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Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy, official photo portrait crop.jpg
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
November 7, 1962 – August 25, 2009
Preceded byBenjamin A. Smith II
Succeeded byPaul G. Kirk
Chair of the Senate Health Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – August 25, 2009*
Preceded byMike Enzi
Succeeded byChris Dodd (Acting)
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byJim Jeffords
Succeeded byJudd Gregg
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded byJim Jeffords
Succeeded byJim Jeffords
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byOrrin Hatch
Succeeded byNancy Kassebaum
Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byJames Eastland
Succeeded byStrom Thurmond
Senate Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1971
LeaderMike Mansfield
Preceded byRussell B. Long
Succeeded byRobert Byrd
Personal details
Born
Edward Moore Kennedy

(1932-02-22)February 22, 1932
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedAugust 25, 2009(2009-08-25) (aged 77)
Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
(m. 1958; div. 1982)

(m. 1992)
Children
ParentsJoseph P. Kennedy Sr.
Rose Fitzgerald
RelativesSee Kennedy family
EducationHarvard University (AB)
University of Virginia (LLB)
Net worth$43–162 million (USD)[1]
Signature
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Branch/service U.S. Senator from Massachusetts for almost 47 years, from 1962 until his death in 2009. A member of the Democratic Party and the Kennedy political family, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-continuously-serving senator in United States history. Kennedy was a brother of President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and was the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.

After attending Harvard University and receiving his law degree from the University of Virginia, he began his career as an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Kennedy was 30 years old when he first entered the Senate following a November 1962 special election in Massachusetts to fill the vacant seat previously held by his brother John, who had taken office as the president. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1964 and was later re-elected seven more times. The Chappaquiddick incident in 1969 resulted in the death of his automobile passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, as well as physical injuries and mental anguish to Kennedy. He pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and later received a two-month suspended sentence. The incident and its aftermath hindered his chances of ever becoming president. His only attempt, in the 1980 election, resulted in a Democratic primary campaign loss to the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter.

Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills. His 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. Kennedy and his staff wrote more than 300 bills that were enacted into law. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government that emphasized economic and social justice, but he was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises. Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the COBRA health insurance provision, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Mental Health Parity Act, the S-CHIP children's health program, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. During the 2000s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform efforts. Over the course of his Senate career, Kennedy made efforts to enact universal health care, which he called the "cause of my life." By the later years of his life, Kennedy had come to be viewed as a major figure and spokesman for American progressivism.

He died on August 25, 2009, of a malignant brain tumor at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, and was buried near his brothers John and Robert at Arlington National Cemetery.

Early life

Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932, at St. Margaret's Hospital in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts.[2] He was the last of the nine children of Joseph Patrick Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, members of prominent Irish American families in Boston,[2] who constituted one of the wealthiest families in the nation once they were joined.[3] His eight siblings were Joseph Jr., John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Harvard University and receiving his law degree from the University of Virginia, he began his career as an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Kennedy was 30 years old when he first entered the Senate following a November 1962 special election in Massachusetts to fill the vacant seat previously held by his brother John, who had taken office as the president. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1964 and was later re-elected seven more times. The Chappaquiddick incident in 1969 resulted in the death of his automobile passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, as well as physical injuries and mental anguish to Kennedy. He pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and later received a two-month suspended sentence. The incident and its aftermath hindered his chances of ever becoming president. His only attempt, in the 1980 election, resulted in a Democratic primary campaign loss to the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter.

Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills. His 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. Kennedy and his staff wrote more than 300 bills that were enacted into law. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government that emphasized economic and social justice, but he was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises. Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the COBRA health insurance provision, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Mental Health Parity Act, the S-CHIP children's health program, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. During the 2000s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform efforts. Over the course of his Senate career, Kennedy made efforts to enact universal health care, which he called the "cause of my life." By the later years of his life, Kennedy had come to be viewed as a major figure and spokesman for American progressivism.

