John F. Kennedy


  • 1960: Kennedy is elected, democratic nomination
  • Republican nomination: Richard Nixon
  • Closest election of 1916

New Frontier "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"

  • Kennedy challenged the US to revitalize the economy
  • Despised by Southern Republicans & Democrats
  • Got rid of inflation, cut taxes, more money in private hands, investing to get the US to moon
  • Negotiated a noninflationary wage agreement with the steel industry in 1962

The Cold War

Flexible Response

  • "Flexible Response:" Defense Secretary Robert McNamara devised a plan developing an array of military options that could be matched to the needs of the current crises
  • Increased military spending
  • Step up our force in Vietnam


  • Military advisors in Vietnam were increased to help protect Southern Vietnam from communists
  • Diem embezzled the money we were giving and Kennedy did not like that
  • November of 1963 Kennedy leads an overthrow of Diem
  • Created political mess--exactly what we were trying to prevent


  • Alliance for Progress: Marshall Plan for Latin America; help Latino countries close gap between rich and poor
  • Bay of Pigs: plan to overthrow Fidel Castro through an invasion of anticommunist exiles
  • Put Cuba even more in sight of Soviet Union
  • Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962: Soviets are discovered installing missiles in Cuba
  • Kennedy rejects plans to bomb the missile sights- demands disarmament
  • Khrushchev agreed to pul missile out and America agreed to not invade the island

Berlin Crisis

  • August 1961: Soviets built Berlin Wall
  • Stop overpopulation from East to West Germany
  • Trade and created the Common Market, later known as European Union

Civil Rights

  • Kennedy secured black votes by saying he would pass civil rights legislation
  • Freedom Riders: sought an end to segregation in facilities serving interstate bus passengers
  • SNNC: voter education project to register deprived blacks
  • MLK Jr.: launched a campaign in Birmingham, most segregated city in US
  • March on Washington: led by MLK, peaceful demonstration in support of new civil rights legislation, "I have a dream" speech

Assassination, November 22nd, 1963

  • Riding an open limousine in Dallas
  • Gunman: Lee Harvey Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby out of Vengeance
  • LBJ was sworn into office, keeping most of the same ideals