Unit Ten: 1960-1990
Civil Rights to 1965
Frustrated by black disenfranchisement in the south and the blatant racism epitomized by segregated schools, black militancy grew. Sit-ins, freedom rides, and other signs of the explosive discontent ravaged the nation, especially in the south where such actions were met by fierce resistance. Destroying the public’s complacency, nonviolent protest met by vicious dogs, blasting water hoses, and sneering racists shocked the nation. Black Power and the cry that "Black is Beautiful" resounded in the hearts of many African Americans.
Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education of
King Jr. Rev. Martin Luther.: One of the most prominent black civil rights leaders, King called for black assertiveness and nonviolent resistance to oppression. He is famous for his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" which promotes the doctrine of civil disobedience, a method of protests that urges blacks to ignore all laws that they believe are unjust.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference: In protest to Jim
Crow, King organized the SCLC in 1957. It was made up of a group of ministers
that supported the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): The NAACP was created in 1909 in New York to raise the quality of living for inner city blacks. It became a powerful legal force and argued cases in the Supreme Court which led to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Urban League: Some southern blacks were not satisfied by the Brown v. Board of Education and formed the Urban League. Rejecting the courtroom strategy utilized by the NAACP, the League advocated more militant tactics. They sought direct confrontation and violence with local governments.
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE): CORE was a group of black rights protesters created in 1942. It organized freedom rides through the south to expose the violations of the 1960 Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on interstate buses and trains. CORE also registered blacks to vote throughout the South.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Stokely Carmicheal, H. Rap Brown: SNCC was a organization of college students that utilized nonviolent forms of protest until Carmicheal and Brown rallied the members in favor of Black Power. The group became more militant, pushing for direct armed confrontation with the police.
•SIT-INS, FREEDOM RIDES: Utilized in the spring of 1961, sit-ins and freedom rides were forms of protest organized by CORE and utilized in the spring of 1961. Protestors sat in a segregated section on a bus or restaurant until they were forced to move by racists. When this happened another protestor took the place that had just been vacated. This type of action was used to expose the violations of the court decision to outlaw segregation in public areas and transit.
"I have a dream" speech: King gave this speech during the historic civil rights March on Washington on August 28, 1963. The speech was said to be inspiring and reaffirmed the need for civil rights legislation and nonviolent protesting. The speech reiterated the American ideals of democracy and equality.
March on Washington: King organized this massive civil protest march in Washington in August of 1963 as a result of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The march reaffirmed the need for civil rights legislation and nonviolent protest. It was also the site where King made the "I have a dream" speech.
Evers, Medgar: Evers was an American civil rights leader who conducted campaigns to register black voters and organized boycotts of firms that practiced racial discrimination. He also was one of the early recruiters for the NAACP and was the first field secretary for the state of Mississippi.
Powell, Adam Clayton: Powell was a Black civil rights leader serving as a Democratic Congressman of New York and the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor in 1960-1967. Under his direction the House Committee on Education and Labor passed the Minimum Wage Bill and Anti-Poverty Bill.
Weaver, Robert: Weaver was the first black cabinet member appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. He served as the Secretary of Housing and Department of Urban Development, a new office created to address the needs of those living in the inner city areas.
Marshall, Thurgood: Marshall was the first black residing under the Warren Court during the 1960s. Marshall was famous for pursuing cases that dealt with controversial issues of civil rights and the status of racism in America. His presence in Supreme Court drew more attention to the area of civil and individual rights.
Malcolm X: Malcolm X was an influential black leader who called for unity between blacks to combat oppressive forces in the United States. He was a part of the Nation of Islam, but broke with them to form a black nationalist group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). He advocated Black Power.
Black Panthers: The Black Panthers was a black rights political organization created in Oakland, California in 1966 by Bobby G. Seale and Huey P. Newton. It was originally a small community action group for defense against racism but later it began to urge black armament and direct confrontation with the police.
Black Muslims: Formally called the Nation of Islam, the Black Muslims was a religious organization of the Islamic faith that was also called the American Muslim Mission, World Community of Al-Islam in the West. The group was known for its strict adherence to Islam, and was a root for black militancy in America.
Davis, Angela: Angela Davis was an influential black leader and activist. In 1970, she went into hiding after being accused of aiding an attempted courtroom escape that killed four persons. Tried in 1972 and acquitted, she became the vice-presidential candidate of the Communist party in 1980.
•BLACK POWER: Black power was a slogan created by Malcolm X and widely used by Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Congress of Racial Equality. The slogan called for all blacks to organize together and overthrow the oppressive forces of racism in America. Black power became the basis for black militancy in the civil rights movement. The slogan was used by a number of new civil rights activist groups such as the Black Panthers.
Twenty-fourth Amendment: The 24th Amendment, adopted in 1964, gave voting rights to every American citizen, regardless of their race or religion. It also prohibited the use of the poll tax or any tax that denied the vote. The amendment gave Congress the power to enforce it with legislation.
Watts, Detroit race riots: A confrontation between police and blacks in Watts and Detroit took place after the voting rights bill was passed in 1965. It sparked a huge riot that lasted six days. The National Guard was called to put down both riots. This violent growth of civil discontent was given the name "The Long Hot Summers."
