Despite a relatively short presidency, John Kennedy is not just one of the most recognizable names domestically, but arguably, globally. While his time ended on a tragic note, he remains one of the most notable American presidents who faced several International crises and still managed to secure political achievements. Frankly, he is unlucky when it comes to portraying his legacy; his assassination almost always overshadows all the great things he did in his short time. That's why we created this list of every milestone in JFK's life.
John F. Kennedy, also known as JFK, was born on May 29, 1917, in Brooklyn, Massachusetts, and served as the 35th President of the United States from 1961 to 1963. Kennedy, the second oldest child of a family of 9, grew up in a household that had intense physical and intellectual sibling competitions. His father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, gathered a multi-million dollar fortune as a seasoned stock market player in banking, bootlegging, shipbuilding, and even cinema. On the other hand, Rose, the mother, was Honey Fitzgerald's daughter, former Mayor of Boston, and John’s source of inspiration.
The road to John's success started early on. When Joseph Kennedy was appointed U.S. Ambassador to England after leading as the Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, John served in 1938 as his Secretary. On that occasion, in 1940, he chose to write his senior thesis at Harvard University on British military inadequate preparation. This thesis was then extended to the most popular book at that time, Why Slept England (1940).
As all epic hero stories go, this story started with the assumption that John’s glory is as unlikely as pigs flying. He came from wealth, thanks to family trust funds that ensured financial independence. Despite that, John and Joe, the eldest, didn't hesitate to join the navy and answer their country's call. By the time John got discharged in 1945, his brother Joe had already died in battle. The loss was substantial to all the family because of how Joe was always the one everyone saw running for office.
However, the loss didn't diminish John's vision of the legend he aims to be, despite narrowly surviving death in combat. Commanding a patrol boat, he was gravely injured when a Japanese destroyer sank it within the Solomon Islands. He brought his troops back to safety from the deep hostile territory and received the U.S. Navy and Marine Medal for Courage. On his own appeal, he even went back to active command.
He was in agony for most of his childhood, despite operations in 1944, 1954, and 1955. He also suffered from Addison's syndrome, but this suffering was covered up publicly. “At least one-half of the times he spent on this earth,” wrote his brother Robert, “were days of intense physical pain.” None of this prevented Kennedy from undertaking a strenuous life in politics. His family expected him to run for the position and win.
Congressman And Senator
Kennedy didn't disappoint his family. He never lost an election. His first opportunity came in 1946 when he ran for Congress. Despite his war injuries being physically paralyzing, he lobbied vigorously to circumvent the Democratic party in the 11th district of Massachusetts, relying on his family, friends from school, and companions from the navy. In the Democratic Primary, his closest challenger almost was receiving half his support, overwhelming the Republican nominee at the November elections. Kennedy served three terms within the House of Representatives (1947–53) as a bread-and-butter liberal.
He was an advocate for better working conditions, more housing projects, higher wages, lower prices, cheaper rents, and more Social Security for the elderly. In regards to policy, he was an early supporter of conflict approaches. He endorsed the Truman doctrine and thus the Marshall Plan, but he opposed the performance of the Truman administration in Asia strongly. His district in Boston was secure, but Kennedy was too driven to just endure in the House of Representatives. In 1952, he ran against the prominent incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. for the American Senate. Eunice, Patricia, and Jean had "Kennedy teas'' all over the state. Thousands of volunteers, including his 27-year-old brother Robert, who led the effort, flocked to support.
Strong Political Foundation
The 1950s are often characterized as an idyllic time. Television shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best showed family harmony and a time of little stress. Eisenhower governed as a contemporary Republican in contrast to the frenzied pace of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The 1950s was a period of rapid social change. The baby-boom generation encompassed the whole decade, and rapid increase spurred economic demand. Housing adopted the automobile’s production techniques, which made homes affordable and made the suburbs possible.
This rapid transformation of the social background was amid an equally rapid transformation in Kennedy. He had progressed quickly during his six years within the House. Now within the Senate, he set his sights on expanding his political skills and his attention to foreign affairs.
Kennedy’s first committee assignments within the Senate were the Labor and Public Welfare Committee and therefore the Government Operations Committee. His office was on the third floor of the Russell Senate office block, at the time the sole Senate office block. Across the hall was the office of the President of the Senate, vice chairman Nixon.
