Kennedy's New Frontier Johnson's Great Society summary



Kennedy's New Frontier Johnson's Great Society summary


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Kennedy's New Frontier Johnson's Great Society summary

Kennedy's New Frontier Johnson's Great Society

I. New Domestic Programs – New Frontier to “get the country moving again”
A. Tax cut – though at odds with companies over Steel threats, he regained favor with tax cuts to business – seen as a Republican measure
1. Additional tax cuts pushed through by Johnson after Kennedy assassinated
B. War on Poverty – Johnson – Great Society – “rights revolution” – helped Americans/hurt budget
1. Proposed $1 Bill(Later $2 bill. dollar package – focused on Appalachian mountains and poor
a. Economic and welfare programs – similar to New Deal
b. Michael Harrington’s The Other America – shows 20% of population in poverty
2. Two new cabinet offices – Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation
3. Big Four Feats – education, aid to elderly/indigent, immigration reform, voting
a. Education – loans straight to kids, not schools – Project Head Start
b. Medicare/Medicid

II. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
A. The New Left and the Counterculture – divides America’s into two morals
1. Negative attitude toward authority – America not free of racism, sexism, imperialism, povert
2. 1950s – “Beat” poets - Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Rebel without a Cause
3. UC Berkeley – Free Speech Movement, sexual revolution, lived in communes
4. Turned into violence and cynicism
B. Republican Party – reaction to “flower children” – silent majority
1. Republicans in South – Kennedy – anti-Catholic – Bible belt
2. 1968 – American Independent Party – George Wallace – South really doesn’t want integration – can no longer follow Democrats
3. Blacks move to cities, Democrats begin appealing to urban areas, Republicans elsewhere
C. The Supreme Court – Warren’s Court – After 1953
1. Cases affect sexual freedom, criminals’ rights, religious rights, structure of political representation
A. Griswold v. Connecticut – Condoms OK – people have privacy in lives
B. Gideon v. Wainwright – Defendants have right to legal counsel
C. Miranda/Escobedo – right to remain silent, can’t get confession from torture
D. New York Times v. Sullivan – public figures only win libel if malice intended
E. Engel v. Vitale – prayer illegal in schools
F. Reynolds v. Sims – redraw district lines to better represent population

III. Foreign Policy – Cold war still dominates thinking
A. Bay of Pigs – plan made under Eisenhower to have CIA help Cuban exiles retake gov’t from Castro
1. Fails miserably when Cubans don’t side with Cuban exiles
2. America looks like idiots for sponsoring a revolution – Kennedy held responsible
B. Cuban Missile Crisis – closest America gets to WWIII – US tells USSR to get missiles out of Cuba
1. Puts in “quarantine” – can’t do blockade because it’s an act of war
2. If Russia doesn’t back down > Cuba invaded > Berlin invaded > World War III
3. Khruschev - Russia eventually back down for America’s promise to take out missiles Turkey
4. Created direct phone line between leaders – too close to death
C. Vietnam Quagmire – no-win situation – escalation not possible, N. Vietnamese won’t quit
1. Can’t escalate because might bring in China or Russia, but can’t win without escalation
2. American public – due to media – getting tired of unwinnable wore and empty promises
3. Victory confusing – based on body counts and not land taken (land gets retaken later)
4. People begin dodging draft, tons of protests, Veterans not welcomed back
5. Tet Offensive actually a victory but media portrayal makes it look like gov’t has no touch w/  reality – they had just promised a huge victory
6. Destroys Johnson’s policies


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Kennedy's New Frontier Johnson's Great Society summary

Chapter 24 The New Frontier and the Great Society 1961-1968

Section 1 The Election of 1960

Main idea: In 1960 a youthful John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard M. Nixon in the presidential election. 

