Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F Kennedy crop.jpg
Kennedy in 1964
United States Senator
from New York
In office
January 3, 1965 – June 6, 1968
Preceded byKenneth Keating
Succeeded byCharles Goodell
64th United States Attorney General
In office
January 21, 1961 – September 3, 1964
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
DeputyByron White
Nicholas Katzenbach
Preceded byWilliam P. Rogers
Succeeded byNicholas Katzenbach
Personal details
Robert Francis Kennedy

(1925-11-20)November 20, 1925
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJune 6, 1968(1968-06-06) (aged 42)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of deathAssassination
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1950)
RelativesKennedy family
EducationHarvard University (AB)
University of Virginia (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service U.S. Naval Reserve
Years of service1944–1946
RankE2 SM USN.png Seaman Apprentice
UnitUSS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.
Battles/warsWorld War II

Robert Francis Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also referred to by his initials RFK or by the nickname Bobby,[1][2] was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 64th United States Attorney General from January 1961 to September 1964, and as a U.S. Senator from New York from January 1965 until his assassination in June 1968. He was, like his brothers John and Edward, a prominent member of the Democratic Party and has come to be viewed by some historians as an icon of modern American liberalism.[3]

Kennedy was born into a wealthy, political family in Brookline, Massachusetts. After serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1944 to 1946, Kennedy returned to his studies at Harvard University, and later received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He began his career as a correspondent for The Boston Post and as an lawyer at the Justice Department, but later resigned to manage his brother John's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1952. The following year, he worked as an assistant counsel to the Senate committee chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy. He gained national attention as the chief counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee from 1957 to 1959, where he publicly challenged Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa over the union's corrupt practices. Kennedy resigned from the committee to conduct his brother's successful campaign in the 1960 presidential election. He was appointed United States Attorney General at the age of 36, becoming the youngest Cabinet member in U.S. history since Alexander Hamilton in 1789.[4][5] He served as his brother's closest advisor until the latter's 1963 assassination.[6]

His tenure is known for advocating for the civil rights movement, the fight against organized crime and the Mafia, and involvement in U.S. foreign policy related to Cuba.[7] He authored his account of the Cuban Missile Crisis in a book titled Thirteen Days. As attorney general, he authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on a limited basis.[8] After his brother's assassination, he remained in office during the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson for several months. He left to run for the United States Senate from New York in 1964 and defeated Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating.[9] In office, Kennedy opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and raised awareness of poverty by sponsoring legislation designed to lure private business to blighted communities (i.e., Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration project). He was an advocate for issues related to human rights and social justice by traveling abroad to eastern Europe, Latin America, and South Africa, and formed working relationships with Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Walter Reuther.

In 1968, Kennedy became a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency by appealing to poor, African American, Hispanic, Catholic, and young voters.[10] His main challenger in the race was Senator Eugene McCarthy. Shortly after winning the California primary around midnight on June 5, 1968, Kennedy was mortally wounded when shot with a pistol by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, allegedly in retaliation for his support of Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War. Kennedy died 25 hours later. Sirhan was arrested, tried, and convicted, though Kennedy's assassination, like his brother's, continues to be the subject of widespread analysis and numerous conspiracy theories.[11]

  1. ^ Greenfield, Jeff (June 4, 2018). "How RFK Could Have Become President". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on February 11, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  2. ^ Almond, Kyle. "Remembering RFK, 50 years later". CNN. Archived from the original on February 11, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Larry, Tye (May 9, 2017). Bobby Kennedy : the making of a liberal icon. New York. ISBN 9780812983500. OCLC 935987185.
  4. ^ Heil, Emily (April 30, 2013). "Anthony Foxx will be youngest Cabinet secretary". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  5. ^ "Robert Kennedy's Attorney General Office". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  6. ^ "Bobby Kennedy: Is He The Assistant President?". Archived from the original on December 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "Declassified Papers Provide New Window into RFK's Role As JFK's Closest Adviser". Archived from the original on March 22, 2019.
  8. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York City: Basic Books. p. 41. ISBN 0-465-04195-7.
  9. ^ "From the archives: Bobby claims victory over Keating". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  10. ^ Kahlenberg, Richard (March 16, 2018). "The Inclusive Populism of Robert F. Kennedy". The Century Foundation. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Arango, Tim. "A Campaign, a Murder, a Legacy: Robert F. Kennedy's California Story". The New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2018.