Kerner Commission on Civil Disorders: Created to investigate reasons for the massive outbreaks of riots in 1965, the commission concluded that white racism caused mounting violence, poverty, poor education and police brutality and recommended creating 2 million jobs and 6 million housing units to lower tensions. The suggestion was ignored.
de facto, de jure segregation: De facto referred to the use of power and authority in the absence of an actual government or legal authority. In the 1960s, this meant that segregation was accepted as long as it was not outlawed. De jure segregation referred to the system of segregation that was legal in the North such as New York and Chicago.
•WHITE BACKLASH: White backlash referred to white reaction against the massive ghetto riots of thousands of young blacks across the nation. The reaction slowed the civil rights movement because whites in power feared passing legislation and creating civil discontent and riots.
•CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964, public accommodations section of the act: Passed under the Johnson administration, this act outlawed segregation in public areas and granted the federal government power to fight black disfranchisement. The act also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to prevent discrimination in the work place. This act was the strongest civil rights legislation since Reconstruction and invalidated the Southern Caste System.
•VOTING RIGHTS ACT, 1965: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed as a Great Society program under the Johnson administration. It prohibited the use of literacy tests as a part of the voter registration process which were initially used as a method to control immigration to the United States during the 1920s. The act enabled federal examiners to register anyone who qualified in the South, giving the power of the vote to underrepresented minorities.
Civil Rights Act, 1968: The Civil Rights Act of 1968 barred discrimination in housing sales or rentals. This act was a part of a series of new legislation that encouraged desegregation of blacks in America. The act was a key piece of legislation which ensured blacks more equal rights.
Innovative, charming, self-confident, and energetic, JFK vigorously called on the American people to support his programs of domestic reform and foreign policy. He hoped for "more sacrifice instead of more security" in a nation on "the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils."
election of 1960: candidates, "missile gap": The election of 1960 was a race between Kennedy, who promised a new and better future for the nation, and the "middle way" Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. The issues included which path of action to take against Russia to ensure an advantage of arms, thus closing the missile gap.
•"Impeach Earl Warren": The ultra-reactionary John Birch Society created the phrase, "impeach Earl Warren" in 1954 as a result of Chief Justice Earl Warren’s rulings which affirmed the rights of alleged communists and the desegregation of schools and public areas. Warren was branded a communist sympathizer by his enemies. As a result, he lost the respect and admiration of the American public, his political friends in congress, and the government.
Miranda Decision, Escobedo decision: The Miranda Decision referred to the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona which required police to read a suspect their constitutional right which included remaining silent and having legal council present during police questioning. The Escobedo decision labeled the Warren Court as an intrusive presence.
Gideon v. Wainwright: The Warren Court ruled in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright that the state was required to provide attorneys for defendants in felony cases at the public’s expense. This ruling was a part of the effort to reform the criminal justice system and enable poor people legal council.
Baker v. Carr: In 1962, the Warren court ruled that the principle of "one man, one vote" needed to be maintained in all elections. The ruling reaffirmed the requirement that representation in legislative bodies would be based on the people’s vote. Also, this decision would prevent later voting frauds.
Kennedy and the steel price rollback: In his attempt to lower business taxes and solve wage problems, JFK was faced with a crisis when U.S. Steel raised their prices to $6 after JFK worked with the steel union for noninflationary contracts and minimal wage increases for workers. He threatened to file antitrust suits and the prices fell.
Peacecorps, VISTA: The Peacecorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) were created by the Office of Economic Opportunity to work in poverty areas. This was a part of President Johnson’s training programs and support services created during the 1960s.
Berlin Wall: The Berlin Wall was a concrete wire wall which divided East and West Germany after World War II. It was erected by the government of East Germany in order to prevent a brain drain, in which the skilled artisans of the population immigrated to West Germany. The wall was dismantled in August of 1989.
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 1963: The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 was negotiated by Harriman Averell, a diplomat to the Soviet Union after World War II. The treaty was the first treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union that called for a ban on atmospheric testing of nuclear devices.
Castro Revolution: Fidel Castro led a nationalist uprising against the former despotic Cuban government. He initially asked for U.S. assistance, but American businesses feared the nationalization of their industries. When the U.S. refused to help, he turned to Soviet communism.
"flexible response": JFK’s policy of "flexible response" called for the preparation of more conventional weapons versus atomic weapons. Kennedy felt that U.S, needed both a strong military program and atomic weapons to combat the forces of communism. He reasoned conventional weapons were essential, for atomic weapons were never used.
•Bay of Pigs: On Apr. 17, 1961, a group of Cuban exiles invaded the Bay of Pigs, in an attempt to overthrow the Communist government and capture Fidel Castro. The Cuban soldiers were secretly trained by the CIA and supplied by the U.S. government. The Cuban exiles were captured and traded back to the U.S. for food. Their return embarrassed the United States and the nation acquired a reputation as a belligerent imperial country.
UN in the Congo: During the 1950s the United Nations was called upon to act as a peace keeping force throughout the world such as in Kuwait and the Middle East. In the 1950s the United Nations sent a peace keeping force to the Congo, which is located in Africa.
•Cuban missile crisis: The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major confrontation between the U.S and Russia in 1962 following the discovery of nuclear missile sites in Cuba. Kennedy placed a blockade on the island and Russia agreed to remove the missiles rather than provoke a nuclear war. It was the most imminent threat of nuclear annihilation and thereafter, a hot line was established between the White House and the Kremlin to prevent accidental missile launches. The U.S. removed nuclear weapons from Turkey.
Alliance for Progress: This was an economic assistance program proposed by President Kennedy in 1961. It was to settle disputes between member nations and discourage foreign intervention in their internal affairs. The program to give Latin America $20 million in aid was protested after the fall of the democratic government in Haiti.
