I. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” Spirit
In 1960, young, energetic
John F. Kennedy
was elected as president of the United States—the
youngest man ever elected to that office.
The 1960s would bring a sexual revolution, a civil rights revolution, the emergence of a “youth
culture,” a devastating war in Vietnam, and the beginnings of a feminist revolution.
JFK delivered a stirring inaugural address (“Ask not, what your country can do for you…”), and he
also assembled a very young cabinet, including his brother,
, as attorney general.
Robert Kennedy tried to recast the priorities of the FBI, but was resisted by
J. Edgar Hoover
Robert S. McNamara
took over the Defense Department.
Early on, JFK proposed the
, an army of idealist and mostly youthful volunteers to
bring American skills to underdeveloped countries.
A graduate of Harvard and with a young family, JFK was very vibrant and charming to everyone.
II. The New Frontier at Home
Kennedy’s social program was known as the
, but conservative Democrats and
Republicans threatened to kill many of its reforms.
JFK did expand the House Rules Committee, but his program didn’t expand quickly, as medical
and education bills remained stalled in Congress.
JFK also had to keep a lid on inflation and maintain a good economy.
However, almost immediately into his term, steel management announced great price increases,
igniting the fury of the president, but JFK also earned fiery attacks by big business against the New
Kennedy’s tax-cut bill chose to stimulate the economy through price-cutting.
iii. Kennedy also promoted a project to land Americans on the moon, though apathetic Americans often ridiculed this