Political Prowess: The Kennedy Dynasty

PHOTO: The Kennedy family poses in Hyannis, Mass, circa 1935. Seated from left, Robert, Edward, Joseph P. Sr, Eunice, Rosemary, and Kathleen; standing from left, Joseph P. Jr, John F., Rose, Jean and Patricia.
Bachrach/Getty Images

Caroline Kennedy is apparently following in the footsteps forged by many in her family.

She is expected to be named U.S. ambassador to Japan, replacing current ambassador John Roos, who assumed the role in 2009. Kennedy, 55, is the only living child of President John Kennedy.

Check out which other members of the Kennedy clan have dipped their toes into the political arena.

Joseph P. Kennedy III

Joseph Patrick Kennedy III, the grandson of Sen. Robert Kennedy, the son of former Rep. Joseph Kennedy II and great-nephew of President John Kennedy and Sen. Edward Kennedy, revived the Kennedy political dynasty in November 2012 when he won his first bid for public office. He represents Massachusetts' 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Patrick J. Kennedy II

Patrick Joseph Kennedy II, the namesake of his paternal grandfather, was born in 1967 to Joan Bennett Kennedy and Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy. Patrick Kennedy found a place in the Kennedy legacy in 1988, when, at the age of 21, he became the youngest member of the family to hold elected office. He won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, serving two terms. He then was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Rhode Island's 9th District for 16 years.

After the death of his father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, he did not to seek re-election.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, became the first woman from the Kennedy clan to enter politics when she became Maryland's first female lieutenant governor in 1995. Her younger brother, Joseph Kennedy II, represented Massachusetts' 8th District for 12 years, from 1987 to 1999.

Edward M. Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy, nicknamed Ted, was the younger brother of President John Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy. He and brother Robert managed John Kennedy's presidential campaign against Richard Nixon in 1960.

Ted Kennedy took his own stab at politics in 1962, when was elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 30. Kennedy served in that seat for 47 years until he lost his battle with brain cancer in August 2009. President Obama called Ted Kennedy the "Lion of the Senate" in his eulogy.

"The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate -- a man whose name graces nearly 1,000 laws and who penned more than 300 himself," Obama said.

Robert F. Kennedy

Robert Francis Kennedy, nicknamed Bobby, served as U.S. attorney general in 1960. Kennedy served under his brother John Kennedy. He had played a big role in his brother's presidential campaign. As attorney general, Kennedy focused on civil rights and organized crime. He resigned as attorney general in 1963, after his brother's assassination, but he revived his political career a year later when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, representing the state of New York.

Like his brother before him, Robert Kennedy also aimed for the presidency. He was assassinated on June 6, 1968, moments after he was declared the winner in the California presidential primary.

John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, nicknamed Jack, served as the 35th president of the United States. In 1961, he was the youngest elected president in history. He began his political career in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Massachusetts' 11th District, but in 1953 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1953 to 1960.

In 1960, Kennedy became the Democratic nominee for president, choosing then Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate. He served as president for three years.

On Nov. 22, 1963, the president was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas with first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. JFK was the youngest U.S. president to die in office.

John F. Fitzgerald

John F. Fitzgerald, also known as "Honey Fitz," was the maternal grandfather of three prominent political leaders -- President John Kennedy and Sens. Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy.

Fitzgerald must have passed down the political gene, as he held a string of elected offices, his first in 1892, when he was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature. In 1894, he took to the halls of Congress, representing Massachusetts' 9th District. Fitzgerald held that seat from 1895 to 1901, and lived to see his grandson, John F. Kennedy, elected to that very same seat.

After leaving Congress, Fitzgerald served as the mayor of Boston from 1906 to 1908, but he was defeated in his bid for re-election. But he returned to the office again in 1910, finishing out his term in 1914.

Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy Sr.

Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy Sr., was he paternal grandfather of President John Kennedy, Sens. Ted Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

Kennedy, who was a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential campaign, was named chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934 and was later appointed as chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission under Roosevelt.

He also served as the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain in 1937, but he resigned three years later.

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