How successful was the New Frontier?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To a certain extent, stating whether or not the New Frontier was a success or not is an opinion.  The "New Frontier" refers to the economic and social programs that were initiated by President John F. Kennedy.  As with any political move/agenda, there are always going to be people who oppose it and believe it to be a bad idea.  Kennedy's New Frontier is no different.  

Kennedy first introduced the concept of the "New Frontier" in a speech of his in the year 1960.  The New Frontier concept is Kennedy’s commitment to renewal and change.  It’s his pitch to "get the country moving again" and is very reminiscent of Theodore Roosevelt's "Square Deal," Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal," Harry S. Truman's "Fair Deal." At the core of the plan was raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing equal pay for women, rebuilding the inner cities, increasing federal aid for education, initiating a Peace Corps, and developing a Medicare program to assist the elderly.

Judging the New Frontier based solely on whether or not it did what it set out to do, I would say that it was a partial success.  The minimum wage was raised by 25%.  The Peace Core was established, and from 1961 to 2015, nearly 225,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and served in 141 countries. Unfortunately, Congress did oppose many parts of Kennedy’s plan. For example, the proposals for Medicare, a Department of Urban Affairs, and mass transit aid were all defeated by Congress.  I would say that the biggest success of the New Frontier was the tone that it set for the United States.   That tone was set by Kennedy’s magnetic appeal, and had Kennedy not been killed, the New Frontier likely would have actually accomplished a lot more of what it set out to do.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The New Frontier was President Kennedy’s program for dealing with domestic and with foreign issues. Many things were accomplished under the New Frontier, but more might have been accomplished if he wasn’t assassinated.

In foreign policy, President Kennedy called on the American people to serve in underdeveloped countries to help the people in those countries improve their ways of living. The Peace Corps was created to help make this happen. President Kennedy also set a goal for our country to be the first country to put a man on the moon. This was accomplished in July 1969.

Domestically, Kennedy accomplished several things as part of this program. Minimum wage increased to $1.25 an hour. President Kennedy worked to help women gain more opportunities. The Equal pay Act was signed in 1963. An executive order ending gender discrimination in civil service jobs was signed. The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women was established.

Unfortunately, other issues of President Kennedy were held up in Congress at the time of his assassination. He wanted more money for schools, and he proposed a program that would provide health care for the elderly. These ideas eventually became reality when President Johnson became President.

The New Frontier had some successes. If President Kennedy wouldn’t have been assassinated, more things might have been accomplished.