John F. Kennedy

35th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-196335th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-196335th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-196335th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-196335th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-196335th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963

35th President John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963

35th President of the United States
(January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963)

Full Name: John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Nickname: "JFK", "Jack"

Born: May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas

Father: Joseph Patrick Kennedy (1888-1969)
Mother: Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890-1995)
Married: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929-1994), on September 12, 1953
Children: Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (1957- ); John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. (1960-99); Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (1963)

Religion: Roman Catholic
Education: Graduated from Harvard College (1940)
Occupation: Author, public official
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1947-53
  • United States Senator, 1953-61

Presidential Salary: $100,000/year + $50,000 expense account (refused by Kennedy)

Presidential Election Results:

YearCandidatePopular VotesElectoral Votes
1960John F. Kennedy34,226,731303
(map)Richard M. Nixon34,108,157219

Vice President: Lyndon B. Johnson (1961-63)


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)

Supreme Court Justices:
Byron White (1962-1993)
Arthur Goldberg (1962-1965)

Notable Events:
  • 1961
    • On March 1, the Peace Corps was created.
    • On April 17, the U.S. sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba failed.
    • On May 5, Alan Shepard Jr. became the first American in space. In an address to Congress on May 25 Kennedy pledged the U.S. will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
    • On August 13, East Germany began building the Berlin Wall.
  • 1962
    • On February 3, Kennedy banned trade with Cuba.
    • On February 20, John Glenn orbited the Earth.
    • On October 16, Kennedy informed about the existence of missiles in Cuba On October 22, Kennedy informed the American people and announced the subsequent naval quarantine. On October 28, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended.
  • 1963
Internet Biographies:
John F. Kennedy -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
John F. Kennedy -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
John F. Kennedy -- from Encyclopaedia Britannica
Facts about Kennedy and his presidency.
John F. Kennedy -- from Character Above All
From a PBS broadcast of the same name, this essay excerpt by Richard Reeves discusses some of the issues and events that molded Kennedy.
Historical Documents:
Inaugural Address (1961)
Announcement of Candidacy for the Presidency (1960)
The Presidency in 1960 (1960)
Remarks at the University of Michigan (1960)
Kennedy proposes the Peace Corps.
Address Accepting the Democratic Party Nomination for the Presidency (1960)
Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (1960)
Kennedy addresses the issue of his religion.
Address to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1961)
"City upon a hill" speech.
Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs (1961)
Kennedy establishes goal of landing a man on the moon.
Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (1961)
Address at the Inaugural Anniversary Dinner (1962)
Humorous parody of the Inaugural Address
Address at the University of California, Berkeley (1962)
Commencement Address at Yale University (1962)
Radio and TV Address on the Situation in Mississippi (1962)
Radio and TV Report on the Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba (1962)
Commencement Address at American University (1963)
Kennedy and the beginning of detente.
Radio and TV Report on Civil Rights (1963)
Remarks at the Rudolph Wilde Platz (1963)
Berlin Wall speech ("Ich bin ein Berliner.")
Address to the Irish Parliament (1963)
Radio and TV Address on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)
Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (1963)
Remarks at Amherst College (1963)
Kennedy on the importance of the arts.
Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas (1963)
This speech was never given.
Remarks Prepared for Delivery to the Texas State Democratic Convention, Austin, Texas (1963)
This speech was never given.
John F. Kennedy Digital Collections - from the Library of Congress
Other Internet Resources:
The Best Biographies of John F. Kennedy
In 2012, Stephen Floyd started his search for the best biography of each president. He usually has reviews of multiple biographies for each president.
Health and Medical History of John Kennedy
Medical background of each president with references. Compiled by John Sotos, MD.
JFK Assassination Homepage
Created by Ralph Schuster, this is one of many conspiracy sites on the Internet on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In addition to the author's personal opinions, there is other useful information here -- a film and video library, an account of the events of November 22, 1963, the text of the Warren Report, and links to other JFK assassination sites.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, information on the museum, library collection, and tours can be found here.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
Located in Brookline, Massachusetts, tours of the home where JFK was born and grew up.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
A "living memorial" to Kennedy, an outspoken supporter of the arts. Located in Washington, D.C. Information on the history and performances at the Kennedy Center is also available.
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy Gravesite
Eternal flame in Arlington NationalCemetery marking the final resting place for Kennedy and his wife, Jackie.
Sixth Floor Museum
Located on the Sixth Floor of the former Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas, this site is believed to be the location where Kennedy's assassin fired upon the presidential motorcade. Now a museum dedicated to the life of Kennedy. Tourist information is available.
Points of Interest:

Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125

83 Beals St, Brookline, MA 02446

Irving Ave, Hyannis, MA 02601

411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202

Arlington Cemetery

1 Sheridan Dr, Fort Myer, VA 22211

2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566

Additional Facts:
  • Kennedy was the first Catholic president.
  • On September 26, 1960, Kennedy participated in the first televised presidential debate along with Richard Nixon.
  • Kennedy was the first president to be inaugurated with a living grandparent.
  • Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957 for Profiles in Courage.
  • Kennedy was the first president to have served in the Navy. He was also the first to be awarded the Purple Heart.
  • Kennedy was the only president to have a sibling serve in his cabinet.
  • Kennedy was the first president to be survived by both parents. His grandmother, Mary Josephine Hannon also survived him.
  • Kennedy's speech to the students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on October 14, 1960 was the start of the Peace Corps.
  • In his speech to a Joint Session of Congress on May 25, 1961, Kennedy set the goal of landing a man on the moon by 1969 for the United States's Space Program (NASA).
  • Kennedy gave a famous speech in West Berlin in June 1963 that emphasized the importance of the "free world" fighting the "Communist world". Two memorable phrases that he spoke in German were: "Lasst sie nach Berlin kommen," or "Let them come to Berlin"; and "Ich bin ein Berliner," or "I am a Berliner."
  • Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas. He had spent little more than a thousand days in office before being assassinated.
  • In 1965, the report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (also known as the Warren Commission) found that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, fatally shot Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Three other government investigations were later conducted. All three agreed with the Warren Commission's conclusions that Oswald's shots did kill Kennedy. However, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979 also concluded that another shooter fired upon Kennedy from the Dealey Plaza grassy knoll and missed. The existence of a second shooter and many other conclusions in these investigations are very controversial.

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

“Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met — obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.”

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.”

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”

“The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.”

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”

Previous President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Next President: Lyndon B. Johnson