John F. Kennedy

Biography

John F. Kennedy, sometimes known as Jack or simply JFK, was born May 29, 1917 to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald. He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and all four of his grandparents were children of immigrants from Ireland. He was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

Biography (cont.)

JFK served in the U.S. Navy from 1941-1945. When his older brother Joe Jr. was killed in action, he returned to take a political position to represent the Kennedy family. He served as a congressman representing Massachusetts in the House of Representatives from 1946 to 1952. He then ran for Senate in the 1952 election, claiming a seat until 1960, when he decided to run for president.

Presidential Career

JFK was sworn in as the 35th president in 1962 and hit the ground running. He is famously quoted as saying "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." in his inaugural address, and he asked that the nations of the world join together against the "common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself." He was very optimistic about his term, which would cause tension early on due to the contrast of this vision to the pressure of managing political realities at home. His term would be unfortunately cut short, however, as he would be assassinated late 1963 in Dallas.
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3 Noteworthy Achievements

1) Cuban Missile Crisis - Would improve Kennedy's image by proving his willpower through not beginning what would have been a disastrous and unpopular war.

2) Peace Corps - Kennedy asked Congress to create the Peace Corps in order to send American volunteers to aid struggling countries.

3) Through executive order established the President's committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, making a large step toward racial integration by disallowing denying employment based on race.

3 Blunders

1) Bay of Pigs - Sent a group of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba without any support as a counter-revolutionary insurgency. Increase tension between Cuba and the U.S. greatly.

2) Construction of the Kinzua Dam - displaced roughly 600 Seneca, and continued with construction despite being asked by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop.

3) Got off on the wrong foot with relation with the Soviet Union by reacting aggressively to a speech made about the Cold War. Increased tensions.

Popularity

Commonly considered one of the most popular presidents, despite not serving a full term. Had a very high approval rating after the handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, reaching about 77%.

Members of 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)

Opinion

JFK's optimistic outlook on the situation in the world around him would be very beneficial in our society today. However, he could not be elected today as he is dead.

Interesting Fact

During his service in the Navy, his boat was attacked by a Japanese destroyer. He re-injured his spine in the collision, yet managed to collect the survivors in the water and take a vote on whether to fight or surrender. He also towed a badly burned crew member to safety while holding a life jacket with his teeth.