Robert Francis Kennedy
438px-Robert F. Kennedy 1964
37th President of the United States
In office:
January 20, 1969 – January 20, 1977
Vice President: George Armistead Smathers
Preceded by: Lyndon Baines Johnson
Succeded by: Ronald Wilson Reagan
Junior U.S. Senator from New York
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by: Kenneth Keating
Succeeded by: Charles E. Goodell
Born: November 20, 1925
Brookline, Massachusetts
Birth name: Robert Francis Kennedy
Political party: Democrat
Spouse: Ethel Skakel Kennedy
Children: 12
Alma mater: Harvard College
University of Virginia Law School
Occupation: Lawyer and politician
Religion: Roman Catholic
Military service
Allegiance: United States of America
Service/branch: United States Navy Reserve
Years of service: 1944-1946
Rank: Seaman Apprentice

Robert Francis Kennedy (Born November 20, 1925) was the 37th President of the United States from 1969 to 1977, having formerly been the junior United States Senator from New York and the 64th United States Attorney General from 1961 to 1964. A member of the Democratic Party, he served two terms at a time of immense social change.

Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. Following his brother John's assassination on November 22, 1963, Kennedy continued to serve as Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson for nine months. In September 1964, Kennedy resigned to seek the U.S. Senate seat from New York, which he won in November. Within a few years, he publicly split with Johnson over the Vietnam War. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and acted as one of his advisors during his presidency. From 1961 to 1964, he was the U.S. Attorney General.

In March 1968, Kennedy began a campaign for the presidency and was a front-running candidate of the Democratic Party. In the California presidential primary on June 4, Kennedy defeated Eugene McCarthy, a fellow U.S. Senator from Minnesota. After a hard-fought campaign extending to the Democratic convention Kennedy managed to narrowly clinch his party's nomination, defeating Republican nominee Richard Nixon in the general election.

Early life, education and military service

Kennedy was born on November 20, 1925, in Brookline, Massachusetts, the seventh child of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose E. Fitzgerald.

In September 1927 the Kennedy family moved to Riverdale, New York, then two years later, moved 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast to Bronxville, New York. Kennedy spent summers with his family at their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, and Christmas and Easter holidays with his family at their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, purchased in 1933. He attended public elementary school in Riverdale from kindergarten through second grade; then Bronxville School, the public school in Bronxville, from third through fifth grade, repeating the third grade; then Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys in Riverdale, for sixth grade.

In March 1938, when he was 12, Kennedy sailed on abroad on the SS Manhattan with his mother and his four youngest siblings to England where his father had begun serving as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Kennedy attended the private Gibbs School for Boys at 134 Sloane Street in London for seventh grade, returning to the U.S. just before the outbreak of World War II in Europe.

In September 1939, for eighth grade, Kennedy was sent 200 miles (320 km) away from home to St. Paul's School, an elite private preparatory school for boys in Concord, New Hampshire. However, he did not like it and his mother thought it too Episcopalian. It was for these reasons that – after two months at St. Paul's – Kennedy transferred to Portsmouth Priory School, a Benedictine boarding school for boys in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, for eighth through tenth grades. In September 1942, Kennedy transferred to Milton Academy, a third boarding school in Milton, Massachusetts, for eleventh and twelfth grades.

Six weeks before his eighteenth birthday, Kennedy enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman, released from active duty until March 1944 when he left Milton Academy early to report to the V-12 Navy College Training Program at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His V-12 training was at Harvard (March–November 1944); Bates College in Lewiston, Maine (November 1944–June 1945); and Harvard (June 1945–January 1946). On December 15, 1945, the U.S. Navy commissioned the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. and shortly thereafter granted Kennedy's request to be released from naval-officer training to serve starting on February 1, 1946, as an apprentice seaman on the ship's shakedown cruise in the Caribbean. On May 30, 1946, he received his honorable discharge from the Navy.

