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Chapter 17 – The New Frontier and the Great Society
Section Notes
Kennedy and the Cold War
Kennedy’s Thousand Days
The Great Society
The New Frontier and the Great
History Close-up
The Berlin Wall
Nuclear Threat from Cuba
Quick Facts
Major Great Society Programs
Visual Summary: The New
Frontier and the Great Society
Bell ringer 17.2
Political Cartoon
Document Based Investigation (DBI)
Communist Neighbor
Political Cartoon: Kennedy and
Lyndon Johnson Television
Peace Corps
Core Content related outcomes
What I need to know!!!!
• SS-HS-5.2.6 Students
will explain and give
examples of how after
WWII, America
experienced conflict
over political issues.
Ex. Berlin
• SS-HS-5.2.7 Students
will analyze how the
U.S. participates with
the global community
in the Cuban Missile
SS-HS-5.3.5 Students will explain
the rise of both the United States
and the Soviet Union to
superpower status following
World War II, the subsequent
development of the Cold War, and
the formation of new nations in
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the
Middle East, and evaluate the
impact of these events on the
global community. Ex. E & W
SS-HS-5.3.6 Students will explain
how the second half of the 20th C.
was characterized by rapid social
and economic changes that
created new challenges for
human rights issues and give
examples of how countries have
addressed these. Ex. Great Society,
Space Race.
The Main Ideas of Chapter 17
• President Kennedy continued the Cold War
policy of resisting the spread of communism
by offering to help other nations and
threatening to use force if necessary.
• John F. Kennedy brought energy, initiative,
and important new ideas to the presidency.
• President Johnson used his political skills to
push Kennedy’s proposals through Congress
and expanded them with his own vision of the
Great Society.
17.1 Terms
John F. Kennedy
Robert Kennedy
Fidel Castro
Bay of Pigs invasion
Lyndon B. Johnson
Cuban missile crisis
Peace Corps
Alliance for Progress
flexible response
Kennedy and the Cold War
• In what ways did Kennedy’s election as president suggest
• Why did the Bay of Pigs invasion take place, and with what
• Why did the Berlin crisis develop, and what was its outcome?
• What caused the Cuban missile crisis, and how was war avoided?
• How did Kennedy’s foreign policy reflect his view of the world?
Kennedy’s Election
• John F. Kennedy – from a wealthy, politically powerful
• Good looking, young, and comfortable in front of the
television cameras
• People felt Kennedy represented the future
• Election of 1960
– Adopted the term “new frontier”
– Played on the nation’s Cold War fears
– Claimed the nation’s prosperity was not reaching the poor
– Rallied the African American vote when Kennedy called
Coretta King after Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested;
Robert Kennedy persuaded the judge to release King
– One of the closest elections in history
Richard Nixon
John F. Kennedy
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy
John F. Kennedy (left) and his brother, Robert, in 1957.
John F. Kennedy in Oval Office with son playing beneath the desk.
Kennedy conducting a press conference in 1963.
Kennedy Takes Office
Inaugural Address
• Focused on change
• Strong anti-Communist tone
• Did not specify his domestic policy goals because so much
division existed over domestic issues
Kennedy’s Advisors
• Gathered a group some called “the best and the brightest” as
his advisors
• Most of Kennedy’s advisors were young.
• Closest advisor was his brother, Robert (“Bobby”) Kennedy
• Cabinet members had less influence than White House
Bay of Pigs Invasion
• Fidel Castro
was in power in
• Came to power
after a guerrilla
war, promised to
restore people’s
rights and
• Once in power,
he seized
businesses and
made overtures
to Soviet Union.
• Kennedy learned
that the CIA was
training troops to
invade Cuba and
topple Castro.
• His advisors were
• Kennedy was
worried about
spreading to
Latin America.
• Kennedy gave
the go-ahead.
The Invasion
• Bay of Pigs
invasion failed.
• Information was
leaked early.
• Air strikes failed.
• Castro prepared
for a land attack.
• Invaders were
captured and
ransomed back
to United States.
• Strengthened
Castro’s ties to
the Soviet Union
The Berlin Crisis
Berlin’s Significance
• Khrushchev demanded
that the United States
recognize East Germany as
an independent
Communist nation.
The Berlin Wall
• On August 13, 1961,
Khrushchev closed the
crossing points between
East and West Berlin.
• West Berlin was an island
of freedom.
• A high concrete wall was
built to prevent further
escapes to freedom.
