The New Frontier Fulfilled
Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why then should we desire to be deceived?
-Bishop Butler Fifteen Sermons, No. 7, par. 16
ONE YEAR AFTER the Presidential election of 1960, the New Frontier of President John F. Kennedy has acquired a firm place in a historic American series. There it stands alongside the Great Crusade of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Both fly flags of hardihood and high venture. Our age has no taste for the resonance of “business as usual”: it prefers to flavor the day’s round with a dash of high sentence. For this spice, Crusade and Frontier may serve equally.
But the Great Crusade and the New Frontier have far more in common than the language of high aspiration. Both mean the thoroughgoing acceptance of all that which is now-since the Great Depression and War and Demobilization -firmly established and fundamental in the domestic American economic, social, and political order. The institutional changes of the 30′s and 40′s are unchallenged. With the second Truman administration, all that is already in the past. From about 1948, there are no great innovations. At most, taxes are increased sharply during the Korean War and reduced significantly by Eisenhower and George Humphrey. Main Street and Wall Street alike live comfortably under a friendly sun.
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