- NAME: John F. Kennedy
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: May 29, 1917
- DEATH DATE: November 22, 1963
- EDUCATION: The Choate School, Harvard College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Brookline, Massachusetts
- PLACE OF DEATH: Dallas, Texas
- Full Name: John Fitzgerald Kennedy
- AKA: JFK
- AKA: John F. Kennedy
- Nickname: "Jack"
- AKA: Jack Kennedy
Best Known For
John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. president, negotiated the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and initiated the Alliance for Progress. He was assassinated in 1963.
John F. Kennedy - First Term (1:29)
On November 21, 1963, President Kennedy flew to Dallas, Texas for a campaign appearance. After being shot by Lee Harvey Oswald he would later die at Parkland Memorial Hospital at the age of 46.
At the age of 43, JFK was the second youngest American president in history and the first Catholic president. Kennedy's greatest accomplishments during his brief tenure as president came in the arena of foreign affairs.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts to a prominent Irish Catholic Boston family. From a young age he was set on a path to political greatness.
John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the second child of Joseph Patrick and Rose Kennedy. Rose Kennedy taught her son a love of American history and politics.
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Born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate before becoming the 35th president in 1961. As president, Kennedy faced a number of foreign crises, especially in Cuba and Berlin, but managed to secure such achievements as the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and the Alliance for Progress. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
"For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past, or the present, are certain to miss the future."
[stated during an address in the assembly hall at Paulskirche in Frankfurt on June 25, 1963.]
"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."
"We need men who can dream of things that never were and not ask why."
"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
"A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality."
"The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high—to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. ... For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do."
"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
"The cost of freedom is always high—and Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission."
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
"The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds."
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
"[O]ur most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Both the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys were wealthy and prominent Irish Catholic Boston families. Kennedy's paternal grandfather, P.J. Kennedy, was a wealthy banker and liquor trader, and his maternal grandfather, John E. Fitzgerald, nicknamed "Honey Fitz," was a skilled politician who served as a congressman and as the mayor of Boston. Kennedy's mother, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was a Boston debutante, and his father, Joseph Kennedy Sr., was a successful banker who made a fortune on the stock market after World War I. Joe Kennedy Sr. went on to a government career as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as an Ambassador to Great Britain.
John F. Kennedy, nicknamed "Jack," was the second oldest of a group of nine extraordinary siblings. His brothers and sisters include Eunice Kennedy, the founder of the Special Olympics, Robert Kennedy, a U.S. Attorney General and Ted Kennedy, one of the most powerful senators in American history. The Kennedy children remained close-knit and supportive of each other throughout their entire lives.
Joseph and Rose Kennedy largely spurned the world of Boston socialites into which they had been born to focus instead on their children's education. Joe Kennedy in particular obsessed over every detail of his kids' lives, a rarity for a father at that time. As a family friend noted, "Most fathers in those days simply weren't that interested in what their children did. But Joe Kennedy knew what his kids were up to all the time." Joe Sr. had great expectations for his children, and he sought to instill in them a fierce competitive fire and the belief that winning was everything. He entered his children in swimming and sailing competitions and chided them for finishing in anything but first place. John F. Kennedy's sister Eunice later recalled, "I was twenty-four before I knew I didn't have to win something every day." Jack Kennedy bought into his father's philosophy that winning was everything. "He hates to lose at anything," Eunice said. "That's the only thing Jack gets really emotional about -- when he loses."
Despite his father's constant reprimands, young Kennedy was a poor student and a mischievous boy. He attended a Catholic boys' boarding school in Connecticut called Canterbury, where he excelled at English and history, the subjects he enjoyed, but nearly flunked Latin, in which he had no interest. Despite his poor grades, Kennedy continued on to Choate, an elite Connecticut preparatory school.
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