John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States, the youngest
person ever to be elected President, the first Roman Catholic and the first to be born in
the 20th century.
Kennedy was assassinated before he completed his third year as
President, therefore his achievements were limited.
Nevertheless, his influence was
worldwide, and his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis may have prevented the United
States from entering into another world war.
Kennedy was especially admired by the
younger people and he was perhaps the most popular president in history.
expressed the values of 20th century America and his presidency had an importance
beyond its political achievements.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline,
Massachusetts where he was one of nine children.
The Kennedy family was very
wealthy and provided
means for the Kennedy children to pursue whatever they chose
and John F. Kennedy chose politics.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1942 and as a new member Kennedy
supported legislation that would serve the interests of his elements.
backed bills sponsored by his party but would sometimes show independence by voting
with the Republicans.
He also joined with the Republicans in criticizing the Truman
administration& s handling of China.
In China, the Nationalist government of Chiang
Kai-shek, which had been supported by the United States, was unable to withstand the
advance of Communist forces under Mao Zedong.
By the end of 1949 government
troops had been overwhelmingly defeated, and Chiang led his forces into exile on
The triumphant Mao formed the PeopleAs Republic of China.
Truman± s critics,
including Kennedy, charged that the administration had failed to support Chiang
won reelection to Congress in 1948 and 1950.
In 1952 he decided to run against
functioning Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Kennedy was little known
outside his congressional district therefore he began his campaign two years before the
election, meeting with hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts.
defeated Lodge by 70,000"1 votes despite the fact that Dwight D. Eisenhower, the
Republican Presidential candidate, carried the state by just over 200,000 votes.
As a candidate for the Senate, Kennedy promised the voters that he would do
more for Massachusetts than Lodge had ever done.
During his first two years as senator
he backed legislation beneficial to the Massachusetts textile, fishing, watch, and
In 1953, however, he defied regional interests and supported
the Saint Lawrence Seaway project and later in 1955 he was the only New England
senator to support renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act that gave the
President the power to lower U. S. tariffs, or taxes on import goods, in exchange for