John F. Kennedy Presidency Fast Facts

35th President of the United States

John F Kennedy, 1962
John F Kennedy, 1962. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917–1963) served as America's thirty-fifth president. He was the first Catholic elected to the office, and he and his wife brought glamour to the White House. Many key events in American history occurred during his brief time in office, including Alan Shepard's voyage into space and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was assassinated while in office on November 22, 1963. 

Fast Facts

Birth: May 29, 1917

Death: November 22, 1963

Term of Office: January 20, 1961–November 22, 1963

Number of Terms Elected: 1 term

First Lady: Jacqueline L. Bouvier

John F. Kennedy Quote

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."

Major Events While In Office

  • Peace Corps created (1961): The idea of creating a "Youth Peace Corps" became part of Kennedy's campaign in 1960. The Peace Corps was established as part of the Department of State with the general goal to "promote world peace and friendship" through meeting practical needs in struggling areas around the world and improving understanding among cultures.  
  • Bay of Pigs (1961): In the U.S. government's failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, virtually every part of the plan backfired. The secret force that was intended to look like defecting Cuban planes and soldiers was undeniably revealed to be U.S.-backed, and Castro's position was greatly strengthened, not weakened, by the event. 
  • Berlin Wall built (1961): Citizens of East Berlin who went to sleep in a divided but borderless city woke up on August 13, 1961 to find themselves trapped inside an enclosure that would remain standing for nearly three decades.  
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962): Kennedy's standoff with Soviet Premier, Nikita Krushchev, to prevent further armament of Cuba was a tenuous test of global diplomacy and one of the first realizations for many Americans that nuclear war was a real possibility. 

    Related John F. Kennedy Resources

    These additional resources on John F Kennedy can provide you with further information about the president and his times.

    • John F. Kennedy Biography: A detailed look at John F Kennedy's life, from childhood through his time as President. This biography provides detailed information to help you gain a better understanding of the man and his administration
    • Civil Rights Movement: Read about the people, places, and events that shaped the modern United States Civil Rights movement. The Brown v. Board of Education decision heralded the beginning of the movement. However, many more struggles had to be endured before there was real change in the American landscape.
    • Vietnam War: Vietnam was a war that brought great pain to many Americans and was considered by some to be an unnecessary war. Discover why it is an integral part of American History.  

    Other Presidential Fast Facts

    • Dwight Eisenhower: The popular president who preceded Kennedy for two terms in office. His presidency saw the end of the Korean War, Brown v. Board of Education, and the creation of the Interstate Highway System. 
    • Lyndon Johnson: The Vice President who stepped into the presidency after Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson was elected for a second term in 1964. His presidency is remembered for significant civil rights advancements as well as the escalation of the Vietnam War.