Dominican Republic, 1965: A civil war broke out in the Dominican Republic between the Bosch forces, the current government regime, and the people. The United States intervened with military forces and the Organization of American States restored peace by conducting elections where Joaquín Balaguer defeated Bosch.
Allende, Salvador: In 1933, Allende founded the Chilean Socialist party and was elected president of Chile in 1970. He became the first elected Marxist leader in the Americas. His socialist program led to inflation and strikes which resulted a military coup that overthrew his regime in 1973.
Panama Canal treaties: After gaining its independence in 1903, Panama gave the rights to use the Panama Canal to the United States. Another treaty was signed between the United States and Panama stating that control over the canal was to be returned to the Panamanian government on December 31, 1999.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS): As frustrations concerning government policies grew, this organization was created in 1962. The SDS became a focal point for activist students. The SDS organized massive Vietnam Protests. They issued the Port Huron Statement which called for support of liberalism.
Flower children: Flower children referred to the counterculture of the 1960s. This social category consisted mainly of student protestors who envisioned a life of freedom and harmony. They led pilgrimages to San Francisco and New York, but the counterculture rise was stemmed as the idealism turned into thievery, rape, and drugs.
Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring: Rachel Carson was a marine biologist that wrote and published Silent Spring. It addressed her concerns on the environmental hazards of pesticides. Her writings coincided with many other novels which brought social issues to the surface such as Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.
Reich, Charles, The Greening of America: In his critical novel of the New Deal, Reich expressed his desire for courts to expand individual rights to protect nonconformists from social standards in 1971. He stated that it was impossible to mix individual interests in large general tax bills.
Oswald, Lee Harvey, Warren Commission: On Nov. 22, 1963 in Texas, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by Lee Havery Oswald. As a result, the Warren Commission was created to investigate the controversial issues concerning a possible conspiracy. Oswald was later killed by Jack Ruby on his way to a court hearing.
An idealistic call for improved environmental, conservation, racial, educational, and health programs, the Great Society was inspired by JFK and prompted by LBJ’s insecure need to win over the American people. Largely successful in the first two years of the Johnson administration, the idealism would later give way to virulent conservatism and a return to traditional values.
•Election of 1964: LBJ, Goldwater: In the election of 1964 Lyndon Johnson, the elected Democratic party majority leader, defeated Barry Goldwater, the elected Republican majority leader. Main issues of the election of 1964 included serious debates over the continuation of Johnson’s Great Society plan, future civil rights legislation and the status of the war in Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson attempted to continue his Great Society program after the election with small social legislation.
Office of Economic Opportunity: The Office of Economic Opportunity was created as a part of President Johnson’s Great Society. Established by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the office funded the Job Corps to train young people to work, VISTA, and Project Headstart.
War on Poverty: The term, War on Poverty, referred to Lyndon Johnson’s statement describing his goal to create a better America. It was used to describe Johnson’s Great Society package that created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Economic Opportunity Office, which began the first funding for education.
Elementary and Secondary Act: As a part of his Great Society vision, President Lyndon Johnson rallied for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 which gave federal aid to education. The law gave over one billion dollars to public and parochial schools for books and special education programs.
Medicare: A program of national health insurance created by the Social Security Amendments of 1965, this program gave health insurance for persons who were over the age of 65 or seriously disabled. Although some states refused to administer the insurance the Kerr-Mills Act of 1960 provided federal support for state medical programs.
Abolition of immigration quotas: President Lyndon Johnson’s program of liberalism, which included social legislation in 1965, led to the liberalization of immigration laws. These laws abolished the restrictions and the quota based system previously used by the U.S. to determine the amount of immigration from a certain area.
Department of Housing and Urban Development: Created in 1966 to give aid to needy families located in poor inner city areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development passed bills allocating funds to housing development projects under the leadership of Robert Weaver.
New Left: The New Left encompassed the liberalism of college students during the 1960s. They held idealistic views of civil rights movements, supported the election of John F. Kennedy, and heralded the campaign against nuclear testing that created the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963. It was also the root of protest over Vietnam.
Kennedy, Robert: Kennedy was the attorney general of the U.S. in 1968 and senator from New York. He stressed that voting was the key to racial equality and pushed for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kennedy gained the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, but was assassinated in California during a campaign.
Election of the 1968: Lyndon Johnson did not run for reelection in 1968 due to his dissatisfaction with the Vietnam War and public discontent. Richard Nixon captured the presidency for the Republican party after he defeated George C. Wallace, the American Independent and Hubert H. Humphrey, the Democratic candidate.
Czechoslovakia invaded: In Aug. of 1968, with the installation of reformers Alexander Dubcek as party leader and Ludvik Svoboda as president, the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia, forcing the repeal of most of the reforms. The Soviet Union replaced Dubcek with the staunchly pro-Soviet Communist regime.
Chicago, Democratic Party Convention riot: In August 1968, the Chicago convention was disrupted by violence due to the party split over the nomination of the majority leader. Tensions rose as young SDS protestors against the Vietnam war arrived to voice their discontent. The riot destroyed Democratic unity and resulted in a loss of support.
Nixon, Richard’s Southern strategy: In 1965, Nixon began his attack on radicalism in America, focusing on the failure of southern white efforts to destroy racial equality. Nixon went on television to condemn the court that enforced bus desegregation. He also appointed W. Burger to counter liberalism in the Warren Court.
