Unit 9, America and the World - Global Studies

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Unit 9, America and the World

Part 26: Truman and the Cold War (1945-52)

World War II transformed the US into a world power. As Americans came home, they wanted their jobs back and also wanted to take part in the revitalization of the U.S. However, America’s high tide was short-lived as the Soviet Union competed for world dominance.

A. Postwar America: 15 million Americans were coming home. The problem was a lack of jobs and housing. Many feared that the Depression would return, but these fears rang untrue as the post war years offered an increase in per capita income. One of the reasons for this was that during the war, with nothing to purchase, many Americans placed their money in savings and now they want to spend. Consumer demand for homes and autos combined with massive government road building projects led to an unprecedented economic boom in America. By the ‘50s, Americans had the highest standard of living in human history.

a. GI Bill-Help for Veterans: The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, a.k.a. the GI Bill, helped with the transition of 15 million Americans returning to a peacetime economy. What did it offer?

i. Government paid continued education, including college. Over 2 million went to college; more than 8 million took part in continued education, including vocational training.

ii. Low interest loans from the government to buy homes and farms and to start businesses. By focusing on education and promoting new construction, the federal government stimulated the postwar economic boom.

b. Baby Boom: 50 million babies were born in the US between 1945 and 1960. While women in the 50s were homemakers, more women joined the workforce. What effect does the Baby Boom have on society at the end of the 20th century?

c. Suburban Growth: A huge construction boom took place after the war, which leads to William Levitt coming up with an idea. Levittown was a project of 17,000 mass-produced, affordable homes in Long Island, NY. Low interest rates and government insured loans made the move from city to suburb affordable. In a single generation, Americans became suburbanites. For the cities, the effect was disastrous.

d. Rise of the Sunbelt: A warmer climate, lower taxes, and job opportunities in the defense industry led to a migration to the Sun Belt (Florida to California.) By transferring tax dollars to new areas of the country, eventually political power is transferred to these areas as well.

B. Postwar Politics: HST was honest and unpretentious, which appealed to average Americans. He attempted to continue the New Deal tradition.

a. Economic Program and Civil Rights: HST’s attempts to continue full employment and approach the topic of civil rights met with opposition.

i. Employment Act of 1946: HST pressed Congress for national health insurance, an increase in the minimum wage, and a bill calling for governmental commitment to full employment. The watered down Employment Act of ’46 called for a creation of a Council of Economic Advisors to help advise the president and Congress on economic affairs. The rest of HST’s programs were met with gridlock in Congress.

ii. Inflation and Strikes: HST wanted to keep the price controls from the war but Congress relaxed them. The result was 25% inflation rate within a year. Over 4.5 million workers went on strike in 1946 as the workers wanted wages to catch up with years of wage control. HST even called in federal troops to work in the mines when the United Mine Workers went on strike in 1946. UMW eventually called off its strike.

iii. Civil Rights: HST was the first modern president to challenge the rules of racial discrimination. He established the Committee on Civil Rights in 1946, bypassing southern Democrats in the process. He strengthened the civil rights division of the Justice Department, which aided black leaders in their attempts to end discrimination in schools. In 1948 he ordered the end of racial discrimination in the armed services and in all departments of the federal government. This changes life on military bases, most of which were in the South.

iv. Fair Employment Practices Commission: HST urged Congress to create this, which would have prevented employers from discriminating against hiring of blacks. Congress did not pass it.

b. Republican Control of the Eightieth Congress: Republicans win majority in both houses with the 1946 mid term elections. Congress attempted to pass tax cuts for the wealthy, but HST vetoed them. Republicans did, however, roll back some of the New Deal legislation.

i. 22nd Amendment (1951): Republicans did not want another FDR; this amendment creates a term limitation for the presidency.

ii. Taft-Hartley Act (1947): HST vetoed it, but Congress overrode it. The purpose of this Act was to check the growing power of unions. It is one of the major signs of division between Democrats and Republicans into the 50s. Its provisions included:

1. Outlawing the closed shop. (Have to join the union before being hired.)

2. permitted states to pass “right to work” laws outlawing the Union Shop (a contract requiring workers to join a union after being hired.)

3. Outlawed secondary boycotts (the practice of several unions giving support to a striking union by joining a boycott of a company’s products.)

4. gave the president the power to invoke an 80-day cooling off period before a strike that may affect national safety.

c. The Election of 1948: As the election approached, HST was very unpopular. Republicans were assured of a win when conservative Democrats and liberal Democrats left the party and formed third parties. Liberal Democrats formed a new Progressive Party and named Henry Wallace as their candidate. Conservative Democrats from the South left the party due to HST’s position on civil rights, creating the Dixiecrat Party (States’ Rights Party) and nominating Strom Thurmond.

i. Republicans nominated New York Governor Thomas Dewey, famed for his law-abiding reputation. His campaign was boring and cautious, so as not to lose any support. He did not really motivate anyone, either.

ii. Truman’s Campaign: HST went on a nationwide RR tour to drum up support. He called Congress the “Do Nothing Congress” and “Give ‘em Hell” speeches. HST won a decisive victory (2 million more votes and 303-189 electoral. Why? Because undecideds voted with what they knew as opposed to Republican, the party of the Depression.

d. The Fair Deal: The Fair Deal was an ambitious reform program launched after the ’48 victory; he called for national health care insurance, federal aid to education, civil rights legislation, money for public housing, and a new farm program. Conservatives blocked most of the reforms, with the exception of a rise in minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents and an inclusion of more workers under Social Security.

i. Two reasons why Fair Deal legislation was defeated:

1. Truman’s political conflict with Congress.

2. Pressing foreign policy concerns of the Cold War.

C. Origins of the Cold War: The Cold War dominated American foreign policy from the ‘40s to 1991. At the center of this conflict was an intense rivalry between the US and USSR. Most of the problems were not settled with conflict, but occasionally conflict did happen. Nuclear war even appeared imminent on several occasions. Why did the Cold War begin? Historians differ. Many see HST’s policies as a reasonable response to increased Communist influence around the world. Others disagree, saying HST misunderstood and overreacted to Russia’s historic need to secure its borders. At the time, critics called HST’s policies “soft” on communism.

a. U.S.-Soviet Relations to 1945: We never really got along with the Soviets, only during the war did we actually see eye to eye. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 led to the Red Scare of 1919. We refused to recognize the Soviet Union until 1933. Even then, FDR’s advisors concluded that Stalin could not be trusted. The Non-Aggression Pact only reinforced this.

b. Allies in WWII: Our alliance in WWII was out of mutual convenience, not trust. Stalin complained for two years that we were deliberately delaying an invasion of Europe in order for the Germans to kill off as many Russians as possible, or to topple the Soviet government. Think about it, for a government that was only 20 years old, the Soviet Union survived a true kill shot during WWII. The postwar conflicts erupted even before the war was over, especially at Yalta. FDR had hoped that personal diplomacy could check the Russians, but HST thought otherwise.

c. Postwar Cooperation-The U.N.: The General Assembly was created to provide representation to all member nations, while the 15-member Security Council was given the primary responsibility within the UN for maintaining international security and authorizing peacekeeping forces. The five major allies of the war, the US, USSR, GB, France, and China, were granted permanent seats and veto power in the UN Security Council. It was optimistic, to say the least.

i. Atomic Energy Commission was also established.

ii. Soviets rejected Bernard Baruch’s plan for regulating nuclear energy and eliminating nuclear weapons. Many American leaders perceived this as proof that the USSR did not have peaceful intentions.

iii. Soviets were also invited to join the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) whose aim it was to help fund the rebuilding of the war torn world. The Soviets declined the offer as they saw it as an instrument of capitalism.

iv. The Soviets did join in on the Nuremburg trials.

d. Satellite states in Eastern Europe: Distrust turned to hostilities in 1946 as it became evident that the Soviets were not about to allow free elections in Eastern Europe. In short, we had traded one tyrannical occupational bastard for another. There were elections, but they were manipulated by the Soviets.

i. One by one, from ’46 to ’48, Communist dictators, most loyal to the USSR, came to power in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. The Russians continually said they needed buffer states as protection against future Hitlers. Apparently not getting your asses kicked for the first part of two world wars did not teach them a lesson in military preparation and counteroffensives. Poland had been the spark of the whole war, and now it was communist. Who are the appeasers now? Road House with Patrick Swayze kicks ass.

e. Occupation Zones in Germany: The division of Germany was supposed to be temporary, but the Soviets wanted a weak Germany for defense reasons as well as to rape eastern Germany of all of its scientists, mineral wealth, art, and all other sources of profit. Besides, the Soviets did not get a piece of the action at the Treaty of Versailles and received no reparations payments from Germany. This changed all of that.

i. GB, France and the US did not want reparations as they saw Germany as important to the stability of Europe. As the French, GB, and US combined their zones, the Soviets tightened their grip on their zone.

ii. Berlin: The Soviets expected the three to leave Berlin, as it was in the Soviet zone of occupation.

f. Iron Curtain: HST changed the direction of US-Soviet relations in 1946 because he was told of a Canadian spy ring stealing US atomic secrets and selling them to the Soviets and he was also wary of the continued Soviet occupation on northern Iran. HST decided it was time to get tough. “I’m tired of babying the Soviets.”

i. Fulton, Missouri (March 1946): Winston Churchill gave a speech, with HST present, at Westminster College in Fulton. He declared that an “Iron Curtain” had descended upon Europe. This metaphor would stick in reference to the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe. Churchill called for a partnership of western powers against this iron curtain, we had to stop the expansion of communism. Historians debate whether this speech anticipated the cold War, or helped to cause it. It certainly appeared, from the Soviet point of view, that the western powers were allying themselves against the Soviets.

D. Containment in Europe: George Kennan, an expert on Soviet affairs, wrote an article detailing that the best way to curb the Soviet’s plan for world domination was to contain them where they already stood. SecState George Marshall and undersecretary of state Dean Acheson helped to establish America’s “Containment Policy,” which would last through the 1980s.

a. Why Containment? We had learned the lessons of appeasement. Walter Lippman, a journalist who coined the phrase “Cold War,” said we overused our power with containment. He said, and history probably proves him correct, that we remained true to countries that were undeserving and corrupt, but also aided in the eventual destruction of the Soviet Union.

b. The Truman Doctrine: Truman’s first use of containment comes in two places. Greece was experiencing a communist-led uprising against the government and Turkey was being pressured by the Russians to hand over the Dardanelles. The Truman Doctrine established American economic and military aid to “free peoples” around the world who felt pressured by totalitarian regimes. We sent $400 million to Greece and Turkey, and a vast majority of Congress favored the Doctrine.

c. The Marshall Plan: Europe was in ruins after the war and we did not want a repeat of post WWI Europe. A harsh winter of ’46-’47 further sent Europe into the hole. Communist rumblings were everywhere and the US had to do something to preserve democracy and capitalism in Europe.

i. In June 1947, George Marshall outlined his plan which called for $17 billion (Congress approved $12 billion in 1948). The European Recovery Program (or Marshall Plan) was distributed to western European countries over the next four years. Eastern European countries declined the offer, as the Soviets were afraid that this would make them dependent upon the US.

ii. Effects: It worked. Western Europe was back by the mid 1950s and any real threat of communism was gone. It also helped the US by exporting billions to Europe. It did, however, create an even deeper abyss between the US and USSR.

d. The Berlin Airlift: The first major Cold War crisis starts in Berlin. The Soviets wanted to force the Allies out of West Berlin so they cut off all access to West Berlin. Truman wasn’t about to leave Berlin, nor did he want to fight for it. He ordered US planes to run 24-hour supply flights into Berlin. He also sent 60 bombers capable of delivering the atomic bomb to England. As the world waited for war, Stalin finally decided not to challenge the airlift and after 11 months (ended in May ’49) the blockade ended. This stand against Stalin helped Truman win the election of ’48. A long term effect of the Crisis was the creation of two Germanys, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

e. NATO and National Security: Truman breaks from the old Washington Farewell Address tradition by entangling the US in European alliances. NATO was created to protect Western Europe against the advancing communist movement (or was it the Cylons?). Ike was NATO’s first overall commander and he also stationed US troops in Europe to deter the Russians (this is the first time US troops were stationed in Europe during peacetime.) Thus, the containment policy led to a military buildup and major commitments overseas. Warsaw Pact: The Soviet version of NATO, but with too many letters.

i. National Security Act (1947): Helps to modernize the American military capabilities by:

1. Centralized department of defense (replacing the War Department). It coordinated the efforts of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

2. The National Security Council was created (NSC) to coordinate the making of foreign policy in the Cold War.

3. The CIA was created to employ spied to gather information on foreign governments.

4. Not part of the National Security Act but equally important, the Selective Service System and a peacetime draft were instituted in 1948.

ii. Atomic Weapons: After the Berlin situation, the arms race heated up. From 1945-1949, the US was the only country in the world to possess a nuclear weapon. We had also developed some nice long-range bombers to deliver the nukes. This changed in the fall of ’49 when we realized the Russians had exploded an atomic bomb of their own. Truman then authorized construction of the H Bomb, which was to be a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. We exploded the first H Bomb in 1952.

1. NSC-68: In 1950, the NSC recommended, in a secret report known as NSC-68, that the following measures were necessary in fighting the Cold War:

a. Quadruple government spending to 20% of US GNP.

b. We would form alliances with non-communist countries around the world.

c. The government had to convince the American people that a costly arms buildup was imperative to national security. Did we know, and is there any evidence, that we felt we could spend the Soviets into submission?

iii. Evaluating US Policy: Critics blamed HST for increasing Russian fears and deepening the Cold War as well as heightening the arms race. However, history shows that NATO was one of the best military alliances in world history. NATO did its job in containing Soviet expansion.

E. Cold War in Asia: Containment was not so easy in Asia. European colonialism crumbled in India and Southeast Asia as former colonies became new nations. These countries did not have fond memories of the western powers and were not quick to fall under US influence. The irony is that the one Asian nation that we became the friendliest with was Japan.

a. Japan: Japan was under the sole control of the US. MacArthur took control of the rebuilding Japan. Former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo was tried and executed for war crimes. The new Japanese constitution was adopted in 1947. Hirohito could stay on as emperor, but with no power. The constitution denounced war as an instrument of national policy and provided for only limited military capability. They were basically protected by the US.

i. US-Japanese Security Treaty: Our occupation of Japan ended with a treaty in 1951 in which Japan agreed to give up its claims to Korea and islands in the South Pacific. Japan agreed to lease bases to the US as protection against external enemies.

b. The Philippines and the Pacific: The Philippines became an independent republic in 1946, in accordance to the agreement in 1934 (Tydings-McDuffie Act). The US retained important bases throughout the Cold War. The US also controlled several UN “trustee islands” in the Pacific, meaning the Pacific was beginning to look like an American lake.

c. China: Chiang Kai-shek came to power in China in the 1920s and headed the Nationalist (Kuomintang) Party. We had given Chiang massive aid to China during the war to prevent a massive collapse at the hands of the Japanese. When WWII ended, the Chinese Civil War started up again between Chiang and the Chinese communists under Mao Zedong. Widespread corruption and massive inflation led to millions joining the communist side. The Nationalists were corrupt and unorganized.

i. U.S. Policy: HST sent George Marshall to China but the compromise he hammered out fell through in a matter of months. By 1947, Chiang’s armies were in retreat, HST didn’t know what to do (as a full scale invasion was out of the question.) In 1948, Congress voted to give Chiang’s men $400 million in aid, but 80% of the aid ended up in communist hands due to corruption and the collapse of Chiang’s armies.

ii. Two Chinas: By the end of 1949, mainland China was in communist hands. Chiang and the Nationalists fled to Taiwan (Formosa). Chiang established his government and claimed to be the legitimate government of China. The US supported Chiang and refused to recognize Mao’s communist regime (the {People’s Republic of China) until 1979 (with the process begun by Richard Nixon.)

