Presidents Kennedy And Johnson


Presidents Kennedy And Johnson Essay, Research Paper

Although President Kennedy wasn?t in office for very long, his actions in and out of the whitehouse are legendary. When President Kennedy took the oath of office in 1960 he wasted no time in cleaning up America. Several bills were enacted in President Kennedy?s tenor. A lot of the major ones had to do with crime control. A lot of President Kennedy?s bills were targeted at organized crime. Bill S1653 was singed into action on September 13 1961. This was an interstate travel bill. The bill made it a crime to travel or use any facilities in interstate commerce with intent to conduct violent crimes to further illegal gambling, liquor, narcotics, or prostitution business. This bill had a major effect shutting down a lot of ?speakeasy?s? which took care of gambling, and betting. Customs got a lot tighter which had a great impact on the running of liquor to foreign countries such as Canada and Mexico. A lot of drug pushers were arrested and many Bordellos? were also shut down. The senate passed Bill S1653 on July 28 and House on Aug 21. This was one of many anti-crime Bills that President Kennedy would enact throughout his term. A lot of his primary goals were oriented towards organized crime.

Another one of President Kennedy?s crime Bills to be passed in 1961 having to do with crime was Bill S1656. This Bill made it a crime for


anyone in the betting business to knowingly use a wire communication facility to transmit in interstate commerce any bets or wager information. Also it made it a crime to be caught with any betting paraphernalia such as parley sheets or wager stubs. This authorized a lot of wire-tapping and surveillance. Bill S1656 was passed by the Senate on July 28 and by the house on August 21 and was signed September 13.

One other bill passed in 1961 by President Kennedy was the Fugitive felon act. This act made it a federal crime to cross boarders to avoid being prosecuted or remanded into custody after committing a violent crime or avoid giving testimony on a crime. This act was strongly enforced by local law enforcement agencies.

The Federal firearms act of 1961 was a major bill passed for President Kennedy in 1961. This act prohibited the shipment of firearms in interstate and foreign lands to people under inditment for certain crimes.

Not all of President Kennedy?s bills were directed towards the Mob and other such crime syndicates. President Kennedy also lobbied for the 1961 juvenile delinquency and youth offences control act. This act provided programs of federal assistance to state and local agencies to control delinquencies. It also authorized sections of health, education, and welfare to


make grants for projects to improve methods of control, treatment and prevention of delinquency and to establish personal training programs. This bill was mainly focused at gang members, drug addicts, and first time offenders under the age of eighteen.

In 1962 President Kennedy continued his onslaught on organized crime. One of his first acts was to enact an anti-crime bill that put a stop to interstate travel of gambling machines. Bill S1658 broadened on the 1951 ban on interstate travel of gambling machines to include shipments to points in the U.S. through foreign commerce and any machines including roulette wheels. Roulette wheels were included simply for the fact that they are a machine that is wagered upon were the course of action can result in the transfer of currency and or property. This bill was ironically called the Gambling Devices act of 1962. The Senate passed this bill by voice vote on July 27, 1961 and by the House June 29. This Bill was then signed into law October 18, 1962.

Another bill that was going through congress was the eighth in a package of anti-crime bills proposed in 1962. Only two of the bills actually got anywhere. They were bills S1658 (the gambling machine bill) and bill


S1655. This bill allowed the granting of court immunity to certain witnesses in labor-management racketeering cases. The Senate passed this in 1961.

After president Kennedy was assassinated on November twenty-second, 1963, Vice-president Johnson was sworn into office at 2:38 PM later that day. President Johnson picked up where his predecessor left off. This led to the creation of a presidential committee on youth crime and juvenile delinquency with major stress on major cities such as New York, New Haven, San Francisco, and Cleveland. Other provisions to this act that differed from the first are setting up detoxification centers for drug abusers.

