John Fitzgerald Kennedy Biography
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917. His mother Rose was the daughter of a popular New England mayor and his father Joseph was well known in the political world as well. He spent much of his early life in Brookline, Massachusetts though his family moved to New York when he was fairly young. The family continued vacationing in Massachusetts as well as Florida.
As a teenager, his father arranged for him to attend Canterbury School in Connecticut. This Roman Catholic school was rough and forced the boy to live on campus. He later moved to the Choate School, which prepared him for a college education. As a junior he became sick and was diagnosed with colitis, which required a hospitalization. He still managed to graduate on time the following year, with his classmates picking him as the boy most likely to become president.
After graduation he headed to the London School of Economics. However he came down with jaundice and was sent home. Eventually he started classes at Princeton University. Once again he became sick and when doctors suspected leukemia, he dropped out of school. The next year he headed to Harvard College and officially started his undergraduate education. In 1940 he graduated college and published his thesis in a book form as Why England Slept. He studied at the Stanford Graduate School of Business while helping his father.
Kennedy applied for a position in the Army, but was turned down. He later found a spot in the Navy. After attending the Naval Reserve Officers Training School and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center he was sent to Panama and then the Pacific. His patrol boat was attacked by a Japanese ship and Kennedy was injured. He earned a citation later for saving the life of a fire burned fellow officer. The Navy honorably discharged him in 1945.
JFK always believed that his brother Joseph would be the famous politician in the family. After his brother died in World War II, he reluctantly decided to run for public office. He became U.S. Representative in 1946 and held the position for six years, though people often pointed out that he voted against his fellow democrats. He won his Senate seat in 1952 and the following year married Jacqueline Bouvier.
Kennedy received multiple operations on his back and spine during the early part of the 1950s. An injury during the War aggravated an already existing back problem, which became worse over time. While recovering he wrote Profiles in Courage. The book was a best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957. In 1956 he ran for the Vice Presidential nomination for the Presidency, but lost the position.
At the beginning of 1960 he announced that he planned to run for President. His biggest competition was Lyndon B. Johnson, but by July Kennedy was picked as the official nominee. Kennedy himself picked Johnson as his running mate, which upset some because he was so conservative while Kennedy was quite liberal. The campaign was most notable for the debate with Richard Nixon on television, where Nixon appeared highly uncomfortable and Kennedy was quite relaxed. He went on to win with 303 of the electoral college votes.
JFK became the 35th President on January 20, 1961. The Bay of Pigs incident took place before the end of the year and Kennedy was forced to admit that he failed in his desire to depose Castro. The following year the Cuban Missile Crisis took place when the U.S. uncovered hidden missile sites built by the Soviet Union in Cuba. Kennedy stopped the Crisis by making arrangements with Khrushchev. He also helped start the Peace Corps and increased the US military presence in Vietnam. He was also known for his civil rights beliefs such as sending in federal troops to protect Freedom Riders and James Marshall, a black students enrolling in the University of Mississippi.
On November 22,1963 JFA was assassinated while taking part in a parade in Dallas, Texas. Less than a half hour after being shot, he was pronounced dead. Lee Harvey Oswald was identified as a suspect and immediately arrested. Oswald claimed he was innocent and was shot the following day. The Warren Commission investigated the case and determined that Oswald was the shooter. Kennedy was buried in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Resources on JFK include:
- The Kennedy Assassination : focuses on the conspiracy theories surrounding his death.
- JFL Presidential Library and Museum : library dedicated to his life and times.
- Biography of John F. Kennedy : White House political biography.
- John F. Kennedy : provides a short biography of his life.
- The Sixth Floor Museum : offers photographs of the assassination.
- The John F. Kennedy Assassination : offers photographs and theories covering his death.
- National Park Service : gives information on historical places relating to his life.
- JFK Timeline : gives a complete timeline of his life and death.
- American President : tells about his personal and private life.
The legacy of JFK remained for a few reasons. The first was because his family was so revered by the general public. Their family was even dubbed Camelot because they seemed so happy and perfect. The rumors about his relationship with screen siren Marilyn Monroe also helped keep him alive in the eyes of the public.
Television also helped keep his legacy alive. All three networks interrupted broadcasts for the first time in history with the news of his shooting and then his death. They also broad-casted images taking of his family following his death. No one can forget the image of Jackie walking with their two children. Most of all though, JFK was the people's president and the love the public had for him still remains today. JFK has become an iconic figure in the eyes of US citizens. He worked hard to establish himself and endured many struggles from sickness while trying to continue his education to serving his country in the Navy. JFK always pushed himself to go further and the people saw this idolized him due to his persevering qualities. If you want to achieve your goals it requires determination. Continuing your education is one of the steps that requires success. Look into distance learning or obtaining online college degrees to get you where you want to go.