(VUS.13, 14, 15) John F. Kennedy – A New Frontier

  • Kennedy Takes Office

    Kennedy Takes Office
    “America would pay any price,bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Later in the same speech,
    “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” MORE
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    John F. Kennedy Administration

    JFK, the youngest man elected President and a WW2 Veteran, faced increased pressure in the Cold War as tensions around Cuba grew to near catastrophe, and domestic challenges included the swelling of the Civil Rights movement. Inspiring hope, he pledged support for containment of communism, regaining the lead in the space race, and bringing society closer together. MORE
  • Kennedy asks Congress to create the Peace Corps (VUS.13b)

    Kennedy asks Congress to create the Peace Corps (VUS.13b)
    A volunteer organization, the goal was to travel to under-developed nations and assist with education, advancement, and ambassadorship with the people. Considered a containment effort, prosperity tends to prevent communism, where poverty invites it. MORE
  • 23rd Amendment Ratified

    23rd Amendment Ratified
    This amendment provided for the residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in Presidential elections. As the capital, until the 23rd Amendment there were no electoral votes as D.C. was not a state. Still, the city has no representatives or senators in Congress. MORE
  • The Bay of Pigs Invasion (VUS.13b)

    The Bay of Pigs Invasion (VUS.13b)
    The US, through the CIA, had trained the Cuban Exiles to return to Cuba to overthrow Fidel Castro. With inadequate support, the mission failed after two days, with all forces killed or captured. Kennedy assumed full responsibility for the failure – and tensions with Cuba and the Soviets would increase drastically! MORE
  • Freedom Rides Begin (VUS.14b)

    Freedom Rides Begin (VUS.14b)
    Black and white youths supported by the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) set out on busses to travel the south to test integration laws – forcibly integrating bus terminals. They met violent resistance throughout the summer – some busses were forced off the road and fire-bombed. MORE
  • A Man on the Moon? (VUS.15c)

    A Man on the Moon? (VUS.15c)
    Kennedy pledges continued support of the Space Race as he promises that an American would travel to the moon and safely return by the end of the decade. MORE on the Space Race
  • A Wall in Berlin (VUS.13b)

    A Wall in Berlin (VUS.13b)
    With the “help” of the Soviet Union, a wall was built across the city of Berlin which was designed to limit access to West Berlin by East Germans who were escaping frequently. The Berlin Wall was to become a symbol of the tyranny of the Soviet Union. Kennedy traveled to the troubled city – stating “ich bin ein Berliner” in June of 1963. MORE
  • A Cuban Embargo (VUS.13b)

    A Cuban Embargo (VUS.13b)
    Upon JFK’s urging, the United States issued a nearly complete trade embargo with Cuba. Believing this would bring the young and small communist nation to its knees…The embargo continues today – and Cuba is still communist. MORE
  • John Glen Orbits the Earth (VUS.15c)

    John Glen Orbits the Earth (VUS.15c)
    Astronaut John Glen became the first American to orbit the earth in a rocket. The US was still behind in the Space Race, as the Soviets achieved the same feet 10 months earlier!
  • James Meredith Court Ruling (VUS.14a)

    James Meredith Court Ruling (VUS.14a)
    The US Supreme Court ruled that the University of Mississippi must admit James A. Meredith as its first African-American student. Federal guards were ordered to escort him – integration continued to be a fight. More
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis Begins (VUS.13b)

    The Cuban Missile Crisis Begins (VUS.13b)
    For 13 days, the United States and Soviet Union were on the threshold of complete nuclear war. The Soviets had placed nuclear missiles in Cuba after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion which directly threatened every major city in the United States. Kennedy demanded the missiles be removed – Khrushchev refused for 13 days. Finally the crises ended with Soviet withdrawal, and limited American concessions. MORE
  • Gideon v Wainwright (VUS.15a)

    Gideon v Wainwright (VUS.15a)
    The Supreme Court ruled that states must comply with 6th amendment protections by providing a lawyer in criminal cases for those who cannot afford it. This is another example of the court protecting individual rights.
  • Kennedy introduces Civil Rights legislation (VUS.14b)

    Kennedy introduces Civil Rights legislation (VUS.14b)
    JFK, an a sympathetic move, asks Congress to pass sweeping Civil Rights legislation. His proposals are “tabled” (Congress refuses to debate or vote on the measures), and Kennedy does not press the issue believing it is a fight he cannot win without fracturing his Democratic Party.
  • “I Have a Dream” (VUS.14b)

    “I Have a Dream” (VUS.14b)
    Martin Luther King, Jr. led a non-violent march on Washington, D.C. to raise awareness for the need of Civil Rights legislation. Approximately 250,000 people listened to Dr. King as he gave his most famous speech. This event marked a change in attitude of many Americans who now began to support the needs for Civil Rights – and the power of non-violent protest. MORE
  • The Nation Stunned (VUS.13c)

    The Nation Stunned (VUS.13c)
    JFK, while visiting Dallas, was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. The murder of the President shocked Americans – and two days later Oswald was killed. MORE