John F. Kennedy
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 is 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. Kennedy served in the US Navy in World War II. 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 , 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 and Oswald were killed, President Lyndon Johnson created the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination. See John F. Kennedy assassination for further details of the circumstances surrounding Kennedy's death.
John F. Kennedy's grave with Eternal Flame
at Arlington National Cemetery. ()
Kennedy's life and the subsequent 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.
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.
Supreme Court appointments
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Presidents of the United States