John F. Kennedy

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DiSalle, Michael V. and Kennedy, John F..jpg
Ohio Governor Michael DiSalle shaking hands with John F. Kennedy. Kennedy visited Ohio during his 1960 Presidential campaign.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the thirty-fifth President of the United States. He was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He attended both public and private schools before enrolling in Princeton University in 1935. Kennedy transferred to Harvard University the next year. He graduated from Harvard in 1940. He attended graduate school at Stanford University from 1940 to 1941. Kennedy left school and enlisted in the United States Navy at the beginning of World War II. He rose from the rank of seaman to lieutenant during his four years in the Navy.

Receiving an honorable discharge at the end of the war, Kennedy worked briefly as a newspaper reporter. In 1946, he began a political career and was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a representative from Massachusetts as a member of the Democratic Party. He served as a representative from 1947 to 1952, when he was elected to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1958. In 1956, he achieved national recognition when his book Profiles in Courage which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography.

In 1960, Kennedy was elected President of the United States. He defeated Republican Richard Milhous Nixon in one of the closest presidential elections in United States history. Kennedy won the popular vote with just over 100,000 votes of more than sixty-eight million votes cast. Kennedy was the first man born in the twentieth century to be elected President.

In the election of 1960, Ohioans favored Nixon over Kennedy. Nixon won Ohio by 273,363 votes, the largest plurality for Nixon in any state. The Republican Party also gained firm control over both houses of the Ohio legislature in this election.

As president, Kennedy sought to create new opportunity for the U.S. public. His domestic agenda became known as the New Frontier. Kennedy supported increased funding for education, improvements in civil rights and federal funds to help revitalize cities. The United States Congress refused to enact some of his proposals. Congress did approve the Peace Corps, where volunteers from the U.S. would assist in developing better living conditions in foreign countries. At Kennedy's urging, the Congress did authorize funding to attempt to place a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s.

The Cold War dominated Kennedy's foreign policy. Kennedy increased the number of U.S. advisers in South Vietnam. He also approved the Bay of Pigs Invasion, an attempt by exiled Cubans to overthrow Cuba's communist dictator, Fidel Castro. Kennedy succeeded in preventing the Soviet Union from placing nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962, in what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also negotiated a treaty with the Soviet Union that outlawed the testing of nuclear warheads in outer space.

When Kennedy visited Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, he was killed by an assassin named Lee Harvey Oswald. While Kennedy had faced some opposition as president, his untimely death made him one of the more revered presidents in U.S. history.

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