On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John F. Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President; he was the youngest to die.
Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1940, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.
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", which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.
In 1961 John F. Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President. His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction:
"Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country".
As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.
Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. He wished America to be resuming its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society
Kennedy is known to have done a lot to solve the Cuban crisis during which the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war. He realized that both sides had a vital interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and slowing the arms race. The months after the Cuban crisis showed significant progress toward the goal of "a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war". This progress led to the test ban treaty of 1963.
John F. Kennedy's administration thus saw the beginning of new hope for both the equal rights of Americans and the peace of the world.