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JFK and Johnson: Foreign and Domestic Policies Directions: You will move around the room to different reading stations. As you read each document, answer the questions, in your own words. NOTE: These are NOT straight-forward questions!! Answering them will require you to THINK, SUMMARIZE, and use your knowledge of United States History. Consider this a practice for the APUSH test (writing mini essays!!). YOU MUST ANSWER IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. JFK: The New Frontier of Politics John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participated in the first televised presidential debates. Nixon was a much more experienced politician, yet Kennedy was generally identified as the “winner” of the debates. What factors led to this decision?

Kennedy had an immediate strike against him during the election, because he was Roman Catholic. All other Presidents had been Protestant. In order to win votes in the South (which was considered deeply religious – the “Bible Belt”), what plan did he develop? Discuss the steps taken to achieve this plan, and whether or not the plan was successful.

In his inauguration speech, Kennedy asked Americans to “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” What does this mean to you? Considering the problems facing America in 1960, what do you think Kennedy was referring to?

Here, take notes on what Kennedy’s New Frontier plan entailed. You will summarize them later. Here, just make a list.


JFK and Johnson: Foreign and Domestic Policies JFK: The New Frontier Abroad The Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 was a humiliating disaster for President Kennedy. Describe the event, and what Kennedy’s opponents claimed he did wrong.

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered missiles to be placed in Cuba, aimed at the United States. Discuss the events leading up to this decision. Was Khrushchev justified in placing the missiles in Cuba? Why or why not?

The thirteen days after an American U-2 spy plane took pictures of the missiles in Cuba are referred to as the “Cuban Missile Crisis”, and are the closest America has ever come to nuclear war. What steps did President Kennedy take to prevent the Soviets and the Cubans from launching the missiles? Discuss the agreements that were eventually reached to remove the missiles from Cuba.

Here, take notes on what Kennedy’s New Frontier plan entailed. You will summarize them later. Here, just make a list.


JFK and Johnson: Foreign and Domestic Policies JFK: The New Frontier at Home When Kennedy ran for President, he ran on a platform of civil rights and social issues. These domestic concerns were forced to take a backseat to the Cold War, however, and Kennedy was assassinated before implementing any actual policies. Discuss Kennedy’s social policy proposals for the poor and for minorities. Were any of these proposals ever implemented? If so, in what way(s)?

Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. Discuss the goals and success of this program.

Here, take notes on what Kennedy’s New Frontier plan entailed. You will summarize them later. Here, just make a list.

Once you have completed the three JFK readings, summarize the New Frontier. Let me clarify – you should describe and outline this proposed plan as if you were teaching it to someone else. How can it be identified or characterized? Discuss whether or not the plan was successful. Include specific programs and policies.


JFK and Johnson: Foreign and Domestic Policies LBJ: The Great Society Lyndon Baines Johnson became President of the United States on Air Force One on November 22, 1963, just hours after Kennedy was assassinated. He would complete Kennedy’s term before being elected to his own, in 1964. Kennedy and Johnson were polar opposites. Explain their differences and similarities. Note: Not just their appearances!! Be sure to include their backgrounds, their politics, their goals, etc.

Honoring Kennedy’s legacy, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discuss the details of this act, and gauge its success.

Johnson’s domestic policy was known as the “Great Society”. List the components of this plan below, as you come across them in the reading. As with the New Frontier, you will summarize later.

Miranda v. Arizona was decided upon by the Supreme Court (led by Earl Warren) while Johnson was President. We hear the effects of this case every time we watch a crime show, but very few of us actually understand the meaning behind the Miranda Warnings. Below, discuss the background of this case, and why police officers are required to read the Miranda Warnings to everyone they arrest.


JFK and Johnson: Foreign and Domestic Policies In addition to Johnson’s Great Society, his administration was also deeply involved in the Vietnam War. Going against Kennedy’s wishes, Johnson pledged to “stay the course” in Vietnam. Discuss Johnson’s reasoning for changing America’s foreign policy. How did he justify this decision to Americans?

The turning point in the Vietnam War, concerning America’s involvement, is the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the following Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Explain the importance of these two events.

Once you have completed the LBJ reading, summarize the Great Society. Let me clarify – you should describe and outline this proposed plan as if you were teaching it to someone else. How can it be identified or characterized? Discuss whether or not the plan was successful. Include specific programs and policies.


New Frontier/Great Society Questions