1. HST “Lost China”: The Democrats were blamed for this disaster, especially in 1950, when Stalin and Mao signed the Sino-Soviet Pact, which seemed to provide more evidence of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

d. The Korean War: Korea was divided at the 38th parallel following the fall of Japan. Soviet armies occupied the northern part, US occupying the South. By 1949 both armies had withdrawn and the North was under the control of communist leader Kim Il Sung and the South under leader Syngman Rhee, a conservative nationalist.

i. Invasion: On June 25, 1950 the North Koreans shocked the world and invaded South Korea. Moscow probably did not even know it was going to happen. HST called a special session of the UN Security Council and, taking advantage of a Soviet boycott, authorized a UN force to defend South Korea. US troops dominated these forces who were commanded by MacArthur. Congress supported the troops, but did not declare war, accepting Truman’s characterization as a “police action.”

ii. Counterattack: The North Koreans pushed us back to the very southern tip of South Korea until MacArthur reversed the situation with a brilliant amphibious landing at Inchon. UN forces then destroyed large parts of the North Korean army, advancing northward toward the Chinese border. China warned Mac not to come any closer, he called it a “bluff” and kept pushing. In November, 1950, hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops crossed the border and completely overwhelmed the UN forces. This was one of the worst defeats in US military history. The UN army was driven out of North Korea and back south of the 38th parallel.

iii. Truman vs. MacArthur: MacArthur managed to regain land to the 38th parallel, but called for a larger war, including the use of atomic weapons and an all-out invasion of China. HST cautioned Mac that making public statements criticizing official US policy was a no-no. Mac sent letters of Congress asking them to impeach the president. At this, Truman fired Mac. Mac came home (he hadn’t been here since before WWII) to a hero’s welcome, including the famous address to Congress (“Old soldiers never die, they just…fade away…”) Truman and the Democrats were viewed as appeasers and the public did not understand containment, just victory.

iv. Armistice: Peace talks began at Panmunjom in July 1951. The war had devolved into a stalemate along the 38th parallel. An armistice was finally signed in 1953 under Ike’s presidency. 54,000 Americans died there.

v. Political Consequences: Containment had worked, although many Americans were frustrated without complete victory. HST used the Korean war as justification for dramatically expanding the military, funding the new B-52 jet bomber and stationing more troops overseas.

1. Republicans: Were far from satisfied. They said Truman was “soft on communism.” They even said that the Democrats were members of “Dean Acheson’s Cowardly College of Communist Containment.”

F. The Second Red Scare: There was a nationwide conspiracy, including backing from the government, which helped this Red Scare grow a lot bigger than the one which had followed WWI. Even Truman thought there were spies in the State Department.

a. Security and Civil Rights: HST set up the Loyalty Review Board, under pressure from Republican leaders, in 1947. They investigated the backgrounds of over 3 million employees, with thousands losing their jobs in the 4-year probe.

i. Prosecutions under the Smith Act: In the case of Dennis et al v. United States (1951) the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Smith Act of 1940, which made it illegal to advocate or teach the overthrow of the government by force or belong to an organization with this objective. The Smith Act was used to jail the leaders of the American communist party.

ii. McCarran Internal Security Act (1950): This was passed over Truman’s veto. It made it unlawful to advocate or support the establishment of a totalitarian government. It also restricted the employment or travel of those who joined communist-front organizations, and authorized the creation of detention camps for subversives.

iii. Un American Activities: The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which was originally established in 1939 to seek out Nazis in America, was reactivated to find communists. The committee investigated government officials, the Boy Scouts, Hollywood, etc. Those who were called to testify before the committee and refused to name names were blacklisted.

1. ACLU: Argued that the First Amendment was being violated, it is your American right to be a communist. Liberalism vs. necessity.

b. Espionage Cases: There were actual cases of communist espionage in GB, Canada, and the US which gave rise to the need for this witch hunt. The question was whether or not the government was going too far.

i. The Alger Hiss Case: Whittaker Chamber was a confessed communist and a star witness for HUAC in 1948. His testimony, and young Nixon’s detective work on HUAC, led to the trial of Alger Hiss, a prominent official in the State Department who had been alongside FDR at Yalta. Chambers said Hiss had passed the “Pumpkin Papers” to him over a series of years and that Chambers had then passed them on to the Soviets. Why? Money. The committee never found Hiss guilty of treason, but they did catch him lying in that he said he had never known or met Chambers. Chambers revealed evidence that the two had made a deal on a car together. Hiss was convicted of perjury and sent to prison for five years. With this case, many Americans grew more concerned that we had communist infestation at the highest levels. “I WILL NOT STAND FOR INFESTATION!!!!!!!!!”

ii. The Rosenbergs: Most Americans felt that the Soviets had stolen our atomic technology as soon as they detonated their first bomb in 1949. Klaus Fucks, a British scientist who had worked on the project, had admitted to passing secrets for money. With Fuchs assistance, the investigation traced another spy ring to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in New York. They were tried for treason in 1951 and executed in ’53. Why? There was no evidence that the Rosenbergs had passed any information that the Soviets did not already have (thanks to Fuchs). We had to execute somebody, Fuchs had already made a deal, so we executed these two. Perhaps a bit of anti-Semitism? Ethel took several times through the voltage to go…she actually caught on fire at one point.

c. The Rise and fall of Joseph McCarthy: An opportunistic loser from Wisconsin, he used the fear of communism to advance his career and crush those who he denounced in public. He claimed to have a list of 205 communists working in the State Department. He had no such list, but the public bought into it because Senators do not lie, do they? People would not question him simply for fearing of being called a communist. Arthur Miller even wrote a play about it, called “The Crucible,” which details the witch hunts of the late 1600s but is actually about McCarthyism.

i. McCarthy’s Tactics: He attacked the wealthy and the privileged, which gained him a lot of fans among the working class. He usually attacked Democrats, which is why the Republicans let him go. An example of his power is when he attacked George Marshall, Ike, who was an old, close friend of the former general, would not come to his defense.

ii. Army-McCarthy Hearings: In 1954, on national television, in a Senate committee hearings on communist infiltration in the Army, Joseph Welch, a well-respected lawyer who was representing the Army, said “at long last, have you no shame…” as McCarthy was attacking a young Army soldier. This, and the attacks on McCarthyism by Edward R. Murrow on his “See It Now” hearings began the long procession of ending McCarthy’s run. By 1957, McCarthy was dead of cirrhosis and the McCarthy era was over.

d. Truman in retirement: Due to Korea, China, the Red Scare, McCarthy, and a few scandals in his administration, Truman decided to retire back to Missouri in ’52, which Truman called “a promotion.” He was very unpopular at the time and Republicans claimed they had to “clean up the mess in DC”, but in time his presidency, and his frank character, have become appreciated.

Cold War, Part I Terms:

Serviceman’s Readjustment Act (GI Bill)

Baby boom

Suburban growth

Sunbelt

Harry Truman

Employment Act of 1946

Council of Economic Advisors

Inflation; strikes

Committee on Civil Rights

22nd Amendment

Taft-Hartley Act (1947)

Progressive Party

Henry Wallace

States Rights Party

Dixiecrats

Strom Thurmond

Thomas Dewey

Fair Deal

Cold War

Soviet Union

United Nations

World Bank

Communist satellites

Iron Curtain

Winston Churchill

George Kennan

Dean Acheson

Containment Policy

Truman Doctrine

Marshall Plan

Berlin Airlift

East and West Germany

NATO

National Security Act (1947)

Arms race

US-Japanese Security Treaty (1947)

Douglas MacArthur

Chinese civil war

Chiang Kai-shek

Taiwan

Mao Zedong

People’s Republic of China

Joseph Stalin

Kim Il Sung

Syngman Rhee

Korean War

UN Police Action

38th Parallel

Dennis et al v. United States (1940)

Smith Act (1940)

McCarran Internal Security Act (1950)

House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)

Alger Hiss

Whittaker Chambers

Rosenberg Case

Klaus Fuchs

Joseph McCarthy

Part 27: The Eisenhower Years, (1952-1960)

The fifties are often seen as “Happy Days,” the birth of rock and roll, television, Beaver Cleaver, etc. In some cases that is true, but the decade also saw Korea, McCarthyism, the explosion of Civil Rights with Rosa Parks in Montgomery, the Cold War and the fear of a nuclear holocaust.

A. Eisenhower Takes Command: “I Like Ike” personified the fifties just as much as FDR personified the ‘50s.

a. The Election of 1952: Republicans considered the old guard favorite Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, but once Ike committed it was his nomination. Ike had considered running as a Democrat in ’48, prompting critics to dub him a “Republicrat.” To balance the ticket (to add a conservative and to prove the party was tough on communism) they added Richard Nixon, who gained fame during the Hiss case. The Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson, a popular governor from Illinois who had gained a little fame from facing off against McCarthy.

i. Campaign Highlights: Ike was squeaky clean in that he was not a career politician and did win World War II. Meanwhile, Nixon was accused of mismanaging campaign funds (using campaign funds for private reasons). As Ike considered dropping him from the ticket, Nixon went on national television and delivered the “Checkers Speech.” He basically said that he had not mismanaged funds and that the only thing he had kept for personal gain was a dog that was given to him. The whole nation said “Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.” If we had only known.

ii. “I will go to Korea”: Pledging to go to Korea to end the war, Ike won the election with 55% of the popular vote and an electoral tally of 442-89.

b. Domestic Policies: Ike believed in the delegation of authority, appointing corporate executives to head his cabinet. For example, his secretary of defense was Charles Wilson, former head of GM. Although it looked from the outside that Ike was always busy fishing and golfing, Ike was always in charge.

c. Modern Republicanism: Ike was a fiscal conservative who wanted to balance the budget, even though he did not always balance the budget, he came closer to any other president to doing it. He did extend many New Deal measures (Social Security was extended to 10 million more people, the minimum wage was raised, and additional public housing was built.) He consolidated all the various welfare programs by creating the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and named Oveta Culp Hobby as its first head and first female Republican cabinet member. Ike reduced farm production by creating a soil bank program, which conserved the amount of soil in use. Ike opposed the ideas of federal health care insurance and federal aid to education. Ike called this new approach “the New Republicanism,” opponents called it “the bland leading the bland.”

d. Interstate Highway System: The Highway Act authorized the construction of 42,000 miles of highway. It became a model for the rest of the world, as Ike defended this massive work project as being essential for national defense. It also contributed thousands of jobs, helped to develop the suburbs, and devastated the railroad industry.

e. Prosperity: Ike’s time in office featured low inflation (1.5% each year), the deficit fell every year, per capita disposable income of Americans more than tripled, the average family of the 1950s had more than double the income of a comparable family during the boom years of the 1920s. Americans in the 1950s had the highest standard of living in the world.

f. The Election of 1956: Ike had a heart attack in 1955 and major surgery in ’56, Democrats questioned his health but he and Nixon were nominated again. Stevenson was nominated by the Democrats and was crushed in the election, even worse than in ’ 52. However, the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress.

B. Eisenhower and the Cold War: Ike’s terms were dominated by international situations and his main shaper of foreign policy was SecState John Foster Dulles.

a. John Foster Dulles’ Diplomacy: Dulles said containment was too passive, we needed a “new look.” He wanted to challenge China and the Soviets. He wanted to “liberate captive nations” of Europe and to encourage the Nationalists in Taiwan to assert itself against Red China. He introduced the idea of “brinkmanship” in which we would push the Soviets to the brink of nuclear war and they would back down due to our dominance in that field. Ike prevented Dulles from carrying his ideas to the extreme.

i. Massive Retaliation: Dulles wanted to spend more money on nuclear power and air support and less on conventional forces. He wanted “more bang for the buck,” which would save money and increase pressure on enemies. We developed the hydrogen bomb in 1953 which could destroy large cities. Many believed this was a policy was a mutual extinction. This policy was effective in deterring massive wars but left the US helpless in stopping small, brushfire wars breaking out in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

b. Unrest in the Third World: The collapse of colonial empires after WWII was perhaps the single most important development of the postwar era. Between 1947 and 1962, dozens of colleges in Asia and Africa gained their independence. India, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. These third world countries, many of whom lacked stable political and economic institutions, looked to the US or USSR for aid, thereby making these new countries pawns in the Cold War.

i. Covert Action: Covert action was cheaper than sending in the military, especially in the Dulles years.

1. Iran: In 1953, the CIA helped to overthrow a government in Iran that was trying to nationalize the holding of foreign oil companies. This overthrow of an elected government allowed for the return of Reza Pahlavi as shah. The shah then gave the US great deals on oil and bought millions of dollars in weapons.

2. Guatemala: In 1954, the CIA overthrew a leftist government that threatened American business interests. Our opposition to communism led to our backing of corrupt and ruthless dictators, especially in Latin America. This tendency led to growing anti-American feeling around the world. In Venezuela in 1958, Nixon’s motorcade was attacked by angry crowds.

c. Asia: The hotspot for the Cold War during Ike’s reign.

i. Korean Armistice: Ike went to Korea in ’53 led to an armistice between the US and Korea and China. Stalin had died in March ’53. Most of the US troops were withdrawn and a permanent dividing line along the 38th parallel lasts to this day. No peace treaty was ever signed between North and South Korea.

ii. Fall of Indochina: The Japanese took Indochina during the war, but France made the mistake of trying to retake it after the war. Vietnamese history shows that no colonial power has ever been able to hold on to Vietnam, including the Chinese. In this instance, Vietnamese and Cambodians wanted independence. As the French tried to hold on tighter, Nationalist and communist leader Ho Chi Minh gained more and more support. A rivalry was quickly developing between communist and anticommunist powers within and without Vietnam.

1. Truman sent military supplies to the French while the Soviets and Chinese gave support to Ho. In 1954, a large French army was surrounded and forced to surrender at Dien Bien Phu. They wanted Ike to send in troops to help, but he refused and the French eventually withdrew from Vietnam, according to the Geneva Conference of 1954. France gave up Indochina which was divided into 4 nations, Cambodia, Laos, and North and South Vietnam.

2. Division of Vietnam: According to the Geneva Convention, Vietnam was to be divided at the 17th parallel until a general election could determine its destiny. Hostile governments took power on either side, with Ho in the north and Ngo Dinh Diem, an anticommunist, in the South. Many in the South were either Catholic, on the run from the communists in the North, or urban Vietnamese. The election was never held, primarily because everyone feared the Communists would win.

a. US gave over $1 billion in economic and military aid to South Vietnam from 1955-1961. Ike justified this aid by describing the Domino Theory.

3. SEATO: Southeast Asia Treaty Organization set up by Dulles to prevent the fall to communism of Laos, S. Vietnam, and Cambodia. Eight nations signed the pact, agreeing to defend each other if attacked: US, GB, France, Australia, NZ, Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan.)

d. The Middle East: Israel was created in 1948 and immediately set us at odds with the Arab nations in the region. Egypt and other countries had fought against the creation of Israel, but the US and GB pushed it through.

i. Suez Crisis: Egyptian general Gamal Nasser asked the US for money to help build the Aswan Dam project on the Nile. The US refused, based on Egypt’s threat to Israeli security. Nasser then turned to the Soviets for help, who provided limited funds. Nasser then looked elsewhere for help, Nasser seized and nationalized the Suez Canal, which was owned by the Brits and the French. This became an international crisis. Loss of the canal threatened the world’s supply of oil. Britain, France, and Israel launched a surprise attack and retook the Canal. Ike, who was surprised by the attacks, sponsored a US resolution condemning the invasion of Egypt. Under pressure, the invading countries withdrew, and this marks the last time Britain and France would be major players in world affairs.

ii. Eisenhower Doctrine: As US influence grew in the middle east, Soviet influence grew in Syria and Egypt. In the Eisenhower Doctrine, Ike pledged economic and military aid to any Mid-East country threatened by communism. The doctrine was first applied in Lebanon in 1958 when he sent 14,000 Marines in to prevent a civil war between Christians and Muslims. This instability might have led to a communist takeover attempt.

iii. OPEC and oil: In 1960, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran joined Venezuela to form OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.) This alliance of Arab countries, in combination with the growing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would haunt the American presidency for the next 50 years.

e. US-Soviet Relations: Needless to say, our relationship with the Soviet Union was up and down during the Ike years.

i. Spirit of Geneva: After Stalin died in ’53, Ike presented an “atoms for peace” plan to the UN. The Soviets also wanted to reduce Cold War tensions. The Soviets withdrew troops from Austria (after they agreed to be neutral in the Cold War) and established peaceful relations with Greece and Turkey. By ’55, the two sides had agreed to meet at Geneva for a summit. Ike met with new Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin. Ike wanted “open skies” over each others country so we could watch each other and prevent surprise nuclear attack. The Soviets rejected the proposal. However, the press reported that the “Spirit of Geneva” was the first thaw in the Cold War. Even more encouraging was Nikita Khrushchev and his de-Stalinization campaign when he became premier in 1956. He claimed he wanted “peaceful coexistence” with the West.

ii. Hungary, 1956: As the Cold War relaxed a bit, Poland and Hungary began to test the Soviet bonds. A popular uprising in Hungary in 1956 succeeded in overthrowing the Moscow-backed government. It was replaced by a liberal group who wanted to pull Hungary out of the Warsaw Pact. Khrushchev sent in tank and the military and crushed the freedom fighters. The US response was no response. Ike was afraid of starting another world war. Suddenly Dulles’ talk of liberating the region was just talk, and the US basically gave de facto recognition of Soviet influence over Eastern Europe. What were Ike’s options? This ended the first thaw in the Cold War.

iii. Sputnik: Sputnik I and II shocked the US in 1957. Suddenly we had to worry about nuclear missiles falling out of the skies. Meanwhile, US rockets couldn’t get off the launch pad. Many Americans blamed education and a lack of emphasis on science in the schools. Congress responded with the National Defense and Education Act which authorized giving money to schools for science and foreign language education.

