Chapter 28: The New Frontier and The Great Society
Who won the election of 1960? • Democrat John F. Kennedy won over Republican challenger Richard M. Nixon. • The election saw the first-ever televised presidential debate. • JFK’s presidency would involve some of the ‘best and the brightest,’ including: • McGeorge Bundy (National Security Adviser) • Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense) • Dean Rusk (Secretary of State) • Robert F. Kennedy (Attorney General)
What was JFK’s guiding principle for foreign policy affairs? • Truman’s foreign policy was containment. • Despite his MIC warning, Eisenhower followed brinkmanship. • JFK developed a policy known as flexible response. This involved boosting conventional military forces as well as nuclear capabilities in order to respond to any situation. The Green Beret Special Forces were created under F.R.
What events occurred in Cuba during the late 1950s and 1960s? • In 1959, Communist Fidel Castro toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista and nationalized land in Cuba. This greatly upset US sugar companies. • In 1961, the CIA sent about 1400 Cuban exiles to the Bay of Pigs wih the hopes of overthrowing Castro. They were met by 25,000 Cuban troops and Soviet support. The US’s image plummeted and had to pay $53 million in food and medical supplies to get their troops back. Thus Castro encouraged more Soviet aid in order to prevent further attacks from the US. • As such, the Soviet Union, under Nikita Khrushchev, sent increasing amounts of weapons and nuclear missiles to Cuba. After JFK publically announced that any attack from Cuba would trigger all-out nuclear war against teh USSR, Khrushchev stopped his ships bound for Cuba. They removed their missiles from Cuba and the US removed theirs from Turkey.
What happened in Berlin during the 1960s? • After the Berlin Airlift, many Berliners tried to flee East Berlin. • To prevent them from escaping to West Berlin, Khrushchev had a concrete wall constructed. This separated East & West Berlin for almost 30 years. • To ease tensions, JFK and Khrushchev had a hot line established between the two nations, with the hopes of communicating directly shoudl another crisis develop. Further, they signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which barred nuclear testing in the atmosphere.
What was the New Frontier? • This was JFK’s vision for America that included focusing on technology, prejudice, and poverty. • However, the same coalition of conservative members of Congress that had blocked most of Truman’s Fair Deal. • However, defense spending was increased and the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress were also created. • In order to respond to Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin space flight, NASA also received a substantial increase in funds. As such, Neil Armstrong would walk on the moon in 1969.
What happened on November 22, 1963? • JFK was assassinated in Dallas. • The Warren Commission was set up to determined what happened. They concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone. • Considerable evidence has surfaced, which indicates that LHO did not act alone. Many theories on the assassination exist, from a CIA cover-up, to mafia involvement, to Cuban exiles.
Who took over the presidency after JFK’s death? • Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as president and vowed to further JFK’s vision of reducing poverty and prejudice. • LBJ was from Texas, a masterful politician, and styled himself after FDR and the New Deal.
What was LBJ’s vision for America called? • After getting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Opportunity Act passed and winning the 1964 election over Republican Barry Goldwater, LBJ set out to enact ‘The Great Society.’ This TV ad helped LBJ defeat Goldwater due to his willingness to use nuclear weapons.
What legislation was enacted as part of the Great Society? • After the Democrats swept the 1964 elections, LBJ was successful in getting major laws implemented, such as: • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which provided federal aid for public schools for the first time. • Medicare and Medicaid, which provided health-insurance for the elderly and the poor. • Establishing the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and appointing Robert Weaver, the first AA Cabinet member, to lead it. • The Immigration Act of 1965, which ended quotas based on nationality. • The Water Quality Act of 1965, which required states to clean up rivers. This was passed in response to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring book. • The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, which provided safeguards to meat processing. *These laws would improve education, heath care, housing, immigration, and the environment. Many historians find parallels between LBJ’s Great Society and FDR’s New Deal such as deificit spending. These programs would be challenged by conservatives, such as Nixon and Reagan.
What were some important decisions of the Warren Court? • Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, a wave of social reform took place. • Brown v. the Board of Education ended segregation in schools. • School prayer was banned. • State loyalty oaths were banned. • Free speech for students and anti-war protesters was expanded. • Reapportionment was mandated through cases, such as Baker v. Carr, which established the ‘one person, one vote’ principle. This balanced out rural and urban districts and provide for more equal representation. • The rights of the accused were also expanded, with such cases as Miranda v. Arizona. This determined that all suspects be read their rights before questioning. Tinker v. Des Moines School District
How did LBJ deal with poverty? • He instituted the War on Poverty to reduce the high rate of poverty in the US. Michael Harrington highlighted poverty in his book The Other America. • Due to his policies, the poverty rate did fall from 21% in 1962 to 11% in 1973. • However, many programs would be eliminated and funds would be diverted to the Vietnam War.