TEACHER: Hello, and welcome to class. If you look at this photo right here, you can see President Kennedy, and he’s meeting various Peace Corps volunteers. And this is actually really personal for me because I had a number of friends, when we graduated from college, they joined the Peace Corps. And they went to many different countries, some in Africa,
some in Asia, and some in South America. And this program, the Peace Corps, was part of Kennedy’s New Frontier, which really challenged Americans to look for ways to help America in any way possible.
And that’s what we’re going to be exploring today, of Kennedy and the New Frontier. But first, let’s begin by looking
at how people in America came to see Kennedy as he became president, pretty much right at his inauguration. Let’s get started.
TEACHER: Kennedy’s presidency is sometimes referred to as Camelot. And the reason for that is that Camelot was actually a popular Broadway musical at the time.
But during his time in office, it was called a brief shining moment, which was from a line that’s found in that play, Camelot. So basically, Kennedy inspired Americans
with his charm, his energy, and his optimism. And you really came to believe, many Americans did, that this would be a brand-new era in American history. But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t face very significant challenges. But Kennedy, he welcomed those challenges and the responsibility of being president.
And you definitely see that in his inaugural address.
And you can see his inauguration taking place right here on the screen. And in his address he says, “Now the trumpet summons us again to struggle against the common enemies of man, tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.” So you can see that there were certainly a number of challenges facing President Kennedy during this time period.
Next you’re going to take a watch of a video from his inauguration.
And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to do three main things. The first is to describe the efforts of Kennedy’s domestic policies on society, on the economy, and on the environment. Secondly, you’ll be able to examine the legacy of Kennedy’s commitment to space exploration.
And finally, you’ll analyze the impact of Kennedy’s assassination on the nation.
TEACHER: Remember our lesson question right up here at the top of the screen. How did Kennedy’s presidency affect the nation? We just looked at how Kennedy, when he came to office, he really inspired many Americans to go out there and serve America. So in this lesson we’re going to be looking at his New Frontier program.
We’re also going to be looking at the space race. And finally, we’re going to finish with looking at Kennedy’s assassination. But we’re going to begin by looking at the New Frontier. Let’s get started.
TEACHER: Kennedy had ambitious plans for the nation. And this included programs to help with education, with the environment, with the economy, with other nations. And this plan, it became known as the New Frontier. And you can see why it was called that, especially from this speech he gave in July of 1960, where he said, “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier– the frontier of the 1960s– a frontier
of unknown opportunities and perils– a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.” So we’re going to look at all of these programs starting with education, where he increased school aid and he signed programs for disabled students into law. You can see him signing one of those right here. And he also believed that education was critical, was key to civil rights as well as greater equality
in the United States. Let’s pause right here to see what you’ve learned about Kennedy’s New Frontier.
TEACHER: President Kennedy was a strong supporter of equality for African Americans. He appointed African Americans positions in government including Thurgood Marshall, who you see right here, to a federal court. Thurgood Marshall would go on to become the first African American Supreme Court Justice. You may remember his name from the Brown v. Board of Education
case where Thurgood Marshall was one of the major lawyers, the key lawyers in that. Back to President Kennedy, at first he was actually cautious about civil rights. The reason being is he relied a lot of his support upon Southern Democrats and during this time period, Southern Democrats were not big fans of civil rights, but Kennedy would have to choose.
There was a turning point in 1962 where Kennedy supported James Meredith’s integration of the University of Mississippi or Ole Miss. Building upon that, a year later in 1963, violence actually broke out against protesters in Birmingham and this violence, it forced Kennedy to propose national civil rights laws. Let’s pause and see what you’ve learned about Kennedy
and the civil rights.
TEACHER: Kennedy also advocated for the creation of National Seashores. And these were areas where animal and plant species, well, they would be protected as if they were a national park. Some of those included sea shores in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Padre Island, Texas, and Point Reyes, California. You can see a beautiful seashore right here on the picture.
The other major thing that he created was the Peace Corps, which was established in 1961. It inspired young Americans to help mankind and many times to go abroad into less developed nations to help improve health care, agriculture, as well as other areas. Take a look at this chart right over here where you can see the various years up to 2012
and the number of volunteers. You can see how it really spiked in 1966 with 15,000 volunteers to 55 countries. But look at this, in 2012 over 9,000 volunteers in 75 countries. And all of these young Americans are really making a positive impact on these less developed nations. Let’s pause and check your understanding.
TEACHER: Wonderful work, everyone. We’ve reached the second part of the lesson. Remember our lesson question at the top of the screen, though. How did Kennedy’s presidency affect the nation? We just finished talking about the New Frontier, the program, for example, the Peace Corps, or the protection of national seashores. Now we’re going to shift our attention
to the second part of the lesson, where we’re going to explore the space race. Let’s keep going. You’re doing great.