1. NASA: Was formed in 1958 to combine all of the rocketry agencies, with the objective being to build missiles and explore space. Billions were funded in the program.

iv. Second Berlin Crisis: Khrushchev said “We will bury capitalism” in 1958 and gave the West six months to pull out of West Berlin before turning the city over to the East Germans. To diffuse the crisis, Ike invited Nikita to Camp David in 1959 and agreed to put off the crisis until they were to meet again in 1960.

v. U2 Incident: Two weeks before the planned summit meeting in Paris, the Soviets shot down Francis Gary Powers in his US spy plane deep inside Soviet territory. Ike told the American people that we had a weather plane go down, but not over the USSR. When Nikita later revealed that he had the pilot and the photos, Ike had to admit that he lied to the American people, which establishes a bit of a trend in the coming years and establishes the idea that American presidents are not always truthful, which has a bearing on the growing discontent of the ‘60s. America was also shocked that we were engaged in spying, which we felt was something the Russians did, but not us! Nikita called off the Paris summit and uninvited Ike to Moscow in 1960.

f. Communism in Cuba: Fidel Castro deposed Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and quickly nationalized American owned businesses in Cuba. Ike retaliated by cutting off US trade with Cuba. Castro then turned to the Soviets and revealed that he was a Marxist and set of a communist state. Ike then began authorizing the CIA to train anti-communist Cuban exiles to retake the island, but this genius plan was left on the table for JFK to decide on.

g. Ike’s Legacy: He kept the peace, checked Communist aggression without losing American lives, and started the long process of relaxing tensions with the Soviet Union. In 1958, he initiated the first arms limitation treaty by voluntarily suspending above ground nuclear testing.

i. The Military Industrial Complex: In Ike’s farewell address, he warned of the growing relationship between weapons manufacturers and government. The arms race, it seems, was about more than just beating the Soviets. It was about making money.

C. The Civil Rights Movement:

a. Origins of the Movement: Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in the majors in ’47, Truman had integrated the armed forces in ’48; these marked the change in the government’s view of civil rights. The South was still integrated by color and by law. Poll taxes, literacy tests, etc. were still the norm.

i. Changing demographics: The origins of the movement can be traced to the migrations of millions of blacks to the North where they could vote in the 40s and 50s. They had become an important factor in the Democratic party.

ii. Changing attitudes in the Cold War: With the US fighting against the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union, the US could not disallow rights to people simply due to color.

b. Desegregating the Public Schools: The NAACP had been trying to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson for years, but by the late ‘40s they began to win a series of court cases involving higher education.

i. Brown v. Board ‘54: Thurgood Marshall led the case for the NAACP in which a group of students wanted to attend white schools. They argued, in this case, that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional because it violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. Chief Justice Earl Warren, in his decision, rules that separate facilities are inherently unequal and segregation in schools should end with “all deliberate speed.”

1. Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham Board of Education: Some southern school districts quickly figured a way around the Brown decision, they simply passed “pupil placement laws” in which school officials could place students in schools based on their scholastic abilities and/or social behavior. This court case was an attempt by a family to get rid of these laws, but in this case the SC refused to declare them unconstitutional.

ii. Resistance in the South: The South fought back with various tactics, including: Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, using the state’s National Guard to prevent 9 students from entering Central High School. Ike intervened, not because he believed in Civil Rights but because his authority was being challenged. He nationalized the National Guard to protect the students.

iii. Montgomery Bus Boycott: 1955, Rosa Parks, a secretary in the local NAACP, refused to give up her seat and was arrested, sparking a massive boycott of the city’s buses by blacks, who happened to be the prominent users of that service. Martin Luther King took control of the boycott and the movement (as the boycott started in his Baptist church), the Supreme Court eventually ruled in ’56 that the segregation laws were unconstitutional, marking a victory for the movement.

iv. Federal Laws: Ike signed two civil rights laws, one in ’57, the other in ’60, which were the first such laws to be enacted by the US Congress since Reconstruction. They would provide a permanent Civil Rights Commission giving the Justice Department new powers to protect voting rights of blacks. The South kept up their resistance, calling it “Massive Resistance”.

v. Nonviolent Protests: Blacks took control of the movement since the government would not make major strides. King, Jr. formed the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) in ’57 which organized ministers and churches in the South to get behind civil rights. In February of 1960, students in Greensboro, North Carolina started the sit-in movement at the local Wooloworth’s lunch counter. The SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) was formed a few months later to keep the movement organized. The sit-in was used to integrate restaurants, hotels, buildings, libraries, pools, etc. The government reluctance to take the lead in the civil rights movement led to the movement taking control of it; including a more militant, violent side as the 60s get interesting.

vi. Urban Renewal: Attempts were made in the fifties and sixties to tear down old inner city structures and replace them with nice new ones, but these would become known as “the projects” in years to come. Turns out you can paint the town, but not the people.

D. Pop Culture of the 1950s: The age of conformity, as the 50s are called, was caused by “keeping up with the Jones’s” and a fear of communism, which propelled Americans to want the security of safe social behavior.

a. Consumer Culture and Conformity: TV, advertising, and the great middle class move to the suburbs contributed to the homogeneity of American culture.

i. Television: By 1961 there were 55 million TV sets, or one for every 3.3 Americans. There were three national networks which provided a bland menu of soaps, comedies and westerns. FCC chairman Newton Minnow called TV the “vast Wasteland” and worried about kids watching too much of it. Television obviously had a tremendous impact on Americans, establishing a common culture and language to viewers. (Popular shows included Leave it to Beaver, The Honeymooners, the Mickey Mouse Club, I Love Lucy, etc.) What did these shows depict? Don’t forget the quiz show scandals and 21.

ii. Films: Many of the notable films of the era were about non-conformity, like The Blackboard Jungle, Rebel Without A Cause, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Jailhouse Rock, etc.

iii. Advertising: Name brands and common material wants, suburban shopping centers and plastic credit cards made buying easy and essential. McDonald’s showed the possibilities of franchising, and Mom and Pop were on their way out.

iv. Paperbacks and records: Americans read more than ever in the 50s, mainly due to the new innovation of the paperback. They sold a million copies a day by 1960. Michael Harrington’s The Other America was about poverty’s continuing existence in America. The Long Play album was inexpensive, as was the 45 rpm single. For the first time, music was marketed at young people, and Elvis became every teenager’s idol. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Alan Freed, Dick Clark, etc. The Payola Scandal, etc.

v. Corporate America: For the first time in history more Americans had white collar jobs than blue collar jobs. This desire to move up in an organization led to more conformity, like in the film The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. William Whyte documented this loss of individuality in The Organization Man (1956). The AFL and CIO merged in ’55, creating a more powerful union than ever before. Unions became more conservative, as even blue collar workers began to enjoy middle class incomes. Disneyland opened in California in 1955, proving that Americans have enough money to pay for the right to escape.

vi. Religion: Organized religion expanded in the 1950s and 60s, as revealed in Will Herberg’s book Catholic, Protestant, Jew (1955) in which he said that the new religious toleration in America and the lack of interest in religious doctrine became a source of both individual identity and socialization.

b. Women’s Roles: Homemaking was a full time job for millions of women. Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock reaffirmed this role of women. However, well-educated middle class women and even married women hit the workforce in larger numbers than ever before, although they made lower wages.

c. Social Critics: Those who disapproved of the social trends included: David Riesman in his book The Lonely Crowd, in which he criticized the “inner directed” individuals in society. In The Affluent Society, economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote about the failure of wealthy Americans to address the need for increased social spending for the common good. He had tremendous influence on the JFK and LBJ administrations later on. C. Wright Mills wrote about the dehumanizing corporate world in White Collar and about threats to freedom in The Power Elite.

i. Novels: The individual’s struggle against conformity was the theme of the most popular novels of the time, including Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.

ii. Beatniks: These were a group of rebellious writers and poets who started out in Greenwich Village advocating drugs, rebellion against social norms, and individualism. Writers include Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and Allen Ginsberg (Howl).

d. Medicine: Jonas Salk introduced the polio vaccine in 1954 and was provided free to the public starting in 1955. An oral version of the vaccine, introduced by Albert Sabin and administered in a sugar cube, was released in 1960.

e. Pesticides: DDT (introduced by Swiss chemist Paul Muller in 1939 and he won a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1948,) was used widely during WWII and tests showed it had no effects on humans but killed tropical insects by the millions. Only later did we learn of the long term toxic effects of DDT. As pests developed immunities to the DDT in the late ‘40s, scientists made stronger doses and often even sprayed DDT over parks and neighborhoods. Bird and fish populations were shrinking, inspiring Rachel Carson to write Silent Spring in 1962. (Inspired by a letter she received from young Olga Huckin, claiming DDT spraying near her house had killed birds. It wasn’t supposed to do that!)

f.

Terms, the Eisenhower Years:

Ike

Richard Nixon

Modern Republicanism

Oveta Culp Hobby

Soil bank program

Highway Act of 1956

Interstate highway system

John Foster Dulles

Brinkmanship

Massive retaliation

Third World

Iran

Covert action

Indochina

Geneva Conference

Ho Chi Minh

Vietnam

Domino theory

SEATO

Suez Canal Crisis

Eisenhower Doctrine

OPEC

“Spirit of Geneva”

Open skies crisis

Nikita Khrushchev

Peaceful coexistence

Hungarian revolt

Warsaw Pact

Sputnik

NASA

U2 Incident

Fidel Castro

Cuba

Military industrial complex

Civil rights

Jackie Robinson

NAACP

Desegregation

Brown v. Board

Earl Warren

Little Rock Crisis

Rosa Parks

Montgomery bus boycott

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil rights act of 57 and 60

Civil Rights Commission

SCLC

Nonviolent protest

Sit-in movement

SNCC

Corporate America

Consumer culture

David Riesman

John Kenneth Gailbraith

Beatniks

Part 28: Promises and Turmoil: The 1960s

The postwar economic prosperity hit its peak in the 60s, but racial strife and the Vietnam War, combined with student radicalism tore the country apart. In short, America was forced to learn that the life of a superpower isn’t always easy.

A. John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier:

a. The election of 1960: Ike’s presidency was successful, but he was unable to transfer his popularity to another Republican candidate. Meanwhile, Congress was Democratic.

i. Richard Nixon: Nixon was unanimously nominated for president, as he had become well-known for his statesmanship in travels to South America and the Soviet Union (Kitchen Debate with Khrushchev where they discussed the merits of capitalism vs. socialism.) He was 47 in 1960 and was known as a tough campaigner.

ii. John Kennedy: Liberal democrats still wanted Adlai Stevenson while Southern Dems wanted House Speaker LBJ. However, 43-year old charismatic Bostonian JFK impressed in the primaries. He had just enough delegates to secure the nomination at the convention, and to ensure his nomination he added LBJ as his VP, even though he did not expect LBJ to take it. This addition proved critical in November.

iii. The Campaign: Television was the deciding factor for the first time. In the first televised debate in US history, JFK’s youthful good looks blew Nixon away. JFK said Ike had allowed a “missile gap” when in fact history shows that the US dominated. The reason it worked was due to Sputnik so, in a way, Kennedy played off of America’s paranoia to get himself to the White House. JFK was the first Catholic candidate since Al Smith back in ’28 and in November it hurt JFK in the rural areas but helped him in the cities. In a speech in West Virginia, JFK convinced many skeptics when he said he would never be subservient to the Vatican.

iv. Results: Kennedy won by 100,000 popular votes and by 303-219 in the electoral. Many, including Nixon, felt that the Kennedy boys had stolen the election in Illinois and Texas, where political machines allowed dead people to vote. Nixon, in probably a smart move, did not call for a recount a la Al Gore, thereby saving his political career.

b. JFK’s Domestic Policy: He was the youngest man ever to be elected president (43). His youthful energy and sharp wit, often self-deprecating, brought a new enthusiasm to the White House. He promised the American people that a “torch has been passed to a new generation” and talked of a New Frontier. He brought in the “best and the brightest” for his cabinet, including SecDef Robert McNamara and AttyGen Bobby Kennedy. The nation would later describe the Kennedy presidency as “Camelot” because of the beauty and glamour of him and his wife. The press loved his sense of humor, which marked a stark difference from Ike’s staid appearance.

i. New Frontier Programs: JFK wanted a very liberal agenda, including aid to education, federal support of health care, urban renewal, and civil rights. The reason none of these things passed during his 1,000 days in the White House was because they all stalled in Congress. Why? Because many Congressmen were jealous of his sudden success. Most of his ideas did become fact under LBJ’s administration. Economically, JFK faced down big business by getting a price rollback on big steel, while the economy was boosted by his spending on military and space exploration. He did commit the US to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

c. JFK’s Foreign Policy: He established the Peace Corps in 1961, an organization that recruited young American volunteers to give technical aid to underdeveloped countries as well as help spread the idea of capitalism and deter the spread of communism. Alliance for Progress was created in 1961, its goal was to promote land reform and economic development in Latin America. Congress passed the Trade Expansion Act in ’62, which authorized tariff reductions with the recently formed European Economic Community (Common Market) of Western European nations.

i. Bay of Pigs: JFK approved Ike’s ridiculous plan and it horribly backfired in April, ’61. The exiles were trapped on the beach by Castro’s men, who knew they were coming, and surrendered. Kennedy’s refusal to use American air cover to save them doomed the mission from the beginning and would prove to leave lasting negative feelings toward him long after he was gone. Castro used the failed attempt to get more aid from the Soviets and was a significant step toward the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, ’62.

ii. Berlin Wall: JFK immediately tried to shake off the embarrassment of the Bay of Pigs as he invited Khrushchev to Vienna for a meeting in the summer of ’61. Nikita immediately tried to intimidate the young president by renewing Soviet demands to pull US troops out of Berlin. Kennedy refused. Starting in August, the East Germans, with Soviet backing, began building a wall separating Berlin in order to keep Germans from fleeing from East Berlin. As the wall was being built, US and Soviet tanks faced off in Berlin. Kennedy called up the reserves but made no move to stop the wall’s construction. IN ’63, after the wall was completed, he traveled to West Berlin and delivered his ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech, in which he said “we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in…” The wall remained until 1989.

iii. Cuban Missile Crisis (October, 1962): US recon planes discovered underground missile sites in Cuba (one of the pilots was Roger Chaffee.) Nukes from Cuba could reach the US in minutes and was unacceptable. After discussing several options, Kennedy decided to set up a quarantine” of Cuba, not allowing anything in or out. After days of tension and nearly a nuclear war, Khrushchev decided to pull the nukes out of Cuba (under the table, we promised to pull our nukes out of Turkey in six months.) Discuss back channels, an American nuke test during the crisis, General Curtis LeMay, Dean Acheson, Adlai Stevenson at the UN, etc. A hot line was established between DC and Moscow, and in 1963 the US, USSR, and a hundred other nations signed the first Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to end the testing of nukes in the atmosphere.

iv. Flexible Response: A different Cold War challenge was the little brush fire wars in Southeast Asia and Africa. Kennedy moved away from Dulles’ old massive retaliation and toward “flexible response.” He increased spending on conventional arms and mobile military force. This reduced the risk of using nukes but increased the temptation to send elite Special Forces into combat around the world.

v. Assassination in Dallas: November 22, 1963. Kennedy was in Texas to drum up support for the ’64 campaign. As his motorcade turned through Dealey Plaza, shots rang out. Kennedy was pronounced dead shortly after 1 pm. LBJ was sworn in on the flight back to DC as Jackie stood by his side in her blood-stained dress. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder and was himself assassinated at a jail exchange two days later. The Warren Commission was assigned to figure out if Oswald acted alone and they concluded that he did. However, in the late seventies a second commission found that there was enough evidence to deduce that the assassination was likely a result of a conspiracy. Castro? The CIA? The Mafia? The Military-Industrial Complex? Either way, this assassination marked the beginning of the loss of credibility in government. Think about it, if the government could conspire to kill its leader, then who really is in charge? Was it a coup? Was Kennedy’s election a coup? Many good questions that will never be answered.

vi. In Retrospect: JFK’s advice to “ask not what your country can do for you…” hit young Americans very hard, as did his assassination. The young kids he stirred up with his inauguration would be the same young kids who would protest the war, burn their draft cards, and bleed to death at Kent State or Vietnam. Love him or hate him, Kennedy was a tough act to follow.

B. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society: LBJ was a bit less polished than JFK, he was a Texan who had spent years working his way up through local, state and national politics until becoming the Speaker of the House. During the FDR years, he was a devoted New Dealer. As president, he wanted to extend social reforms and having spent 30 years in Congress gave him the power base that JFK never had in Congress. As soon as he took office, congress passed an expanded version of JFK’s civil rights bill and JFK’s income tax cut, which caused an increase in jobs, consumer spending, and paved the way for an economic boom in the 60s.

a. The War On Poverty: Michael Harrington’s 1962 book The Other America helped to focus on the 40 million living in poverty in America. In 1964, LBJ declared an unconditional war on poverty. The Democratic Congress complied, creating the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and giving this anti-poverty agency a billion dollar budget. The agency sponsored Head Start for preschoolers, the Job Corps for vocational education, literacy programs, legal services, etc. The Community Action Program allowed the poor to run their own anti-poverty programs in their communities. This program was effective but was severely hampered by budget cuts as we escalated the Vietnam War.

b. The Election of 1964: LBJ and Hubert Humphrey presented a liberal agenda in 1964. The Republicans nominated a staunch conservative, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who wanted to end the welfare state, including TVA and Social Security. The famed Democratic TV ad, in which the Dems take his quote “extremism in the role of national security is no vice” and show a little girl in a filed with flowers being destroyed in a nuclear holocaust is a campaign classic. LBJ won 61% of the popular vote, which was higher than FDR won in ’36, and the Dems took control of both houses of Congress by better than two-thirds margin. Now the Democrats had the table set to pass all those ideas that Truman could not get through Congress in the 40s.

c. Great Society Reforms: Long lasting reforms:

i. Medicare: health insurance for those over 65.

ii. Medicaid: government paid health care for the poor and disabled.

iii. Elementary and Secondary Education Act: provide aid for poor school districts.

iv. New Immigration Law: abolished the discriminatory quotas of the 20s, greatly increasing opportunities for Asians and Latin Americans to emigrate.

v. National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities: federal funding for worthy creative and scholarly projects.

vi. Two new cabinet positions: Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

vii. Increased funding for higher education.

viii. Increased funding for public housing and crime prevention.

ix. Congress passed laws to regulate the auto industry, based on Ralph Nader’s book, Unsafe at Any Speed (’65). Clean air and water laws were passed based on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (’62). Lady Bird Johnson contributed to helping the environment by starting the Beautify America campaign.

x. Evaluating the Great Society: Attacks on the Great Society are pretty easy. Is it possible to defeat poverty? Is it the government’s responsibility to do it? It created a huge beauracracy and red tape, all of which was incredibly costly. However, it did provide assistance to those who had previously been ignored (the poor, disabled, and the elderly.) Ultimately, the Great Society failed because of Vietnam.

d. Civil rights Acts of 1964 and 1965: A southern president enacted the most important civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

i. Civil Rights Act of ’64: It was passed even before the election. It made segregation in public places illegal, and gave the federal government additional powers to enforce school desegregation. It also set up the Equal Opportunity Commission to end racial discrimination in employment.

1. Also in ’64, the 24th amendment was ratified, abolishing poll taxes.

ii. Voting Rights Act of 1965: Due to the brutality in Selma against the voting rights marchers led by Dr. King, Congress passed this Act. It ended literacy tests, provided federal registrars in areas where blacks were kept from voting. The results were startling. Blacks in the Deep South voted for the first time since Reconstruction.

C. Civil Rights and Conflict: Civil rights movement gains momentum during the Kennedy and Johnson years, although it was hardly an issue in the election of 1960 so as to not alienate voters. But the defiance of the governors of Alabama and Mississippi will force a showdown.

a. James Meredith, University of Mississippi 1962: He enrolled in Oxford but was refused, a federal court order guaranteed his right to attend and Kennedy sent in 400 federal marshals and 3,000 troops to control mob violence. Meredith made it to class and graduated.

b. George Wallace tried the same thing in ’63, even saying he would stand in the registrar’s doorway to block admittance to the University of Alabama. JFK sent in troops and the student was admitted.

c. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Leadership: Civil rights activists and freedom riders who rode through the South trying to register blacks to vote faced violence, beatings, bombings, and murder. Dr. King maintained his non-violence stand. He was jailed in ’63 in Birmingham for what authorities called “an illegal march.” This was a milestone in the civil rights movement, however. Most Americans felt he was unjustly jailed, and while in jail he wrote an essay called Letters from a Birmingham Jail. In it he celebrated non-violence, praised the boys who started the sit-ins and the American dream, and the founding fathers of the United States. The biggest effect was that JFK was moved to support a tougher civil rights bill.

d. March on Washington (August 1963): It was one of the biggest and most successful demonstrations in US history. 200,000 blacks and whites took part in a peaceful march on Washington in support of the civil rights bill. The “I Have a Dream” speech was the highlight, which called for the end of racial prejudice. This was the high water mark for the civil rights movement. After this, where everyone is fired up and anxious for immediate change, the movement begins to fragment as some black leaders become more and more disenchanted with the wait.

e. March to Montgomery, 1965: When a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery was met at the bridge by Bull Connor and police beatings, LBJ sent in troops to protect Dr. King and the demonstrators. LBJ then sponsored a tough voting rights bill, based on the fact that the entire nation, for the first time, saw the beatings broadcast on television.

f. Black Muslims and Malcolm X: Elijah Muhammad led the Black Muslims, who wanted a new cultural identity based on Africa and Islam. He preached black nationalism, separatism, and self-improvement. The movement was already growing when he found a young prisoner named Malcolm Little. Malcolm joined the movement, dropped his slave name of Little, and became Malcolm X. Out in ’52, he became the movement’s most controversial voice. He called King “an Uncle Tom” (subservient to whites) and advocated self-defense (black violence to counter white violence.) He then went to Mecca where he saw that whites and blacks prayed to Allah together. He returned with a different point of view, eventually breaking away from Muhammad and founding the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He was assassinated by black Muslims in 1965. Alex Haley wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X just before his death and it was released after his death. Haley was inspired to find his own heritage, writing Roots.

g. Black Power and Race Riots: Malcolm X pushed many civil rights groups in the direction of radicalism, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). SNCC chairman Stokely Carmichael repudiated non-violence and promoted “Black Power” (especially economic power) and racial separatism. The Black Panthers were formed in ’66 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale and called for self-rule for blacks.

i. Riots: The Panthers shouted things like “get Whitey” and “Burn baby, burn!” This made whites suspect that blacks were the ones behind the race riots that erupted in American cities and black neighborhoods from ’64 to ’68. In ’65, the Watts riot resulted in the death of 34 people and the destruction of over 700 buildings. There is little evidence that the Black Panthers were responsible. This is simply a clear indication that American blacks were getting tired of waiting. They had lost their patience and would soon lose their most valuable asset.

1. Kerner Commission: This was a federal investigation into the cause of the riots, finding that racism and segregation were chiefly responsible and that the US was becoming two societies, “one black and one white. Separate and unequal.” By the mid sixties we had moved from the de jure segregation on the law books in the South and into de facto segregation as evidenced by the racist attitudes in the North and West.

ii. Murder in Memphis: Dr. King won a Nobel Peace Prize in ’64 for his nonviolent approach. He then moved on to try peaceful marches in Chicago and other northern areas, but his approach was becoming more and more irrelevant as the 60s heated up. King then broke with LBJ over the issue of the Vietnam War, which hurt LBJ. Finally, April 4 1968, King was shot and killed as he stood on a hotel balcony in Memphis. Massive riots erupted in 168 US cities, leaving 46 dead. The violence did not reflect King’s Dream, but it did reflect the frustration of blacks everywhere.

D. The Warren Court and Individual Rights: Warren was CJ of the SC from 1953-1969 and his impact is similar to that of John Marshall. Brown v. Board was the biggest civil rights decision of the century. In the 60s, the Warren court made a series of decisions that affected the criminal justice system, the political system of the states, and the definition of individual rights. Before Warren, the SC had concentrated on protecting property rights, Warren’s court protected individual rights.

a. Criminal Justice Cases:

i. Mapp v. Ohio (1961): ruled that illegally seized evidence cannot be used in court against the accused.

ii. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963): required the state courts to provide counsel for indigent defendants.

iii. Escobedo v. Illinois (1964): required the police to inform an arrested person of his or her right to remain silent.

iv. Miranda v. Arizona (1966): extended the Escobedo ruling to include the right to a lawyer being present during questioning by the police.

b. Reapportionment: Prior to 1962, it was normal for at least one house of a state legislature (usually the Senate) to be based upon the drawing of district lines that strongly favored the rural areas over the cities. In Baker v. Carr, declared such practices to be unconstitutional, establishing the principle of “one man, one vote.” This meant the redrawing of district voting lines.

c. Freedom of Expression and Privacy: Other decisions by the Court allowed for a greater use of the first amendment or protection of radical demonstrations against the federal government as well as freedom of the press, banning religion from public schools, and adults’ rights to use contraceptives.

i. Yates v. United States (1957): said that the first amendment protected radical and revolutionary speech, even by communists, unless it was a clear and present danger to the safety of the country.

ii. Engel v. Vitale (1962): ruled that the state laws requiring prayers and Bible readings in the public schools violated the First Amendment’s provision for separation of church and state.

iii. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965): ruled that, in recognition of a citizen’s right to privacy, a state could not prohibit the use of contraceptives by adults. (This privacy case led to later SC decisions allowing for a woman’s right to an abortion.)

E. Social Revolution and Cultural Movements: By the early to mid ‘60s, various liberal groups began to identify with the black struggle against oppression. The first group to rebel against established authority was college and university students.

a. Student Movement and the New Left: In 1962, at a meeting of the newly created Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in Port Huron, Michigan, a group of radical students led by Tom Hayden issued a declaration of purposes called the Port Huron Statement. It called for all university decisions to be made through a democracy, so students could have a voice in decisions affecting their lives. Activists and intellectuals who supported Hayden became known as the New Left.

i. First student protest: Took place in 1964 at Berkeley. They called their cause the Free Speech Movement and demanded an end to university restrictions on student political activities. By the mid-60s, there were college protests all around the country, protesting rules against drinking and dorm visits by the opposite sex. They too called for a greater voice in governing the university. These student demonstrations expanded as the Vietnam War turned into a quagmire. Hundreds of campuses were shut down or disrupted due to the antiwar protest.

1. The Weathermen: They were a radical fringe of the SDS who embraced violence and vandalism in their attacks on American institutions. To most Americans, the Weathermen were too much and destroyed the work of the New Left.

b. The Counterculture: Many young people were expressing themselves in new styles of dress, music, drug use, and in the most extreme cases, communal living. The dress code for the hippies was long hair, beards, beads, and jeans. The folk music of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul, and Mary gave voice to this generation’s protests. Rock music by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix provided the beat and the lyrics to the counterculture. Some of these hippies tried LSD and other hallucinogenics and died off early. The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in 1969 was the last big bang for the counterculture. The excesses of the movement and the uncertainties of the economy led to its demise in the ‘70s. “Tune in, turn on, drop out,” said Dr. Timothy Leary. Other famous 60s personalities: Jane Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson and Jann Wenner, CSN&Y, Charlie Manson, Attica and Nelson Rockefeller/journalist Tom Wicker (1971, but the idea of the riot is so 60s), Gus Grissom, Wavy Gravy, etc.

i. In retrospect: This generation believed in the ideals of a democratic society. They wanted to rid the world of unresponsive authority, poverty, racism, and war. Many became impatient in this idealistic quest and turned to radicalism and self-destruction. These methods tarnished their own democratic values and discredited their cause in the eyes of older Americans.

c. The Sexual Revolution: Alfred Kinsey’s famed sexual research of the ‘40s and ‘50s showed that Americans were taking part in premarital sex, marital infidelity, and homosexuality. Medicine (antibiotics for venereal diseases) and technology (Goody Pincus’ birth control pill in 1960) played a great role in tempting people to engage in casual sex with a number of partners. Sexual themes in magazine ads and movies made sex seem like just another consumer product. Whether we were freakier than we used to be is up to question, but there is little doubt that we were having a pretty damn good time in the ‘60s.

d. The Women’s Movement: Education, employment, the civil rights movement, and the sexual revolution all contributed to a renewal of the women’s movement in the ‘60s. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) gave the movement a new direction by encouraging middle class women to seek fulfillment in professional careers rather than sitting at home as a housewife. In ’66, Friedan helped to found the National Organization for Women (NOW) which adopted the activist tactics of the civil rights organizations. Congress had already enacted two anti-discriminatory laws: the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of ’64. These measures prohibited discrimination in employment and compensation on the basis of gender.

i. Campaign for the ERA: Feminists greatest victory was in 1972 when Congress passed the ERA. It basically said “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or any state on account of sex.” NOW then went nationwide to get it ratified but failed. They did not achieve the 38 states necessary to ratify. Why? Because radical feminists annoyed the shit out of conservatives.

ii. Achievements: Women did achieve some success in employment and hiring practices. Women began to move into professions previously dominated by men: business, law, medicine, and politics. They still experienced the “glass ceiling,” but it was less of a man’s world than the US at the beginning of the century.

F. The Vietnam War to 1969: This was the single most divisive issue of the 1960s and perhaps ranked number 2 behind the Civil War in US history. 2.7 million Americans served, 58,000 died there. The purpose of the war was to stop South Vietnam from going communist, but in retrospect we might have picked a better place to pick the battle.

a. Early stages: In the debates of ’60, the two candidates hardly mentioned it. Within the decade, it would become the biggest issue in the country.

i. Buildup under Kennedy: JFK took up Ike’s “Domino Theory” idea and continued the military aid to S. Vietnam and significantly increased the number of US military “advisers”. By ’63, there were 16,000 US troops in S. Vietnam, but only as support. They were to help with training and supplies and help create “strategic hamlets”, or fortified villages, for the Vietnamese.

1. Diem’s Unpopular Government: Peasants in the country hated him and Buddhist monks were setting themselves on fire in protest of his policies. JFK wondered privately if the South Vietnamese could win “their war” against communism. Diem was overthrown and assassinated by S. Vietnamese generals just two weeks before JFK was killed. JFK knew of the coup.

ii. Tonkin Gulf Incident and Resolution: South Vietnam had seven different governments in 1964 alone. Goldwater, during the ’64 campaign, attacked LBJ for giving weak support to South Vietnam’s fight against the Viet Cong. This policy would change in August of ’64.

