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Portrait, John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

35th President of the United States
(January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963)

Nickname: "JFK", "Jack"

Born: May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas

Father: Joseph Patrick Kennedy
Mother: Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy
Married: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929-1994), on September 12, 1953
Children: Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (1957- ); John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. (1960-99); Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (1963)

Religion: Roman Catholic
Education: Graduated from Harvard College (1940)
Occupation: Author, public official
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1947-53
  • United States Senator, 1953-61

Presidential Salary: $100,000/year + $50,000 expense account (refused by Kennedy)

Presidential Election Results:
Year Popular Votes Electoral Votes
1960 John F. Kennedy 34,226,731 303
tiny U.S. flag Richard M. Nixon 34,108,157 219

Vice President: tiny U.S. flag Lyndon B. Johnson (1961-63)

Cabinet:

Secretary of State
Dean Rusk (1961-63)
Secretary of the Treasury
C. Douglas Dillon (1961-63)
Secretary of Defense
Robert S. McNamara (1961-63)
Attorney General
Robert F. Kennedy (1961-63)
Postmaster General
J. Edward Day (1961-63)
John A. Gronouski, Jr. (1963)
Secretary of the Interior
Stewart L. Udall (1961-63)
Secretary of Agriculture
Orville L. Freeman (1961-63)
Secretary of Commerce
Luther H. Hodges (1961-63)
Secretary of Labor
Arthur J. Goldberg (1961-62)
W. Willard Wirtz (1962-63)
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
Abraham A. Ribicoff (1961-62)
Anthony J. Celebrezze (1962-63)

Supreme Court Appointments:

Associate Justice
Byron Raymond White (1962-93)
Arthur Joseph Goldberg (1962-65)

Notable Events:

  • 1960
    • The first joint radio-television broadcast of a U.S. Presidential debate was held on September 26. It was between Kennedy and tiny U.S. flag Richard M. Nixon.
  • 1961
    • The U.S. sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was attempted without success.
    • Nikita Khrushchev, the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, ordered the creation of the Berlin Wall in June to divide Soviet-controlled East Berlin from West Berlin, which was part of the free and democratic West Germany.
  • 1963
    • The Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed on August 6 by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
    • August 28: thousands march on Washington, calling for equal access to public facilities, quality education, adequate employment, and decent housing for African Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his famous "I have a dream" speech.
    • President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas.

Internet Biographies:

John F. Kennedy -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
John F. Kennedy -- from American Presidents: Life Portraits -- C-SPAN
Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.
John F. Kennedy -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
John F. Kennedy -- from Character Above All
From a PBS broadcast of the same name, this essay excerpt by Richard Reeves discusses some of the issues and events that molded Kennedy.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1961)
Announcement of Candidacy for the Presidency (1960)
The Presidency in 1960 (1960)
Remarks at the University of Michigan (1960)
Kennedy proposes the Peace Corps.
Address Accepting the Democratic Party Nomination for the Presidency (1960)
Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (1960)
Kennedy addresses the issue of his religion.
Address to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1961)
"City upon a hill" speech.
"The President and the Press" (1961)
Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs (1961)
Kennedy establishes goal of landing a man on the moon.
Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (1961)
Address at the Inaugural Anniversary Dinner (1962)
Humorous parody of the Inaugural Address
Address at the University of California, Berkeley (1962)
Statement on the "Steel Crisis" (1962)
Commencement Address at Yale University (1962)
Radio and TV Address on the Situation in Mississippi (1962)
Radio and TV Report on the Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba (1962)
Commencement Address at American University (1963)
Kennedy and the beginning of detente.
Radio and TV Report on Civil Rights (1963)
Remarks at the Rudolph Wilde Platz (1963)
Berlin Wall speech ("Ich bin ein Berliner.")
Address to the Irish Parliament (1963)
Radio and TV Address on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)
Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (1963)
Remarks at Amherst College (1963)
Kennedy on the importance of the arts.
Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas (1963)
This speech was never given.
Remarks Prepared for Delivery to the Texas State Democratic Convention, Austin, Texas (1963)
This speech was never given.

Media Resources:

Audio
Kennedy outlines the U.S. response to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. (1:00)
MP3 (470K)
From the Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University.
Sound recordings from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Excerpts from his Inaugural Address, his address to the United Nations, and others.
Audio & Video
The American Presidency Projects's Presidential Audio/Video Archive for John F. Kennedy site

Other Internet Resources:

JFK Assassination Homepage
Created by Ralph Schuster, this is one of many conspiracy sites on the Internet on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In addition to the author's personal opinions, there is other useful information here -- a film and video library, an account of the events of November 22, 1963, the text of the Warren Report, and links to other JFK assassination sites.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, information on the museum, library collection, and tours can be found here.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
A "living memorial" to Kennedy, an outspoken supporter of the arts. Located in Washington, D.C. Information on the history and performances at the Kennedy Center is also available.
Sixth Floor Museum
Located on the Sixth Floor of the former Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas, this site is believed to be the location where Kennedy's assassin fired upon the presidential motorcade. Now a museum dedicated to the life of Kennedy. Tourist information is available.

Points of Interest:

  • Kennedy's speech to the students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on October 14, 1960 was the start of the Peace Corps.
  • In his speech to a Joint Session of Congress on May 25, 1961, Kennedy set the goal of landing a man on the moon by 1969 for the United States's Space Program (NASA).
  • Kennedy gave a famous speech in West Berlin in June 1963 that emphasized the importance of the "free world" fighting the "Communist world". Two memorable phrases that he spoke in German were: "Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen," or "Let them come to Berlin"; and "Ish bin ein Bearleener," or "I am a Berliner."
  • Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas. He had spent little more than a thousand days in office before being assassinated.
  • In 1965, the report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (also known as the Warren Commission) found that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, fatally shot Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Three other government investigations were later conducted. All three agreed with the Warren Commission's conclusions that Oswald's shots did kill Kennedy. However, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979 also concluded that another shooter fired upon Kennedy from the Dealey Plaza grassy knoll and missed. The existence of a second shooter and many other conclusions in these investigations are very controversial.

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