One of the most incremental events that led to John being the 35th U.S. president was the vice-presidential candidacy, which Stevenson opened for the Convention. It was preferred by Senator Estes Kefauver from Tennessee. Kefauver also held one of the first televised Senate hearings and an inquiry in a special commission on organized crime, which earned him a well-known reputation. Despite that, Kennedy showed strongly at the convention regardless of Kefauver's advantage. He urged the convention to make the appointment unanimous after Kefauver finally secured the nomination. His star soared even in loss. As a result, John F. Kennedy was becoming a popular politician. In 1956, he was almost picked to run for vice presidency. Kennedy nonetheless decided that he would run for president in the next election.
JFK: The 35th President of the United States
On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was elected as the 35th President of the United States. He spoke in his opening speech about the need for active citizenship for all Americans. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," he said. With his wife and two children, President Kennedy carried to the White House new youthful energy. The Kennedys felt that America's history, tradition, and accomplishment should be honored in the White House. Artists, authors, scientists, poets, singers, dancers, and athletes were encouraged to meet them.
Jacqueline Kennedy was also drawn to American history through her husband. She has restored every room in the White House to a position that genuinely represents America's heritage and creative ingenuity with some of the finest arts and furniture the United States ever made. Because of Kennedy's two youngest children Caroline and John-John, the White House still appeared to be a friendly spot. On the outdoor lawn of the White House was a pre-school, a swimming pool, and a treehouse. President Kennedy undoubtedly was the country's busy guy, but always had time to laugh and play with his grandchildren.
President Kennedy worked long hours, woke up at 7, and then got to bed eleven or twelve hours later. At his breakfast, he read six newspapers, saw essential people all day long, and went on to skim through updates from his consultants. He wanted us to maneuver forward into the longer term with discoveries in science and enhancements in education, employment, and other fields. He wanted democracy and freedom for the entire world.
On top of that, the prospect of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union was one of the most worrying aspects. Since World War II, the two countries have had rising irritations and suspicions between them, yet there were no shots between Soviet and U.S. soldiers. Simply put, there was a festering confrontation between a communist dictatorship of the Soviet Union and the independence of the United States, unlike any other war that the world has seen, also known as The Cold War. Both states invested large sums of money developing nuclear weapons, and they distrusted each other. Ironically enough, the Soviet Union and the USA have been able to resolve their rivalry in the nuclear war several times in the past.
Of course, President Kennedy had to face several serious concerns. Most crucial of which was racial inequality. It was in 1954 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation was no longer allowed in public schools. There were, however, many schools that didn't comply with this rule, particularly in Southern states. Ethnic segregation also existed in taxis, hotels, cinemas, and other public sites. Tens of thousands of Americans from all ethnicities and societies came together to protest this injustice peacefully.
One of the prominent founders of the civil rights movement at that time was Martin Luther King Jr. Many advocates in civil rights thought President Kennedy had not been sufficiently respectful of their activities. He believed that mass marches would only irritate many white people and make it much harder for Congressional officials not to vote to adopt civil rights legislation. However, President Kennedy announced by June 11, 1963 that it was time to take stronger steps in the fight against civil rights. He put forward the Congress for a new civil rights bill and on TV, he begged Americans to stop bigotry. President Kennedy made it known that all Americans should live a pleasant and peaceful life in the United States regardless of their skin color.
On November 22, 1963, a very tragic incident happened. President Kennedy traveled to Texas for many diplomatic interventions. The next day, as his car was driving slowly in Dallas, there were shots. Kennedy was severely injured and died shortly after. In a few hours after the killing, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by police and charged with the murder of President Kennedy. Oswald was shot and killed on November 24th by Jack Ruby, silencing the one person who may have provided more information about this horrific incident. The Warren Commission has been arranged to examine the murder and clarify several unanswered questions.
The death of President Kennedy brought great pain and sorrow to all Americans. When they learned the facts, most people would remember exactly where they were and what they did. Hundreds of thousands gathered for the President's funeral in Washington D.C. and millions viewed it on TV worldwide. As the years have passed with many presidents writing their part in our country's presidential history, John Kennedy's brief time still stands out in people's memories for his leadership, unique personality, and various accomplishments.
Most people admire President Kennedy’s coolness when dealing with challenging choices, such as what was achieved in 1962 in Cuba with the Soviet missiles. Other people admire his potential in his eloquent speeches to inspire people. However, some people thought it’d be more necessary to have compassion and commitment to work with new government projects to support the needy, the elderly, and the sick. John F. Kennedy surely made mistakes like all the preceding presidents, but he's always been hopeful about the future. He assumed that if people put their country's needs first and collaborated, people could overcome their shared problems.