The Kennedy And Lyndon B Johnson

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ohn F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson were thrown into the caldron of executive US politics on January 20th 1961 having been elected on a single presidential/vice presidential ticket. As progressive-liberals, their incumbency oversaw a period of substantial domestic and international change that has continued to shape America to this day. Historical assessments of each President are wide-ranging. Historians such as Robert Dallek, author of ‘J.F.K. - An Unfinished Life’, conclude that Kennedy’s premiership was one of ‘small successes and big failures’. Dallek laments JFK’s failed ‘New Frontier’ domestic program which promised federal funding towards education, medical care for the elderly, funding towards poorer state government and government intervention to aid the recession as leaving ‘a want of landmark legislation’. Conversely Public opinion of Kennedy remains very strong however. Lyndon Johnson on the other hand divides historical opinion to a broader extent. Whereas Dallek concludes that Kennedy was a man of ‘small successes and big failures’, Johnson was an exponent of ‘great achievement and painful failure, of lasting gains and unforgettable losses’. According to John Kentleton his domestic ‘Great Society’ left ‘something of Lincoln’s greatness within his grasp’ but believes that ‘Johnson’s presidency ended in failure’; a conclusion drawn from the military conflict in Vietnam and endless logistical problems with his domestic programs. This essay will argue that despite
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