New Frontiers: Politics and Social Change in the 1960s
What were the goals of Kennedy’s New Frontier and Johnson’s Great Society programs? What were the achievements of the civil rights movement and the ensuing splinter movements? Why did the United States increasingly involve itself in Vietnam, and why was there risking opposition to the war? How did Kennedy try to combat communism in Cuba? The 1960s were full of social turbulence and innovation in public affairs Socials ills force their way to the national agenda Assumptions of cold war ideology led US to war
The New Frontier
Kennedy Versus Nixon Nixon was better known since he was vice president o Nixon was tricky, hid behind series of masks Nixon was shrewd, intelligent, love politics, combative o Nixon was Republican Senator o Grew up in working-class Quaker family Nixon was eager to reverse the tide of New Deal liberalism o Unleashed personal attacks, spread lies o Manipulated communist fear o Nixon was a popular and respected Republican John F. Kennedy was inexperienced compared to Nixon o Rich, powerful family, movie-star charisma, Harvard education o Did not distinguish himself in House or Senate o Political rise was attributed to public relations campaign, not accomplishments Kennedy had Addison’s disease, but ailments were masked from public Kennedy travelled, gave speeches, accepted Democratic nomination in 1960 o Established frontier metaphor—opportunities and perils awaited in the future o Frontier metaphor reflected domestic program o Kennedy would use administration to get the country “moving again” Three events shaped the presidential campaign Kennedy was the first Catholic to run for presidency since 1928 o Kennedy’s candor neutralized attention to religion Nixon violated one of the cardinal rules of politics when he agreed to debate on TV o Differences were not apparent in the debate, decisions were made based on style Ishmam Ahmed; Ishmam.com
o Nixon was obviously uncomfortable, looked ill o Kennedy was cool, poised o Debates weren’t enough to ensure Kennedy victory Martin Luther King Jr and 50 demonstrators were arrested in Atlanta for trespassing in an all-white restaurant o Kennedy’s brother Robert called judge and insisted release of King o Kennedy campaign took advantage, pamphlets in African-American neighborhoods Kennedy and Johnson won the closest presidential election since 1888 o Nixon actually carried more states than Kennedy, but Kennedy’s majority was based in southern New England and Atlantic states o Democratic south voted for Harry Byrd, segregationist
The New Administration Kennedy was youngest to ever be elected president o Determined to attract the best and brightest minds o Dean Rusk as Secretary of State o Stevenson as ambassador to UN o Robert McNarmara as manager in Department of Defense o C. Douglas Dillon as Secretary of Treasury o Robert Kennedy (brother) as attorney general—criticized o McGeorge Bundy as assistant for national security affairs Inaugural ceremonies set tone of elegance and youthful vigor called Kennedy Style o Dazzled listeners o Uplifting The Kennedy Record Kennedy called himself realist or “idealist without illusions” o Congress was controlled by conservative southern coalition that blocked efforts to increase federal aid to education, provide health insurance for the old, and create Department of Urban Affairs o Congress blocked many efforts Congress did approve Alliance for Progress programs to help Latin America and the Peace Corps o Kennedy’s greatest legislative accomplishment was Trade Expansion Act of 1962: led to tariff cuts on goods between US and European Common Market Kennedy administration had victories in domestic social legislation o Housing Act: $5 million for urban renewal o Area Redevelopment Act: provided loans, grants to disserted areas, increase in Social Security o Roosevelt also got credited for announcing the space race The...
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