Wallace, Governor: George Wallace was an American politician and three-time governor of Alabama. He first came to national attention as an outspoken segregationist. Wallace ran for the presidency in 1968 and 1972 and was shot and killed during a 1972 election campaign stop in Maryland.
•MOON RACE, Armstrong, Neil: Frightened out of complacency by the Soviet launching of Sputnik, a satellite, Kennedy promised the American people to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Pouring vast amounts of money into the space program, Kennedy was determined not to allow Russia to win. On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon’s surface. Americans put fears of Soviet technological superiority to rest for the United States had been the first to launch a human out into space.
Sunbelt verses Rustbelt: The leading work industries, the Rustbelt and Sunbelt, reeled under the triple blow of slumping exports, aggressive foreign competition, and technological obsolescence. About 11.5 million American workers lost jobs as a result of plant closings or lack of work.
Friedan, Betty, The Feminine Mystique: The Feminine Mystique elucidated to readers that they were not alone in their unhappiness. Friedan’s personal demand for "something more than my husband, my children, and my home" rang true to a growing number of middle class American women who found joys in motherhood.
National Organization for Women (NOW): The National Organization for Women was formed in 1966. Defining themselves as a civil-rights group for women, NOW lobbied for equal opportunity; they filed lawsuits against gender discrimination and rallied public opinion "to bring American women to full participation."
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA): By 1972 Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution. This amendment stated that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on the basis of sex."
National Women’s Political Caucus: The National Women’s Political Caucus (1971) endorsed candidates that promoted a feminist agenda in Washington and many other State capitals. By 1972, many states had liberalized their abortion laws and banned sex discrimination in job hiring.
Nader, Ralph, Unsafe at Any Speed: Ralph Nader, a graduate of Harvard Law School, exposed the danger of automobiles that were "unsafe at any speed"; he brought forth the movement of environmental concerns which would later launch major campaigns for federal regulations.
Vietnam to 1968
As the French pulled out of an increasingly helpless situation, the United States became more involved to fill the power vacuum. Though many liberal college students mounted large protests against the conflict, the majority of the nation supported the war. Not until the Têt offensive did massive opposition arise.
Gulf of Tonkin: The Gulf of Tonkin is the northwestern arm of the South China Sea. China and the island of Hainan border it on the west by Vietnam. It is the site for the famous battle that led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which committed the U.S. in Vietnam.
North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia: The French empire condensed North and South Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia into one colony called Indochina. The separate regions resented this and nationalist stirrings caused widespread discontent among the people of each nation.
•Ho Chi Minh: Ho was the Vietnamese Communist leader and the principal force behind the Vietnamese struggle against French colonial rule. Hoping for U.S. assistance in Vietnam’s struggle for independence, Ho later turned to the Soviet Union when the U.S. aided the French. He was a nationalist at heart and wanted Vietnamese independence far more than a communist government. He led the Vietminh, a group of guerrillas. In 1954, they defeated the French garrison at the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
First Indochina War: The French wanted Indochina back after losing control over the colony during the Vichy era of the Second World War. Ho Chi Minh refused to give up sovereignty which resulted in the First Indochina War; it drew the U.S. into the fight against communism, but Vietnam became more staunchly communist after the war.
•Domino theory: Eisenhower’s domino theory claimed that once one nation fell to communism, bordering countries would follow like falling dominoes. The theory was used in context of the monolithic view of communism, which claimed that all communist countries were in a conspiracy to destroy democracy in the world. Applied to Asia, the U.S. could not let Vietnam fall after "losing" China to communism. Fearful of Soviet expansion, Eisenhower increased American involvement in Vietnam.
Dien Bien Phu: On May 7, 1954, the Vietminh surrounded and laid siege to the French garrison, forcing them to surrender. The U.S. refused to give aid to the French for fear of condoning imperialism. Facing this humiliating defeat, the French decided to give up their futile attempt to fight nationalist stirrings in Vietnam.
•GENEVA CONFERENCE, 1954: After the fall of the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu, an international conference was called in Geneva in 1954 to discuss the status of the war in Vietnam. The delegates of the conference decided that Vietnam should be divided into North and South at the seventeenth parallel until national elections took place in 1954. The elections were never held. The conference also created an area known as the demilitarized zone.
•VIET CONG, National Liberation Front: The Viet Cong was the name given to the Vietnamese communist army; the National Liberation Front was a part of this group. In support of Ho Chi Minh, the group pushed to overthrow the South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. The National Liberation Front was partly responsible for the fall of Dinh Bien Phu and organization of the Têt Offensive. The National Liberation Front consisted mainly of guerilla fighters.
•GULF OF TONKIN RESOLUTION, 1964: After North Vietnamese gun boats assaulted American ships that were organizing air strikes and military moves, Johnson and his advisers drafted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that committed the United States in Vietnam. It was passed by Congress and gave Johnson a "blank check," granting him full authority against North Vietnamese forces. This led to the increased U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Demilitarized zone: A demilitarized zone (DMZ) refers to areas in which military weapons and other installations are prohibited. The demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War was surrounded the seventeenth parallel. The parallel and the DMZ were created as a result of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolutions.
•Têt Offensive: The NLF and the North Vietnamese arm mounted a massive offensive against the South Vietnamese and American armies on January 31, 1968, which was also the first day of the Vietnamese New Year known as Têt. The nationalists successfully penetrated Saigon and took the United States embassy. After being told that the enemy was virtually defeated, the offensive showed that the nationalists were still capable of fighting and that the government had lied. Popularity for the war vastly declined.
