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Kennedy, Robert F(rancis).                 more selected entries

Kennedy, Robert F(rancis) (b Brookline, Mass, 20 Nov 1925; d Los Angeles, 6 June 1968).

Politician. The seventh of the nine Kennedy children, Robert served briefly in the navy during the 1940s and graduated from Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School. He began his political career during the 1950s by managing his brother John F. Kennedy's successful 1952 US Senate campaign and then by working as counsel for Senate committees investigating communist influence in the federal government and corruption in labor unions. Like many other Democrats of that era, Robert was a strong anticommunist. Upon John's election as president in 1960, Robert became US attorney general and was his brother's closest advisor on several important matters, including civil rights and the Cuban Missile Crisis. After John's assassination, Robert resigned as attorney general and became a senator from New York State in 1964 by defeating Republican Kenneth B. Keating despite accusations that Kennedy was a "carpetbagger" without a record of extended prior residence in the state. As senator, Kennedy focused mostly on national issues, such as race relations, poverty, and Vietnam, rather than on narrower New York affairs, but he did lead an effort to develop the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. His attempts to revive the sagging fortunes of the Democratic Party in New York State proved less successful. An outspoken critic of Pres Lyndon Johnson's foreign and domestic policies, Kennedy sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968. That campaign ended when he was assassinated after winning the California primary.

Dooley, Brian. Robert Kennedy: The Final Years (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996)

Timothy N. Thurber


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