How far did the “American dream” as defined by president Kennedy and Johnson shatter between 1960 and 1968

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Last updated: November 6, 2019

The word dream is defined as “to have an ambition” in answering this question and thinking of what were the dreams of president Kennedy and Johnson I define their dreams and begin to evaluate the events from 1960 to 1968 and whether the presidents achieved their dream or was it “shattered”.

President Kennedy was born into a large family, he went to private schools and then went on to graduate at Harvard University.President Kennedy’s dream was anti communism, economic growth and civil rights. President Johnson’s dream was to educate the young, medical care and to abolish poverty.President Kennedy’s dream shattered between 1960 and 1968 due to the events occurring in those years. The Bay of Pigs event was an important factor which also taken in to account when saying the “American dream” shattered .

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The bay of pigs event occurred in 1961 Kennedy opposed Fidel Castro’s regime as there seemed to be more and more communism taking place in Cuba which threw a huge threat over America. Although Kennedy wasn’t successful in his attempt to overthrow the regime, the force he had sent in were captured and few. This didn’t do Kennedy any favours as he was the new president and attacking a neighbouring country with incorrect intelligence wasn’t a great move. As Fidel Castro’s regime continued. From this event we can understand how the dream shattered Kennedy’s dream had started to shatter from the very beginning of his presidency.Kennedy also was more interested in foreign policy than domestic his aims in the foreign policy consisted of “the freedom of man” and to wipe out communism forever. Kennedy’s foreign aim was Vietnam this shows how Kennedy’s dream shattered.

President Kennedy wanted to help South Vietnam in their war to not have the communist North government rule over them. Althoughsome historians have made the notion that Kennedy attempted to withdraw his support, but couldn’t as he would be seen as a “coward” so secretly Kennedy may have wanted to leave this cause halfway this shows Vietnam wasn’t part of Kennedy’s dream and it didn’t shatter Kennedy’s dream.The Cuban missile crisis and Berlin crisis show that Kennedy’s dream was kept alive, as these were successful events and fulfilled parts of Kennedy’s dream. The event of the Cuban missile crisis was that president Kennedy negotiated with the Soviet Union leader Khrushchev and persuaded him to remove their missiles from Cuba.

Many historians regard Kennedy having no “dreams” due to him having an image that was always presented rather than his ambitions. Although towards the end of his presidency his image wasn’t looking good and it was also shattered through the years.Towards the last year of Kennedy’s presidency the civil rights were well on their way and were protesting and chanting with banners. Martin Luther King was the leader of the civil rights movement his protest always remained non violent. Protests were carried out in Alabama, Birmingham etc.although one of the non-violent protest led to an incident in which a police officer started to attack the protestors with dogs, teargas, etc. This incident led to TV channels broadcasting this and many outraged Americans realised the angered at the police officers action.

This incident showed how a president ruled a country with the policy of treating the black Americans as second-class citizens. This event didn’t do justice to his image or his inaugural address “Success of Liberty” “what we can do for the freedom of man”. This event also led to the shattering of the dream.The economy was an aspect of Kennedy’s dream.

Kennedy addressed the economy problem by urging the congress to have a massive tax cut this would lead to increase consumer spending, create new jobs and generate economic growth. Although congress did not pass this the proposal wasn’t passed. This shows that Kennedy’s dream was shattered yet again as he wasn’t able to fulfil his dream.Kennedy intended to help the civil rights cause by endorsing a civil rights bill but due to the fact that the minority was democrats in congress and the Southerners was a majority they opposed this and the proposal wasn’t passed.

This also shows how Kennedy’s dream shattered.In conclusion I thinks its possible to say that Kennedy’s dream shattered from 1960 and 1968.Although Johnson continued the idea of a dream it’s correct to say that Johnson’s dream shattered in the 1960s.Johnson wasn’t really very interested in the Vietnam cause but didn’t want to call back the American army due to it accepting defeat. The war effort from 1965 to 1968 deepened which resulted in many deaths for the American army although Johnson didn’t want the attention on the Vietnam War because he was scared that the Great society programme wouldn’t be recognised.Johnson great society programme was successful but by 1966 his supporters were turning against him as they thought he untrustworthy. This shows that his dream was shattered because Americans had lost faith in him and also Johnson was unable to achieve any of his goals.

By 1966 Johnson tried to persuade congress to pass only 1 act, which was the model cities act .The great society didn’t achieve to its full potential, as Johnson wanted it too. Therefore his dream was shattered and unfulfilled.

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