Dreaming In The 1960s

In 1962, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said his most famous
words: "I have a dream." He was not the only one who felt
this way. For many, the 1960s was a decade in which their
dreams about America might be fulfilled. For Martin Luther
King Jr., this was a dream of a truly equal America; for
John F. Kennedy, it was a dream of a young vigorous
nation that would put a man on the moon; and for the hippy
movement, it was one of love, peace, and freedom. The
1960s was a tumultuous decade of social and political
upheaval. We are still confronting many social issues that
were addressed in the 1960s today. In spite of the turmoil,
there were some positive results, such as the civil rights
revolution. However, many outcomes were negative:
student antiwar protest movements, political assassinations,
and ghetto riots excited American people and resulted in a
lack of respect for authority and the law. The first president
during the 1960s was John F. Kennedy. He was young,
appealing, and had a carefully crafted public image that
barely won him the election. Because former President
Eisenhower supported the Republican nominee, Richard
Nixon, and because many had doubts about Kennedy\'s
youth and Catholic religion, Kennedy only received
three-tenths of one percent more of the popular vote than
Nixon. The first thing Kennedy did during his brief
presidency was to try to restore the nation\'s economy.
Economic growth was slow in 1961 when Kennedy
entered the White house. The President initiated a series of
tariff negotiations to stimulate exports and proposed a
federal tax cut to help the economy internally. John F.
Kennedy was known as one of the few presidents in
history who made his own personality a significant part of
his presidency and a focus of national attention. Nothing
illustrated this more clearly than the reaction to the tragedy
of November 22, 1963. Kennedy was driving through the
streets of Dallas. The streets were full of cheering people
watching him drive by. The President was surrounded by
loud motorcycles driven by the Secret Service. One
onlooker, looking into a sixth floor window, noticed
another man with a rifle. "Boy! ," he said. "You sure can\'t
say the Secret Service isn\'t on the ball. Look at that guy up
there in the window with a rifle" (Pett 12). That man with
the rifle was not a member of the Secret Service. A fraction
of a second before 12:30 p.m., John Fitzgerald Kennedy
was smiling broadly. He would never smile again. The
Kennedy assassination touched everyone around the
world. In Canada, for example, Eaton\'s Company put
full-page advertisements in newspapers such as The
Hamilton Spectator saying, "With all Canada and the
World, we share the shock and grief inflicted by the tragic
death of a great statesman and a great hero" (see appendix
A). Nevertheless, there was one good thing that came out
of it: Lyndon B. Johnson became president. Throughout
Johnson\'s five-year career, sweeping reforms were made in
every corner of the country. First, Johnson created
Medicare-- a program to provide federal aid to the elderly
for medical expenses. Medicare had been debated for
years in Congress, but Johnson\'s plan eliminated many
objections. First, Medicare benefits were available to all
elderly Americans, regardless of need. Second, doctors
serving Medicare patients could practice privately and even
charge their normal fees. Later, the Johnson Administration
issued Medicaid, which gave assistance to all ages. Next,
Johnson established a new cabinet agency in 1966: the
Department of Housing and Urban Development. This
agency, together with the newly formed Model Cities
program, was invented in an effort to stop the decaying of
cities and end poverty. Also, the Omnibus Housing Act
gave rent supplements to the poor. Finally, Johnson created
the Office for Economic Opportunity. This program led to
new educational, employment, housing, and health-care
developments. However, the Office for Economic
Opportunity failed because there was inadequate funding
and the government was more concerned with the Vietnam
War. Johnson also wanted to strengthen the country\'s
schools. First, his administration implemented the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which
extended aid to private and parochial schools based on the
needs of the students. Also, he created the National
Endowment of Arts and Humanities, and passed the Higher
Education Act, which gave federally financed scholarships.
Another subject that concerned the government under
Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and the rest of America
was Civil Rights. In 1964 Congress passed the Civil Rights
Act, and in 1965 they passed the Voting Rights act. The
Civil Rights Movement did not just affect American
minorities, but everyone who lived in the United States at
the time. The momentum of the previous decade\'s civil
rights gains led by Reverand Martin Luther King carried
over into