1960 Presidential Campaign and the Great Debates

“One of the most notable events of the Nixon-Kennedy presidential campaign was their televised debate in September, the first of its kind between major presidential candidates. The debate focused on domestic policy and provided Kennedy with an important moment to present himself as a composed, knowledgeable statesman. In contrast, Nixon, an experienced debater who faced higher expectations, looked sweaty and defensive. Radio listeners famously thought the two men performed equally well, but the TV audience was much more impressed by Kennedy, giving him an advantage in subsequent debates. Ultimately, the election was extraordinarily close; in the largest voter turnout in American history up to that point, Kennedy bested Nixon by less than one percentage point (34,227,096 to 34,107,646 votes).”  –American Yawp, chap. 27

Video courtesy of Aidan Sichel’s student website project (Dickinson Fall 2020)

Understanding LBJ and the Great Society

  • Civil Rights (1964) and Voting Rights (1965)
  • War on Poverty programs (1964)
  • Elementary and Secondary Education (1965)
  • Immigration Reform (1965)
  • Medicare and Medicaid (1965)

Civil Rights Struggles in the 1960s

MLK and X

Discussion Questions

  • The image above from the American Yawp raises questions about competing civil rights strategies in the 1960s?  Describe some of the different groups, different leaders and differing aims among those who fought for racial equality in that turbulent decade.
  • What other groups were inspired by the civil rights struggles to fight for their own equality?  Which civil rights strategies seemed to have the broadest appeal among those who protested against discrimination?

Women's Lib