TEACHER: The space race can be thought of as a contest. It was a contest, a competition, with the Soviet Union. When Kennedy took office, the United States was losing that space race to the Soviet Union. The reason why they were losing was because in 1957, the USSR, the Soviet Union, it launched Sputnik, you can see right here, into orbit. So they launched it into space.
So people began to realize that rockets could also carry nuclear weapons. So they could launch Sputnik into space. What keeps them from launching a rocket into space that could then hit the United States? So in response to that, the United States formed NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958 to lead its own space program
in developing. It began with peaceful technology to benefit all of humanity. But it also had a military side, where they were trying to develop weapons systems to defend the United States from a potential missile attack. You can see one of the rockets from NASA blasting off right over here on the right side of the screen.
Remember, the United States was losing the space race to the Soviet Union. And it only got further behind because in 1961 the Soviet Union sent Yuri Gagarin into space, the first man in space. Six weeks after that, Kennedy made a speech where he called for the United States to send an American to the moon, and he wanted this to happen by the end of the 1960s.
He laid that out in this speech where he says, “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” A really high order I think you would agree. So in response to that, NASA focused on Kennedy’s goal with two programs.
The first one was the Mercury program, which was actually already sending Americans into space. You can see one right there. The second one was the Gemini program, which tested new space technologies and also had some achievements, like the first space walk. In 1962, Kennedy made a speech where he talked about how important it was to send a man to the moon.
And next, you’re going to listen to that speech yourself.
We choose to go to the moon in this decade. And do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.
TEACHER: In order to achieve Kennedy’s goal of landing a man and putting a man on the moon, NASA needed a new program, called the Apollo Program. It included 17 missions, some manned, some unmanned. And it was meant to explore the moon as well as to develop the human ability to work on the moon. It started its very first mission in 1967. And drum roll, [DRUM ROLL SOUND] two years later,
it succeeded in its first goal. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11, the astronauts Buzz Aldrin, as well as Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon. You can see one of them right here, actually walking on the moon. Once they were on the moon, they performed experiments, and they actually sent video back to earth as proof of, hey, we were on the moon.
We succeeded at this. So you can clearly see that Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade was successful, because the United States was able to do it in 1969.
TEACHER: Remember, one of the goals of the space program was to develop technologies that would help all of mankind. And that was definitely the case with the Apollo program, because many of the technologies are now used worldwide. Microchips, which led to the computer revolution which allowed for smartphones like the one you see here, solar panels like these right here, cordless battery operated tools, as well as
firefighting equipment and other clothing. So the next time you pick up your phone or if you ever see some solar panels you could really think back and say, hey, I’m really glad the Apollo program actually took place, because that’s where all of these technologies got their initial start from.
TEACHER: Look at that students, you’re 2/3 of the way there. Bet you didn’t know you were going to do a little math in History as well. Take a look at that lesson question again. How did Kennedy’s presidency affect the nation? We just finished talking about the Space Race, and how in 1969, the United States successfully landed a man on the moon.
In this final part of the lesson, we’re going to shift gears to the really tragic event of Kennedy’s assassination. And we’re going to see how that really affected the United States as an entire country. Let’s keep going.
TEACHER: In November of 1963, President Kennedy went to Dallas, Texas to help fellow Democrats who were campaigning for office. While he was there, he was riding in an open limousine. You can see him right here. And while he was in that open limousine, he was tragically shot and killed as he rode through downtown Dallas.
In response to that, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, who you can see right here, took the oath of office later that afternoon. And by his side right here is Kennedy’s wife, Jackie Kennedy. So you can see it’s a really tragic event that took place. But the violence didn’t stop here, especially against the man who was thought to have shot President Kennedy. That man was Lee Harvey Oswald, who
was accused of killing the president. But he never explained his actions, and one of the reasons why he didn’t is because he was murdered by Jack Ruby two days later. Many Americans, they heard the government’s explanation, but they really didn’t trust it. They thought there may have been another shooter, or it may have been a Communist threat.
So in response to all of these, a Warren Commission was created by the United States Congress, and it was created for the sole purpose of investigating the assassination. But to do this very day, the assassination of President Kennedy is very controversial, and you hear many different people arguing different sides of what exactly happened.
TEACHER: After Kennedy was assassinated, the nation mourned the death of this really young president. And hundreds of thousands paid their respects at the Capitol. You can see some of them right here. And millions who weren’t able to make it to the Capitol watched the funeral on TV. And people, they remembered for the rest of their lives where they were when Kennedy was actually shot.
So you can see that this really caused the nation to mourn. And it was a really tragic experience felt by the entire nation.