Known as Jack or JFK, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he was elected thirty-fifth President of the United States and served from January 1961 to November 1963, when he was assassinated. He led America out of recession and implemented several significant domestic changes. He was engaged in many important international events, the most notable of which was the Cuban Missile Crisis, which threatened nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. In this post, learn why John F. Kennedy is still remembered and why historians regard him as a great president.
Establishment of Peace Corps
One of President John F. Kennedy’s first actions was establishing the Peace Corps, a program that sent young people to developed countries to live with the people they were assisting. They aimed to “promote peace and cooperation,” in addition to providing technical assistance for initiatives in hygiene, sanitation, and education. About 7,000 idealistic Americans, both young and elderly, signed up. Kennedy urged Congress to pass laws raising the minimum wage, providing health care for the elderly, and providing scholarship assistance to medical, dental, and nursing students.
Foreign Policy Dispute
In April 1961, JFK approved a decision to send 1,400 CIA-trained Cuban exiles in an amphibious assault in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, sparking an early foreign policy crisis. The plan, which was intended to incite a revolt against communist leader Fidel Castro, failed miserably, with virtually all of the exiles being captured or killed. In June of that year, Kennedy met with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna to address Berlin, which had been split between Allied and Soviet rule after World War II. East German forces began erecting a wall to isolate the city two months later.
In June 1963, Kennedy delivered one of his most famous speeches in West Berlin, sending an army convoy to inform West Berliners of US assistance. In October 1962, JFK and Khrushchev clashed once more during the Cuban missile crisis. JFK announced a naval blockade of Cuba after discovering that the Soviet Union was building a series of nuclear and long-range missile bases in Cuba that could pose a danger to the continental US.
Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
The tense standoff lasted almost two weeks before Khrushchev decided to withdraw Soviet missile bases in Cuba in exchange for the United States’ agreement not to conquer the island and the withdrawal of American missiles from Turkey and other locations near Soviet borders. The Soviet Union and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and the United States signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in Moscow. Nuclear activity on the ground, in the atmosphere, or underwater was forbidden by the treaty’s terms. Both experiments were supposed to take place underwater. Since then, 125 UN member states have ratified or acceded to the treaty. However, in Southeast Asia, Kennedy’s willingness to stem the rise of communism prompted him to increase US participation in the Vietnam War while secretly expressing his displeasure with the situation.
Alliance for Progress of Latin America
The Alliance for Progress to develop economic relations between the United States and Latin America was established in 1961. Between 1962 and 1967, the United States contributed $1.4 billion per year to Latin America’s growth. In the 1960s, Latin America’s geographic production per capita increased by 2.6 percent, beating the program’s target of 2.5 percent. Adult illiteracy was eliminated, and housing, financial institutions, tax codes, and administration all improved.
The New Frontier
It saw the passage of several significant amendments. Unemployment benefits were increased, cities received aid to improve housing and transportation, a water pollution control act was enacted to protect rivers and streams, passed significant anti-poverty legislation. It includes increases in social security benefits and the minimum wage and the most comprehensive farm assistance legislation since 1938 was enacted.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law on June 10, 1963, to eliminate wage disparities dependent on gender, making changes to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. The EPA was a big step toward closing the gender disparity between men and women. While the EPA’s equal pay for equal work goals has not been fully realized, women’s salaries have increased dramatically compared to men’s since its inception. JFK also advocated reforming American immigration policies, which resulted in the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which replaced the lottery system based on national origins with a preferential system based on the immigrant’s expertise and family ties to US residents.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Through his speeches, Kennedy advocated for social integration and civil rights. JFK signed Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961, requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that all workers, regardless of ethnicity, creed, color, or national origin, are handled equally. In November 1962, JFK issued Executive Order 11063, which prohibited segregation in federally subsidized housing. JFK gave his iconic civil rights speech on June 11, 1963, in which he urged Americans to see civil rights as a spiritual cause. The historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 included his plan to provide fair access to public schools and other services and greater enforcement of voting rights.
When Kennedy assumed office, the United States was in the midst of a crisis. Under his own executive anti-recessionary acceleration policy, he implemented a variety of approaches to stimulate the economy. The most significant tax changes since the New Deal were implemented, including creating a new investment tax credit.
When Kennedy was assassinated, from early 1961 to late 1963, GDP increased by an average of 5.5 percent per year, compared to just 2.2 percent per year during his predecessor Eisenhower’s presidency. Also, inflation remained stable at about one percent, industrial output increased by fifteen percent, and unemployment decreased. This pace of growth lasted until 1969, and it has never been matched for such a long time.
The death of John F. Kennedy stunned Americans and stunned the whole world. The event drew leaders from more than 90 countries. It was too early to talk of a legacy, but it is apparent that the Kennedys permanently altered the White House’s character. John F. Kennedy’s courage and determination motivated Americans to be proud of their accomplishments and dedicate themselves to public service. Kennedy served as president during a difficult period, and his leadership, which was both clear-eyed and calm, was still focused on achieving unity.