of class, which was a characteristic he found suited for the wife of a politician. About a year later their engagement was announced on June 24, 1953. They had a short engagement. They were married on Sept 12, 1953, at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
In 1955 Jackie was pregnant but unfortunately had a miscarriage, then in 1956 Jackie became pregnant again while John F. Kennedy was planning for the 1956 National Democratic Convention. Sadly the baby was stillborn. Jackie was very sad. They still wanted to have children and on November 27,1957, they welcomed a baby girl named Caroline Bouvier Kennedy. Then three years later they had John F Kennedy Jr. on November 25, 1960.
At the 1956 National Democratic Convention, Kennedy campaigned for the Vice President nomination. Unfortunately he was not chosen. This didn’t make him any less ambitious. He decided to run for president in the elections of 1960. Kennedy won the primary elections, despite suspicions about Kennedy being Catholic. Then in July of 1960 the Democratic Party elected Kennedy to run for president. He then asked one of his opponents in the primary elections, Lyndon Johnson, to be his running mate. He needed Johnson for the southern states. This election was already predicted to be a close one. His opponent was Vice President Richard Nixon. Kennedy and Nixon debated in September and October in the very first televised US presidential debates. Having the presidential debates televised was monumental. It created a whole new aspect in deciding who would win. On TV Kennedy was way more calm and composed, where Nixon seemed nervous and unsure. But then on the radio, it was Nixon who sounded like the more pronounced speaker. On November 8 Kennedy beat Nixon in a very controversial race. Even though Nixon had won the Popular votes, Kennedy still won the Electoral votes.
On January 20, 1961 Kennedy was inaugurated. Kennedy made a step in the right direction when he created the “Peace Corps”. This program was made to aid underdeveloped countries. Kennedy dealt with many things during his presidency They In April of 1960, Kennedy gave orders to invade Cuba. This act is known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”. They were hoping to take Fidel Castro out of power. Within a couple of days, Castro’s government had killed most of the men, and he had to negotiate to get the rest home safely. When the U.S. obtained photos showing that Soviets in Cuba had ballistic missiles sites in construction, Kennedy was in a tough positions. If he tried invading, that would put the U.S. in great danger. But if he did nothing the U.S. would still be in danger and the U.S. could seem weak. About a week later, Kennedy started negotiating with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Luckily they came to an agreement and the missiles were removed. Needless to say, Kennedy was careful when confronting the Soviet Union.
That was only foreign policies! Here in the U.S., Kennedy dealt with the Civil Rights Movement. Even though the Supreme Court had ended segregation in schools, there was still schools not abiding by the laws. Segregation in local businesses, and on buses were becoming heated issues. Kennedy sent federal marshals and troops to ensure that a student was able to enroll in a particular college. Kennedy supported racial integration and civil rights. In 1963 Kennedy he also made one of the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history. Larger then the one made by Reagan. Kennedy supported the “Space Race” in which the U.S. competed against the Soviet Union on exploring space and landing a man on the moon. The U.S. was behind in this race, and he wanted greatly to catch up. He asked congress to approve more then twenty two billion dollars for “Project Apollo”. Its goal was to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
Kennedy’s presidency had many successes. But on November 22, 1963 his success would come to a devastating end. When Kennedy arrived in Dallas, Texas he stepped of the plane flashing his golden smile for the tons of people who were there to get just a glimpse of him. He was in Dallas to make some speeches. The day was like any other day for the president. He was riding in a car, top down, sitting beside the first lady. Their was a massive crowd gathered on each side of the street, watching as the president passed, waving. Then all of a sudden, through all the excitement, a shot was heard. The president fell over onto his wife. There was chaos amongst the all of the vehicles in the line. Then another shot was fired and that bullet hit Senator Connally. One more shot was fired, hitting Kennedy in the back of the head. The two cars sped to a nearby hospital. The doctors did all they could, but John F. Kennedy died at approximately 1:00 p.m. on November 22, 1963. His death traveled fast by phone and the media. Later a man named Lee Harvey Oswald would be arrested for the crime but would never stand trial.
He was assassinated by Jack Ruby as he was taken from City Hall. Kennedys death was a huge tragedy in the heart of Americans. He was one of the most beloved presidents in U.S. history. He charmed the people with his blue-eyes and that infamous smile. I stood in Arlington Cemetery looking at the grave site of John F. Kennedy, not really appreciating all he had done for our country.
John F Kennedy (1917-1963)
This assignment gave me the opportunity to really see all his accomplishments and how loved he really was. John F. Kennedy was a great President