Historians and political scientists have typically described the Kennedy administration as a period of unfulfilled promise in national policy-making. 1 Particularly in the area of social welfare, it is claimed, the vigorous rhetoric of a New Frontier fell flat before a deadlocked Congress and a quiescent public that failed to supply the backing for social change. According to this analysis, only the combined effect of a presidential assassination, the landslide Democratic victory of 1964, and Lyndon Johnson’s unique legislative abilities managed to propel America into a new burst of domestic reform during the mid-1960s.