One of his major acts was appealing to congress for drug laws and punishment. In 1964 a bill went through congress stating that there wasn?t ?adequate means for detecting illegal diversions (of psychotoxic drugs) from legitimate channels. The reason for this bill was to make the non-legit licensed drug pushing a federal crime. One of the problems was that for the bill to be effective the regulation of such drugs had to cover intrastate as well as interstate commerce. The reason congress had to do this was because the drugs themselves do not come with labels stating their origins, and because of the manor that the drugs are held and or consumed a placing of their origin could be very taxing. For example because of foreign commerce


certain drugs from for example Columbia might be treated more or less over say Peru.

On August fifteenth 1964 congress passed bill number S 2628 by voice vote. There was no objection to the bill. The narcotics bill passed through congress and was eventually signed by President Johnson.

On a related note the previous bill was the only directly involved narcotics bill in 1964. Around the same time that the narcotics bill was going through congress, the Senate Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee filed a report on August 31. The report basically stated that the Narcotics Control Act of 1956 wasn?t working. The committee stated that ?it failed in its initial determent purpose.? To help solve the problem the subcommittee recommended passage of several legislative measures. One of the bills was S 2628 this bill stated that instead of sentencing addicts, the way to handle them was to set up hospitals and detoxification centers. This was the new way to handle drug abusers.

In 1965 President Johnson began to take a look at an increase in Mafia action that has been on a steady incline since 1961. In 1965 several bills were formed to combat organized crime. Senator?s John L McClellen (D


Ark) and Senator Frank J Lausche (D Ohio) submitted four bills in a package on June 24. The bills were as follows:

S 2187: Made it illegal to be involved in Mafia or any ?secret society? that made their living by committing criminal activity.

S 2188: Made it a crime to obstruct federal procedures or investigations by attempting to bribe officials involved or witnesses.

S 2189: Legalized certain wire-tapping by federal agents for violation of federal law.

S 2190: Permitted witness in federal grand jury investigation to be compelled to testify and provide that they could be granted immunity from prosecution based on their compelled testimony.

In early August of 1965, President Johnson urged for the enactment of the Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 1965 to supplement federal law training to local law enforcement officers as the FBI had conducted in the past. The purpose of the act was to provide training programs and demonstration projects in police work to update and improve the standards of local law enforcement personnel.

The house passed on August 2, bill HR 8207 which authorized an appropriation of ten million dollars to implement the act in fiscal 1966.


In 1967 the Omnibus District of Columbia Crime bill was passed which provided for warrentless arrests for minor misdemeanors and issuance of summons.

In addition President Johnson also established a Federal Judiciary center to improve the operation of the federal judiciary and for protecting witnesses and informants from such enemy?s like the mob or other syndicated crime organizations.

The Safe Streets and Crime Control act was passed to provide money for research and education for many ordinary street crimes. This set up the pathway for local organizations such as neighborhood watch. An Addition to that act was to focus again on juvenile crime. Thus the Juvenile Bill of 1967 was adopted. This bill also provided more money to develop and improve existing facilities regarding juvenile crimes. The money that was given went to:

A. Appoint the Commission on crime and delinquency to do research on crime in the U.S.

B. Appoint the Commission on law enforcement and administration of justice.


A major contribution to the growing violence in America was guns. President Kennedy didn?t touch much on gun control. Neither did President Johnson until 1968. In 1968 President Johnson signed the gun control act. This act stated that a better control of interstate traffic in firearms was needed. This bill enabled support to federal, state and local law enforcement officials in their fight against violence and crime.

President Johnson wasn?t only interested in fighting injustices on earth. Also in 1968 he signed an agreement between the U.S. and USSR banning nuclear weapons in outerspace.

In conclusion President Kennedy and President Johnson both did a lot for crime control. A lot of the bills and act in which they personally oversaw are still in use today. Both had a lot to say and put their words into action. A lot of attention may have been swayed during the Johnson administration due to Vietnam. But President Johnson didn?t allow this to focus here at home as well. A lot has been done to prevent crime. A lot still needs to be done. With a little faith our presidents will continue to sign bills that will keep our streets safe and take care of crime in America.


It isn?t very easy to get a bill to become a law. Most proposed bills never leave the floor before they are thrown out. Only the bills that have strong effects and are truly needed become laws in America.

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