Most people know that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, but many people wonder when he was born.
John F. Kennedy, affectionately known by those close to him as Jack, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. Kennedy was born into a staunch Catholic family, and entered politics with the help and encouragement of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy and his mother Rose Kennedy.
The Kennedy family was to become a near-dynasty in American politics, shaping the era as a time of renewed hope and prosperity. Kennedy’s life was tragically cut short with his assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald, but his influence lives on.
President John F. Kennedy was, by all accounts, a mischievous and precocious child, but one with a great gift for public speaking and quick wit. He was designated “most likely to succeed” when he graduated from high school, and he quickly set out to make his mark in the world.
When he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in international affairs, he decided to volunteer for the U.S. Army. Kennedy was refused because of his ailing back, which would cause him trouble for years, but he was accepted into the Navy in 1941 at the young age of 24.
His PT boat, PT-109, was sunk in 1943 and his back was further injured in the process, but the young hero acted to save all of his men on the boat, a feat for which he was recognized with a Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the prestigious Purple Heart.
Months after this recognition, Kennedy’s older brother Joe was killed in England when his Air Force plane, which was set with explosives, blew up prematurely. John F. Kennedy was honorably discharged from the military in 1945 as a Lieutenant, and began his political career almost immediately, running for a spot as a representative in Boston. He was elected in 1946, and then again in both 1948 and 1950.
Now that he was something of a Massachusetts political celebrity, John F. Kennedy began to set his political ambitions even higher. Although his brother Joe Jr. once held the family’s hopes of reaching the presidency, it was now young Jack who eyed the job as the most powerful man in the world.
The first step for Kennedy was to run for a seat as the Senator of Massachusetts, an election which he won handily in 1952. Kennedy was reelected to the post in 1958 after a failed bid for the Vice President in 1956. Only two years after he was elected for his second term as a Massachusetts State Senator, Kennedy announced his bid for the presidency of the United States in January of 1960.
That summer, he received the Democratic Party’s nomination and began running as their official candidate. The election between him and future President Richard Nixon was extremely tight—each received just over 49 percent of the total vote, with John F. Kennedy winning by just a fraction of a percent. Kennedy assumed his presidency in January of 1961, the youngest President ever elected.
John F. Kennedy was a very popular president during his tenure, with a foreign policy that sought diplomacy in the relationships with America’s communist foes, most notably the USSR.
Stress was caused during the Bay of Pigs incident, and later during the Cuban Missile Crisis, both near-catastrophes that threatened nuclear war. The economy boomed during the Kennedy years, and the civil rights movement had the President as an ally.
Kennedy’s popularity was not universal, however, and during a visit to Dallas, Texas in 1962, John F. Kennedy was gunned down at the young age of 46 by Lee Harvey Oswald. In spite of his efforts to achieve peace and prosperity, one of the most popular Presidents in American history met a tragic end.
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