Vietnamization and Détente
Skilled in foreign politics, Nixon gracefully pulled the United States out of Vietnam by turning over the conflict to the South Vietnamese. With a major Cold War conflict over, the president proceeded to lessen American-Soviet tensions through a call for "peaceful coexistence."
Bombing of Laos and Cambodia: As Nixon began to withdraw American forces in Vietnam in 1972, he sent Henry Kissinger to negotiate with the communists’ foreign minister, Le Duc Tho. In order to force a compromise, the president ordered massive bombings of Cambodia and Laos, the locations of communist supply lines.
Kent State and Jackson State incidents: In 1972, the invasion of Cambodia spread the war throughout Indochina which sparked massive American protests on college campuses. The Kent and Jackson State universities were sites of protest in which student protesters were killed.
Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers: Daniel Ellsberg was a analyst for the Department of Defense, who in 1971 released to the press the Pentagon Papers, an account of American involvement in Vietnam created by the department during the Johnson administration. The papers revealed government lies to Congress and the American people.
My Lai, Lt. Calley: Lt. Calley was an inexperienced commander of an American army unit massacred 347 defenseless women, children, and old men in 1968. The horrors of the massacre were revealed to the public and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, an organization of returning soldiers that renounced their war medals as a result.
Hanoi, Haipong: Hanoi was the capital of Vietnam before the war. It was located in the northern part of the country. During the war it was heavily bombed in an attempt to force the North Vietnamese to negotiate a peace treaty. Haiphong was located 10 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin. It was the largest port in Southeast Asia and site of the Indochina naval base.
Fulbright, Senator: Senator Fulbright was an American senator of Arkansas, who proposed the Fulbright Act of 1964. This act established the exchange program for American and foreign educators and students. Senator Fulbright also served as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He opposed the war.
•Vietnamization: Popular discontent forced Nixon to pull out of the Vietnam war, but he could not allow the United States to lose face. Leaving Vietnam without honor would endanger U.S. global dominance and give a considerable advantage the Soviet Union. Vietnamization, the process of replacing the American armed forces with South Vietnamese troops trained by American advisors, allowed the U.S. to save its reputation and satisfy an American public weary with a futile struggle.
Paris Accords, 1973: In 1973, after Lyndon Johnson died of a heart attack, Nixon declared that a peace had been reached in Vietnam. The Paris Accords ended the war between the North Vietnamese government and Thieu government of South Vietnam. It was also agreed that the future of North Vietnam would not be determined by war.
SALT I Agreement: At a meeting in Vladivostok, Siberia, in 1974, the SALT I agreement allowed Ford and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev to make enormous progress towards the new arms-control treaty. This agreement was to limit each side to 2,400 nuclear missiles which would reduce the rate of war to a mere fraction.
Détente: The evacuation of American troops from Vietnam helped Nixon and Kissinger reduce Chinese-American tensions and achieve détente with the communist superpowers. This dramatic development marked a significant change in American foreign policy by developing a cordial attitude towards the communists.
China visit, 1972; recognition of China: On February 22, 1972, the President’s plane landed in China. Part of his policy of détente, Nixon took advantage of the Sino-Soviet split to pit the former allies against each other by recognizing China. The China visit sealed the new Chinese-American friendship, leaving Russia more isolated.
War Powers Act, 1973: As an act passed by Congress, the president was given unprecedented authority. Thousands of special wartime agencies suddenly regulated almost every of American life. After the war, 15 million men had been trained and equipped with armed forces ready for battle.
Six Day War, 1967: Israel’s decisive triumph in the Six Day War had left the Arabs humiliated and eager to reclaim the militarily strategic Golan Heights which was taken from Syria. Aided by massive U.S. shipments of highly sophisticated weaponry, the Israelis stopped the assault and counterattacked.
Yom Kippur War: Syria and Egypt, backed by Russia, led an all out attack on Israel in 1973 on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. This war between the Israelis and their neighboring countries spanned several years. There were frequent bombings and raids amongst the countries for oil.
• KISSINGER, HENRY, "shuttle diplomacy": Henry Kissinger flew from capital to capital and bargained with the Israelis and the Egyptian people. He organized a cease-fire in November of 1973. Kissinger negotiated the peace agreement with the aid of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to end the Yom Kippur war. His "shuttle diplomacy" ameliorated the hostility between the Middle Eastern countries and the United States.
Nixon to Watergate
Basing his support on the conservative New Right coalition, Nixon actually broke from Republican tradition in environmental protection, welfare reform, and finding solutions to economic problems such as the severe inflation. Yet Nixon’s insecurity as president and his abuse of executive power led to his downfall.
Nixon, "New Federalism," The Imperial Presidency: Nixon’s "New Federalism" promised to bring back law and order to the United States by promoting conservatism and executive authority. The term Imperial Presidency referred to Nixon’s efforts to acquire absolute control over his Presidency.
Agnew, Spiro T., his resignation: Vice President Agnew was charged with income-tax evasion and accepting bribes. He pleaded no contest which was "the full equivalent to a plea of guilty," according to the trial judge. Dishonored and distrusted, Agnew left the government service with a three-year suspended sentence.
