John F. Kennedy


The young President brought to the White House a team of people to
help him. They were much like himself. They were bright and they had
few preconceived ideas about how to run the government. But hey were
willing to work day and night. One of the most powerful members of
the team was the President’s younger brother, Robert Kennedy.
“Bobby,” as people called him, was John Kennedy’s Attorney General.

The Kennedy brothers eagerly plunged into their work. The
President amazed people by his habit of reading five newspapers while
eating his breakfast. He spoke almost as fast as he read. It was once
reported that Kennedy “did everything today except shimmy up the
Washington monument.”


A. PEACE CORPS–By 1963 about 5,000 Americans, mostly young people,
were working in remote villages in Africa, Asia, and South America.
The volunteers saw firsthand the joy and heartaches of the villagers.
The villagers, in turn, discovered a new kind of American. These were
not tourists or people who traveled overseas to make money. They were
human beings lie the villagers lived, sharing the same day-to-day
problems and pleasures.

B. SPACE PROGRAM–Launched an all out effort in 1961 to lead a man
on the moon by the end of the decade.


  • Area Redevelopment Act (1961)–designed to reduce poverty in
    urban slums and in rural areas such as Appalachia, which stretched
    from Pennsylvania through West Virginia, Kentucky and could give
    loans and grants to these areas.

  • Housing Act of 1961–Specifically focused on urban renewal.
    Much of the money went into building or renovating urban, inner
    city public housing projects.

D. CIVIL RIGHTS–Supported many attempts to expand democracy to
Black Americans. The poll tax (voting tax) by the 24th



On the more controversial proposals to Congress, Kennedy faced
strong opposition from Republicans and conservative Southern
Democrats. They formed a coalition (group) to oppose him on such
issues. He failed to gain Congressional approval for the following:

1. Tax reduction

2. Federal aid to elementary and
secondary schools

3. Medical care for the aged under
social security

4. Voting rights and equal treatment
for blacks in places of public accommodation. (During the Johnson
Administration Congress Passed all these Kennedy proposals)

While Kennedy is remembered as a
great foreign policy President, mainly for his success in backing
down Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he also experienced
a number of foreign policy failures such as:

1. 1961–permitted
American trained Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba at the Bay of
Pigs. The invasion was crushed.

2. 1961–Nikita Khrushchev walks out
of Summit Conference in Vienna after refusing to negotiate with
President Kennedy.

3. Initiated U.S. involvement in
Vietnam by sending CIA and military advisors to the South.

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