- 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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After several of the tensest days in history, during which the world seemed on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles in return for Kennedy's promise not to invade Cuba and to remove American missiles from Turkey. Eight months later, in June 1963, Kennedy successfully negotiated the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with Great Britain and the Soviet Union,
helping to ease Cold War tensions. It was one of his proudest accomplishments.
President Kennedy's record on domestic policy was rather mixed. Taking office in the midst of a recession, he proposed sweeping income tax cuts, raising the minimum wage and instituting new social programs to improve education, health care and mass transit. However, hampered by lukewarm relations with Congress, Kennedy only achieved part of his agenda: a modest increase in the minimum wage and watered down tax cuts.
The most contentious domestic issue of Kennedy's presidency was civil rights. Constrained by Southern Democrats in Congress who remained stridently opposed to civil rights for black citizens, Kennedy offered only tepid support for civil rights reforms early in his term. Nevertheless, in September 1962 Kennedy sent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to Mississippi to use the National Guard and federal marshals to escort and defend civil rights activist James Meredith as he became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1962. Near the end of 1963, in the wake of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Had a Dream" speech, Kennedy finally sent a civil rights bill to Congress. One of the last acts of his presidency and his life, Kennedy's bill eventually passed as the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964.
On November 21, 1963, President Kennedy flew to Dallas, Texas for a campaign appearance. The next day, November 22, Kennedy, along with his wife and Texas governor John Connally, rode through cheering crowds in downtown Dallas in a Lincoln Continental convertible. From an upstairs window of the Texas School Book Depository building, a 24-year-old warehouse worker named Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine with Soviet sympathies, fired upon the car, hitting the president twice. Kennedy died at Parkland Memorial Hospital shortly thereafter, at the age of 46.
A Dallas nightclub owner named Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald days later while he was being transferred between jails. The death of President John F. Kennedy was an unspeakable national tragedy, and to this date many people remember with unsettling vividness the exact moment they learned of his death. While conspiracy theories have swirled ever since Kennedy's assassination, the official version of events remains the most plausible: Oswald acted alone.
For few former presidents is the dichotomy between public and scholarly opinion so vast. To the American public, as well as his first historians, John F. Kennedy is a hero -- a visionary politician who, if not for his untimely death, may have averted the political and social turmoil of the late 1960s. In public opinion polls, Kennedy consistently ranks with Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as among the most beloved American presidents of all time. Critiquing this outpouring of adoration, many more recent Kennedy scholars have derided Kennedy's womanizing and lack of personal morals and argued that as a leader he was more style than substance. In the end, no one can ever truly know what type of president John F. Kennedy would have become, or the different course history may have taken had he lived into old age. As historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote, it was "as if Lincoln had been killed six months after Gettysburg or Franklin Roosevelt at the end of 1935 or Truman before the Marshall Plan." The most enduring image of Kennedy's presidency, and of his whole life, is that of Camelot, the idyllic castle of the legendary King Arthur. As his wife Jackie Kennedy said after his death, "There'll be great Presidents again, and the Johnsons are wonderful, they've been wonderful to me -- but there'll never be another Camelot again."
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