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John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America. His presidency ran from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. He was a known civil rights activist and charismatic political leader who led both the naval blockade in Cuba and Space Race against the Soviets.
See the fact file below for more information on the John F. Kennedy or alternatively, you can download our 21-page John F. Kennedy worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY AND PERSONAL LIFE
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy (a.k.a. Jack) was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. Both of his parents were from the clan of wealthy Irish Catholic Boston families. His grandparents’ professions included banker, liquor trader, and politician. He was the son of Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a socialite, and Joseph Kennedy Sr., a successful banker.
- The Kennedy children were raised in the political eye. His brother Robert became an Attorney General while his sister Eunice founded the Special Olympics.
- Young Jack attended the Canterbury Catholic boys’ boarding school in Connecticut. He also enrolled in Choate Preparatory school where he manifested his interest in sports, English, and History. Jack was regarded as an academic underachiever.
- Physically, Jack became chronically ill during his childhood which lasted to adolescence. This almost resulted in him dropping out of school.
- In 1936, Kennedy transferred to Harvard University after a semester in Princeton. He continued to be an average student, yet handsome and charming to a lot of women.
- By 1939, after his father was appointed as the Ambassador to Britain, he became interested in researching WWII between Great Britain and Germany. A year later, Why England Slept was published with more than 80,000 copies being sold.
- Upon graduating from Harvard, Jack joined the U.S Navy and was shortly assigned to the South Pacific.
- On August 2, 1943, Kennedy was badly injured after an encounter with a Japanese warship. His heroic act of leading the survivors on an island was awarded with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart.
- After his discharge from the US Navy, Kennedy worked for the Hearst Newspaper. His brother Joseph Jr. was not as fortunate as Jack. He died in the field leaving the family’s political ambition and responsibilities to Jack.
- At the age of 29, Kennedy ran for a seat in the US Representatives for Boston. He won the election and served from 1946 until 1952.
- In 1952, Kennedy defeated Republican senatorial candidate Henry Cabot Lodge for the seat in the US Senate. His heroic image after the war, together with his father’s money and influence, made winning easier for Kennedy.
- On September 12, 1953, Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier with whom he had three children namely; Caroline, John Jr, and Patrick.
- In 1957, Kennedy became the only US President to win the Pulitzer Prize for publishing Profiles in Courage.
JFK PRESIDENCY AND DEATH
- On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected as the 35th President of the United States after he defeated the incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. Lyndon B. Johnson was chosen as Kennedy’s vice president.
- On January 20, 1961, he took his oath of office at the East Portico, US Capitol. At the age of 43, he became the youngest American President.
- During his inauguration, he uttered one of his most famous speeches which included the phrase “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
- In April of 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion failed and was blamed on Kennedy.
- On May 25, he promised the American people that before the decade ends, the US will set foot on the moon. This declaration was made after a Russian astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man in space on April 12, 1961.
- By September 1961, the Peace Corps Act was passed by the Congress due to President Kennedy’s initiative.
- In June of the same year, he met with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna to put an end to the issues regarding East Germany. By August, the Berlin Wall was erected after no agreement was made.
- On October 22, 1962, Kennedy declared the naval blockade of Cuba after the information of missile installations by the Russians.
- On June 10, 1963, he signed the Equal Pay Act which abolished discrimination in wage based on sex.
- In July, Kennedy initiated the nuclear test ban treaty between the United States, Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. It was later on passed into law by the US Congress.
- On August 28, 1963, he privately supported the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led by civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
- By the end of October, Soviet Premier Khrushchev dismantled missile installations while the US pledged not to invade Cuba. These actions led to the lifting of the naval blockade, thus ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- In November of that same year, Kennedy supported the coup plan against South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother due to fear of communism.
- On November 22, 1963, while riding a motorcade with his wife in Dallas, Texas, Kennedy was shot dead. He was rushed to Parkland Hospital and was declared dead minutes later. Shortly after, Lyndon B. Johnson took his oath as the new president of the United States.
- At the age of 46, Kennedy became the youngest US President to die. On the same day of the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. He was shot in public by Jack Ruby two days later.
- On November 25, his state funeral was attended by diplomats from 90 countries and former presidents Eisenhower and Truman. His body was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.
- On September 24, 1964, the Warren Commission, established by President Johnson, delivered the report regarding Kennedy’s assassination which pointed out that a single gunman, Oswald, had killed the President.
- However, in 1978 the United States House Select on Assassinations presented that Kennedy’s assassination was a product of conspiracy and that the Warren Commission failed to deliver a genuine report.
- In 1971, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Performing Arts was opened followed by the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in 1979.
John F. Kennedy Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about John F. Kennedy across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use John F. Kennedy worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about John F. Kennedy who was the 35th President of the United States of America. His presidency ran from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. He was a known civil rights activist and charismatic political leader who led both the naval blockade in Cuba and Space Race against the Soviets.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- John F. Kennedy Facts
- Knowing JFK
- The Kennedys
- JFK Policies
- Man in Space
- JFK Link
- Assassination Plot
- The Cold War
- Kennedy Says
- Conspiracy Theory
- Mapping Issues
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