He died on August 25, 2009, of a malignant brain tumor at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, and was buried near his brothers John and Robert at Arlington National Cemetery.

Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932, at St. Margaret's Hospital in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts.[2] He was the last of the nine children of Joseph Patrick Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, members of prominent Irish American families in Boston,[2] who constituted one of the wealthiest families in the nation once they were joined.[3] His eight siblings were Joseph Jr., John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, and Jean. John asked to be the newborn's godfather, a request his parents honored, though they did not agree to his request to name the baby George Washington Kennedy (Ted was born on President George Washington's 200th birthday) and instead named him after their father's assistant.[4]

As a child, Ted was frequently uprooted by his family's moves among Bronxville, New York; Hyannis Port, Massachusetts; Palm Beach, Florida; and the Court of St. James's, in London, England.[5][6] His formal education started at Gibbs School in Kensington, London.[7] He had attended ten schools by the age of eleven; this was a series of disruptions that interfered with his academic success.[8] He was an altar boy at the St. Joseph's Church and was seven when he received his First Communion from Pope Pius XII in the Vatican.[9] He spent sixth and seventh grades at the Fessenden School, where he was a mediocre student,[2] and eighth grade at Cranwell Preparatory School; both schools located in Massachusetts.[5] He was the youngest child and his parents were affectionate towards him, but they also compared him unfavorably with his older brothers.[2]

Between the ages of eight and sixteen, Ted suffered the traumas of Rosemary's failed lobotomy and the deaths of Joseph Jr. in World War II and Kathleen in an airplane crash.[2] Ted's affable maternal grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, was the Mayor of Boston, a U.S. Congressman, and an early political and personal influence.[2] Ted spent his four high-school years at Milton Academy, a preparatory school in Milton, Massachusetts, where he received B and C grades and, in 1950, finished 36th in a graduating class of 56.[10] He did well at football there, playing on the varsity in his last two years; the school's headmaster later described his play as "absolutely fearless ... he would have tackled an express train to New York if you asked ... he loved contact sports".[10] Kennedy also played on the tennis team and was in the drama, debate, and glee clubs.[10]

College, military service, and law school

Like his father and brothers before him, Ted graduated from Bronxville, New York; Hyannis Port, Massachusetts; Palm Beach, Florida; and the Court of St. James's, in London, England.[5][6] His formal education started at Gibbs School in Kensington, London.[7] He had attended ten schools by the age of eleven; this was a series of disruptions that interfered with his academic success.[8] He was an altar boy at the St. Joseph's Church and was seven when he received his First Communion from Pope Pius XII in the Vatican.[9] He spent sixth and seventh grades at the Fessenden School, where he was a mediocre student,[2] and eighth grade at Cranwell Preparatory School; both schools located in Massachusetts.[5] He was the youngest child and his parents were affectionate towards him, but they also compared him unfavorably with his older brothers.[2]

Between the ages of eight and sixteen, Ted suffered the traumas of Rosemary's failed lobotomy and the deaths of Joseph Jr. in World War II and Kathleen in an airplane crash.[2] Ted's affable maternal grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, was the Mayor of Boston, a U.S. Congressman, and an early political and personal influence.[2] Ted spent his four high-school years at Milton Academy, a preparatory school in Milton, Massachusetts, where he received B and C grades and, in 1950, finished 36th in a graduating class of 56.[10] He did well at football there, playing on the varsity in his last two years; the school's headmaster later described his play as "absolutely fearless ... he would have tackled an express train to New York if you asked ... he loved contact sports".[10] Kennedy also played on the tennis team and was in the drama, debate, and glee clubs.[10]