• Many East Germans fled to
West Germany through
• Kennedy sent more troops,
and Vice President Lyndon
B. Johnson visited West
• Kennedy refused to be
bullied, sent troops into
West Germany, built
nuclear shelters, and
waited for Khrushchev’s
next move.
• Kennedy said “A wall is a …
lot better than a war.”
• Over time, the wall was
extended and fortified.
The Cuban Missile Crises
• U.S. actions in the Bay of Pigs and Berlin crises
encouraged hard-line leaders in the Soviet Union.
• The Soviets were worried about another invasion of
Cuba and U.S. nuclear missiles placed in Turkey.
• Kennedy was worried about accusations of being
“soft on communism.”
• A U.S. U-2 spy plane detected Soviet surface-to-air
missiles (SAMs) in Cuba.
• The Soviets argued that the SAMs were defensive
missiles and swore that they didn’t have offensive
missiles in Cuba.
• Later U-2 flights showed that the Soviets had lied.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
– ExComm military members favored an air strike,
perhaps followed by a land invasion of Cuba.
of the
Kennedy assembled a group of advisors, known as the
ExComm, to help him plan a response.
– Others argued for a naval blockade. Kennedy agreed
with this plan.
The world watched as Soviet ships carrying missile parts
approached the naval blockade. They turned back.
Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the missiles if the United
States pledged to never invade Cuba.
Both Kennedy and Khrushchev took steps to ease tensions
between their countries.
They set up a hotline to allow direct communication during
times of crisis.
The Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed, ending
atmospheric and underwater testing of nuclear weapons.
Aerial photograph of Soviet missile installation in Cuba.
U-2 photograph of Soviet missile installation in Cuba, 1962.
How did Kennedy’s foreign policy reflect his
views of the world?
• Believed in peace that did not have to be enforced
with weapons of war
• Believed in peace for Americans and for all men
and women around the world
• Trained and sent volunteers to Africa, Asia, and
Latin America to serve for two years
• Most volunteers were young college graduates
• Increased goodwill toward the United States
• Offered billions of dollars in aid to Latin America to
build schools, hospitals, roads, power plants, and
low-cost housing
• Intended to counter communism’s influence
Kennedy Foreign Policy and the Cold War
• Kennedy also followed the Cold War policies of
his predecessors.
• He continued the nuclear arms buildup begun by
• He continued to follow Truman’s practice of
• He developed the strategy of flexible
– Strengthening conventional American forces so the
nation would have other options than nuclear weapons
in times of crisis
Kennedy’s Thousand Days
• What was Kennedy’s New Frontier?
• In what ways did the Warren Court change
society in the early 1960s?
• What impact did Kennedy’s assassination have
on the nation and the world?
Activity 1
Test What You Know
Read the statements below and determine who or what
is “speaking.”
1. “I strongly believe that there are new frontiers for
America to conquer.”
2. “My brother chose me to be attorney general.”
3. “I came to power in 1959 through guerilla warfare.”
4. “I am the program that sends volunteers to help poor
Preview Section 2
The Inside Story
How did the Kennedys bring style
and glamour to the White House?
John F. Kennedy brought something
to the White House that had not been
seen since the early 1900s—young
children. The press carried pictures
of the president’s toddlers in the Oval
Office and riding their pony on the
White House grounds. Together with
footage of the first family’s sailing
outings, these images reinforced
Kennedy’s campaign promise of a
“new generation of leadership.” In
addition to youth, the Kennedys
radiated style. First Lady Jacqueline
dazzled Americans with her beauty,
grace, and charm. But the president
did not rely on style alone. As you will
learn, it was his policies that pushed
the nation in new directions.
1. What did John F. Kennedy
bring to the White House
that had not been seen there
since the early 1900s?
2. How did press coverage of
the White House reinforce
Kennedy’s campaign
promise of a “new
generation of leadership”?
Activity 1 answers
Review Answers: 1. John F. Kennedy; 2. Robert Kennedy; 3. Fidel
Castro; 4. Peace Corps
Preview Answers: 1. young children; 2. Coverage of the president’s
toddlers and the first family’s sailing outings highlighted the
president’s youth.
Kennedy’s New Frontier
• Americans were struck by the youth and vitality of the
Kennedy White House.
• Kennedy’s public image was often different than reality.
• Kennedy’s narrow victory in 1960 left him without the
clear mandate he needed to work well with Congress.
• The New Frontier came to be symbolized by the
exploration of space.
