Kennedy, Edward M.

Kennedy, Edward M. (Moore) (“Ted”)

(1932–  ) U.S. senator; born in Boston, Mass. (brother of John F. Kennedy). Raised in a family that placed a high priority on achievement, he had a Harvard classmate take an exam for him and was suspended; after serving in the army, he finished Harvard and went on to graduate from the University of Virginia Law School (1959). Only 30 years old when he ran for the U.S. Senate seat his brother John had vacated, he began his long term (Dem., Mass.; 1963). A staunch liberal, he sponsored bills on immigration reform, criminal code reform, fair housing, public education, health care, AIDS research, and a variety of programs to aid the poor; on the Senate judiciary committee, he upheld liberal positions on abortion, capital punishment, and racial bussing. After the assassinations of his brothers John (1963) and Robert (1968), he was widely regarded as a potential president, but his chances were damaged by his behavior after a car accident in Chappaquiddick, Mass., in which a young woman companion drowned (1969); his hopes were finally dashed when in 1980 he failed to wrest the Democratic nomination away from incumbent President Carter. He continued to be one of the most outspoken advocates for liberal positions, and by the time of his second marriage in 1992 he seemed to have matured and mellowed in his personal life.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.