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Kennedy and Johnson. Liberal Ascendancy and Turmoil, 1961-1961. 1960 Election. Nixon v. Kennedy Catholic Issue TV Debate JFK through Bobby intervened to secure MLK’s release from jail Close election—118,000 popular votes difference and 303 to 219 in electoral college. JFK Cabinet.

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Kennedy and Johnson

Liberal Ascendancy and Turmoil, 1961-1961

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1960 Election

  • Nixon v. Kennedy

  • Catholic Issue

  • TV Debate

  • JFK through Bobby intervened to secure MLK’s release from jail

  • Close election—118,000 popular votes difference and 303 to 219 in electoral college

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JFK Cabinet

  • “Best and Brightest” – “Whiz Kids”

  • “I just wish one of them had run for sheriff once.” Sam Rayburn.

  • Robert McNamara headed Defense; Robert Kennedy was AG

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Apex of American Liberalism

“Let the word go forth from this time and place, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans

. . . Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty;

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

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Domestic Policy Initiatives

  • Faced opposition from Southern segregationist Democrats

  • Alliance for Progress

  • Peace Corps

  • Trade Expansion Act

  • Housing Act/Area Redevelopment Act

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Civil Rights

  • Freedom Rides

  • James Meredith and Ole Miss

  • MLK and Birmingham

  • Washington Mall March

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Foreign Policy

  • Bay of Pigs

  • Berlin Crisis

  • Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Assassination of Diem

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JFK’s funeral: JFK, Jr., Salutes His Father’s

Funeral caisson, Caroline and JFK, Jr., place

JFK’s P.T. 109 pin on their father’s grave;

Jackie and Teddie walk behind the caisson.

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Kennedy Assassination and LBJ’s use of it

War on Poverty

Economic Opportunity Bill (Job Corps, Head Start, Work Study—etc.)

Great Society

1964 Election vs. Barry Goldwater


1964 CRA

1965 VRA

Elementary and Secondary School Act

Appalachian Redevelopment Act

1965 Immigration Act

435 Total Bills of Great Society Legislation


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Black Power

  • Freedom Summer

  • Frustration with slow pace of social and economic change

  • Riots in Watts, Chicago, Cleveland, Newark, and Detroit (1965-67)

  • Problems with defacto versus dejure segregation

  • Black Panthers—Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver

  • Malcolm X

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  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

  • 1965—Ground troops committeed

  • Mission Creep

  • Ia Drang Conflict

  • Anti-war movement at home

  • Tet Offensive

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Vietnamese Civilians Killed by American Service

Personnel at My Lai—March 16, 1968

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1968—The Year Everything Went Wrong

  • Tet Offensive

  • Assassinations of MLK and RFK

  • Riots and police brutality at Chicago Democratic Convention

  • Nixon and Silent Majority