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The 1960's
Peace Corps

Peace Corps
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.95

     challenging words:    manpower, legislation, better, executive, luxury, foundation, urgent, overseas, nation, skilled, attempt, threat, beginning, salary, repeated, action
     content words:    John F., President Kennedy, Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver, In August, White House, In September

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Peace Corps
By Jane Runyon

1     John F. Kennedy's inauguration address in January 1961 contained a phrase that would be repeated over and over again while he was president. His words were meant to stir the American people to action in making life better for impoverished people in his own country and throughout the world. He said, "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you —ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
2     President Kennedy went right to work on a plan to include the American people in his attempt to better the lives of all men. Just two months after he became president, he signed an executive order creating the Peace Corps. According to a statement made at the signing, the Peace Corps was to be "a pool of trained American men and women sent overseas by the U.S Government or through private institutions and organizations to help foreign countries meet their urgent needs for skilled manpower." It was his goal to have 500 Americans trained and in place by the end of the year. He didn't have to look very far to find someone he trusted to lead this new group. He selected his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, as the first Director of the Peace Corps.
3     Members of the Peace Corps would go only to countries where they had been invited. President Kennedy did not want this group to appear to be a threat to the country's government. He wanted the Peace Corps volunteers to work with the people. They were not there to take over or to give orders to the citizens of the host nation. They were expected to work wherever they were needed. They might be needed to teach in the schools. They might nurse sick children. They might assist in cleaning up the slums of a city. They were not living in luxury. They received no salary. They did receive an allowance from the government that would be enough for their basic needs.

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The 1960's
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