You are on page 1of 8

Chapter 34: New Frontiers: Politics and Social Change in the 1960s Outline

I. The New Frontier

A. Kennedy Versus Nixon
1. Election of 1960:
2. Republicans: Richard M. Nixon
a. Reputation of cunning chameleon: “Tricky Dick”
b. CA Senator: reverse tide of New Deal liberalism and manipulate growing anti-
communism hysteria
c. Most requested Repub speaker
3. Democrats: John F. Kennedy (winner), Lyndon B. Johnson
a. Hero in WWII, glamorous wife, Harvard education, wealthy, Roman Cath fam
b. Lacked natl prominence and social distinction: energy, grace, ambition
c. First Cath to run for presidency since Al Smith in 1928
d. New Frontier campaign
4. Turning point: Nixon v. Kennedy debates
a. Nixon: weak, haggard, uneasy
b. Kennedy: cool poise  popularity increased in polls
5. Results: closest presidential election since 1888  winning margin = 118,574 votes;
electoral votes = 303-219
B. The New Administration
1. JFK- youngest person ever elected president (43 yrs old)
2. Robert McNamara- Dept of Defense
3. McGeorge Bundy- special assistant for natl security affairs
4. Dean Rusk- Sec of State
5. Robert Kennedy- attorney general (younger brother)
6. Kennedy style- tone of elegance and youthful vigor at inaugural ceremonies
7. “ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country”
C. The Kennedy Record
1. Dem majority in Congress controlled by S conserv  Congress blocked effort to
increase fed aid to edu, provide health insurance to aged, create dept of urban affairs
2. Successes: New housing act ($5 bill for urban renewal over four yrs); increase in min
wage; enhanced Social Security benefits
3. Peace Corps- supply volunteers for education and tech service in underdev countries
4. Accelerated space program- land astronauts on moon
5. Alliance for Progress- series of broad foreign-aid programs to help Lat Amer countries
6. Bold- tax reduction bill- intended to accelerate econ growth
7. Trade Expansion Act of 1962- tariffs cuts averaging 35% of goods traded btwn US
and European Economic Community (the Common Market)
D. The Warren Court
1. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)- Court required that every felony defendant be provided
a lawyer regardless of the defendant’s ability to pay
2. Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)- person accused of a crime must also be allowed to consult
a lawyer before being interrogated by police
3. Miranda v. Arizona (1966)- accused person in police custody must be informed of
certain basic rights
a. The right to remain silent; the right to know that anything said can be used against the
individual in court; the right to have a defense attorney present during interrogation
b. Established rules for police to follow in informing suspects of their legal rights before
questioning could begin
II. Expansion of the Civil Rights Movement
• JFK initially reluctant to challenge conservative southern Dems on race issue and was not as
committed to civil rights as his younger brother, Robert, the attorney general
• Conscience was changed by the Martin Luther King Jr.
A. Sit-Ins and Freedom Rides
1. Feb 1, 1960- 4 black college students sat down and demanded service at a “whites-
only” Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC
2. “sit-in movement”- spread to 6 more towns in NC and then 54 cities in 9 states
3. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)- 1960, formed by black and
white student activists, worked with MLKJ’s Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) to spread civil rights movement
4. sit-ins  “kneel-ins” at churches, “wade-ins” at segregated pools
5. 1961: over 3,600 black and white activists spent time in jail  despite violent abuse,
protesters refused to retaliate
6. 1961: Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)- sent out group of black and white
“freedom riders” on buses to test a federal ruling that had banned segregation on
buses and trains and in their depots
7. Alabama- mobs attacked young travelers, burned buses, assaulted Justice Dept
observers, but demonstrators insisted, drawing natl attention and generating new
support for cause
8. JFK occupied with Berlin  Robert Kennedy sent fed marshals to protect them
B. Federal Intervention
1. 1962: Gov Ross Barnett of MI- rabid racist who refused to allow James Meredith
(Afr Amer) to enroll at Univ of Miss
2. Robert Kennedy sent fed marshals to enforce law  fed troops intervened and
Meredith registered at Ole Miss (2 deaths and many injuries)
3. 1963: MLKJ launched series of demonstrations in Birmingham, AL where Police
Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor used mass, brutal violence
4. MLKJ arrested and jailed  Letter from a Birmingham City Jail- stirring defense of
his nonviolent strategy; emphasized need to educate S whites about injustice of
segregation and other patterns of discrimination; focus on gaining fed enforcement of
law and new legislation
5. 1963: Gov George Wallace of AL stood in doorway of building at Univ of AL to
block enrollment of Afr Amer students  stepped aside bc of fed marshals  same