"revenue sharing": As part of Nixon’s "New Federalism," "revenue sharing" was a five year plan to distribute $30 billion of federal revenues to the states. Congress passed it in 1972 in response to the failing economy caused by the inflation, trade deficit, and massive spending during the 1960s.
wage and price controls: In response to the troubled American economy, Nixon declared a ninety-day freeze on wages, prices, and rents which would be followed by federally imposed controls setting maximum annual increases of 5.5% for wages and 2.5% for prices and rents.
Nixon verses Congress: On July 27th, the House Judiciary Committee took in the first article of impeachment. 6 out of 17 Republicans voted with the 21 Democrats to charge Nixon with interruption of justice for controlling the Watergate investigation. The president had abused his power.
Committee for the Reelection of the President (CREEP): Nixon created CREEP to ensure every vote for the election of 1972. Appointing attorney general John Mitchell as the head, CREEP financed many "dirty tricks" to spread dissension within Democratic ranks and paid for a special internal espionage unit to spy on the opposition.
Watergate: The scandal exposed the connection between the White House and the accused Watergate burglars who had raided the Democrats’ headquarters during the 1972 campaign. The election federal judge, Sirica, refused to accept the claim of those on trial that they had behaved on their own terms.
election of 1972: Nixon’s reelection was assured. He relied on his diplomatic successes with China and Russia and his strategy towards the winding down of the war in Vietnam to attract moderate voters. He expected his southern strategy and law-and-order posture to attract the conservative Democrats.
White House "plumbers": Led by Liddy and Hunt, this Republican undercover team obtained approval by Mitchell to wire telephones at the Democractic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate apartment/office complex. The operation was thwarted on June 17, 1992 by a security guard; it would bring about the downfall of Nixon.
Watergate Tapes: Another Presidential rumor shocked the committee and the nation by revealing that Nixon had put in a secret taping system in the White House that recorded all the conversations between his enemies in the Oval Office. Both the Ervin committee and prosecutor Cox insisted to hear the tapes, but Nixon refused.
McGovern, Sen. George: George McGovern of South Dakota rose to fame on the energetic support of antiwar activists rushing to the Democratic primaries. He was seen as inept and radical, but Nixon was insecure about McGovern’s popularity; the senator contributed to Nixon’s downfall.
Muskie, Sen. Edmund: The campaign of Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine collapsed when he started to cry in public while trying to respond to an accusation of prejudice against Canadian-Americans. Muskie’s campaign was never a threat to Nixon’s reelection, but Nixon still feared him.
Haldeman, H.R., Ehrlichman, John, John Dean, John Mitchell: All were involved in the Watergate scandal. Dean refused to cover up Nixon’s involvement in Watergate. Nixon fired Dean and Haldeman and Erlichman who headed the White House Staff resigned. All three and former Attorney General Mitchell were indicted on March 1974.
Impeachment proceeding: The most damaging to the President was when the hearings exposed the White House’s active involvement in the Watergate cover-up. But the Senate still lacked concrete evidence on the president’s criminality. Thus they could not impeach Nixon.
Twenty-fifth Amendment: Ratified in 1967, this amendment detailed the procedure by which the vice president was to take over the presidency if the current president could not uphold his status in office. It also limited the power given to the vice president from the incapacitated president.
Twenty-sixth Amendment: This amendment guaranteed the rights of those who were 18 years of age or older to vote as citizens of the United States. It gave the power to Congress to enforce and protect by appropriate legislation. The amendment allowed the politicians to listen to the voices of younger people as voters.
Chicanos: Chicanos were segregated Mexican-Americans and also included Puerto Ricans. Assumed as inferiors, they lacked all the civil liberties of citizenship. They typically worked in the agricultural field as menial laborers and were unpaid and overcharged.
Cesar Chavez: As a Roman Catholic and a follower of King, Chavez worked to win rights for migrant farmers. He is famous for a strike he organized with the help of grape pickers in California in 1965. Chavez’s leadership brought guarantees of rights for the farmers. He was an important figure in the Brown Power movement.
Burger, William appointed, 1969: Appointed in 1969, Warren Burger was to replace the old and retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was young and a new addition to the Nixon court; Nixon appointed him to moderate the liberalism of the Warren court and its controversial decisions.
American Indian Movement (AIM), Wounded Knee: Native-Americans occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay in 1969, and Wounded Knee was their trading post site. The reason they defiantly occupied Alcatraz Island was to protest their low status in America. They advocated Red Power and demanded justice for past wrongs.
The Middle East Crisis
With a virtual monopoly on petroleum, OPEC drove up oil prices which caused severe economic problems for the United States. Yet more turbulent conflicts existed in the Middle East: religious issues and territorial disputes inflamed tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
Multinational Corporations: In the modern era, where transportation allows rapid communication and exportation of products, corporations could span several nations. Many took advantage of inexpensive labor in one country and depreciated taxes in another.
Arab oil embargo: Furious at American intervention in the Middle Eastern conflicts, the Arab nations began to downsize the exportation of petroleum products to western nations. Consequently, the western world which relied heavily on petroleum was forced to seek other resources of fuel and energy.
•ORGANIZATION OF PETROLEUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES (OPEC): In the 1970s, Middle Eastern petroleum exporting countries formed a monopoly and agreed to raise the price of oil. As a result, the economy in the western world fell into inflation and unemployment; a nation-wide recession resulted which forced Jimmy Carter to seek new economic programs at the end of his term in office. However, he could only do little to dispel the effects of the rising prices of oil.
Palestinian Liberation Front, (PLO), Yasser Arafat: In June 1982, there was great violence in the Middle East when Israel invaded Lebanon to extinguish the Palestinian Liberation Front from its headquarters. The chaos and confusion escalated in Lebanon which was already plagued by its own Civil War.