  • John F. Kennedy was born into a wealthy and politically powerful Massachusetts family, while Nixon was a self-made “common man” from a small town in southern California
  • During their four television debates, he spoke with ease and authority, while Nixon looked weak and part of the past
  • Kennedy became president in 1960
  • During campaign, said that U.S. was behind Soviets in development of nuclear missiles
  • Voters were concerned of his Roman Catholic upbringing because he might put the views of the Catholic Church over those of the American public
  • Inaugural speech focused on change
  • His group of advisers “best and the brightest” were young just as he was and included his brother Robert Kennedy, who was attorney general
  • Won election because of he represented a spirit of hope and change
  • Missile Gap: Kennedy expressed concern about a suspected “missile gap,” claiming the U.S. lagged behind the Soviets in weaponry.  Nixon warned that the Democrats’ fiscal policies would boost inflation, and that only he had the necessary foreign policy experience to guide the nation.

II. Kennedy Takes Office

  • Kennedy emphasized the term “new frontier” for his campaign, meaning there are new frontiers for America to conquer….frontiers of the mind, the will, and the spirit of man.”
  • When John F. Kennedy gave his speech accepting the nomination to run for the Democratic Party in the 1960 election, he said, "We stand at the edge of a New Frontier—the frontier of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. It will deal with unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus." When Kennedy took office in 1961, he used the term "New Frontier" to describe his plans to improve the economy, to provide international aid, to provide for national defense, and to expand the space program.
  • Wanted to increase aid to education, provide health insurance to the elderly, and create a Department of Urban Affairs
  • Southern Democrats – who were a large part of the Democratic majority in Congress – viewed the New Frontier as too expensive and, together with Republicans, were able to defeat many of Kennedy’s proposals.

A. Successes and Setbacks

  • Economy soared for most of 1950s and slowed by the end of the decade
  • Kennedy advocated deficit spending to increase economic growth and create more jobs
  • Kennedy also pushed for a cut in tax rates
  • Congress refused to pass the tax cut because of fears of inflation
  • Congress agreed to Kennedy’s request to raise minimum wage and his proposal for an Area Redevelopment Act and a Housing Act

           - these acts helped to create jobs and build low-income housing in poor areas.
B. Expanding Women’s Rights

  • In 1961 Kennedy created the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women
    • the commission called for federal action against gender discrimination and affirmed the right of women to equally paid employment
    • commission proposed the Equal Pay Act which Kennedy signed in 1963
    • never appointed a woman to his cabinet, but a number of women worked in prominent positions in the Kennedy administration, including Esther Peterson, assistant secretary of labor and director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor

           C. A New View of the Disabled

  • In 1961 Kennedy convened the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation.  The panel’s first report, containing 112 recommendations, called for funding of research into developmental disabilities and educational and vocational programs for people with developmental disabilities; a greater reliance on residential – as opposed to institutional – treatment centers; and grants to provide prenatal services to women in low-income groups to promote healthy pregnancies.
  • Congress enacted the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963.  This legislation provided grants for construction of research centers; funds to train educational personnel to work with people with developmental disabilities; and grants to states for construction of mental health centers
  • In 1962 Eunice Kennedy Shriver the president’s sister, began a day camp at her home for children with developmental disabilities.  Camp Shriver, as it was first known, offered people with disabilities a chance to be physically competitive – this grew into the Special Olympics program with the first Special Olympics Games held in Chicago in 1968.

III. Warren Court Reforms

  • In 1953 President Eisenhower nominated Earl Warren, governor of California, to be Chief Justice of the U.S.
  • Under Warren’s leadership, the Supreme Court issued several rulings that dramatically reshaped American politics and society.

A. “One Man, One Vote”

  • Some of the Warren Court’s more notable decisions concerned reapportionment, or the way in which states draw up political districts based n changes in population.
  • Baker v. Carr (1962): Court ruled that the federal courts had jurisdiction to hear lawsuits seeking to force states to redraw electoral districts
  • Reynolds v. Sims (1964): current apportionment system in most states was unconstitutional.  The Warren Court required states to reapportion electoral districts along the principle of “one man, one vote,” so that all citizens’ votes would have equal weight.  The decision was a momentous one, for it shifted political power from rural and often conservative areas to urban areas, where more liberal voters resided.  The Court’s decision also boosted the political power of African Americans and Hispanics, who often lived in cities.