night- NAACP official Medgar Evers shot to death at home in Jackson, MI
6. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom- Aug 28,1964
a. Largest civil rights movement in US history
b. “I Have a Dream” speech- MLKJ
c. Two weeks later- bomb exploded in Birmingham church  4 girls dead
d. Forced whites to confront myths of own virtue/innocence w/ facts of hatred
7. JFK: new legislation needed to deal with race question  endorsed ambitious civil
rights bill- end discrimination in public facilities, desegregate public schools and
protect black voters  S conserv blocked bill in Congress  JFK committed to bill
III. Foreign Frontiers
A. Early Setbacks
1. CIA secret operation designed to prepare 1,500 anti-Castro Cubans for invasion of
homeland  invasion would inspire Cubans on island to rebel against Castro
2. Bay of Pigs Invasion- April 1, 1961; brutally subdued in 2 days, 1,100 men captured
3. June- Khrushchev met Kennedy in Vienna  Khrushchev threatened to limit W access
to Berlin, divided city located 100 miles within Communist E Germany
4. JFK shaken by meeting  mobilized Army Reserve and Natl Guard units
5. Khrushchev response: erected Berlin Wall- isolating W Berlin and preventing
movement btwn 2 parts of city
B. The Cuban Missile Crisis
1. Fall of 1962: Khrushchev granted Fidel Castro’s request for nuclear missiles in Cuba to
protect island from future Amer-sponsored invasions and to reduce strategic imbalance
caused by presence of US missiles in Turkey aimed at Soviet Union
2. Placed in areas not covered by US radar system and arrive w/o warning
3. Khrushchev’s purpose: demonstrate toughness to Chinese and Soviet critics of earlier
advocacy of peaceful coexistence
4. Oct 14, 1962- US intelligence flights discovered Soviet missile sites under construction
in Cuba  needed to be removed
5. JFK opted for blockade  quarantine- offered advtg of forcing Soviets to shoot first, if
matters came to that, and left open options of stronger action
6. Mon, Oct 22- most perilous week in world history
7. Wed, Oct 24- 5 Soviet supply ships stopped short of quarantine line
8. Fri, Oct 26- Soviets offered to withdraw missiles in return for public pledge by US not
to invade Cuba
9. US actions: agreed to sell surplus wheat to Soviets; installed “hot-line” telephone
between Washington and Moscow to provide instant connections between heads of
govt; removed obsolete missiles from Turkey, Italy, Britain; treaty with Soviet and
British reps to end nuclear testing in atmosphere (Sept 1963)
C. Kennedy and Vietnam
1. JFK’s “Thousand Days”- turmoil of Indochina never preoccupied public attention for
any extended period, but it dominated intl diplomatic debates from time the admin
entered office
2. Ngo Dinh Diem (S Viet)- repressive tactics, directed at Communists, Buddhist majority
and other critics, played in hands of enemy
3. 1961: Walt Rostow and General Maxwell Taylor proposed major increase in US milt
presence, but JKF instead dispatched more military “advisers”
4. 1963: 16,000 troops in South Vietnam
5. Mid-1963- growing Buddhist demonstrations against Diem ignited public discontent in
South Vietnam and created alarm abroad
6. Fall-1963- when Viet generals proposed a coup, US ambassador assured that JFK
admin wouldn’t stand in way  Nov 1- coup seized govt and murdered Diem
7. Successive coups set S Vietnam’s govt spinning from one milt leader to another
D. Kennedy’s Assassination
1. Nov 2, 1963: JFK was shot twice in the throat and died while visiting Dallas, TX
2. Assassinator: Lee Harvey Oswald  killed by Jack Ruby before thoroughly
investigated (shot in abdomen)
3. Dec 1963- Chief Justice Early Warren concluded Oswald acted alone
4. Conspiracy theories: CIA or Mafia; Fidel Castro; Cuban exiles
IV. Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society
• VP Lyndon B. Johnson took presidential oath of office on plane that brought JFK’s body back to
Washington from Dallas
• 50 yrs old  26 yrs in Washington- Senator Dem leader, gift for compromise
• Self-made and self-centered man: earthy, idealistic, domineering, insecure, gregarious, ruthless,
compassionate; ego as huge as ambition
• Stereotype: S conserv  admiration for FDR, concern for poor, commitment to civil rights
• Promised far more than he could accomplish, raised false hopes and stoked fiery resentments
A. Politics and Poverty
1. Revenue Act of 1964- tax cut to stimulate consumer spending; Repubs opposed bc it
would increase fed budget deficit; public opinion = skeptical
2. Civil Rights Act of 1964- prohibited racial segregation in public facilities such as bus
terminals, restaurants, theaters and hotels; outlawed long-standing racial discrimination
in registration of voters and hiring of employees
3. “war on poverty”  influence: The Other America (1962)- Michael Harrington:
argued more than 40 million people poor and modern poor resistant to hope
4. anti-poverty package: money for the program would come from econ growth from tax
reduction of more than $10 billion passed in 1964
5. Job Corps- inner-city youth
