John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He entered the Navy in 1940 after graduation from Harvard. Back from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote "Profiles in Courage," and won the Pulitzer Prize in history.
In 1960 Kennedy gained the Democratic Party's nomination for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the youngest man elected President, and the first Roman Catholic.
President Kennedy's economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II. He also took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation.
Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a group of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro. The invasion was a failure. In 1962 the Russians began to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. When this was discovered in October of 1962, Kennedy imposed a quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. With the world on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians backed down and agreed to remove the missiles. Kennedy asserted that both the Russians and Americans had a vital interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and the arms race. To this end his administration negotiated the test ban treaty of 1963.
On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas.
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