John Fitzgerald Kennedy, known commonly by his initials as JFK, was born into a prominent political family headed by Joseph P. Kennedy, an American ambassador and businessman who urged his children to be ambitious and work hard, and Kennedy's political ambitions were born out of this family culture of high achievement. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1947, and he eventually rose to prominence as the popular junior Senator from Massachusetts when he moved from the House of Representatives to the Senate in 1953. Capitalizing on his popularity and working from a desire to do more than become a Senatorial stalwart, JFK announced his intention to run for president in 1960.
During his presidential campaign, JFK won votes with his many speeches and charismatic performances against the gruff Richard Nixon in presidential debates, and, although his civil rights goals caused a lack of support in the South, he won the election. On January 20, 1961, Kennedy was sworn in as the youngest man ever to serve as U.S. President. In his inauguration speech, Kennedy outlined his goals for his time as President, saying that he wanted to fight the "common enemies of man," which included disease, poverty, tyranny and war. Sadly, Kennedy's ambitions were only partially fulfilled, and he was assassinated in 1963.