Like his father and brothers before him, Ted graduated from Harvard College.[11] In his spring semester, he was assigned to the athlete-oriented Winthrop House, where his brothers had also lived.[11] He was an offensive and defensive end on the freshman football team; his play was characterized by his large size and fearless style.[2] In his first semester, Kennedy and his classmates arranged to copy answers from another student during the final examination for a science class.[12] At the end of his second semester in May 1951, Kennedy was anxious about maintaining his eligibility for athletics for the next year,[2] and he had a classmate take his place at a Spanish exam.[13][14] The ruse was immediately discovered and both students were expelled for cheating.[13][15] In a standard Harvard treatment for serious disciplinary cases, they were told they could apply for readmission within a year or two if they demonstrated good behavior during that time.[13][16]

In June 1951, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army and signed up for an optional four-year term that was shortened to the

In June 1951, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army and signed up for an optional four-year term that was shortened to the minimum of two years after his father intervened.[13] Following basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, he requested assignment to Fort Holabird in Maryland for Army Intelligence training, but was dropped without explanation after a few weeks.[13] He went to Camp Gordon in Georgia for training in the Military Police Corps.[13] In June 1952, Kennedy was assigned to the honor guard at SHAPE headquarters in Paris, France.[2][13] His father's political connections ensured that he was not deployed to the ongoing Korean War.[2][17] While stationed in Europe, he traveled extensively on weekends and climbed the Matterhorn in the Pennine Alps.[18] After 21 months, he was discharged in March 1953 as a private first class.[13][18]

Kennedy re-entered Harvard in the summer of 1953 and improved his study habits.[2] His brother John was a U.S. Senator and the family was attracting more public attention.[19] Ted joined The Owl final club in 1954[20] and was also chosen for the Hasty Pudding Club and the Pi Eta fraternity.[21] Kennedy was on athletic probation during his sophomore year, and he returned as a second-string two-way end for the Crimson football team during his junior year and barely missed earning his varsity letter.[22] Nevertheless, he received a recruiting feeler from Green Bay Packers head coach Lisle Blackbourn, who asked him about his interest in playing professional football.[23] Kennedy demurred, saying he had plans to attend law school and to "go into another contact sport, politics."[24] In his senior season of 1955, Kennedy started at end for the Harvard football team and worked hard to improve his blocking and tackling to complement his 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 200 lb (91 kg) size.[18] In the season-ending Harvard-Yale game in the snow at the Yale Bowl on November 19 (which Yale won 21–7), Kennedy caught a pass to score Harvard's only touchdown;[25] the team finished the season with a 3–4–1 record.[26] Academically, Kennedy received mediocre grades for his first three years, improved to a B average for his senior year, and finished barely in the top half of his class.[27] Kennedy graduated from Harvard at age 24 in 1956 with an AB in history and government.[27]

Due to his low grades, Kennedy was not accepted by Harvard Law School.[16] He instead followed his brother Bobby and enrolled in the University of Virginia School of Law in 1956.[2] That acceptance was controversial among faculty and alumni, who judged Kennedy's past cheating episodes at Harvard to be incompatible with the University of Virginia's honor code; it took a full faculty vote to admit him.[28] Kennedy also attended The Hague Academy of International Law during one summer.[29] At Virginia, Kennedy felt that he had to study "four times as hard and four times as long" as other students to keep up with them.[30] He received mostly C grades[30] and was in the middle of the class ranking, but was the winner of the prestigious William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition.[2][31] He was elected head of the Student Legal Forum and brought many prominent speakers to the campus via his family connections.[32] While there, his questionable automotive practices were curtailed when he was charged with reckless driving and driving without a license.[2] While attending law school, he was officially named as manager of his brother John's 1958 Senate re-election campaign; Ted's ability to connect with ordinary voters on the street helped bring a record-setting victory margin that gave credibility to John's presidential aspirations.[33] Ted graduated from law school in 1959.[32]