B. Extending Due Process

  • In a series of rulings, the Supreme Court began to use the Fourteenth Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to states.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment states that “no state shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
  • Due process means that the law may not treat individuals unfairly, arbitrarily, or unreasonably, and that courts must follow proper procedures when trying cases.  Due process is meant to ensure that all people are treated the same by the legal system.
  • In 1961 the Supreme Court ruled in Mapp v. Ohio that state courts could not consider evidence obtained in violation of the federal Constitution
  • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963): Court ruled that a defendant in a state court had the right to a lawyer, regardless of his or her ability to pay.
  • Escobedo v. Illinois (1964): justices ruled that suspects must be allowed acess to a lawyer and must e informed of their right to remain silent before being questioned by the police
  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966): requires authorities to immediately inform suspects that they have the right to remain silent; that anything they say can and will be used against them in court; that they have a right to a lawyer; and that, if they cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint for them.  These are known as the Miranda rights.

C. Prayer and Privacy

  • Engel v. Vitale (1962): Court decided that states could not compose official prayers and require those prayers to be recited in public schools
  • Abington School District v. Schempp (1963): ruled against state-mandated Bible readings in public schools
  • Griswold v. Connecticut (1965): Court ruled prohibiting the sale and use of birth-control devices violated citizens’ constitutional right to privacy.

Section 2 JFK and the Cold War
Main idea: President Kennedy developed new programs to combat the spread of communism.  President Kennedy continued the Cold War policy of resisting the spread of communism by offering help to other nations and threatening to use force if necessary.

I. Containing Communism
A. A More Flexible Response

  • Kennedy felt that Eisenhower had relied too heavily on nuclear weapons, which could be used only in extreme situations.  To allow for a “flexible response” if nations needed help resisting Communist movements, the president pushed for a buildup of troops and conventional weapons
  • Kennedy also expanded the Special Forces, an elite army unit created in the 1950s to wage guerilla warfare in limited conflicts, and allowed the soldiers to wear their distinctive “Green Beret” headgear.

           B. Aid to Other Countries

  • Alliance for Progress—The United States agreed to help Latin American countries with economic development.  Over 10 years, U.S. would give $20 billion to help Latin American countries establish better schools, housing, health care, and fairer land distribution.
  • Peace Corps—This program was created to send American volunteers to developing nations to assist in areas such as education, health care, and agriculture.

     - this was introduced in his famous speech where he said “Ask not what your country, but what you can do for your country.” 

           C. The Cold War in Space

  • In 1961 Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet astronaut, became the first person to orbit Earth.
  • Again, as in 1957 when they launched Sputnik, the first satellite, the Soviets had beaten the U.S. in the space race.  President Kennedy worried about the impact of the flight on the Cold War
  • Kennedy made a speech wanting the U.S. to land a man on the moon.
  • Space Program—John F. Kennedy announced a goal that he wanted an American to land on the moon by 1970. Kennedy increased funding for NASA, and he wanted the United States to have a more successful space program than the Soviet Union had.

     - In 1962 John Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth
- 3 years later, the U.S. sent 3 men into orbit in a capsule called Apollo
- On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V (most powerful rocket ever built) lifted off in Florida, carrying 3 American astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
- On July 20 Armstrong and Aldrin boarded the lunar module, named Eagle, and headed down to the moon.  Minutes later Armstrong radioed NASA’s flight center in Texas: “Houston…the Eagle has landed.”  
- Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon and said “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
- The U.S. had won the space race and demonstrated its technological superiority over the Soviet Union.