The Energy Crisis and Carter
Trying desperately to cope with the economic predicament spawned by OPEC, both Ford and Carter dismally failed. In foreign affairs, Cold War tensions mounted as the Soviet Union became increasingly annoyed with Carter’s rigorous standard of human rights.
Balance of trade, trade deficits: A U.S. economic report during the 1970s revealed that the nation imported more than it exported; the balance of trade was thrown off and the economic experts worried that the U.S. economy would not survive. As a result, Nixon began such programs as "revenue sharing" and wage and price controls for regulation.
Ford, Gerald, Nixon Pardon: On Aug. 9, 1974, Ford became the first vice president to inherit leadership of the nation after the president resigned. To put the nation forward, General Ford granted pardon for ex-President Nixon. As a result, many people were angry that the government could easily forgive corruption and dishonesty.
•"STAGFLATION": As a combination of business stagnation and inflation, "stagflation" severely worsened the American economy. When the government borrowed money to offset the drastic loss of tax revenue, interest rates still increased. The federal government could not repay the loan, and it was forced to find other methods to collect revenue. There was no simple solution to "stagflation;" to lower interest rates to prevent stagnation would worsen the ongoing inflation.
SALT II: In June 1979, Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev agreed and signed the SALT II treaty. Carter presented it to the Senate and they ratified it. Due to the invasion of Afghanistan by Russia, the Cold War thaw slowed. The U.S.-Soviet relationship grew sour, and the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Election of 1976: Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States in 1976. Climaxing a remarkable rise to national fame, Carter had been governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975 and was little known elsewhere at the beginning of 1976. Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 election.
Carter, Jimmy, Amnesty: Elected to the Presidency in 1976, Carter was an advocate of human rights. He granted amnesty to countries who followed his foreign policy. They excluded nations which violated Carter’s humane standards through cruel business practices.
Panama Canal Treaty: The Carter administration put together bargains on a number of treaties to transfer the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone to the Panamanians by 1999. This treaty was met with staunch opposition by Republicans who felt that they "stole it fair and square."
Camp David Accords: Camp David was a place where the Egyptian leader Anwar el-Sadat and the Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin came together with Jimmy Carter. They discussed certain negotiations and tried to hammer out a framework for a peace treaty for the Middle East. It represented peace and harmony in the modern world.
WIN: To compensate for the economic predicament caused by OPEC and the crisis of energy conservation, Jimmy Carter proposed a innovative economic program. WIN was to provide methods for conserving energy by creating the Department of Energy and regulating consumption of gas by automobiles.
Department of Energy: Carter created the Department of Energy and created an energy bill including taxation on oil and gasoline, tax credits for those who found methods on saving money and alternative-energy resources. It went well and the bill for energy consumption came down in 1978.
Reagan promulgated a program to restore U.S. prominence and honor globally, and fight economic problems. He advocated a more laissez faire policy through a lessening of government activism, taxes, spending, and restrictions on business.
•ELECTION OF 1980: The election of 1980 included candidates such as Republican Ronald Reagan, Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter, and John B. Anderson as the Independent candidate. The biggest issue at the time was American foreign policy, and Ronald Reagan had a greater hand in that issue. Ronald Reagan became the President of the United States in 1980 with the promise of ameliorating the American economy against the forces of "stagflation."
Anderson, John: He was a Republican congressman from Illinois, and his running mate was Patrick J. Lucey from Wisconsin. When he announced his candidacy, he was serving his 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was known for his strong liberal statements and spoke well on complex issues.
Economy Recovery Tax Act, 1981: Following his promise of bettering the U.S. economy, Reagan proposed a 30% tax cut allowing the money supply to circulate. He liberalized business taxes and decreased capital gains, gifts, inheritance taxes to encourage investments in a plunging economy.
•REAGANOMICS: Also known as voodoo economics, George Bush named this new economic strategy Reaganomics in the 1980 primary campaign. President Reagan believed that the government should leave the economy alone. He hoped that it would run by itself. It was a return to the laissez faire theory of Adam Smith, yet Reagan expanded his theory by advocating supply-side economics as a method to solve the economic hardships.
Supply side economics: In contrast to Adam Smith’s belief in supply-and-demand, Reagan assumed that if the economy provided the products and services, the public would purchase them. Consequently, Reagan lowered income taxes to stimulate the economy by expanding the money supply.
O’Connor, Sandra Day: She was a feminist who generally deplored Reagan’s programs. However, she was delighted when he nominated her as the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Many people supported Reagan’s decisions in favor of women’s rights.
Three Mile Island: In 1979, a near catastrophe occurred at Three Mile Island when there was an accident involving a nuclear power plant. Safety measures were taken so that a future incident would not occur. The plants were placed far away to reduce the hazards of near fatal accidents.
Watt, James Secretary of Interior: James Watt received more than $400,000 for making several calls to the Department of Housing and Urban Development officials. The people who had interceded with the Department of Housing and Urban Development were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for federal subsides.
Love Canal, Niagara Falls, NY: In the 1970s and early 1980s, chemical wastes that had leaked from a former disposal site threatened the health of residents in that area. Both the New York state government and the federal government provided financial aid to help move families from the Love Canal to other areas.
EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, OHSA: It was created in 1969 by President Nixon to enforce government standards for water and the air quality for work safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was also created to enforce the hygiene.