In October 1957 (early in his second year of law school), Kennedy met Joan Bennett at Manhattanville College; they were introduced after a dedication speech for a gymnasium that his family had donated at the campus.[34][35] Bennett was a senior at Manhattanville and had worked as a model and won beauty contests, but she was unfamiliar with the world of politics.[34] After the couple became engaged, she grew nervous about marrying someone she did not know that well, but Joe Kennedy insisted that the wedding should proceed.[34] The couple was married by Cardinal Francis Spellman on November 29, 1958, at St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville, New York,[2][18] with the reception being held at the nearby Siwanoy Country Club.[36] Ted and Joan had three children: Kara (1960–2011), Ted Jr. (b. 1961) and Patrick (b. 1967). By the 1970s, the marriage was in trouble due to Ted's infidelity and Joan's growing alcoholism.

Massachusetts Bar in 1959.[37] In 1960, his brother John announced his candidacy for President of the United States and Ted managed his campaign in the Western states.[2] Ted learned to fly and during the Democratic primary campaign he barnstormed around the western states, meeting with delegates and bonding with them by trying his hand at ski jumping and bronc riding.[18] The seven weeks he spent in Wisconsin helped his brother win the first contested primary of the season there and a similar time spent in Wyoming was rewarded when a unanimous vote from that state's delegates put his brother over the top at the 1960 Democratic National Convention.[38]

Following his victory in the presidential election, John resigned from his seat as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, but Ted was not eligible to fill the vacancy until his thirtieth birthday on February 22, 1962.[39] Ted initially wanted to stay out west and do something other than run for office right away; he said, "The disadvantage of my position is being constantly compared with two brothers of such superior ability."[40] Ted's brothers were not in favor of his running immediately, but Ted ultimately coveted the Senate seat as an accomplishment to match his brothers, and their father overruled them.[18] Therefore, John asked Massachusetts Governor Foster Furcolo to name Kennedy family friend [39] Ted initially wanted to stay out west and do something other than run for office right away; he said, "The disadvantage of my position is being constantly compared with two brothers of such superior ability."[40] Ted's brothers were not in favor of his running immediately, but Ted ultimately coveted the Senate seat as an accomplishment to match his brothers, and their father overruled them.[18] Therefore, John asked Massachusetts Governor Foster Furcolo to name Kennedy family friend Ben Smith as interim senator for John's unexpired term, which he did in December 1960.[41] This kept the seat available for Ted.[18]

Meanwhile, Ted started work in February 1961 as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts (for which he took a nominal $1 salary), where he first developed a hard-nosed attitude towards crime.[42] He took many overseas trips, billed as fact-finding tours with the goal of improving his foreign policy credentials.[42][43][44] On a nine-nation Latin American trip in 1961, FBI reports from the time showed Kennedy meeting with Lauchlin Currie, an alleged former Soviet spy, together with locals in each country whom the reports deemed left-wingers and Communist sympathizers.[44][45] Reports from the FBI and other sources had Kennedy renting a brothel and opening up bordellos after hours during the tour.[44][45][46] The Latin American trip helped to formulate Kennedy's foreign policy views, and in subsequent Boston Globe columns he warned that the region might turn to Communism if the U.S. did not reach out to it in a more effective way.[44][46] Kennedy also began speaking to local political clubs and organizations.[40]

In the 1962 U.S. Senate special election in Massachusetts, Kennedy initially faced a Democratic Party primary challenge from Edward J. McCormack Jr., the state Attorney General. Kennedy's slogan was "He can do more for Massachusetts", the same one John had used in his first campaign for the seat ten years earlier.[47] McCormack had the support of many liberals and intellectuals, who thought Kennedy inexperienced and knew of his suspension from Harvard, a fact which later became public during the race.[40] Kennedy also faced the notion that with one brother President and another U.S. Attorney General, "Don't you think that Teddy is one Kennedy too many?"[18] But Kennedy proved to be an effective street-level campaigner.[18] In a televised debate, McCormack said "The office of United States Senator should be merited, and not inherited," and said that if his opponent's name was Edward Moore, not Edward Moore Kennedy, his candidacy "would be a joke".[40] Voters thought McCormack's performance overbearing, and with the family political machine's finally getting fully behind him, Kennedy won the September 1962 primary by a two-to-one margin.[18] In the November special election, Kennedy defeated Republican George Cabot Lodge II, product of another noted Massachusetts political family, gaining 55 percent of the vote.[18][48]

