Robert F. Kennedy

U.S. Congressperson

1925 – 1968

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Who was Robert F. Kennedy?

Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, who served as a United States Senator for New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. He was previously the 64th U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964, serving under his older brother, President John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1968 election.

After service in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Seaman Apprentice from 1944 to 1946, Kennedy graduated from Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to entering public office, he worked as a correspondent to the Boston Post and as an attorney in Washington D.C.. He rose to national acclaim as the chief counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee from 1957 to 1959, where he publicly challenged Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa over the corrupt practices of the union, and published The Enemy Within, a book about corruption in organized labor.

A prominent member of the Kennedy family, Bobby was the campaign manager for his brother Jack in the 1960 presidential election and was appointed Attorney General during his presidential administration. He also served as a White House adviser to the president from 1961 to 1963. His tenure is best known for its advocacy for the African-American Civil Rights Movement, crusade against organized crime and the mafia, and diplomacy during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. After his brother's assassination, Kennedy left the LBJ administration to run for the United States Senate in 1964, defeating Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating.

Famous Quotes:

  • The free way of life proposes ends, but it does not prescribe means.
  • What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.
  • Progress is a nice word, but change is its motivator and change has enemies.
  • Don't get mad, get even.
  • Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes.
  • One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.
  • It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and injustice.
  • Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.
  • Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
  • There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

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Nov 20, 1925
Also known as
  • Bobby Kennedy
  • RFK
  • Robert Kennedy
  • Robert Francis Kennedy
  • R.F.K.
  • Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy
  • Bobby
  • Senator Robert Kennedy
  • Senator Robert Kennedy of New York
  • Kennedy, Robert F.
  • Catholicism
  • United States of America
  • Harvard University
  • University of Virginia School of Law
  • Harvard College
  • Milton Academy
  • Bates College
  • University of Virginia
Lived in
  • Boston
  • New York
Jun 6, 1968
Los Angeles
Resting place
Arlington National Cemetery

on July 23, 2013


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