John F. Kennedy's Presidency

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How successful was John F Kennedy's New Frontier program?

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Kennedy's "New Frontier" was less a coherent set of policies and programs than FDR's New Deal or LBJ's Great Society. As he described it in his nomination acceptance speech at the 1960 Democratic Party National Convention:

The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.

The phrase "New Frontier" came to encompass all of the Kennedy administration's domestic initiatives as well as others with geopolitical ramifications, like the space program and the Peace Corps. Much of the New Frontier's domestic agenda was a response to the economic recession that gripped the nation when he took office in 1961. It included modest measures, like tax cuts and a higher minimum wage, but also more ambitious ones, like a federal health care plan for the elderly and a federal housing initiative.

In short, Kennedy was unsuccessful in getting his more sweeping plans passed into...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on April 8, 2020