Kennedy’s New Frontier
Image / Reality
• Images of
Kennedy showed
a young, vital
president / He
suffered from
Addison’s disease
and a bad back.
• Kennedy
encouraged the
press to
photograph and
write about his
Kennedy tried to
protect their
Space Program
• Most in the early
1960s were not
reform minded,
which was
reflected in
• Khrushchev
claimed the
Soviet lead in
space showed the
superiority of
• Kennedy’s narrow
victory left him
without a clear
mandate to rule.
Congress didn’t
approve many
New Frontier
• In May 1961
Kennedy vowed
that the United
States would land
a man on the
• Sometimes
Kennedy was able
to bypass
Congress and
solve problems.
• The space race
became a part of
the Cold War—a
part that the
United States
would win.
The Supreme Court in the Early 1960s
• During the Kennedy presidency, Supreme Court
decisions made major changes in American
• Under the leadership of Chief Justice Earl
Warren, Court rulings extended individual
rights and freedoms.
– Voting-rights reform
– The rights of the accused
– Religious freedom
Chief Justice Earl Warren
Many historians regard Earl Warren as one of the most
important chief justices.
Warren did not have a positive record on civil rights when
President Eisenhower appointed him chief justice in 1953.
• Called for the internment of Japanese Americans during
World War II.
• Fought against an effort to make California’s state
Assembly more representative of the people.
However, as chief justice, Warren led the Court to one of the
most significant civil rights advances in U.S. history.
• Brown v. Board of Education banned racial segregation in
the nation’s schools.
The Warren Court
• Prior to legislation in the 1960s, states did not
redraw the boundaries of legislative districts to
reflect population changes.
• Baker v. Carr (1962), Westberry v. Sanders
(1964), and Reynolds v. Sims (1964) changed
this practice to make each citizen’s vote more
of the
• Mapp v. Ohio (1961), Gideon v. Wainwright
(1963), Escobedo v. Illinois (1964), and
Miranda v. Arizona (1966) extended the Bill of
Rights to the actions of state governments.
• In Engel v. Vitale (1962) and other cases, the
Warren Court defined the religion guarantees of
the First Amendment.
The Civil Rights Crusade, 1960-1963
• “sit-in" movement
• Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
• Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee (SNCC)
• "freedom rides“
• Birmingham, Alabama (1963)
• "March on Washington for Jobs and
Freedom" (1963)
– “I Have a Dream” speech
James Meredith, the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi
Civil rights leaders (ML King on left) meet with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and
Vice President Lyndon Johnson in June 1963.
The crowd at the civil rights march on Washington in 1963.
Civil rights march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial was led by A.
Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins.
Kennedy’s Assassination
On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was
assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Vice President Johnson was sworn in within hours.
Kennedy’s death shocked the nation and the world.
Within hours, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald.
While being transferred to the county jail, Oswald was
shot to death by Jack Ruby.
The Kennedys waving to people of Dallas, Texas moments before the President was
Snapshot of Lee Harvey Oswald
The Warren Commission
• The strange circumstances surrounding
President Kennedy’s death caused people to
wonder whether Oswald had acted alone in
killing the president.
• President Johnson appointed the Warren
Commission to investigate the assassination.
– They determined that there was no conspiracy and that
Oswald and Ruby had each acted alone.
– Additional government investigations and many private
ones have never found credible evidence of a
The Kennedy Legacy
• Some felt the drama of the Kennedy presidency
was more evident than its achievements.
• However, in foreign affairs, relations with the
Soviet Union had improved.
• The Peace Corp produced goodwill toward the
United States.
• Kennedy did not have much success with
domestic issues.
Achievements • He acknowledged that the nation’s social,
economic, and environmental problems would
take many years to solve.
The Great Society
• Why was Lyndon Johnson’s background good preparation
for becoming president?
• Why was Johnson more successful than Kennedy in getting
Congress to enact Kennedy’s agenda?
• In what ways did Johnson’s Great Society change the
• What foreign-policy issues were important in Johnson’s
Lyndon Johnson
• Large and intense with
none of Kennedy’s good
looks, polish, or charm
• Hardworking and ambitious
• Genuine desire to help
• Greater concern for the
poor and underprivileged
than Kennedy
• Believed in an expanded
role for government in
making Americans’ lives
Political Experience
• School teacher in Texas
• Served as Texas
• Served as U.S. Senator
• Served as majority leader in
the Senate after one term
as senator
• By 1960, Johnson had more
influence in Washington,
D.C., than any other
The Beginning of Johnson’s Presidency
Johnson’s mastery of the political process, along with his
years of experience in Washington, allowed Johnson to
make a smooth transition to the presidency.