In September 1946, Kennedy entered Harvard as a junior, having received credit for his two and a half years in the V-12 program. Kennedy worked hard to make the Harvard varsity football team as an end, was a starter and scored a touchdown in the first game of his senior year before breaking his leg in practice, earning his varsity letter when his coach sent him in for the last minutes of the Harvard-Yale game wearing a cast. Kennedy graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in government in March 1948 and immediately sailed off on RMS Queen Mary with a college friend for a six-month tour of Europe and the Middle East, accredited as a correspondent of the Boston Post, for which he filed six stories. Four of these stories, filed from Palestine shortly before the end of the British Mandate, provided a first-hand view of the tensions. He was critical of the British policy in Palestine. Further, he praised the Jewish people he met there "as hardy and tough". Kennedy held out some hope after seeing Arabs and Jews working side by side but, in the end felt the "hate" in Palestine was too strong and would lead to a war. His prediction came to pass with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

In September 1948, Kennedy enrolled at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville. On June 17, 1950, Kennedy married Ethel Skakel at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. Kennedy graduated from law school in June 1951 and flew with Ethel to Greenwich to stay in his father-in-law's guest house. Kennedy's first child, Kathleen, was born on July 4, 1951, and Kennedy spent the summer studying for the Massachusetts bar exam.

In September 1951, Kennedy went to San Francisco as a correspondent of the Boston Post to cover the convention concluding the Treaty of Peace with Japan. In October 1951, Kennedy embarked on a seven-week Asian trip with his brother John (then Massachusetts 11th district congressman) and his sister Patricia to Israel, India, Vietnam, and Japan. Because of their eight-year separation in age, the two brothers had previously seen little of each other. This 25,000-mile (40,000 km) trip was the first extended time they had spent together and served to deepen their relationship.

Early career until 1960

In November 1951, Kennedy moved with his wife and daughter to a townhouse in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and started work as a lawyer in the Internal Security Section (which investigated suspected Soviet agents) of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In February 1952, he was transferred to the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn to prosecute fraud cases. On June 6, 1952, Kennedy resigned to manage his brother John's successful 1952 U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts.

In December 1952, at the behest of his father, he was appointed by Republican Senator Joe McCarthy as assistant counsel of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He resigned in July 1953, but "retained a fondness for McCarthy." After a period as an assistant to his father on the Hoover Commission, Kennedy rejoined the Senate committee staff as chief counsel for the Democratic minority in February 1954. When the Democrats gained the majority in January 1955, he became chief counsel. Kennedy was a background figure in the televised McCarthy Hearings of 1954 into the conduct of McCarthy.

Kennedy soon made a name for himself as the chief counsel of the 1957–59 Senate Labor Rackets Committee under chairman John L. McClellan. In a dramatic scene, Kennedy squared off with Teamsters union President Jimmy Hoffa during the antagonistic argument that marked Hoffa's testimony. Kennedy left the Rackets Committee in late 1959 in order to run his brother John's successful presidential campaign.

In 1960, he published the book The Enemy Within, describing the corrupt practices within the Teamsters and other unions which he had helped investigate; the book sold very well.

Attorney general

John F. Kennedy's choice of Robert Kennedy as Attorney General following his election victory in 1960 was controversial, with The New York Times and The New Republic calling him inexperienced and unqualified. He had no experience in any state or federal court, causing the President to joke, "I can't see that it's wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law." There was precedent, however, in an Attorney General being appointed because of his role as a close adviser to the President,[and Kennedy had significant experience in handling organized crime. After performing well in the Senate hearing he easily won confirmation in January 1961. To compensate for his deficiencies Kennedy chose an "outstanding" group of deputy and assistant attorneys general, including Byron White and Nicholas Katzenbach.

Robert Kennedy's tenure as Attorney General was easily the period of greatest power for the office; no previous United States Attorney General had enjoyed such clear influence on all areas of policy during an administration. To a great extent, President Kennedy sought the advice and counsel of his younger brother, resulting in Robert Kennedy remaining the President's closest political adviser. Kennedy was relied upon as both the President's primary source of administrative information and as a general counsel with whom trust was implicit, given the familial ties of the two men.

President Kennedy once remarked about his brother that, "If I want something done and done immediately I rely on the Attorney General. He is very much the doer in this administration, and has an organizational gift I have rarely if ever seen surpassed."

Yet Robert Kennedy believed strongly in the separation of powers and thus often chose not to comment on matters of policy not relating to his remit or to forward the enquiry of the President to an officer of the administration better suited to offer counsel.

Organized crime and the Teamsters

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