6. Head start program- disadvantaged preschoolers
7. Work-study programs- college students, grants to farmers and rural businesses, loans to
employers willing to hire chronically unemployed
8. Volunteers in Service to America (a domestic Peace Corps)
9. Community Action Program- allow poor “maximum feasible participation” in
directing neighborhood programs designed for benefits
10. “Great Society”
11. Theory: liberalism triumphant  practice: admin bungling, corruption, misguided
B. The Election of 1964
1. Democrats: Lyndon B. Johnson (winner), Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota
a. Landslide: 61% of total vote, electoral votes = 486-52
b. Senate: Dems increase majority by 2 (68-32)
c. House: Dems increase majority by 37 (295-140)
2. Republicans: Barry Goldwater of AZ
a. Swept CA primary
b. Urged bombing of N Viet (impression of trigger-happy), savaged Johnson’s war
on poverty and New Deal tradition, proposed sale of TN Valley Authority,
questioned Social Security in St. Petersburg, FL (major retirement comm), against
nuclear test ban and 1964 Civil Rights Act
c. Carried only AZ and 5 states in Deep South
C. Landmark Legislation
1. Great Society program: end poverty, renovate decaying central cities, provide every
young Amer with chance to attend college, protect health of elderly, enhance cultural
life, clean up air and water and make highways safer and prettier
2. Priority to health insurance and aid to education: Medicare insurance program (for
the aged- over 65) and Medicaid (provided states with fed grants to help cover med
payments for indigent)
3. Increase in fed aid to elementary and secondary schools: extending aid to “poverty-
impacted” school districts regardless of public or religious character
4. Carried 435 bills
5. Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1966- allocated fed funds for programs to
enhance standard of living in remote mtn areas that had long been pockets of desperate
6. Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965- provided for construction of 240,000
housing units; rent supplements for low-income fams in 1966; Dept of Housing and
Urban Dev (headed by Robert C. Weaver- first Afr Amer cabinet member)
D. The Immigration Act
1. Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965:
a. Abolished discriminatory quotas based upon natl origins that had governed immig
policy since 1920s
b. Treated all nationalities and races equally
c. Hemispheric ceilings or visas: 170,000 for persons outside W Hem; 120,00 from
within W Hem; no more than 20,000 ppl from 1 country/ yr
d. Allowed entry of immediate fam members of Amer residents w/o limit
e. 1960s- Asians and Lat Amer = largest group of New Amer
E. Assessing the Great Society
1. Highway Safety Act and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act-
established safety standards for car manufacturers and highway design
2. Higher Education Act- provided scholarships for college students
3. Successes: improving health, nutrition and education of poor Americans, young and
old; efforts to clean up air and water pollution
4. Medicare- removed incentives for hospitals to control costs  med bills skyrocketed
5. Reduced $ of poor ppl  provided fed welfare payment, not finding ppl jobs 
welfare fraud cases
6. Strong conservative backlash fueled Repub resurgence at polls
V. From Civil Rights to Black Power
A. Civil Rights Legislation
1. Civil Rights Act of 1964: outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations;
enabled attorney general to bring suits to end school desegregation; federally assisted
programs and private employers required to eliminate discrimination
2. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission- administered ban on job discrimination
by race, religion, national origin or sex
3. 1965- MLKJ organized voter-registration drive- aimed at 3 mill unregistered Afr Amer
in South
4. Marc 7- march for voting rights from Selma, AL to Montgomery  dispersed by state
troopers  judge allowed march and Johnson sent fed troops for protection
5. Voting Rights Act of 1965- ensured all citizens right to vote; attorney general to
dispatch fed examiners to register voters; states or counties where fewer than ½ adults
voted in 1964, act suspended literacy tests and other devices commonly used to defraud
citizens of vote
6. 1965- 250,000 Afr Amer newly registered
B. Black Power
1. Aug 11, 1965- Watts upheaval: Watts (poor, black neighborhood in Los Angeles)
exploded in frenzy of rioting and looting; 34 dead, 4,000 in jail and $35 mill prop
2. Detroit provided most graphic instance of urban violence as tanks rolled through streets
to restore order
3. Mid-1960s: 70% of Afr Amer lived in metropolitan areas, most in central-city ghettos
 urban upheavals initiated by Afr Amer
4. 1966: “black power”- Stokely Carmichael (head of SNCC) adopted separatist
philosophy and ousted whites from SNCC
5. Black Panther Party- 1966, headed by Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge
Cleaver with members like Stokely Carmichael; terrified the public; fragmented from
spasms of violence
6. Malcolm X:
