Today in History: President Kennedy Establishes the Peace Corps

Throughout the world the people of the newly developing nations are struggling for economic and social progress which reflects their deepest desires. Our own freedom, and the future of freedom around the world, depend, in a very real sense, on their ability to build growing and independent nations where men can live in dignity, liberated from the bonds of hunger, ignorance, and poverty.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy (page 144)

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued the executive order that established the Peace Corps, an “army” made up of civilian volunteers who would share their time and skills in underdeveloped nations, assisting them in any way they could.

The Peace Corps was established during the Cold War and it was at that time considered a trial program, but several months later, Congress voted to make the program permanent. To many’s surprise and encouragement, thousands of Americans, especially young people, joined to serve dozens of nations, starting primarily in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They constructed schools and taught in them, built infrastructures for sewer and water systems, improved agricultural methods, and more.

The program is still going strong today.

Peace Corps Mini-Catalog

Below is our current selection of Peace Corps-related items. If you have similar items you’d like to have listed, please consider consigning with us.

Peace Corps-Related Items

  • Cornerstones of Freedom: The Story of The Peace Corps (Hardback)

    Cornerstones of Freedom: The Story of The Peace Corps (Hardback)


    "There is not enough money in all America to relieve the misery of the underdeveloped world. ... But there is enough know-how and knowledgeable people to help those nations help themselves. I therefore propose...a Peace Corps of talented young men and women, willing and able to serve their country..." — John F. Kennedy

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