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The matriarch of the Kennedy clan, Rose Kennedy saw three of her sons, Robert, John, and Edward, elected to public office and two of them killed by assassins.
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.
Joseph Patrick Kennedy was the iron-fisted Kennedy family patriarch who wheeled and dealed his way to wealth and power and pressured his children to succeed at all costs.
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Born on July 22, 1890, in Boston, Rose Kennedy was the grande dame of contemporary American politics, seeing three of her children find great success. Success came with even more tragedy for Kennedy, as she lost two children in the 1940s and sons John and Bobby were assassinated in the 1960s. She died at age 104 and is survived by five of her children, 28 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren.
Writer, activist, fundraiser, matriarch of the Kennedy dynasty. Born Rose Fitzgerald, July 22, 1890, in Boston, Massachusetts, Rose Kennedy was the grande dame of contemporary American politics. She led an extraordinary life -- one marked by both exuberance and anguish -- and was a witness to more than a century's worth of U.S. history. Stately and courageous in the face of adversity, Kennedy endured a series of personal tragedies with uncommon composure and unshakable faith. As the matriarch of the Kennedy clan, she saw three of her sons gain election to public office -- and two of them die at the hands of assassins.
Kennedy's steely determination and abiding belief in God made her the embodiment of the Irish Catholic tradition in the United States. A spirited activist, an effective campaigner, and a dedicated fund-raiser -- especially for charities assisting the mentally handicapped -- she stood as a symbol of Democratic politics at its best. But Kennedy is probably most remembered for her unswerving devotion to her family. As her son John, the nation's first Catholic president, once put it, she functioned as "the glue that...always held the family together."
Rose Kennedy was the eldest child of John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, a prominent figure in Boston politics who served one term as a congressional representative and later became the city's mayor. Kennedy grew up in the political spotlight, accompanying her father to various partisan functions while she was still a teenager. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she wanted to attend the prestigious Wellesley College but was sent by her parents to Boston's Convent of the Sacred Heart. She later studied French and German at a convent school in the Netherlands. Upon her return to the States, Rose fell for a saloonkeeper's son named Joseph P. Kennedy. Although her father respected the young man's ambition -- Joe Kennedy became the youngest bank president in U.S. history -- he never liked the young businessman and disapproved of the relationship.
Rose continued dating Kennedy against her father's wishes, and in 1914 the couple was married. They had nine children during their 55-year-long marriage. Joe Kennedy became a multi-millionaire financier. He attracted considerable attention with his sometimes questionable business dealings -- he is said to have dabbled in bootlegging -- and alleged philandering. Unruffled by public speculation, Rose immersed herself in the business of raising her family. She schooled her children in the history of the American Democratic tradition and went on to nurture the political ambitions of three sons -- John, Robert, and Edward -- vigorously promoting their careers through grass roots campaigning.
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There's no such thing as royalty in the United States, but if anyone has ever come close to that level, it's the Kennedy family. For 64 years, Washington had at least one Kennedy in public office. Descended from Irish Catholics who fled the potato famine, the family has a strong tradition in the Democratic party, the most prominent member being President John F. Kennedy. In addition to fame and political power, the Kennedy clan has had more than its fair share of tragedy—several members of the family have died in accidents and assassinations, in what's been called the "Kennedy curse."
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