United States Senator

First years, brothers' assassinations

Kennedy was sworn into the Senate on November 7, 1962.[49] He maintained a deferential attitude towards the older, seniority-laden Southern members when he first entered the Senate, avoiding publicity and focusing on committee work and local issues.[50][51] Compared to his brothers in office, he lacked John's sophistication and Robert's intense, sometimes grating drive, but was more affable than either of them.[50]

On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was presiding over the Senate

Kennedy was sworn into the Senate on November 7, 1962.[49] He maintained a deferential attitude towards the older, seniority-laden Southern members when he first entered the Senate, avoiding publicity and focusing on committee work and local issues.[50][51] Compared to his brothers in office, he lacked John's sophistication and Robert's intense, sometimes grating drive, but was more affable than either of them.[50]

On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was presiding over the Senate—a task given to junior members—when an aide rushed in to tell him that his brother, Pres

On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was presiding over the Senate—a task given to junior members—when an aide rushed in to tell him that his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had been shot. His brother Robert soon told him that the President was dead.[40] Ted and his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver immediately flew to the family home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, to give the news to their invalid father, who had been afflicted by a stroke suffered two years earlier.[40]

On June 19, 1964, Kennedy was a passenger in a private Aero Commander 680 airplane that was flying in bad weather from Washington to Massachusetts. The plane crashed into an apple orchard in the western Massachusetts town of Southampton on the final approach to the Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield.[52][53] The pilot and Edward Moss (one of Kennedy's aides) were killed.[54] Kennedy was pulled from the wreckage by fellow Senator Birch Bayh,[52] and spent months in a hospital recovering from a severe back injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs and internal bleeding.[40] He suffered chronic back pain for the rest of his life as a result of the accident.[55][56] Kennedy took advantage of his long convalescence to meet with academics and study issues more closely, and the hospital experience triggered his lifelong interest in the provision of health care services.[40] His wife Joan did the campaigning for him in the regular 1964 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts,[40] and he defeated his Republican opponent by a three-to-one margin.[48]

Kennedy was walking with a cane when he returned to the Senate in January 1965.[40] He employed a stronger and more effective legislative staff.[40] He took on President Lyndon B. Johnson and almost succeeded in amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to explicitly ban the poll tax at the state and local level (rather than just directing the Attorney General to challenge its constitutionality there),[40][57] thereby gaining a reputation for legislative skill.[58] He was a leader in pushing through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a quota system based upon national origin. He

Kennedy was walking with a cane when he returned to the Senate in January 1965.[40] He employed a stronger and more effective legislative staff.[40] He took on President Lyndon B. Johnson and almost succeeded in amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to explicitly ban the poll tax at the state and local level (rather than just directing the Attorney General to challenge its constitutionality there),[40][57] thereby gaining a reputation for legislative skill.[58] He was a leader in pushing through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a quota system based upon national origin. He also played a role in creation of the National Teachers Corps.[40][59]

Following in the Cold Warrior path of his fallen brother, Kennedy initially said he had "no reservations" about the expanding U.S. role in the Vietnam War and acknowledged that it would be a "long and enduring struggle".[58] Kennedy held hearings on the plight of refugees in the conflict, which revealed that the U.S. government had no coherent policy for refugees.[60] Kennedy also tried to reform "unfair" and "inequitable" aspects of the draft.[58] By the time of a January 1968 trip to Vietnam, Kennedy was disillusioned by the lack of U.S. progress, and suggested publicly that the U.S. should tell South Vietnam, "Shape up or we're going to ship out."[61]