Ted Kennedy

Politician; Senior Democratic Senator From Massachusetts

Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. He was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and was the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history, having served there for almost 47 years. As the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family for many years, he was also the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. ; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Ted Kennedy.


1932 Birth Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932 at St. Margaret's Hospital in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts. … Read More


1950 18 Years Old …  Ted spent his four high school years at Milton Academy prep school in Massachusetts, where his grades were B's and C's and he finished 36th in a class of 56 when he graduated in 1950. … Read More
1951 19 Years Old 1 More Event
At the end of his second semester in May 1951, anxious about maintaining his eligibility for athletics for the next year, he had a friend take his place at a Spanish language examination. … Read More


1952 - 1956 6 More Events
1957 25 Years Old 1 More Event
Early in his second year of law school in October 1957, Kennedy met Virginia Joan Bennett at Manhattanville College, following a dedication speech for a gymnasium that his family donated at the campus in Purchase, New York. … Read More
1958 - 1959 2 More Events
In 1960, John ran for President of the United States and Ted managed his campaign in the Western states. … Read More
1961 29 Years Old 1 More Event
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. … Read More


1962 - 1965 11 More Events
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."
1969 37 Years Old 1 More Event
In January 1969, Kennedy defeated Louisiana Senator Russell B. Long by a 31–26 margin to become Senate Majority Whip, the youngest person to attain that position. … Read More
…  A grand jury on Martha's Vineyard conducted a two-day investigation in April 1970 but issued no indictment, after which Boyle made his inquest report public. … Read More
In January 1971, Kennedy lost his position as Senate Majority Whip when he lost the support of several members and was defeated by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, 31–24. … Read More


Following Republican Richard Nixon's victory in November, Kennedy was widely assumed to be the front-runner for the 1972 Democratic nomination.
1973 41 Years Old In 1973, Kennedy's son Edward Kennedy, Jr., was discovered to have chondrosarcoma; his leg was amputated and he underwent a long, difficult, experimental two-year drug treatment. … Read More
In February 1974, President Nixon proposed more comprehensive health insurance reform—an employer mandate to offer private health insurance and replacement of Medicaid by state-run health insurance plans available to all with income-based premiums and cost sharing.
1976 - 1979 13 More Events
His one attempt, in the 1980 presidential election, resulted in a Democratic primary campaign loss to incumbent President Jimmy Carter. … Read More


1982 - 1985 4 More Events
Upon returning, Kennedy became a leader in the push for economic sanctions against South Africa; collaborating with Senator Lowell Weicker, he secured Senate passage, and the overriding of Reagan's veto, of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.
1987 55 Years Old 1 More Event
One of Kennedy's biggest battles in the Senate came with Reagan's July 1987 nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. … Read More
After again considering a candidacy for the 1988 presidential election, influenced by his personal difficulties and family concerns, and content with remaining in the Senate, in December 1985 Kennedy publicly cut short any talk that he might run.
1989 - 1990 3 More Events
Kennedy pushed on, but even his legislative successes, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which expanded employee rights in discrimination cases, came at the cost of being criticized for compromising with Republicans and Southern Democrats.


1992 - 1993 4 More Events
In 1994, Kennedy's strong recommendation of his former Judiciary Committee staffer Stephen Breyer played a role in Clinton appointing Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court.
1995 - 2000 10 More Events
2001 69 Years Old 1 More Event
Kennedy was in his Senate offices meeting with First Lady Laura Bush when the September 11, 2001, attacks took place. … Read More
2002 - 2003 2 More Events
2004 72 Years Old 1 More Event
In the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Kennedy campaigned heavily for fellow Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and lent his chief of staff, Mary Beth Cahill, to the Kerry campaign. … Read More
2005 73 Years Old Kennedy was chair of the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees, and in 2005, Kennedy teamed with Republican Senator John McCain on the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. … Read More
In 2006, Kennedy released a children's book from the view of his dog Splash, My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C.
Kennedy initially stated that he would support John Kerry again should he run for president in 2008, but in January 2007, Kerry said he would not.
On January 20, 2009, Kennedy attended Barack Obama's presidential inauguration in Washington, but then suffered a seizure at the luncheon immediately afterwards. … Read More
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