He vowed to continue to carry on the New Frontier.
Johnson called on members of Congress to pass Kennedy’s
programs so that Kennedy did not die “in vain.”
Johnson wanted to go beyond the Kennedy
administration’s plans; he sponsored anti-poverty
programs, tax-cut bills, and civil rights legislation.
Enacting Kennedy’s Agenda
War on Poverty
• Kennedy was influenced
by Michael Harrington’s
The Other America, a
study of poverty that
shattered the popular
belief that all Americans
had prospered from
postwar prosperity.
• Johnson launched the
War on Poverty when he
asked Congress to pass
the Economic Opportunity
Act in 1964.
Economic Opportunity
• Funded several new antipoverty programs
• The Job Corps offered
work-training programs
for unemployed youth.
• VISTA was a domestic
version of the Peace
• Other programs provided
education for adults,
work for unemployed
parents, and help to fight
rural poverty and assist
Enacting Kennedy’s
Programs—Other Initiatives Passed
• Johnson pushed for the passage of Kennedy’s
tax-cut bill.
– Congress demanded that the president promise to hold
government spending to $100 billion.
– Johnson used the press to help him convince Congress
to pass the Tax Reduction Act in 1964.
– The nation’s economy grew by more than 10 percent
and unemployment declined.
• Johnson pushed for the passage of Kennedy’s
civil rights bill.
– After a year of debate, Congress passed the landmark
Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Great Society
In 1964 Johnson told the nation that he had his own plans for
the United States. He called the domestic programs of his
administration the Great Society.
In order to launch Johnson’s Great Society, he needed to win
the 1964 election.
• Chose Hubert Humphrey as his running mate
• Republicans selected Barry Goldwater as their nominee.
Barry Goldwater’s views were very different from Johnson’s.
• He suggested using nuclear weapons to end Vietnam.
• Attacked the Great Society with claims that people were
only equal in the eyes of God and that government
programs to help people were similar to communism
Creating the Great Society
Elementary and Secondary Education Act - first large scale program of
government aid to public schools
The Higher Education Act - created the first federal scholarships for
needy college students
Head Start – education program for preschool children of low-income
Omnibus Housing Act – created Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD)
Medicaid – program that provides free health care for poor people
Medicare – health care program for people over age 65
The Great Society emphasized the environment; laws were passed to
improve water and air quality.
Lady Bird Johnson worked to preserve the outdoors and natural beauty
of the United States.
– Pushed for the Highway Beautification Act (came to be called Lady
Bird’s bill)
Decline of the Great Society
Between 1965 and 1966, Congress passed 181 of the 200 major
bills that President Johnson requested. Some members of
Congress were concerned about the rapid pace of reform.
The midterm elections of 1966 allowed the Republicans to gain
seats in both houses of Congress—which slowed down Johnson’s
legislative program.
The new Congress did enact some Great Society programs:
• Public Broadcasting Act (1967) — Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), and
National Public Radio (NPR).
• The Truth-in-Lending Act (1967)
• A 1968 law to establish the nation’s wild and scenic rivers
Johnson’s Foreign Policy
• By the end of 1966, some 385,000 U.S. combat
troops were in Vietnam, and the government was
spending $2.5 billion a month on the war.
• “We cannot have guns and butter.”
• Policy dictating that revolutions in Latin America were
more than local concerns if communism was involved.
The U.S. would intervene.
• Johnson sent troops to end a revolt in the Dominican
Republic in 1965.
Johnson’s Foreign Policy
• Continued Kennedy’s effort to improve relations with
Soviet Union
• Signed treaty to protect each country’s diplomats
from harassment by authorities in the other country
• United States and Soviet Union (along with 58 other
nations) signed agreement to ban weapons in outer
• In January 1968 North Korea captured a U.S. Navy
spy ship—the Pueblo—off the coast of Communist
North Korea.
• The United States claimed it was in international
waters and called up troops.
• The North Koreans released the crew, but kept the
• 1964 Johnson Ad: Daisy Girl
• Real Player
Political Cartoon
• P. 547
• Is the image positive or negative?
• Create two new cartoons that feature
Johnson and the Great Society.
• One should be a positive reflection of
the Great Society’s goals and one
should focus on the costs that are
incurred when the government begins
to implement such programs.
• Follow guidelines.
Document Based Investigation
• P 550-551
• Complete questions 1-5