a. Chief disciple of Elijah Muhammad- black Muslim prophet
b. Founded organization committed to fostering alliances between Afr Amer and
non-white ppl of world  biracial message of social change
c. Gunned down in Harlem by Black Muslim assassins in early 1965
7. 15% of blacks = separatists
8. Two positive effects on civil rights movement: prompted Afr Amer to take greater pride
in racial heritage and focused attention on econ plight of poor inner-city blacks who
need jobs as much as they need legal rights
VI. The Tragedy of Vietnam
• Johnson inherited longstanding commitment to containment  prevent communist takeover in S
Vietnam and reluctance to assume milt burden for fighting war
• Avoid being charged with having lost Vietnam
• Deeper into milt commitment in SE Asia
A. Escalation
1. Tonkin Gulf Resolution- Aug 7, 1964;
a. 2 US destroyers had been attacked by N Viet vessels on Aug 2 and 4 in Gulf of
Tonkin, off coast of N Vietnam
b. Johnson described attacks as unprovoked  destroyers monitoring S Viet raids
against 2 N Viet islands- raids planned by US advisers
c. Authorized president to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack
against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression”
2. Operation Rolling Thunder- Feb 1965
a. First sustained bombing of N Vietnam
b. Purpose: stop flow of soldiers and supplies in S
c. Results: little effect on supplies pouring down Ho Chi Minh Trail from N
Vietnam through Laos and into S Vietnam  bombing continued
3. General William C. Westmoreland (US army commander in Vietnam)- first
installment of combat troops to defend US airfields  1966: 385,000 troops
B. The Context for Policy
1. Johnson’s “containment” doctrine- applies to anywhere in the world
2. Sec of State Dean Rusk warned that Thailand, Burma and rest of SE Asia would fall
“like dominoes” to communism if US forces withdrew from Vietnam  milt
intervention = solution
3. Johnson insisted on low milt involvement to not provoke China/ Soviet Union to
intervene w/ own forces tight rein over bomb campaign  milt victory = not
4. US goal: prevent N Viet and Viet Cong from winning and eventually forcing a
negotiated settlement with N Viet  maintain milt presence
5. Riots broke out in college campuses
6. “living-room war”- Viet war 1st war to receive extended TV coverage
7. Johnson and admin underestimated tenacity of N Vietnam’s commitment to unify
Vietnam and expel US
8. US = limited war; Viet = total war
C. The Turning Point
1. Jan 31, 1968 (first day of Viet New Year- Tet): Viet Cong and N Viet defied holiday
truce to launch wave of surprise assaults on US and S Viet forces throughout S Viet 
Hue (old capital city) fell to Communists and Viet Cong temporarily occupied grounds
of US embassy in Saigon
2. US and S Viet organized devastating counterattack  even though success, Americans
urged US withdrawal  Johnson’s popularity dropped 35%
3. 1968: US spending $322,000 on every enemy soldier killed in Vietnam; poverty
programs at home received only $53/ person
4. Johnson suffered depression and paranoia, a fragmented Dem party and challenge from
Robert Kennedy for next election
5. Senator Eugene McCarthy of MN polled 42% to Johnson’s 48% in pres primary
6. March 31: Johnson announced limited halt to bombing of N Vietnam, fresh initiatives
for a negotiated cease-fire and decision to not run a second term
7. May 1968- direct negotiations with N Viet began  bogged down over N Viet’s
demand for halt to bombing by US as precondition for further discussion
VII. Sixties Crescendo
A. A Traumatic Year (1968)
1. April 4- MLKJ gunned down in Memphis, TN by James Early Ray
2. MLKJ’s death set off outpouring of grief among whites and blacks  set off riots in 60
US cities
3. June 5- Robert Kennedy shot in head by young Palestinian who resented Kennedy’s
support of Israel
4. Died on day he defeated Eugene McCarthy in CA Dem primary- nom for pres
B. Chicago and Miami
1. Election of 1968:
2. Democrats: Hubert Humphrey
a. Nominated at Chicago convention hall
b. Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley warned that he wouldn’t tolerate disruptions
3. Republicans: Richard Nixon (winner), Spiro Agnew
a. Nominated in Miami Beach
b. Offered vision of stability and order appealed to majority- silent majority
4. American Independents: George Wallace
a. Rioters would be shot, Viet war won, states’ rights and law and order restored,
open-housing laws repealed, welfare cheats jailed
b. Appeal outside native south: white working-class communities
c. Could deny Humphrey or Nixon electoral majority  throw choice to House
C. Nixon Again
1. Wallace campaign hurt by running mate, Curtis LeMay- suggested nuc weapons in Viet
2. Humphrey infuriated Johnson and party bosses when announced that he would stop
bombing N Vietnam “as an acceptable risk for peace”
3. Nixon and Gov Spiro Agnew of MD: margin = 500,000 votes, electoral = 301-191
4. Wallace: 10 million votes best showing by 3rd party since La Follette in 1924
5. Nixon: “peace w/ honor” in Viet and middle ground for maj of Amer to come together