1. The Resolution: North Vietnamese gunboats had allegedly fired on US forces in the Gulf of Tonkin. LBJ convinced Congress that this was reason enough to get the US military involved. Congress approved the resolution, which basically said the president, as commander in chief, had a blank check to take “all necessary measures” to protect US interests in Vietnam. How much of this was a campaign move to prove LBJ was tough on communism?

a. First attack: USS Maddox, a destroyer, was attacked by several North Vietnamese gunboats in “international waters” off the coast of North Vietnam. We claimed international waters to be three miles offshore, they claimed as much as 12 miles. We deliberately tried to draw them out to attack us, as this was an election year and LBJ needed to prove he was not “soft on communism.” At 11 a.m., August 2, 1964, the Maddox picked up a NVA transmission instructing its gunboats to attack. Suddenly, the Maddox tracked 5 gunboats approaching. Herrick’s guns sank 1 of the gunboats and crippled two others. Airplanes from the USS Ticonderoga soon arrived and strafed the gunboats. One gunboat did manage to fire a torpedo, but it was a dud.

i. US reaction?: LBJ did not want to do anything with the election so near. He did not want to look pro-war, so he downplayed this incident but used the hotline to Moscow to tell Khrushchev that he hoped there would be no more molestation of US ships in international waters. However, we sent more war planes to Vietnam and LBJ personally instructed the Maddox and the C. Turner Joy back into the gulf and attack anything that attacks them.

b. Second “Attack”: The attack that precipitated this resolution never actually took place. At 8 p.m. on August 3, 1964, John Herrick’s sonar man claimed to be tracking several enemy gunboats and then eventually torpedoes, but it was a dark and stormy night, and the “torpedoes” were probably false echoes, shadows, fish, waves, etc. Nine planes were called in to help the Maddox locate the enemy during this attack, but the planes could not find any gunboats. The guns of the Maddox and the C. Turner Joy were both firing into the night hoping to hit something, but later searches found no oil streaks.

i. US Reaction?: However, the captain of the Maddox, John Herrick (a WWII and Korea veteran) contacted his supervisors who eventually told the president that our ship was under attack in the Gulf. The next day, Herrick contacted his admiral and told him the whole thing was probably the result of an “overeager” sonar man. Regardless, LBJ uses this “incident” to prove that he is tough on communism and to show that he can stand up to communists just like Barry Goldwater claimed to be able to do. WE bombed several military targets in North Vietnam and LBJ went on national television and announced that our ships and been attacked and that these attacks were unprovoked. In reality, our ships had been used as pawns to draw the Vietnamese out, but we had also been helping defend South Vietnamese naval raids as well. Clearly, we were not innocent in the affair. LBJ then asked Congress for the authority to do whatever was necessary to defend our interests in Vietnam. Congress granted approval in less than one hour (only two senators, Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska voted against the Resolution.) A din of patriotism was running through the country and the Senate was swept up in it, sort of like the situation with W in Iraq. Later, Johnson said the Resolution was “like grandma’s nightshirt…it covered everything.”

2. Critics: The full scale use of force was illegal, critics said, because Congress never authorized the use of forces, as required by the Constitution. Congress, however, did not have this concern and did not withdraw the resolution. (But it did pass the War Powers Act in 1973 to make sure this never happened again. Yeah, that worked real well.) Until 1968, most Americans supported our involvement in the war. Here is LBJ’s dilemma: How could he stop the defeat of a weak and unpopular government in S. Vietnam without making it into an American war-a war whose cost could doom his Great Society programs? If he pulled out, he would be seen as weak.

b. Escalating the War: In ’65, the military and most of LBJ’s foreign policy advisers recommended expanding operations in Vietnam. After the Vietcong attacked Pleiku in ’65, LBJ authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, a prolonged air attack on North Vietnam.

i. (The North Vietnamese probably attacked Pleiku at that time because Soviet Prime Minister Kosygin was in Hanoi visiting and basically telling them that if they wanted unconditional support from the Soviets, then they would have to divorce themselves from any Chinese assistance. To get around that, the Vietnamese authorized the Vietcong to attack an American base which would bring about the expected US response, a bombing attack in North Vietnam. The Pleiku attack precipitated an extended American bombing raid on North Vietnam which forced Kosygin to live up to the Soviet policy of stopping the aggression of capitalists, thereby Kosygin left Hanoi promising unconditional support from the Soviet Union while Hanoi still had a relationship with China. A brilliant political maneuver by Ho Chi Minh.)

ii. In April, we used US troops for the first time against the Vietcong. By the end of ’65, there were over 184,000 US troops in Vietnam. From there, we disembarked on a journey of escalation. US generals wanted to win a war of attrition by using search and destroy tactics, which further alienated the peasants we were trying to protect. By the end of ’67, there were 485,000 troops in country (the peak was 540,000 in 1969) and 16,000 Americans had already died. William Westmoreland declared that we “could see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

c. Controversy: Military misinformation and LBJ’s reluctance to tell the truth about what was really going on created what the press dubbed a “credibility gap.” Johnson assumed that applying just the right amount of military pressure upon the North Vietnamese would force them to the peace table. McNamara would later write that the US failed to understand the enemy or the nature of the war. Maybe we should consider teaching world history, not just world history that looks like European history.

i. Hawks vs. Doves: The “Hawks” were supporters of the war and saw the war as a Soviet-backed effort to spread communism throughout Southeast Asia. Opponents of the war, the “Doves,” saw the war as a Vietnamese civil war fought by Nationalists and Communists who wanted to get rid of the nationalists and unite their country.

ii. American Opinions: Many Americans believed that the millions we were spending on the war would be better off spent at home. The greatest opposition to the war came from college campuses where graduates faced the draft and a free trip to Vietnam. In 1967, Eugene McCarthy became the face of the anti-war movement when he challenged LBJ for the democratic nomination in ’68.

iii. Tet Offensive: The North Vietnamese and Vietcong launched a huge offensive on their lunar new year in 1968. They attacked almost every provincial capital and US military base in S. Vietnam. The US swiftly counterattacked and won back all lost territory and inflicted much heavier damage on the Vietcong, but the psychological damage was done. Tet demoralized the American psyche and proved fatal to LBJ. Why? Because the “light at the end of the tunnel” was just a big ass truck driven by Ho Chi Minh. In the New Hampshire primary in February ’68, Eugene McCarthy took 42% of the vote.

iv. “I will not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party…” The Joint Chiefs requested 200,000 more troops after Tet, but by this time Johnson’s advisers recommended no further escalation. On March 31, LBJ went on television and told the public that he would limit the bombing of North Vietnam and negotiate a peace. He then shocked the nation in announcing he would not seek re-election. Peace talks started in Paris in May, 1968. They deadlocked over minor issues, but the fighting and dying continued. However, the escalation had stopped and we began to turn the other way.

G. Coming apart at Home: 1968: 1968 was one of the worst years in US history. Starting with Tet, then the LBJ announcement, the assassination of Dr. King, RFK, the Democratic National Convention, and riots throughout the country. By the end of the year, people were wondering if the US was coming apart at the seams over the war, the race issue, and the generation gap between the baby boomers and their parents.

a. RFK Assassination: RFK became a senator from New York after he left the office of attorney general in ’64. After McCarthy’s success in New Hampshire in ’68, Bobby decided to get into the race. Without McCarthy’s success, he may not have done it. He had been saying for months that he was not going to run. When he announced, Nixon shat himself. It was Bobby who pleaded with blacks on the night of Dr. King’s assassination not to riot…a plea that fell on deaf ears. Bobby was more successful than McCarthy at mobilizing the traditional Democratic blue-collar and minority vote. On June 5 he won the California primary and was perhaps on his way to the White House. After his victory speech he was shot by a young Arab nationalist (Sirhan Sirhan) who opposed Kennedy’s support of Israel. The dip shit actually said, “It took Bobby Kennedy a lifetime to become famous…it took me one night.”

b. The Election of 1968: After RFK’s death, the race came down to three candidates: Two conservatives (George Wallace and Richard Nixon) and a liberal, Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

i. Democratic Convention at Chicago: Humphrey had enough delegates to win the nomination. He had been a strong supporter of LBJ’s foreign and domestic policies and he controlled the convention. However, anti-war demonstrators were determined to control the streets. Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago, called out the police and as the demonstrators made their way from the city park toward the convention, they were attacked on national television. The “police riot” that ensued left Humphrey and the Democrats looking like they had lost all control. The Democratic Party was divided and the American public was growing fed up with disorder and protest.

ii. White backlash and George Wallace: Growing white hostility to busing and federal desegregation, antiwar protests, and race riots led to the growing success of George Wallace. He called the Washington establishment “pointy head liberals” and ran as a self-nominated candidate of the American Independent Party. He basically tapped into the growing American hatred of the government telling them what they were going to do. Wallace’s goal was to get enough electoral votes to force the election into the House.

iii. The Return of Richard Nixon: After Nixon lost the election for California’s governor in ’62, most political thinkers thought his career was over. In 1968, as the nation was falling apart, he returned with a more positive attitude and more confidence. He was soon the front-runner in the Republican primaries. Party regulars loved him and he soon won the nomination. He selected Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew as his running mate whose rhetoric was similar to George Wallace. Nixon was a “hawk” and promised “peace with honor” and “law and order” for the American people.

iv. Results: Wallace and Nixon started strong, but Humphrey began to catch up in Northern urban centers. The popular vote was very close, but the electoral vote went to Nixon 301-191, which meant Wallace’s hopes for a three-candidate run-ff was out.

1. Significance: Nixon and Wallace combined for 57% of the popular vote. Americans had spoken and wanted to more tumult from the sixties. The counterculture, drugs, protests, violence, and upheaval were out and conservatism was in. Future elections would prove that New Deal liberalism was falling out of favor. Forever.

H. Oh, and by the way, we landed on the moon in the summer of 1969.

Term List, the 1960s:

John Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy

New Frontier

Peace Corps

Alliance for Progress

Trade Expansion Act

Bay of Pigs

Berlin Wall

Cuban Missile Crisis

Flexible response

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Warren Commission

Lyndon Johnson

Great Society

War on Poverty

Michael Harrington, The Other America

Barry Goldwater

Medicare; Medicaid

Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Ralph Nader, Unsafe at Any Speed

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Lady Bird Johnson

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

24th Amendment

Voting Rights Act of ‘65

James Meredith

Martin Luther King, Jr.

March on Washington

“I Have a Dream”

Black Muslims

Malcolm X

SNCC

CORE

Stokely Carmichael

Black Panthers

Watts Riots

Kerner Commission

Warren Court

Brown v. Board

Gideon v. Wainwright

Escobedo v. Illinois

Miranda v. Arizona

Reapportionment

Baker v. Carr

“One man, one vote”

Yates v. U.S.

Separation of church and state

Engel v. Vitale

Students for a Democratic Society

New Left

Counterculture

Sexual revolution

Women’s movement

Betty Friedan, The Feminist Mystique

NOW

Equal Pay Act

ERA

Vietnam War

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Tet Offensive

Hawks and doves

Eugene McCarthy

Robert Kennedy

George Wallace

Hubert Humphrey

Part 29: Limits of a Superpower, 1969-1980

The lunar landing in the summer of 1969 was one of the few US highlights in the late 60s. Offsetting this news was Watergate, the fall of S. Vietnam and a stagnant economy. Foreign economic competition, oil shortages, rising unemployment, and high inflation taught us that being a superpower is a tough job.

A. Nixon’s Foreign Policy: Nixon promised to being Americans together after the crazy 60s, but Nixon’s old insecurities, suspicions, and his secretive nature led him to form what Arthur Schlesinger called “an imperial presidency.” He was always more interested in foreign policy than domestic, and he and NSA Henry Kissinger devised a foreign policy that reduced tensions in the Cold War.

a. Vietnam: Over 500,000 men were in Vietnam when Nixon took office and his principal goal was to find a way to bring them home but all the while avoid the appearance of conceding defeat. His name for this was “peace with honor.”

i. Vietnamization: The gradual process of replacing American fighting men with South Vietnamese fighting men. As we pulled out, they were to fight their own war. We gave them the money, weapons, and training they would need. US troops numbered 540,000 in ’69 to less than 30,000 in ’72. He also announced the Nixon doctrine, which said that in the future Asian allies would receive US support, just not US troops.

ii. Opposition to Nixon’s war policies: His policy at first reduced the number of antiwar protests. However, in April 1970, Nixon decided to invade Cambodia, where many Vietcong were hiding. The nation’s college campuses went into violent protest, with the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. At Kent State, 4 students were killed and one was left crippled for life while 2 black students were killed at Jackson St. Kent St. was started by students burning the campus ROTC building and it escalated from there. In a Newsweek poll, 58% of the country said they supported the shooters, while 11% supported the students.

1. My Lai: It happened in 1968 but we did not find out about it until 1970. The Army had massacred women and children in the small village of My Lai.

2. The Pentagon Papers: Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg “leaked” news of a secret government history documenting the mistakes and deceptions of government policy-makers in dealing with Vietnam. This continued the downward spiral of the popularity of the war.

iii. Peace Talks, bombing attacks, and armistice: Nixon had Kissinger conduct secret meetings with North Vietnam’s foreign minister, Le Duc Tho. Kissinger announced in the fall of ’72 that “peace is at hand.” Hold on, wait a minute. The North Vietnamese refused to compromise so Nixon ordered massive bombings of North Vietnam, which turned out to be the heaviest air attacks of the war. After several weeks of attacks, North Vietnam agreed to an armistice in which the US would withdraw the last of its troops and get back over 500 POW’s. The Paris Peace Accords also promised a cease-fire and free elections. The one thing the armistice did not do was end the war between the North and South and left tens of thousands of enemy troops in S. Vietnam.

iv. The armistice allowed the US to extricate itself from the war, but the $118 billion spent on the war began the inflationary cycle that racked the US economy for years.

b. Détente with the Soviets and China: China and the Soviet Union had become rivals and unfriendly by 1972. Kissinger’s diplomacy was credited for bringing about détente, a deliberate reduction of Cold War tensions. Nixon’s grade as US president should never overlook these important foreign policy decisions.

i. “Only Nixon could go to China”: Nixon shocked the world in February 1972 when he traveled to Beijing to meet with Mao. These visits led to US recognition of Red China and a permanent seat on the Security Council, as well as trade between the US and mainland China (Most Favored Nation Status, thanks Goerge.)

ii. Arms Control with the USSR: Nixon used his relationship with China to put pressure on the Soviets to agree to a treaty limiting antiballistic missiles (ABM’s), a new technology that would have expanded the arms race. This was the first round of the SALT talks, in which US diplomats secured Soviet approval of the number of ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. It did not end the arms race, but it did move the world toward détente.

B. Nixon’s Domestic Policy: Congress was still majority Democrat and would be throughout the 70s, which meant that Nixon had to do a lot of manipulating and compromising to get what he wanted. Nixon did lay the foundation that would lead to the conservative movement in the 80s and 90s.

a. The New Federalism: Nixon wanted to stop the growth of the Great Society, so he proposed the Family Assistance Plan, which would reform the welfare system. The Democrats defeated it. Nixon did manage to shift some of the responsibility for social programs from the federal to the state and local levels. With the New Federalism (or Revenue Sharing), Congress approved giving local governments $30 million block grants over 5 years to address local needs as they saw fit (instead of being earmarked by Congress.) Republicans hoped this would reduce the size and spending of the federal government and turn things over to the states, where it had lived before the New Deal.

i. Nixon did attempt to bypass Congress by impounding (not spending) funds appropriated for social programs. Basically, he was trying to go around Congress and everyone called him out.

b. Nixon’s Economic Policies: We had the strange combination of economic slowdown and high inflation. The press referred to it as stagflation. Nixon first tried to cut federal spending which contributed to recession and unemployment, so he adopted Keynesian deficit spending in order to not alienate the middle class and blue collar voters. In August of 71, he froze wages and prices for 90 days. He took the dollar off the gold standard, which helped to devalue it to foreign currencies. He also applied a 10% tax on imports which helped improve the US trade balance.

i. By the election of ’72, the recession was over. Congress also authorized an increase in social security benefits, based on the annual rise in the cost of living.

c. Southern Strategy: Nixon had only won 43% of the popular vote in ’68. Nixon announced that there was a “silent majority” of Americans who were sick of the protests, the desegregation, the black militants, and the excesses of the counterculture. Many of these “majority” were southern Democrats and former liberals who were dismayed by the further liberalization of the Democratic Party. To win the South, Nixon asked the federal courts to delay integration in the South. He also nominated two southern conservatives (Clement Haynsworth and G. Harold Carswell) to the SC. The Senate rejected both of them and the courts rejected his requests for delayed integration. But his strategy played well in the South. Meanwhile, VP Spiro Agnew began making verbal assaults on the war protestors and the liberal press.

d. The Burger Court: 4 liberal justices from the Warren Court stepped down during Nixon’s presidency, allowing Nixon to appoint new, Conservative justices. IN ’69 he appointed Warren Burger of Minnesota. He then appointed Harry Blackmun, after two other more conservative picks were shot down by Congress, (Blackmun wrote the pro-abortion ruling in Row v. Wade), William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell were later confirmed as well. In the end, the Court that he put together ended up denying his claim of executive privilege in the case of United States v. Nixon, 19745.

e. The Election of 1972: Nixon’s southern strategy proved successful as he won majorities in every southern state (what happened to the old “solid South?”) His re-election was reassured due to his foreign policy success in China and the Soviet Union; the removal of George Wallace from the race by an assassin’s bullet, a bullet that paralyzed him for life; and the Democratic nomination of a liberal antiwar, antiestablishment candidate, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota. (According to Woodward and Bernstein, he was the candidate the Nixon people had wanted. Remember, Nixon’s Watergate activity was based on the fact that he thought Ted Kennedy might try and pull a “Bobby” late in the campaign.)

i. The Election: McGovern dropped his VP candidate, Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, after it was discovered that the Senator had undergone electroshock therapy for depression years before. Nixon won every state but Massachusetts and took 60.8% of the popular vote. The Democrats kept control of Congress, but the results showed a major realignment of the Sunbelt and suburban voters, who were forming a conservative Republican majority. This is why Watergate was all that more surprising.

