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John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Congressional Career

As a Congressman from Massachusetts (1947–53), Jack Kennedy consistently supported the domestic programs of the Truman administration but criticized its China policy. In 1952, despite the Eisenhower landslide, he defeated Henry Cabot Lodge for a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he served on the Labor and Public Welfare and Foreign Relations committees. In 1953, Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (see Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy). While recuperating in 1955 from an operation to repair a spinal problem, one of the many serious and often extremely painful illnesses that plagued him from childhood until his death, he wrote Profiles in Courage (1956). The book dealt with American political leaders who defied public opinion to vote according to their consciences; for this work (later revealed to have been written in part by Theodore Sorensen and others) he received the Pulitzer Prize. Although Kennedy narrowly lost the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1956, his overwhelming reelection as Senator in 1958 helped him toward the goal of presidential candidacy.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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