Robert Francis Kennedy was born on 20th November 1925, the seventh child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. Raised within the same wealthy, competitive environment as his elder brother, John F Kennedy, his exclusive schooling included Harvard and the University of Virginia school of Law, where he completed his degree in 1951.
“Visibly devastated at the loss of his brother, Kennedy left the Cabinet to run for the position of New York Senator in 1964.”
Following his law degree, he managed the successful political campaign that saw his brother elected as a United States Senator. He repeated this success with JFK’s presidential campaign, and was duly rewarded for his service with the post of Attorney General, within the new Kennedy administration. He played the key advisory role in all areas of policy, the close family tie far outweighing all other Cabinet posts, despite his relative political inexperience. He was a firm supporter of the civil rights movement, and was instrumental in the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He also spearheaded a nationwide campaign against organized crime, mob violence and labour racketeering.
He maintained this position of executive influence up until the assassination of JFK, in November 1963, where after the installation of Lyndon Johnson as President saw a marked reduction in his political power, despite his remaining as Attorney General within the Johnson administration for a time.
Visibly devastated at the loss of his brother, Kennedy left the Cabinet to run for the position of New York Senator in 1964, and the political capital accrued by the Kennedy family’s loss was sufficient to secure the Senate seat in November 1964. During his time in the Senate he made poverty, and civil rights work, the focus of his attentions, and campaigned for the abolition of discriminations at all levels of American society. Despite his support for increasing armed forces in Vietnam during his brother’s administration, he reversed his previous position on the Vietnam War, accepting the need to withdraw from the Asian conflict.
He decided, in 1968, to launch his own campaign for selection as the Democratic nominee for President, on a far more radical social reform platform than that which had been advocated during his brother’s term as President. Faced with Kennedy as an opponent, Lyndon Johnson announced on 31st March 1968 that he would not be a candidate for re-election.
When Martin Luther King was assassinated on 4th April 1968, Kennedy made an impassioned speech about the need for racial reconciliation, which was credited with dampening what had threatened to become widespread, racially-demarcated riots. His overt support of the poor drew large crowds on his campaign trail, and Kennedy secured a significant number of victories in the primaries leading up to the selection of the Democratic candidate, practically ensuring his nomination for the United States Presidential elections, due to take place in November 1968.