IN POPULAR MEMORY, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains a painful scar on the American past. A Democrat, narrowly elected after nearly a decade of cultural conservatism and Republican political dominance, he symbolized a new era in American politics and the American century. Though his administration lasted just over 1,000 days, Kennedy's personality and political initiatives had important, enduring effects for the American political and social landscape.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. The second son of Joseph Patrick Kennedy and his wife, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Kennedy enjoyed a privileged childhood within one of America's most prominent political families, known for their political liberalism and general allegiance to the Democratic Party. Educated at the Choate School, Kennedy then ...

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