II. Crises of the Cold War
A. The Bay of Pigs Invasion
Shortly after his inauguration, in February of 1961, Kennedy authorized the Cuban invasion plans on the condition that US support be sufficiently disguised. As a result of this decision, the landing point for the invasion was moved to the Bay of Pigs, an obscure area on the southern coast of Cuba, more than 80 miles from possible refuge in Cuba's Escambray mountains.
The Plan
The original invasion plan called for two air strikes against Cuban air bases. A 1400-man invasion force would disembark under cover of darkness and launch a surprise attack. Paratroopers would drop to advance positions in order to cut off transportation and to repel Cuban forces. Simultaneously, diversionary troops would land on the east coast of Cuba to create confusion. The main force would advance to Matanzas and establish a defensive land perimeter. The United Revolutionary Front would send leaders over and establish a provisional government.  The success of the plan depended on the presumption that the Cuban population would join the invaders.
What Went Wrong
The first major error occurred on April 15, 1961, when eight B-26 bombers left Nicaragua to bomb Cuban airfields. The operation failed to destroy the entire arsenal of planes, leaving most of Castro's air force intact. The CIA had used obsolete World War II B-26 bombers, and painted them to look like Cuban air force planes. As news broke of the attack and American complicity became apparent after photos of the repainted planes became public, President Kennedy cancelled the second air strike.
On April 17, the Cuban-exile invasion force, or Brigade 2506, landed at beaches along the Bay of Pigs and immediately came under heavy fire. The planes left unharmed in the earlier air attack strafed the invaders, sank two escort ships, and destroyed half of the exile's air support. Bad weather hampered the ground force, which had to work with soggy equipment and low stores of ammunition. 
During the next 24 hours, Castro had 20,000 troops advancing on the beach and the Cuban Air Force continued to control the skies. As the situation grew increasingly grim, President Kennedy authorized an “air-umbrella” at dawn on April 19, which called for six unmarked American fighter planes to help defend the Brigade's B-26 aircraft flying from Nicaragua.  But the B-26s arrived an hour late (most likely due to time zone confusion) and were shot down by the Cubans. The invasion was crushed later that day. Some exiles escaped to the sea, while the rest were killed or rounded up and imprisoned by Castro’s forces. Almost 1200 Brigade members had surrendered and more than 100 had been killed.
The Aftermath
The Brigade prisoners remained in captivity for 20 months, as the United States negotiated a deal with Fidel Castro. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy made personal pleas to pharmaceutical companies and baby food manufacturers, and Castro eventually settled on 53 million dollars worth of baby food and drugs. On December 23, 1962, just two months after the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a plane containing the first group of freed prisoners landed in the US. A week later, on Saturday, December 29, surviving Brigade members gathered for a ceremony in Miami’s Orange Bowl, where the Brigade’s flag was handed over to President Kennedy. “I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this Brigade in a free Havana,” the president promised. The failure at the Bay of Pigs had a lasting impact on the Kennedy administration. The commitment to erase this blot from the historical record contributed to the November 1961 decision to establish Operation Mongoose--a plan to sabotage and destabilize the Cuban government and economy, including the possible assassination of Castro himself. More than 40 years later, relations between Castro's Cuba and the United States remain tense and tenuous at best.

  • Was an embarrassment to Kennedy’s administration since the invasion failed miserably.


B. The Berlin Crisis

  • One reason Kennedy rejected sending U.S. forces into Cuba was that he feared it would cause Khrushchev to retaliate in Europe – Khrushchev saw this as a sign of weakness and pressed the U.S. to enter Berlin
  • Khrushchev closed the crossing points between East and West Berlin on August 13, 1961
  • 25,000 East German soldiers were put in place to guard a barbed wire barrier around West Berlin – later replaced with a concrete wall – called the Berlin Wall
  • Kennedy responded to the construction of the Berlin Wall by sending 1500 troops from West Germany to West Berlin

C. The Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Although the Bay of Pigs had been a failure, Castro still feared a future invasion by US forces.  Knowing he needed a strong ally, Castro allowed the Soviets to secretly put nuclear missiles in Cuba – just 90 miles off coast of Florida!  When US spy planes spotted these missiles in October 1962, Kennedy responded by authorizing a naval blockade of the island.  For 13 days, the world watched as the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war.  Finally, after heated arguments in the UN and much diplomatic maneuvering, Krushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles in exchange for a US pledge not to invade Cuba.  In addition, the US also secretly assured the Soviets that it would eventually remove missiles it had stationed in Turkey.
  • Both Kennedy and Krushchev had proven that they were willing to stand up to one another.  However, both leaders also recognized the danger of nuclear weapons.  In July of 1963, the two leaders met in Moscow (along with the British Prime Minister) and signed the test-ban treaty to limit nuclear testing.  The agreement also created a hot line (emergency line of communication) between the White House and the Kremlin (the center of Soviet government) to prevent an accidental war.