C. Watergate: This was much worse than just “Tricky Dick” and his 26 henchmen who served jail time. It was the massive failure of the American political system at a time when we needed leadership, coming off the debacle of Vietnam.

a. White House Abuses: In June ’72, a group of men hired by CREEP were caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate office complex on the Potomac. They were attempting to bug the National Chairman, Larry O’Brien, but this was just one of several of the “dirty tricks” Nixon’s “plumbers” were attempting. Nixon’s insecurities are what did him in. He was so convinced that Ted Kennedy was going to enter the race, that he let the Kennedy mystique kill his political career.

i. Nixon was angry that someone in his administration had leaked the secret bombings into Cambodia (which means he had no intention of telling the public) and he decided that the best way to find the leak was to use federal agencies to bug Americans. The “plumbers” were assigned to plug these leaks, so to speak.

ii. They were also to discredit opponents, which they did well. They had burglarized the office of Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Ellsberg in order to find discrediting information about him. They had also broken into his psychiatrist’s office to find his medical and psychiatric history. Nixon had also created an “enemies list” of prominent Americans who had opposed Nixon, the war, or both. The government, including the IRS, investigated these people for basically practicing their first amendment rights.

iii. Watergate was a reflection of Nixon’s belief that he could use any means necessary to promote the national security, but it usually meant protecting Nixon from critics. (John Adams, line one please.)

b. Watergate Investigation: There was no proof that Nixon had personally ordered or had known in advance of specific plumbers’ activity. However, after months of investigation (and thanks to Woodward and Bernstein at the Washington Post) it became clear that Nixon was heavily involved in a cover-up of the facts. The Watergate burglars were treated harshly, sentence wise, by federal judge John Sirica, leading to information coming out that the White House had promised pardons to all burglars who kept quiet. Democrat Sam Ervin of North Carolina led a Senate committee’s investigation, which brought all of the abuses to public light as they were nationally televised.

i. John Dean’s testimony: This was one of the highlights of the Watergate hearings, as Nixon’s former White House lawyer linked the president to the cover-up. Nixon’s top aides, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, resigned to protect him, were later indicted, and served jail time for obstructing justice.

ii. The Tapes: During the hearings one of Nixon’s aides mistakenly divulged that Nixon had installed a taping system in the White House. The committee immediately subpoenaed the tapes, with Nixon claiming executive privilege. He said giving up the tapes would be a threat to national security.

1. Spiro Agnew: While this was going on in ’73, Agnew was forced to resign as VP for having taken bribes while governor of Maryland.

c. Other 1973 Developments: Watergate absorbed a lot of Nixon’s energy, but there were other happenings.

i. War Powers Act: Nixon was further discredited when the public found out about 3,500 bombing missions into neutral Cambodia. Congress used the public uproar to limit the powers of the president, passing the War Powers Act in November 1973 over Nixon’s veto.

1. War Powers Act: Required any future president to report to Congress within 48 hours after taking military action. Congress would also have to approve any military action that lasted more than 60 days. (So give them a bunch of false information about weapons of mass destruction and they’ll buy it.)

ii. October war and oil embargo: On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur. They were trying to regain lands lost during the Six Day War of ’67. Nixon ordered nuclear forces on alert and airlifted over $2 billion in arms to Israel to stem their retreat. The tide quickly turned and Israel won the war.

1. Results of US action: OPEC placed an embargo on oil on all countries who aided Israel, causing a worldwide oil shortage and long lines at American f=gas stations. The impact on the US economy was even worse, as featured runaway inflation, the loss of manufacturing jobs, and a lower standard of living for blue collar workers. Consumers began buying Japanese gas conscious cars instead of American guzzlers, which cost the auto industry over 250,000 jobs. Congress enacted the 55 mile per hour limit and approved an oil pipeline from Alaska to tap American oil reserves. Nothing the government did seemed to work and the economy struggled for the rest of the decade.

d. Nixon Resigns: In ’74, Nixon made celebrated trips to Cairo and Moscow, cooling off the heated relations there. But he could not shake the Watergate investigation. In October, ’73, he had fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor whose job was to investigate him. This was known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” in which he fired attorney general Elliot Richardson and assistant Attorney General William Ruckelshaus because they would not fire Cox. Finally, Robert Bork (Solicitor General) fired him. All of this stemmed from Nixon’s refusal to turn the tapes over to Cox. This was clearly obstruction of justice.

i. Nixon defended his actions in a famous press conference on November 17, 1973, in which he said, "...in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I should say that in my years of public life that [sic] I've welcomed this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President's a crook. Well, I'm not a crook!"

ii. Impeachment Hearings: Began in the House in April of ’74. They wanted transcripts of the tapes, Nixon allowed an old senile Senator to listen to them and transcribe them. The Supreme Court in July finally forced him to turn over the tapes to Congress. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee voted three articles of impeachment; the charges were obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress.

iii. The tapes: revealed some shocking information to friends and foes. They revealed Nixon’s involvement in the cover-up just days after the break-in. He was a dead man walking, so on August 9, 1974, he resigned and his appointed VP Gerald Ford took over, becoming the first unelected Prez and VP in US history.

iv. Significance: To some, it proved that our political system of checks and balances worked. To others, it marked the dangers of the rising power of the president which had begun way back with FDR. In the end, Watergate precipitated a major cynicism Americans would feel about the government for years to come.

D. Gerald Ford in the White House: He had been a Congressman from Michigan (Ford Motor Company, anyone?) and served on the Warren Commission and was Republican minority leader in the House. The media instantly questioned his credibility to be president, especially when he pardoned Dick.

a. Pardoning of Nixon: Ford granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon, basically saying that we had to move out of the past and into the future. Many Americans wanted a trial and were very angry, calling it a “corrupt bargain.” Others were angry that Nixon stayed high and dry and many of his aides (26, to be exact) served time. We also wanted the truth, which never really came out fully. Nixon denied a lot of his activity until the day he died.

b. Investigating the CIA: The Democratic Congress lost Nixon, so they went after abuses in other high places, especially the CIA, who they accused of engineering assassinations, including the Marxist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Ford appointed former Texas businessman George Bush to reform the CIA.

c. Failure of U.S. policy in Southeast Asia: Ford was unable to get extra funds to aid the South Vietnamese in ’74 as they were being overrun by the NVA.

i. Fall of Saigon: April ’75, the US supported government in Saigon fell to the North. Vietnam then became one country, under the rule of the government in Hanoi. The US evacuated over 150,000 Vietnamese who had supported us or the SVA and would face execution had we left them behind. The fall of South Vietnam marked a low point in American prestige at home and around the world.

d. Genocide in Cambodia: In 1975, the US supported government in Cambodia fell to the communist Khmer Rouge. The Rouge conducted genocide on over 1 million of its own people. When the Mayaguez, a US merchant ship, was captured by the Cambodians, Ford ordered an attack on a Cambodian naval base to free the 39 hostages. 38 marines were killed in the Mayaguez Incident. Why didn’t we practice containment in Cambodia? See Nixon Doctrine.

e. Future of Southeast Asia: Although the fall of Cambodia looked like the Domino theory was playing out, in reality no other Southeast Asian nation went communist. Some say that America’s defense of South Vietnam bought time for the “little tigers” of Southeast Asia (Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia) to develop and better resist communism.

f. The Economy and Domestic Policy: He was more conservative than Nixon, but did try to defeat inflation by having Americans wear WIN buttons (Whip Inflation Now.) Amazingly, they didn’t work. Unemployment rose to 9% and inflation rose as well. Ford finally agreed to a democratic stimulus package, but he also vetoed 39 other Democratic bills.

i. The Bicentennial Celebration: Our pride in our history helped us to put Watergate behind us, but the future was uncertain. Had we hit our high-water mark? Have we?

g. The Election of 1976: With the shadow of Watergate looming, Ford barely beat out Ronal Reagan for the nomination for the Republicans. However, his battles with Reagan hurt his candidacy.

i. Jimmy Carter emerges: Several Democrats vied for the nomination, but it was little-known DC outsider and Georgia governor Jimmy Carter who wins it. Open primaries helped him to defeat other, more experienced candidates. He held a big lead in August, watched that lead shrink into November, and won a very close election (287-241). Carter carried the South and the African-American vote. The Democrats also claimed victories in the House and Senate.

E. Jimmy Carter’s Presidency: He tried his best to get rid of the “imperial presidency” image that Nixon had built. He walked down Pennsylvania Avenue on inauguration day (whereas Nixon had ridden in a bulletproof limousine that has verbally attacked by hippies. DC insiders hated him because he depended too often on his Georgia friends for advice. His intelligence and compassion probably hurt his ability to see the bigger picture. He was clearly made to be an ambassador, not a president. (Damn you, Richard Nixon!)

a. Foreign Policy: He preached human rights to anyone who would listen, including world leaders.

i. Human Rights Diplomacy: African American Andrew Young was appointed US ambassador to the UN. He denounced the oppression in South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). Carter cut off US aid to Argentina and Chile due to violations of human rights.

ii. Panama Canal: Carter negotiated a new treaty with Panama in which all control of the canal would be turned over to Panama by 2000. Voters remembered “Carter’s give away” in the ’80 election.

iii. Camp David Accords: (1978) Carter’s single greatest achievement was bringing Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel together at Camp David in ’78. They negotiated the Accords in September, providing a framework for a peace settlement between the two countries. Egypt would later become the first Arab nation to recognize Israel. In return, Israel withdrew its troops from the Sinai territory taken from Egypt during the Six Day War in ’67. The PLO opposed the treaty, as did most of the Arab world, but it was a first step. (A great first step for Sadat, who was eventually assassinated while observing a parade of his own Egyptian army.)

iv. Iran and the Hostage Crisis: The Middle East was the scene of Carter’s greatest victory (see above, pinhead) but also the scene of his biggest debacle. Since the 50s America had been in bed with the Shah of Iran. His brutal regime had murdered Iranian civilians, and his westernization of Iran had alienated many Iranian citizens. He had also supplied the “Great Satan” with oil over the years, which prompted anti-shah rallies among Iranian students by the late 70s.

1. In 1979, Islamic fundamentalists, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the shah and forced him to leave Iran. Iranian oil production then ground to a halt, causing the second worldwide oil shortage and an increase in gas prices. In November of ’79 a group of radical Iranian students seized the US embassy and took 50 members of the American staff hostage. Why? Because we had offered asylum to the shah, who the Iranians wanted to put on trial and execute. The shah was dying of cancer and would eventually die in 1980. The US, and Carter, looked impotent.

2. The Hostage crisis dragged on through the rest of Carter’s presidency, it was his Watergate (minus the scandal, corruption, and taped conversations.) In April 1980, Carter authorized a rescue mission, but the helicopters collided in the desert, killing Marines and making the US look weak. The bodies were televised on Iranian air along with flag burning and the usual planned anti-Americanism. For many Americans, this was why Carter made a bad president. He didn’t have the heart to be aggressive. Eventually, the hostages were freed on the day of Reagan’s inauguration as part of an agreement between the Reagan administration and former CIA Director and VP Goerge Bush and the Iranian fundamentalists. This information came out later in the Iran-Contra Hearings.

v. Cold War: In 1979, Carter ended the official recognition of Taiwan as China and allowed China to be China. We exchanged ambassadors with China and immediately had trouble when two of our ambassadors got busted trying to steal trinkets from street corner vendors. Not to worry, the U.S. honor code took care of it.

1. Carter and Détente: Carter also attempted to keep détente with the Soviets going, completing the SALT II treaty in ’79 (which provided for limiting the size of each superpower’s nuclear delivery system. The Senate never ratified the treaty because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in ’79.

2. Afghanistan: Dec. ’79, the Soviets invade Afghanistan. Why? History has shown that the US funneled a lot of money to the anti-Soviet Taliban regime, in order to get the Soviets to invade and have their own Vietnam. Some say we wanted the Soviets to invade, others say the invasion was completely unprovoked. The feeling in Carter’s government, and later Reagan’s as well, was “what’s more immediate to the US, the collapse of the Soviet Union or some radical Muslims in Afghanistan?”

a. Carter publicly stated that the Soviets might be making a move toward the middle Eastern oil, so he placed a grain embargo on the Soviet Union (which had dreadful effects on American farmers) and he boycotted the summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980, which was great news to those athletes who had trained their entire lives for a shot at the Olympics. But not to worry, the Soviets and the entire eastern bloc boycotted the ’84 summer games in Los Angeles, which led to me and my waterslide buddies getting lots of free Big Macs. (You have to ask.)

b. Results: Instead of seeking arms reduction, our philosophy changes to arms buildup, which sounded horrifying at the time, but leads eventually to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

3. Domestic Policy: Dealing with inflation: The biggest issue at home was inflation. Carter first tried to check inflation with measures aimed at conserving oil energy and reviving the US coal industry. (Coal cars?) It did not work, and by 1980 inflation was a record 13%.

a. Troubled economy: Inflation slowed economic growth because businesses could not afford the high interest rates that came with high prices. Fed Chairman Paul Volcker tried to kill inflation by raising the interest rate to 20% in 1980. This killed the auto industry and construction industry, which lay off thousands of workers. Inflation pushed middle-class taxpayers into higher tax brackets, which led to a “taxpayer’s revolt”. The federal deficit grew to $60 billion in 1980. For the first time since WWII, our standard of living was on the decline.

4. Loss of Popularity: In 1979, Carter gave the famous “national malaise” speech, in which he told the American public that our problems were based upon a “moral and spiritual crisis.” Most Americans, however, blamed his weak leadership and indecisiveness. His approval rating approaching 1980’s election was a whopping 23%.

F. American Society in Transition: By 1980, over half of all Americans lived in the South and West, the two fastest growing areas of the country. Also, the population was aging; the fastest growing age group was seniors over 65. By 1990, minority groups made up 25% of the population and the Census Bureau predicted that by 2050 50% of America’s population may be Hispanic, African-American, or Asian. Cultural pluralism replaced the melting pot ideal, as ethnic groups strove not only to fit in and overcome discrimination, but to hang on to their customs as well.

a. Growth of Immigration: Prior to the 60s, most immigrants to the US came from Canada and Europe. By the 80s, 47% came from Latin America, 37% from Asia, and less than 13% from Canada and Europe. Why? Refugees from Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. The Immigration Act of 1965 made even bigger changes, which ended the Quota Acts of the 20s and opened our doors to almost everyone.

i. Illegal Immigrants: In the mid-70s the government estimated that as many as 12 million foreigners were living here illegally. This led to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which penalized employers for hiring illegal immigrants from Latin American and Asian countries but also granted amnesty to illegal immigrants arriving by 1982. It is estimated that at least one million illegal immigrants enter the U.S. every year.

b. Demands for Minority Rights: They want discrimination relief and recognition of their contributions to society.

i. Mexican Americans: They were encouraged to come to the US during the 40s and 50s to work low-paying agricultural jobs (after being deported during the Depression years.) They were heavily exploited until the work Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Organization in the 1970s came along. This organization gained collective bargaining rights for farm workers in 1975. Chicanos also won a federal mandate requiring certain schools to teach Spanish as well as English. Henry Cisneros is a great example of successful Chicanos, he was elected mayor of San Antonio in the 80s and was selected by Bill Clinton to be the HUD Secretary in 1992.

ii. Natives in Revolt: In the Ike years, natives were encouraged to leave the reservations and join us in urban America. Natives resisted this loss of identity. As a result, natives formed the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968. This was soon followed by militant action. AIM took over the abandoned Alcatraz prison in 1969 (good idea, taking over a prison. That’ll get their attention! A-Ha!) AIM members also occupied Wounded Knee, SD in 1973 protesting the treatment of natives in the same area where we saw the infamous Massacre of natives in 1890.

1. Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975: Gave reservation and tribal lands greater control over internal programs, education, and law enforcement. Natives also used federal courts to successfully regain property or compensation for treaty violations.

2. Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act of ’78: Attacked poverty and unemployment by improving education.

3. Casinos! Natives were allowed to build casinos on reservations due to self-determination legislation in the late 80s and 90s.

