John F. Kennedy

35th President of the United States of America

Domestic Policy


Proposal to improve the economy, education, healthcare and civil rights

Stimulating a Sluggish Economy

  • Equal Pay Act

    • required equal wages for equal work in industries engaged in commerce or producing goods for commerce

    • crucial step on the road to fair and equal employment practices

    Increased posperity would help to improve social problems
  • tax credits to encourage business investment
  • accepted "deficit spending" to stimulate the economy
  • dramatic tax cuts for the middle class

OUTCOME= tremendous economic growth in the late 1960's

Civil Rights (after stimulating a sluggish economy)

  • remained largely passive on civil rights issues

  • In early 1963, Kennedy introduced a civil rights bill that demanded prosecution for voting rights violations and federal money to aid school desegregation

Space Race

  • Began with the USSR launching Sputnik I in 1957.

  • Was won by the United States in 1969 when America became the first country to put a human on the moon

Foreign Policy

Cold War Strategies

  • 1960 campaign stressed need for the US to move forward

  • Pointed to the new communist regime under Fidel Castro (in Cuba)

charged that there was a “missile gap”

  • Build up the nation’s armed forces.

  • Supported programs that resulted in a $6 billion increase in defense spending.

    Military in 3rd world

    • Gave increased funding to conventional forces & special forces

    • wanted to create a flexible defence policy and response so that the United States could fight in any conflict

    • made programs to aid 3rd world countries like peace corps

    • created Alliance for Progress to get us back on good terms with Latin America

    • Confronting Communism in Cuba

      • Bay of Pigs Invasion

        • April 17, 1961

        • failed invasion of Cba by CIA-led force of Cuban exiles

            • turned Cuban Americans against Kennedy

          • The Cuban Missile Crisis

            • conflict between the US and the Soviet Union resulting from the Soviet installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba

          • Kennedy’s effort to contain communism was threatened during this crisis

          • blamed Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, for causing a “reckless and provocative threat to world peace”

              • Effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis

              • Soviet Union removes their missiles from Cuba

              • US removes their missles from Turkey

              • US and the Soviet Union avoid nuclear war

            • Kennedy and Khrushchev establish a “hot line” telephone system (between Moscow and Washington D.C.) to keep communication opens

            • 1963: US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Kennedy Sends Troops to Vietnam!

  • Kennedy took a more aggressive stand against the communists in Vietnam

  • He sent Special Forces troops to South Vietnam

    • sent to advise the Army of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)

  • Kennedy does NOT support the Diem

    • Kennedy administration concluded that South Vietnam needed new leadership

    • Americans plotted with anti-Diem generals to overthrow Diem’s government (Diem assassinated on November 1, 1963)

The Belin Crisis

  • Khrushchev and Kennedy met for a conference in Vienna in 1961 where Khrushchev demanded that the U.S. recognizes the formal division of Germany and end its military presence in West Berlin. Kennedy refused, the conference was intended ease the Cold War tension but only increased them.

  • After returning home both world leaders made moves that threatened the peace. Kennedy asked Congress to increase military spending. Khrushchev order the construction of the Berlin Wall between East and West Germany.

  • The Berlin Wall became a symbol of the reality of the two Germany’s being separate in the gulf between the communist East and the democratic West.