D. Death of a President

  • Kennedy was shot in Dallas on his campaign trail for the 1964 election by Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Jack Ruby was then able to capture Oswald and shot and killed him
  • The Warren Commission found that there was no conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s Vice President steps in as president much sooner than expected

Section 3 The Great Society

Main idea: President Johnson used his political skills to push Kennedy’s proposals through Congress and expanded them with his own vision of the Great Society

  • While John F. Kennedy had many great ideas, most of them were not implemented during his short term in office. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Lyndon Johnson became president. Johnson used the term "Great Society" to describe his goal to help the poor and end racial injustice in the United States. He declared a "war on poverty" and started many new domestic aid programs.

    VISTA—Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), a domestic version of the Peace Corps, was group of teachers and social workers who volunteered to provide educational and job training programs to low-income people.

    Head Start—This program was created to help the preschool-aged children in low income families. Head Start provides educational, health, and other programs to children to help them prepare for school.

    Job Corps—The Job Corps helps young people develop skills that will be useful in their careers.

    Housing and Urban Development—This Cabinet-level agency was started in 1965 to help improve urban areas in which there were high rates of poverty.

    Civil Rights Act of 1964—A triumph for the Civil Rights movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

    Voting Rights Act of 1965—Another law dealing with civil rights, the Voting Rights Act prohibited the use of literacy tests as a way to decide who was eligible to vote.

    Model Cities Act—This legislation provided money to cities to rebuild run-down areas.

    Medicare and Medicaid—Medicare provided health insurance for those who were receiving Social Security, and Medicaid provided health insurance for low-income families.

    Elementary and Secondary School Act—This bill provided federal funding for schools that had children from low-income families.

Key facts of 1950s-1960s

  • President Kennedy developed flexible response to supplement the Cold War policies of his predecessors
  • Flexible response is strengthening conventional American forces so the nation would have other options than nuclear weapons in times of crisis
  • Kennedy had difficulty convincing Congress to support his proposals because he lacked a clear mandate
  • Fidel Castro seized American businesses after coming to power through guerilla warfare
  • Relations between the United States and Cuba were poor in 1960 because Fidel Castro’s government had seized American property in Cuba
  • The detection of Soviet offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba was the most immediate cause of the Cuban missile crisis
  • After the Berlin Wall was constructed, East Germans were no longer able to escape to freedom
  • During the 1968 Pueblo incident, North Koreans captured a U.S. spy ship off the coast of North Korea
  • The Peace Corps was the most successful of the programs Kennedy developed to help poorer nations
  • President Kennedy expanded the space program to increase the nation’s prestige and power in the face of several foreign policy setbacks
  • Warren Court: under Chief Justice Earl Warren who had many of the most controversial Supreme Court rulings which affected individual rights and freedoms
  • One of the most famous cases of the Warren Court is Brown v. Board of Education, is the Supreme Court decision which banned racial segregation in the nation’s schools
  • When President Johnson envisioned the Great Society programs, he wanted one that ensured access to justice, education, decent housing, and health care for all Americans
  • Johnson Doctrine: guidelines for military intervention in Latin America
  • Johnson’s “unconditional war on poverty” in America began with the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act
  • The term “Great Society” came to represent the domestic programs of the Johnson administration
  • One of the goals of Johnson’s vision of the Great society was equal opportunity for education
  • Expensive foreign policy decisions played a key role in the decline of the Great Society
  • Medicaid is a program that provides free health care for poor people
  • Area Redevelopment Act—The federal government provided loans and grants to areas that had high poverty and unemployment rates.


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