Kennedy (1917-1963), the 35th president of the United States (1961-1963), was the youngest person ever to be elected president. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the second of nine children of Joseph Patrick Kennedy and his wife, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. His brothers, Robert and Edward Kennedy also entered politics. The Kennedy family had long been active in politics. Joseph Kennedy was the son of Patrick Kennedy, a successful businessman and a prominent Boston politician. Although Joseph Kennedy never held elective office, he held appointed positions in the federal government during the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945).
In 1944 Kennedy's older brother, Joseph, was killed on a bombing mission over Belgium. Previously Joe Kennedy had planned to make his career in politics. Now John Kennedy, working as a reporter for the Hearst International News Service, decided to enter politics himself. In 1946 Kennedy set out to win the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District of Massachusetts. He entered the race early, Kennedy publicized his war record, concentrated on meeting the voters, and developing a political organization.
Though he ran against nine other candidates, Kennedy won the primary with 42 percent of the votes. As a new member of the Congress of the United States, Kennedy supported legislation that would appeal to the interests of his voters. Truman's critics, including Kennedy, charged that the administration had failed to support Chiang Kai-Shek against the Communists.
Kennedy easily won re-election to Congress in 1948 and 1950. The entire Kennedy family took part in the campaign, and Kennedy defeated Lodge by 70,000 votes despite the fact that Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican presidential candidate, carried the state by 208,000 votes. As a candidate for the Senate, Kennedy had promised the voters that he would do more for Massachusetts than Lodge had done.