4. Dances With Wolves: A fine film where you get to see Kevin Costner’s bare ass. He won an Academy Award. Well, it is a nice ass.

iii. Asian Americans: Fastest growing minority in the 80s. Largest was Chinese, followed by other countries that can ironically be found in Asia. Many of them are very dedicated to education.

iv. Gay liberation movement: A police raid on a gay bar in Stonewall, New York in 1969 sparked a gay riot and the birth of the gay rights’ movement. By the mid 70s homosexuality was no longer classified as mental illness (there is still no ruling on Rosie O’Donnell) and even the Civil Service dropped its ban on employing homosexuals. And don’t forget Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

v. The Environment Movement: “Postmodern” Americans believed that technological advances would no longer improve their quality of life. Massive oil spills, like the Exxon Valdez in 1989, reinforced these fears. Then you have three Mile Island, Pa (1979), Love Canal in New York (1978) and Chernobyl (1986).

vi. Protective Legislation: 1970 saw the formation of the EPA, as well as the Clean Air Act, followed in 1972 with the passage of the Clean Water Act. The Superfund was created in 1980 to help clean up places like Love Canal in Niagara Falls.

vii. Fragmentation: Protest movements and the growing diversity in America seemed to fracture our society throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. A decline in the standard of living and a slowing economy did not help. On top of that, America was becoming more conservative at the end of the 70s, a trend that would continue into the new millennium.

Terms: the 1970s

Richard Nixon

Henry Kissinger

Vietnamization

Nixon Doctrine

Kent State

Jackson State

My Lai

Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg

Paris Accords of ‘73

Détente

China visit

Soviet Union, SALT

New Federalism

Stagflation

Southern strategy

Warren Burger

George McGovern

Watergate

Articles of Impeachment

Woodward and Bernstein

John Dean

All the President’s Men

U.S. v. Nixon

War Powers Act (1973)

Middle East War (1973)

Six Day War (1967)

OPEC, oil embargo

Gerald Ford

Cambodia

Khmer Rouge

Bicentennial

Jimmy Carter

Human rights

Panama Canal Treaty (1978)

Camp David Accords (1978)

Anwar Sadat; Menachem Begin

Iran Hostage Crisis

The Shah (Reza Pahlavi)

Afghanistan invasion

Moscow 1980 boycott

Cultural pluralism

Immigration Act (1965)

Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986)

Mexican Americans (Chicanos)

Cezar Chavez

American Indian Movement (AIM)

Indian Self-Determination Act (1975)

Asian Americans

Gay liberation movement

Environment movement

Three Mile Island

Love Canal

Chernobyl

EPA

Clean Air Act

Clean Water act

Environmental Superfund

Disco

Disco Sucks

Part 30: The Conservative Resurgence: 1980-Present

The AP Exam does not focus on this section, in fact, only a few multiple choice questions will come from here and the College Board says that no DBQ or essay question will “deal exclusively with this period.” However, one should understand the past two decades in order to understand the perspective of the postwar years. Important developments in this period include the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War. Old ethnic and religious conflicts have emerged to threaten peace. Domestically, the conservative Reagan Revolution (including stronger military, lower taxes, fewer social programs, and a new respect for traditional cultural values) helped the Republicans gain control of government.

A. The Rise of Conservatism: The 70s witnessed a move to the right, away from the liberal sixties. In the 80s, a combination of economic and political conservatives (the William F. Buckley types), religious fundamentalists (Pat Robertson, etc.), and political action committees (NRA, etc.) became a potent force for change. They opposed big government, New Deal liberalism, gun control, feminism, gay rights, welfare, affirmative action, sexual permissiveness, abortion, and drug use. All these things undermined family values, the work ethic, and national security.

a. Leading Issues: By the 80s various groups were pushing for lower taxes, improved morals, and reducing affirmative action.

i. Taxpayers Revolt: In ’78, California voters led the revolt on high taxes by passing Prop 13, which sharply cut property taxes. Conservative economist Arthur Laffer taught that lowering taxes would promote economic growth. Jack Kemp and William Roth, both Republican Senators, proposed cutting federal taxes by 30%, which became the basis for the Reagan tax cuts.

ii. Moral Revival: Televangelism was huge in the 80s, until Swaggert and Bakker got busted with hookers. Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggert, and Jim Bakker had viewers up around 100 million weekly. The Moral Majority, led by Jerry Falwell, financed campaigns to unseat liberals. They attacked “secular humanism” as a godless creed taking over public education and wanted prayer in schools and creationism. The Roe v. Wade case in ’73 sparked the right to life movement, and the argument of when human life actually begins was born. (Wow, now that’s a pun.)

iii. “Reverse Discrimination”: In ’65 LBJ began the idea of affirmative action to make up for years of unequal opportunities. In the ‘70s, many whites blamed their economic condition on reverse discrimination, based on the governments’ affirmative action and quota policies. The SC ruled in their favor in the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) by deciding that college admissions could not be based on race alone.

b. Ronald Reagan and the Election of 1980: He had been a movie star, president of the Screen actors’ Guild and a prominent California liberal. Then he went to the right and became a spokesman for Barry Goldwater in the ’64 campaign. He was governor of California in the sixties and early ‘70s. He almost won the party’s nomination in ’76. He was handsome and well-liked and became the favorite spokesman for the conservative movement.

i. Campaign for president, 1980: Teddy Kennedy challenged Carter in the primaries, leaving Carter battered in the polls and the Democrats less than excited about their nominee. Reagan attacked big government and loss of U.S. prestige abroad. Reagan created the “misery index” which was the rate of inflation added with the unemployment rate (28 in the summer of 1980) and always asked the same question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Reagan won 51% of the popular vote and over 90% of the electoral vote. Carter took 41% of the popular vote, while Independent John Anderson received 8%.

ii. Significance: Reagan took over 50% of the blue collar vote, breaking up the New Deal coalition. The Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time since 1954 and gained 33 seats in the House, which when combined with conservative southern Democrats gave them a majority on most issues. The election of 1980 marks the end of 50 years of Democratic dominance of Congress.

B. The Reagan Revolution: The Iranians released the hostages on the day Reagan was inaugurated, giving his administration the best start since FDR. Two months later, Reagan was shot by a jackass. Publicly, Reagan’s people said he was fine, but privately he was almost killed and required several weeks of rehab to get back to health. On his operating table, Reagan looked up at the doctors who were about to operate on him and said, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.” The guy had a great sense of humor and emerged even more popular. He pledged to lower taxes, reduce government spending on welfare, build up the armed forces, and create a more conservative federal court. He did them all, but at some cost.

a. Supply Side Economics (Reaganomics): Tax cuts would reduce government spending and increase investment by the private sector, which would lead to increased production, jobs, and prosperity. This twist on the old “trickle down” theory was in deep contrast with Keynesian economics long favored by Democrats. Basically, under Reagan, we got large tax cuts for the rich who were supposed to pass those savings on to the poor, but it seemed like they would just invest those savings and make more money for themselves. What was that snappy little line that Brit said about history repeating itself?

i. Federal Tax reduction: Congress quickly passed most of Reagan’s tax cuts, including a 25% tax cut over the next 3 years. He cut corporate income tax, inheritance taxes, and capital gains taxes. The top income tax rate was 28% under Reagan. People could also invest up to $2,000 a year in IRA accounts without being taxed on it. It was the age of greed.

ii. Spending cuts: With the help of conservative southern Democrats (“Boll Weevils”), the Republicans cut over $40 billion in domestic programs, including food stamps, student loans, and mass transportation. But anything we saved was offset by outrageous spending on the military (because, in the end, it’s better to kill people than to feed and educate them.)

b. Labor Unions: Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers in 1981 and decertified their union for violation of contract. Many businesses followed this lead and simply hired replacement workers when regulars went on strike, knowing the government would back them. Union membership declined in the 80s due to the above action and a loss in manufacturing jobs overseas.

c. Recession and Recovery: In 1982, we had our worst recession since the ‘30s. Banks were failing and unemployment was at 11%. Inflation, on the other hand, was reduced to 4%, due in part to a fall in oil prices. As Reaganomics took hold, a long period of recovery began in 1983. This recovery widened the gap between the rich and poor. “Yuppies” were born, and they enjoyed high wages and a deregulated stock market. Meanwhile, the standard of living declined for the middle class throughout the 80s and early 90s. By the mid ‘90s, the middle class had regained some of its losses.

d. Social Issues: Reagan appointed the first woman to the SC, Sandra Day O’Connor, a conservative. Later, he appointed Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy who were led by a new Chief Justice, William Rehnquist. The court trimmed back Roe v. Wade by imposing certain restrictions on abortions and forcing minors to notify their parents.

e. Election of ’84: Reagan’s sales pitch was restored prosperity and pride, along with a great “It’s morning in America” campaign. He was nominated by acclamation at the convention. Jesse Jackson became the first black American to make a strong run at the presidency, uniting all minority groups under the banner of the Rainbow Coalition. However, the Democrats nominated Walter “Fritz” Mondale, Carter’s VP and Minnesota’s golden child. Congresswoman Geraldine “My son has a very serious drug problem” Ferraro was the VP, the first such woman in US history. Reagan won every state not named Minnesota and 2/3 of white males voted for Reagan. The only groups that still supported the Democrats were blacks and poor white people. Nice.

f. Budget and Trade Deficits: Imagine this: By the mid ‘80s, Reagan’s tax cuts combined with massive military spending had lead to a federal budget deficit of over $200,000,000,000 a year, (that’s $200 billion, to you and me.) During the Reagan era, the national debt tripled from $900 billion to almost $2.7 trillion (2,700,000,000,000!) The tax cuts that were supposed to stimulate investment only increased consumption, especially of foreign made luxury items and other crap that rich people buy. As a result, the US trade deficit reached $150 billion a year (that’s more coming in than going out.) The cumulative trade imbalance of $1 trillion in the 80s led to foreign ownership of US real estate and industry. We became a debtor nation in 1985 for the first time since WWI.

i. Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget Act (1985): Provided for across the board spending cuts in an attempt to keep the budget under control. Various interference kept it from achieving its full purpose, but Congress was able to reduce the deficit by $66 billion from ’86 to ’88.

g. Impact of Reaganomics: The rich got richer, the poor saw their government aid reduced, we rang up a huge budget deficit, any chance of universal health coverage was way to expensive considering our budgetary problems, and somewhere Charles Darwin smiled and slept all through the night.

C. Foreign Policy during the Reagan Years: Reagan wanted to bring back American prestige and intensify the competition in the Cold War. He called the Soviets the “evil empire” and was prepared to use military force to back up his rhetoric.

a. Renewing the Cold War: Big spending on defense and lots of money sent to support anticommunists in Latin America were the hallmarks of Reagan’s first term.

i. Military buildup: The B-1 bomber, the MX missile, expanding the Navy, SDI all combined to increase our defense budget from $171 billion in ’81 to $300 billion in ’85.

ii. Central America: Reagan supported “friendly right wing dictators over communist juntas, such as the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. We sent money to the “contras”, anti-leftist rebels in Nicaragua who fought the Sandinistas.

1. The Boland Amendment: Passed by Democrats in ’85, it prohibited further aid to the Contras. Republican advisers countered with “Has anyone seen the Ayatollah’s phone number?”

2. El Salvador: Reagan spent $5 billion to defend El Salvador against leftist guerillas. These right wing “death squads that we supported executed over 40,000 civilians, including American missionaries, but at least they weren’t commies!

iii. Grenada: A coup took place in ’83 resulting in the establishment of a pro-Cuban regime. Reagan ordered an invasion of the island in ’83 by a small group of marines and prevented the establishment of a communist military base in the Americas. A friendlier government in Grenada was soon established.

iv. Iran-Contra Affair: We would sell US anti-aircraft and antitank weapons to Iran’s government in an agreement made for its freeing of the hostages in Iran in ’81. In ’86, some genius had the idea that we could take the profits from these sales and fund the contras in Nicaragua. Did Reagan know about it? Probably not. Reagan was generally president until 1 pm, at which time he napped and hung out with his wife, made appearances, speeches, etc. while his staff ran the country. The staff messed up with this one. They violated the Boland Amendment. They made the president look like an old idiot who had no idea what was going on in his own presidency. His popularity temporarily dropped, but he would remain one of the most popular presidents of the 20th century.

v. Lebanon, Israel, and the PLO: Reagan’s administration took some shots in the Middle East starting in ’82, when the US gave Israel permission to invade Lebanon to PLO terrorists from attacking Israel. The US then assisted the PLO in evacuating the area to a safe haven and we provided peacekeeping forces on Lebanese soil as the Lebanese fell into a brutal civil war. In April ’83, an Arab suicide bomber attacked the US embassy in Beirut, killing 63. A few months later, another Arab terrorist attacked the Marines barracks in Lebanon, killing 241 servicemen. Reagan pulled the Marines out in ’84, with nothing to show for his effort but coffins filled with US Marines. But hey, at least he didn’t have sex with an intern.

vi. Improved US-Soviet Relations: The Cold War heated up in the early 80s, but then along came Mikhail Gorbachev and his cool red spot. With a budget imbalance that made the US budget pale in comparison, Gorby introduced two major reforms:

1. Glasnost: Openness, Gorby wanted to end political repression and move toward more political freedom for Soviet citizens. He did not want to bring in democracy…that would be Yeltsin.

2. Perestroika: It was the restructuring of the Soviet economy by introducing some limited free market practices. Again, Gorby did not want to bring in a US like capitalism, just a loosening of the strings to take some of the economic pressure off of the Soviet government. To achieve these things, Gorby had to end the costly arms race.

3. INF Agreement: Gorby and Reagan finally got together in ’87 and agreed to remove and destroy all intermediate-range missiles. In ’88, Gorby began the pullout of Afghanistan. He also put pressure on Iran and Iraq to end their war. By the end of Reagan’s second term, the US and the Soviets were living la vida loca.

4. Assessing Reagan: Who beat the Soviets? Reagan and his buildup? George Kennan, Dean Acheson and containment? Gorbachev himself? Reagan did respond to the opportunity when it presented itself. Either way, the “Teflon President”, Ronald Reagan, led a charmed political life and walked away from the presidency famous for his sense of humor, his class, his patriotism, and his love of his wife, Nancy, and jelly beans.

D. President Goerge H.W. Bush and the end of the Cold War: The Cold War threatened to kill us all since 1945, but it had also stabilized our foreign policy as well. What would we do after the Cold War? Bush had been an ambassador to the UN and director of the CIA and would now be the first president to define the US role in this new era.

a. Election of ’88: The Democrats took control of the Senate in ’86 and hoped Iran-Contra would hurt the Republican presidential nominee in ’88. But then the Democrats nominated a Massachusetts liberal Governor named Michael Dukakis who had eyebrows like caterpillars and a wife who drank rubbing alcohol when the bars closed. Bush won the Republican nomination and for some reason named Dan Quayle as his VP candidate. Although it seemed like the two parties were playing a new game show called I Can Be More Incompetent Than You, it was actually a presidential campaign. Dukakis was attacked for his criminal furlough programs (in which one of the inmates who was out on a work-release for the weekend raped a young girl…nice investigation staff, Duke) while the Democrats attacked Bush for not being Reagan and Quayle for his lack of a brain. Bush pretty much won the election by promising “Read my lips, no new taxes” at the Republican convention. Only problem? He then raised taxes. Turns out all of that military spending we did in the ‘80s had to be paid for.

b. The Democrats did win more seats in Congress which just goes to show that we like Republican presidents who promise no taxes but Democratic Congressmen whose responsibility it is to actually make us pay them. We are a nation of idiots.

c. The Collapse of Soviet Communism and the Soviet Union:

i. Tienanmen Square: As pro-democracy forces gained momentum around the world, Chinese students began demonstrating by the thousands in Beijing. As the world watched on television, the Chinese used the cover of night to crush the protest with tanks, killing hundreds and ending any chance of an opening of the traditional ways in China. But not to worry, they make some nice trinkets over there in that land of the little people and soon we would grant them “Most Favored Nation Status.” Ok…that’s the last time.

ii. Eastern Europe: Gorby announced in ’89 that he would no longer support the various communist governments of eastern Europe. Starting in Poland in ’89 with the election of Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity Party, the communists fell from power in country after country (Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.) East German protestors forced their government out of power and tore down the Berlin Wall in ’89. The two Germanys were reunited in October 1990, with East Germany noticing that West Germany had put on a little weight in the past 45 years.

iii. Breakup of the Soviet Union: In 1990 the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania declared their independence. Communist hard-liners attempted a coup against Gorby but failed, and the remaining Soviet republics dissolved the Soviet Union in December 1991, leaving Gorby as a leader with no country. Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Republic, joined with nine former Soviet republics and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Yeltsin disbanded the communist party in Russia and began work on a democracy and a free-market economy. This sounds nice, but you have to realize that the average Russian can’t organize a bowel movement without a tyrant telling him how to do it.

iv. End of the Cold War: Bush and Gorby had signed the START I agreement in ’91, reducing the number of warheads to under 10,000 for each side. In late ’92, Bush and Yeltsin agreed to a START II treaty, reducing the number of nuclear weapons to 3,000 each. We also gave economic assistance to the struggling Russian economy.

