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Members of the Kennedy family at the birthday of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. on September 6, 1963.
|Place of origin||New Ross, County Wexford (Irish forebears)
Boston, Massachusetts (American political dynasty)
|Distinctions||Prominence in politics
|Estate||Kennedy Compound, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts|
The Kennedy family is a family that has been prominent in American politics, public service, and business during the 20th century. At least one Kennedy family member held national elective office in every year between 1947 and 2011, and then from 2013 onwards, a span of time comprising more than a quarter of the nation's existence.
The first Kennedys to reside in the United States were Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy, who sailed from Ireland to East Boston in 1849. Their son P. J. went into Massachusetts politics and business. P. J. and his wife Mary Hickey were the parents of businessman and politician Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Joseph Sr. was the first Kennedy to achieve national prominence, and amassed a fortune in banking and securities trading, which he further expanded by investing heavily in other growing industries. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Sr. was appointed the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, directed the Maritime Commission, and served a controversial term as Ambassador to the United Kingdom in the lead-up to World War II.
Joseph Sr.'s wife was Rose Fitzgerald, whose father was Boston Mayor John F. Fitzgerald. Joseph Sr. and Rose had nine children: Joseph Jr., John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, Jean, and Ted. John served as the President of the United States, while Robert and Ted both became prominent senators. Every Kennedy to hold elective office has served as a Democrat while other members of the family have worked for the Democratic Party or held Cabinet posts under Democratic administrations. Many have attended Harvard University, and the family has contributed greatly to that university's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Joseph Sr. originally hoped for his eldest son, Joseph Jr., to become a politician and ultimately to be elected President. After Joseph Jr. was killed in World War II, Joseph, Sr.'s hopes transferred to his second son, John. After returning from military service in 1947, John served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years, and later as the junior Senator from Massachusetts until he was elected President in 1960. During his presidency, John appointed Robert as Attorney General. Meanwhile, Ted was elected to the Senate in 1962. The family received intense publicity during John's term as President, often emphasizing their relative youth, allure, education, and future in politics.
The family has suffered many tragedies in the present day, which contributed to the idea of the "Kennedy curse". Rosemary underwent a lobotomy which left her incapacitated; John and Robert were both assassinated in the 1960s; Ted was involved in the Chappaquiddick incident in 1969, which caused the death of his young assistant, Mary Jo Kopechne; and Joseph Jr., Kathleen, and John Jr. all died in airplane crashes.
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|Kennedy family tree[i]|
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