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Recognizing the problems throughout society during the cold war, President John F. Kennedy asked his Brother-in-law R. Sargent Shriver to organize a Peace Corp to assist all affected. After conducting a 7 step plan that would help form the group, Shriver presented the idea to Kennedy. On March 1, 1961 the group was established by Executive order.
After much hesitation R. Sargent Shriver agreed to be leader of the Peace Corp. Many partnerships were formed with countries such as India, Burma, and Ghana. within the first year. Peace Corp volunteers were placed in those countries due to that agreement. Tanganyika and Ghana were the first countries to participate in the program.
Congress approved the Peace Corps as a permanent federal agency within the State Department, and Kennedy signed the legislation on September 22, 1961. In 1981, the Peace Corps was made an independent agency.
The Peace Corps was ran with volunteers who were willing to take their time to make a difference. American citizens were shipped to mainly parts of Africa to serve as volunteer teachers. Education was the biggest goal of the Peace Corp in the 1960s.
In the 1970s, the Vietnam War and Watergate eroded many Americans' faith in their government. Interest in the Peace Corps began to decline and government funding was cut. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan tried to broaden the Peace Corps' traditional concern with education and agriculture to include more current fields such as computer literacy and business-related education. It was eventually reinstated by congress after funding was cut in the 80s.
For the first time, a rising number of conservative and Republican volunteers joined the largely progressive Peace Corps contingent overseas. Peace Corps membership and funding increased after the opening of Eastern Europe in 1990s. To this day the Peace Corps are still very involved all around the world. Volunteers still make an effort to help epidemics all over the planet.
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