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John F. Kennedy

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John F. Kennedy

Kennedy (left) and Johnson
Order:35th President
Term of Office:January 20, 1961 - November 22, 1963
Followed:Dwight D. Eisenhower
Succeeded by:Lyndon Johnson
Date of BirthTuesday, May 29, 1917
Place of Birth:Brookline, Massachusetts
Date of Death:Friday, November 22, 1963
Place of Death:Dallas, Texas
First Lady:Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
Political Party:Democrat
Vice President:Lyndon Johnson

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963), often referred to as JFK, was the 35th (1961-1963) President of the United States.

Kennedy was the youngest person so far to be elected U.S. president (although Theodore Roosevelt was some months younger when he became president upon William McKinley's death), and the first (and as yet only) Roman Catholic president. He beat Richard Nixon, Vice President in the previous administration, in a famous, closely-contested presidential election in 1960. Theodore H. White's 1961 book about that election campaign, The Making of the President 1960, was not only a national best-seller but was also used as a supplementary text in high school and college courses in U. S. government and history.

For various reasons, Kennedy was, during the time he served, perhaps the most popular president in U.S. history. He was a handsome, photogenic man who seemed open and accessible, and his administration marked a notable increase in direct media exposure of the president to the public at large, through television broadcasts from the Oval Office, televised press conferences, and numerous photo spreads in popular magazines. The "charisma" Kennedy and his family projected led to the figurative designation of "Camelot" for his administration. His glamorous wife "Jackie" was as newsworthy as he was, and the way they handled personal tragedies, especially the death of their newborn son Patrick Bouvier Kennedy in August 1963, enhanced their public image.

The house where Kennedy was born in Brookline (in the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area) is now a National Historic Site[?], open to the public.[1] (http://www.nps.gov/jofi/) Kennedy served in the US Navy in World War II., and while he was captain of a PT Boat that was sunk in the Pacific Ocean, he sustained a back injury that plagued him for the remainder of his life, exacerbating a disease the public did not learn of until long after his death. (In May 2002 a National Geographic expedition found what is believed to be the wreckage of that PT-109 in the Solomon Islands [2] (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/07/0709_020710_kennedyPT109)) For his book Profiles in Courage, published in 1956 while he was serving in the US Senate, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Information released after his death leaves no doubt that he had at least one, and probably several extramarital affairs while in office, including liaisons in the White House. Such things were not then considered fit for publication, and in Kennedy's case, they were never publicly discussed.

Kennedy was president for only about 1,000 days. This brief tenure was marked by such notable events as the acceleration of the United States' role in the space race, the beginning of the escalation of the American role in the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, and the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba; these events aggravated the Cold War with the USSR. He appointed his brother Robert F. Kennedy to his Cabinet as Attorney General.

President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald, apprehended for the crime, was himself fatally shot by Jack Ruby before he could be formally charged or brought to trial. Four days after Kennedy & Oswald were killed, President Lyndon Johnson created the Warren Commission. A year later, the Commission reported that Lee Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy. They also reported that there was no conspiracy at work in the Kennedy assassination. In 1967, Jim Garrison, a New Orleans district attorney, investigated and brought to trial a local citizen, Clay Shaw, on a charge of conspiracy in the Kennedy case. Shaw was later found not guilty in 1969. In the late 1970's, the House Select Committee on Assassinations[?] found that Kennedy died as a result of a conspiracy. Their finding was based on some dictabelt recordings made by the Dallas police on the day of the assassination that may have recorded the sounds of gunfire. To this day, various third parties have investigated the assassination, comimg up with various theories and solutions to the crime.

On March 14, 1967 Kennedy's body was moved to a permanent burial place an memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Kennedy's life and the subseqent conspiracy theories surrounding his death have been the inspiration for many films. Recent ones include Nigel Turner's 1988 mini series The Men Who Killed Kennedy[?], Oliver Stone's 1991 blockbuster, JFK, and 1993's JFK: Reckless Youth, which looked at Kennedy's early years.

Kennedy was the most recent Democratic president to push for income tax cuts to improve the economy. He was also the most recent Northern Democrat to win the Presidency.

In November of 2002 long secret medical records were made public, revealing Kennedy's physical ailments were more severe than previously thought. He was in constant pain from fractured vertebrae despite multiple medications, in addition to suffering from severe digestive problems and Addison's disease. Kennedy would get multiple injections of procaine[?] before press conferences in order to appear healthy.

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Preceded by:
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Presidents of the United States Succeeded by:
Lyndon Johnson

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