1. Soviet civil wars: They broke out throughout the former Soviet Union, which means Bush did not get to give the great “We have defeated Communism” speech because they were a bit unstable. Yugoslavia began to disintegrate in ’91, and Bosnia and Herzegovina erupted in civil war in ’92. At home, we began to question our defense spending.

v. Invasion of Panama: For the first time since the end of WWII, we used our military for a reason other than the containment of communism. In December 1989, Bush ordered the invasion of Panama to remove its autocratic leader, General Manuel Noriega. Bush alleged the invasion was essential to stop the drug pipeline that was coming through Panama. In fact, Bush and the CIA had given a lot of latitude to Noriega in previous years simply because he was not a communist and this chicken was coming home to roost. He now sits in a military prison and has a cute boyfriend named Steve.

vi. Persian Gulf War: Bush’s plans for a “New world order” were challenged in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Bush built a coalition of United Nations to put pressure on Hussein (another former Bush CIA crony). But Hussein would not pull out, as this would lose him prestige in the eyes of his Arab brethren when they gathered for poker night at the palace every Thursday. Eventually, the US went in and showed them who was boss, bringing back US prestige and making Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell overnight stars. Bush’s approval rating was 90% at the end of the war, but we failed to drive Hussein from power and created enemies in Saudi Arabia when we maintained a military presence there after the war was over.

vii. Domestic Problems: So how did Bush not get re-elected? Read my lips…He Messed Up.

1. Clarence Thomas: As Thurgood Marshall left the SC, Bush apparently needed to nominate another black man. I was not aware of this, but apparently the same goes for Asians, women, Latinos, gays, and midgets. (“Verne Troyer, line one, please…”) Thomas was a conservative, but as he was going through confirmation there were accusations from one of his former aides, a woman named Anita Hill, that he had sexually harassed her in the office. He was eventually confirmed, but you have never really lived until you’ve heard a 91-year-old Strom Thurmond say “Pubic Hair.”

2. Taxes and the economy: The government stepped in when Savings and Loans began to go bankrupt, but the public freaked when we were told we had to pay the $250 billion tab (that’s more than we spent in Vietnam.) We also added $1 trillion to the deficit during the Bush years. In 1990, Bush approved the Democratic Congress’ budget, which included a tax increase. (“Bill Clinton, line one, please…”) Also, a recession began in 1990 that ended the Reagan prosperity, increased unemployment, and decreased average family income.

3. Political inertia: Bush had begun his presidency by calling for a “kinder, gentler nation” and something about a “thousand points of light.” He did sign into law the Americans With Disabilities Act (1990) which prohibited discrimination against citizens with physical and mental disabilities in hiring, transportation, and public accommodation. Domestically, Bush did next to nothing, as he was overwhelmed (as most any president would be) by the historical changes going on around the world.

E. The Clinton Years: 1993-2001, Prosperity and Partisanship

a. Anti-Incumbent Mood: We were growing tired of professional lawmakers, but in the case of U.S. Term Limits Inc. v. Thorton (1995) the CS decided that states could not limit the tenure of federal lawmakers without a constitutional amendment. The 27th Amendment was ratified in 1992 (it had first been proposed by James Madison in 1789), saying members of Congress cannot vote raises for themselves. Future raises go into effect in the next session. The above two are obvious reflections of Americans growing a bit cynical about politics.

b. The Election of 1992: Bush was nominated but seemed out of touch with average Americans, the Democrats had several candidates to choose from but Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton emerged. He was the first baby boomer president and was an intelligent and articulate public speaker. He called himself a moderate “New Democrat” who focused on everyman’s economics. His advisers labeled it a little simpler, saying “It’s the economy, stupid!”

i. H. Ross Perot: Anti-Washington, anti-deficit, Perot financed his own campaign and took votes away from Bush. He took 20% of the popular vote, the best third party showing since TR in 1912.

ii. Results: Clinton took 370 electoral (43% popular vote) while Bush took 168 (37% popular.) Clinton won the South and recaptured the blue collar vote. The Democrats won control of both houses, among them the first African American woman elected to the Senate, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois.

c. Clinton’s First Term: Controversies in the cabinet, debate over gays in the military, scandals in the White House travel office, and Whitewater kept the president on edge.

i. Setbacks: His economic stimulus package, campaign finance reform, environmental bills, and health care reform bills were all killed in the Senate by Republican filibuster; his use of Hilary to ramrod his health coverage backfired. By ’94, all of Clinton’s health care reform proposals had been defeated.

ii. Early Accomplishments: Family Medical Leave Act, Motor Voter law (allows people to register to vote as they receive their driver’s license), the Brady handgun bill, the Clinton anti-crime bill, assault weapons band, a deficit reduction budget, NAFTA, etc. Even after accomplishing these things, he was still known by opponents as “Slick Willie.”

iii. Republicans Take over Congress: Republicans retake control of both houses for first time since 1954, with Newt Gingrich becoming Speaker of the House.

1. Newt: Proposed a “Contract with America”, attacking all government programs supported by Clinton. Clinton countered by calling for a “leaner, not meaner” budget. Blah blah blah. Eventually, after a couple government shutdowns due to lack of funds, calm was restored.

2. Oklahoma City, 1995: 169 Americans were killed by two American terrorists. At that point, it was the worst act of terror in American history.

3. Balanced Budget: Thanks to a fast growing economy and 10 million new jobs, the moderate Clinton balanced the budget in 1996, basically taking the traditional Republican position on economics.

iv. Election of 1996: It was Bob Dole. Come on!

v. Clinton’s Second Term: Prosperity and Poison: The US was enjoying the longest peacetime economic expansion in its history. The internet and computers led to increased national productivity. This growth was over by 2001, and both investors and workers faced another recession.

vi. Investigations and Impeachment: Clinton and his administration had basically been under investigation since the day he was elected, and Clinton called this a “right wing conspiracy” to discredit his presidency. They were never charged with illegalities in the Whitewater affair, the firings of White House staff (“Travelgate”), or the political use of FBI files (“Filegate.”) Enough of someone getting into trouble and adding “gate” to the end. For example, “Chinagate?” “Honor Codegate?” Stupidgate! He did get busted for the whole lying to a grand jury over sexual meanderings with an intern, Monica “Hey that’s a nice dress…oh, wait…what’s that spot?” Lewinsky.

vii. Impeachment: Two counts from the House, perjury and obstruction of justice. This was an obvious attempt by the Republicans to force the resignation of Clinton with the election of 2000 quickly approaching. Neither charge upheld in the Senate in 1999, but Clinton was the first president to face impeachment charges since 1868.

d. Foreign Policy in the Clinton Administration: There were 190 nations in the world and with the Cold War over; there emerged some serious ethnic, religious, and cultural conflicts. His first SecState was Warren Christopher, critics said he had no clear vision. Clinton’s second term SecState was Madeline Albright, who looked a lot like a Cabbage Patch lady but was the first female SecState. She was more assertive than Christopher, but many began to wonder what our international role was as far as peacekeeping was concerned.

i. Peacekeeping: Somalia in ’93 was a disaster (see Black Hawk Down) and Haiti in ’94 was more successful in that we restored Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power (primarily because there were 20,000 Haitians flooding into Florida. We also helped calm relations between Northern Ireland and GB in 1998. Man, without a Cold War these wars are sure boring.

ii. Europe: Yeltsin left office in 2000 and was replaced by Vladimir Putin, who had to deal with a failed space station and a nuclear submarine that sank, killing all on board. Then there was Chechnya, the 1999 admission of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, into NATO in ’99, and Russia’s support of Serbia in its war against Bosnia. (What is it with Russia and Serbia anyway? I don’t know, but could you pass the Black Hand, Franz…) Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic practiced “ethnic cleansing” against Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Eventually, the US and the UN went in and stopped the fighting, while Milosevic was deposed and jailed for genocide. They used to get death for that one, but these damn liberals…! This fighting in the Balkans was the worst fighting in Europe since WWII and reminded people of how WWI had begun.

iii. Asia: North Korea stepped up its nuke program, India and Pakistan tested their nuke systems. We established economic relations with Vietnam in ’95 and we became friendlier with China as well.

iv. Middle East: We bombed Saddam every once in a while (especially when the heat was on Clinton) and helped out in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (which Clinton vainly attempted to leave as his legacy…hey, stupid, it’s the Middle East. Peace is not going to happen!) Renewed attacks on Israel by Palestinians led to a break down in peace talks in 2000, with a growing anti-American spirit spreading around the Arab world.

v. Globalization: The world seemed to shrink in the 90s, the word globalization refers to the development of global and regional economic organizations. Yes, I find it boring and hard to grasp too. The World Trade Organization (WTO) oversaw trade agreements, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank made loans to and supervised the financial dealings of poor nations, the European Union (EU) became a unified market of 15 nations, 12 of which adopted the euro as its common currency. The Group of Seven (G-7) was the world’s largest industrial powers (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US) which controlled two thirds of the world’s wealth, but China and India are quickly gaining.

F. The Lone Superpower in the New Century: We were the lone superpower, but we were vulnerable to a new kind of attack.

a. Disputed election of 2000: Gore/Lieberman vs. W/Cranky Old Guy. Gore was a champion of the “working families” while W was the “compassionate conservative.” Ralph Nader and the Green Party pulled a “Perot” and sent the election into turmoil.

i. Gore received more than 500,000 votes than Bush, but according to an old election rule, Bush got to do the math. The election hinged on Florida, where old people, particularly men, forgot to take their Viagra pills prior to heading to the polls, resulting in their inability to successfully penetrate the holes in the ballots. (I’ve been waiting for a good Viagra reference.) In the initial result, Bush led by 537 votes in Florida. Democrats called for a hand recount. In the case of Bush v. Gore, the SC split 5-4, ruling that W was president and Gore had bad hair. Oh, by the way, the makeup of the SC was 5 conservatives and 4 liberals. Basically, the Court said there was not enough time to correctly hold a recount, so W won and for the first time in four years Michael Moore did not need Viagra. Gore accepted the ruling, although what else could he have done? Pull a Nancy Kerrigan and shriek “Why…Why!!” W won 271-266 in the closest election since 1876.

ii. The Rise of Southern Republicans: We continued with our conservative trend, as even the House and Senate were becoming Republican. Gingrich, Trent Lott, Tom DeLay and Dick Armey took over leadership in Congress.

iii. Dick Armey: Come on, that’s funny.

iv. W Highlights: Tax cuts, federal aid to faith-based service organizations, school choice, privatization of Social Security, vacation time, opposition to Roe v. Wade, drilling in Alaska, etc.

1. Tax Cut: We received $300-$600 rebates in 2002. It also cut taxes on the wealthy.

2. Education Reform: The No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2002. It was aimed to close the gap between well-to-do and poor students in public schools through the nationwide testing of all students, student transfer rights to better public schools, improved reading programs, and training of quality teachers. The SC decided that government funding of student vouchers for religious schools did not violate the First Amendment. That’s weird, considering it’s a violation of the First Amendment’s “establishment of religion clause.”

3. Recession in 2001: Stock Market crashed as many of those businesses fell apart. There was 6% unemployment in ‘2002, the highest in 8 years. The Fed (Alan Greenspan) responded by cutting interest rates to 1.25%, the lowest in 50 years. The old Clinton surplus was gone, thanks in large part to Bush’s tax cuts and 9/11.

4. Corporate Corruption: Let’s not forget Enron and WorldCom and their “cooking of the books” (falsifying earnings and profits.) The SEC was strengthened, and jail time given to those convicted of white collar crime. Laws were also passed to stop the flood of special interest money into political campaigns, and another law banned unlimited donations, known as “soft money” and restricted “issue advertising” before elections. I’m Jeff Stohr, and I approve these notes.

5. The War on Terrorism: W surrounded himself with capable people. He had no other choice. These notes are getting very biased.

a. Roots of Terrorism: We became friendly with Israel. The growing pattern of Palestinian terror bombings and Israeli responses created more anti-American sentiment. As far back as World War I and the westernization of the Ottoman Empire, there was resistance to western beliefs in the Middle East. When US troops were stationed in the Persian Gulf, that hatred was restored. Long story short, with little education and lots of brainwashing, these pinhead fundamentalists actually believe that if they die for Allah they get to party with 27 virgins on the other side. 27 virgins? I agree with Dennis Miller that, at some point, you’re going to want a pro.

b. WTC ’93 bombing: Al Qaeda was responsible, and in ’98 they did it again by bombing our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but seemingly nobody in America really noticed. Clinton lobbed a few missiles at al Qaeda camps, but they were not deterred. The USS Cole was attacked by small suicide ships in 2000 and again we barely flinched. Osama bin Jackass was identified as the mastermind, but Clinton was occupied with an intern that made Barbara Bush seem attractive. Bin Jackass ran off to Afghanistan and befriended the Taliban, who we had supported during the Russian invasion.

c. 9/11: 3000 were killed, bush wanted him “Dead or Alive”, and as international search for bin Jackass turned up nothing.

d. Afghanistan War: Taliban refused to turn over bin Jackass, so the US, anti-Taliban Northern Alliance forces, and American Special Forces waged war against the Taliban, but still turned up nothing. A pro-American leader, Hamid Karzai headed the Afghan government in Kabul, but the country remains about as stable as Carrot Top on caffeine pills. We did manage to kill Pat Tillman, though. Perhaps he resembled bin Jackass.

e. Homeland Security and the Patriot Act: We failed to connect the dots before 9/11, this is the response.

f. Elections of 2002: The war on terrorism was the major issue, Bush stumped around the country for Republicans, and the Republicans took back control of the Senate and strengthened their lead in the House. They controlled the White House, Congress, and were 5-4 in the SC.

g. War In Iraq: W dubbed North Korea, Iraq, and Iran the “axis of evil,” probably not understanding that these three countries were not at all friendly with each other. There was no link between 9/11 and Saddam, but we knew Saddam had used deadly gas against the Kurds back in the 90s and the assumption was he had more where that came from. We were either wrong or he’s better at hiding things than my Aunt Theresa…boy could she hide those Easter eggs. The war was launched on March 19, 2003 with a blitzkrieg like air attack dubbed “Shock and Awe.” “Operation Iraqi Freedom” overran the Iraqis and found Saddam in a hole. Insurgents fought against US occupation, and the situation still plays out.

Terms: 1980-Present

Conservatism

Religious fundamentalists

Political action committees (PACS)

Taxpayers revolt

Moral Majority; Jerry Falwell

Abortion rights

Roe v. Wade

“reverse discrimination”

Regents of University of California v. Bakke

Ronald Reagan

Supply-side economics

Deregulation

Domestic spending cuts

PATCA-Fired!

Reaganomics

Sandra Day O’Connor

William Rehnquist

Jesse Jackson: Rainbow coalition

Walter Mondale

Geraldine Ferraro

Budget and trade deficits

Military buildup; SDI

Nicaragua, Sandinistas, Contras

Iran-Contra Affair

Middle East; PLO

Gorby, glasnost, perestroika

INF Agreement

Bush-Quayle

Dukakis-Bentsen

Tienanmen Square

Collapse of the Soviet Union

Berlin Wall falls

Boris Yeltsin

Panama Invasion; Manuel Noriega

Persian Gulf War; Saddam Hussein (1991)

Americans With Disabilities Act (1990)

27th Amendment

Bill Clinton

Al Gore

Ross Perot

NAFTA (1993)

Newt Gingrich

Oklahoma City Bombing

Contract with America

New world order

Yugoslavia

Bosnia, Kosovo

Dole-Kemp

Impeachment

Madeline Albright

“ethnic cleansing”

Nuclear proliferation

Terrorism

W

Ralph Nader

Michael Moore

No Child Left Behind

Al Qaeda

Osama bin Laden

Colin Powell

Condoleezza Rice

Afghanistan War

Iraq Invasion

Saddam Hussein in a hole

Aunt Theresa’s Easter Eggs and Weapons of Mass Destruction

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