John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) was the thirty-fifth president of the United States. Kennedy graduated from Harvard and served in the US Navy during World War II before entering politics. In 1946, he was elected to the US House of Representatives, where he remained until he was elected to the Senate in 1952. In 1953 he married Jacqueline Bouvier. In 1960 he beat out Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic nomination for president. Kennedy bested Republican nominee Richard Nixon in the first televised debate during the general election campaign. He also courted black voters after the imprisonment of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite questions related to his youth and his Catholic faith, Kennedy won a narrow victory over Nixon in the 1960 election.

As president, Kennedy faced crises in both domestic and foreign policy, ranging from the growing tension over the Civil Rights Movement to the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy was responsible for actions that resulted in both criticism (for example, his escalation of American involvement in Vietnam) and praise (such as his establishment of the Peace Corps). By 1963, Kennedy was a very popular president looking forward to re-election in 1964. Kennedy’s ambitions were cut short, however, when he was shot and killed by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Though conspiracy theories remain, a commission headed by Supreme Court chief justice Earl Warren determined that Oswald had acted alone.

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