Ch. 28 - CHAPTER 28 Reform Rebellion and Reaction 1960-1974 I Liberalism at High Tide A The Unrealized Promise of Kennedys New Frontier 1 Road to the

Ch. 28 - CHAPTER 28 Reform Rebellion and Reaction 1960-1974...

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CHAPTER 28 Reform, Rebellion, and Reaction 1960-1974 I. Liberalism at High Tide A. The Unrealized Promise of Kennedy’s New Frontier 1. Road to the Presidency—John F. Kennedy’s record in Congress was unremarkable, but with a powerful political machine, his family’s fortune, and a handsome and dynamic appearance, Kennedy won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960; he defeated his Republican opponent, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, in an excruciatingly close election; African Americans offset the fact that 52 percent of white votes went for Nixon. 2. Idealism versus Pragmatism—Although his administration projected energy, idealism, and glamour, Kennedy was a cautious, pragmatic politician; at his inauguration, he called on Americans to serve the common good; though Kennedy’s idealism inspired many, he failed to redeem campaign promises to expand the welfare state. 3. Attack on Poverty and Growing the Economy—Moved by the desperate conditions he saw when he campaigned in Appalachia in 1960, Kennedy helped push poverty onto the national agenda; won support for a $2 billion urban renewal program, legislation that offered incentives to businesses to locate in depressed areas, and established a training program for the unemployed; Kennedy promised to make economic growth a key objective; economic advisers argued that infusing money into the economy by reducing taxes would increase demand, boost production, and decrease unemployment; Congress passed Kennedy’s tax cut bill in 1964, ushering in the greatest economic boom since World War II; some liberal critics of the tax cut pointed out that it favored the wealthy and that economic growth alone would not eliminate poverty. 4. Assassination—Kennedy’s initiatives had not reached fruition when he fell victim to an assassin’s bullet on November 22, 1963; the murder of the president touched Americans as had no other event since the end of World War II; President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, which concluded in September 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, assassinated Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald two days later, had also acted alone. 5. Kennedy’s Domestic Record—Debate continued over how to assess Kennedy’s domestic record, which had been unremarkable in his first two years, but had suggested an important shift in 1963 with his proposals on taxes, civil rights, and poverty. B. Johnson Fulfills the Kennedy Promise 1. A Different President—Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency with a wealth of political experience and fierce ambition; his coarse wit, extreme vanity, and Texas accent repulsed those who preferred the sophisticated Kennedy style; Johnson excelled behind the scenes, where he could entice or threaten legislators into support of his objectives.

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