"New Federalism" proposals, 1982: New Federalism proposed to reverse the flow of power and resources from the states and communities to the state capital. The president proposed a revenue sharing bill that transferred some federal revenues to the states and prominent cities.
Deregulation-AT&T, airlines, trucking: To reverse the flow of federal power, Reagan began to deregulate governmental controls over such companies as AT&T, airlines, and trucking companies. He reasoned government must take its "hands off" from the economy to encourage investments and free enterprise.
NEH, National Endowment for Humanities: The National Endowment for Humanities was created to further promote artistic and cultural development in the United States. This was targeted to foreigners. The project revealed the full cultural spectrum of America.
Friedan, Betty The Second Stage, 1981: In her novel The Second Stage, Friedan stresses the need to add family matters to the cause of women’s rights. She reasons no person should ignore such a significant issue while focusing on female independence and advancement in society.
Defeat of the ERA: As the argument over the ERA and abortion went on more women got jobs in the working industry. In the 1960s, 35% of women held jobs, but in 1988, 60% of women worked. Even though women had children, 51% of them were working from day to day.
Election of 1984: Former Vice President Walter Mondale got the Democratic nomination over Jesse Jackson, backed by minority groups, and Gary Hart, who appealed to the young. Reagan’s campaign revolved around the optimistic slogan "It’s Morning in America" and he rode the tide of prosperity to a decisive victory.
Ferraro, Geraldine: The first woman ever to be on the ticket of a major party, Ferraro was chosen by Walter Mondale to be his Vice-Presidential candidate in 1984. However, her presence failed to win Mondale the election, as a higher percentage of women voted republican in 1984 than in 1980.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome): First diagnosed in 1981, 97,000 cases were reported in 1989. Originally concentrated among homosexual men, needle-sharing drug users, and sex partners of high risk groups, the disease soon spread. AIDS prompted a change from the "free love" attitude of the 1970s, to a "safe sex" attitude of the 1990s.
•"MORAL MAJORITY": The Moral Majority was Jerry Falwell’s pro-Reagan followers who embraced the new evangelical revival of the late seventies. The Moral Majority was politically active in targeting such issues as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and school prayer. They was strongly conservative, anticommunist, and influential. The Moral Majority was started in 1979 as a secular political group, and were finished as a political force by the late 1980s.
Vietnam Veterans’s Memorial, 1982: Constructed in 1982, the memorial is a black marble wall sunken below ground level in Washington D.C.’s National Mall. On it are inscribed the names of all Americans who died or were missing in action. It also includes a statue of three soldiers, located nearby.
Agent Orange: Agent Orange was a chemical sprayed by U.S. planes on the jungles of Vietnam during the war which caused the defoliation of trees and shrubs and made enemy positions more visible. In the 1970s it was found that Agent Orange was harmful to humans. In 1984, manufacturers agreed to pay veterans injured by the chemical.
The Challenger Disaster, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into flight, killing all aboard. The explosion was caused by a faulty seal in the fuel tank. The shuttle program was halted while investigators and officials drew up new safety regulations, but was resumed in 1988 with the flight of the Discovery.
Tax Reform Act, 1986: In 1986, with the federal deficit exceeding $200 billion, Reagan proposed a new, simplified tax system that lowered the taxes of individuals and corporate incomes. The tax reform helped reduce the deficit by 1987, but the stock market crash in October 1987 made higher taxes a necessity.
The "Teflon Presidency": Ronald Reagan’s popularity never seemed to change much despite the scandals and failures of his presidency. He was called the Teflon president by some because nothing would stick to him. Even with all the criticism, Reagan remained very popular and charismatic.
HUD scandals: In 1989, revelations surfaced that during Reagan’s administration, prominent Republicans had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for interceding with the Department of Housing and Development on behalf of developers seeking federal subsidies. Once again, Reagan’s popularity was unaffected.
Heating and Cooling of the Cold War
Ambiguous in his position towards the Soviet Union, Reagan verbally attacked the USSR as an "evil empire" yet his actions were friendly. Anti-Soviet rhetoric proved to be only rhetoric and the two nations resolved many of their differences. By the end of Reagan’s administration, the Cold War was unofficially over.
Afghanistan, 1979-1989: The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in an effort to acquire more land for Russia’s use. In Moscow’s attempt to take over Afghanistan, Russia wanted to setup some sort of pro-Soviet Afghan regime. Not only did Russia try to take over Afghanistan, but they wanted them to change religiously.
Olympic boycott, 1980: When Carter and Brezhnev could not agree on the rules and regulations of the SALT II agreement, the United States picked up an anti-Soviet relationship towards everything that had to do with Russia, which unfortunately included the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Walesa, Lech, Solidarity: He became the leader of Poland’s government in 1980. Walesa’s negotiations with Poland’s government that year led to the government’s recognition of Solidarity. Solidarity was a organization composed of about 50 Polish trade unions.
Falkland Island War: In April 1982, Argentine troops invaded and occupied the islands. Britain also responded by sending troops, ships, and planes. Air, sea and land battles broke out between Argentina and Britain. Due to severe losses the Argentine forces surrendered in June 1982.
Civil war in Lebanon, Israel moves into Southern Lebanon: President Reagan sent 2,000 Marines to Lebanon in 1982 in order to gain control over the crippled PLO, insure that they got out of Tunisia, and help restore order to the war damaged country. It proved difficult as fire broke out upon the U.S. Marine soldiers.
Grenada, 1983: On October 23, 1983, 2,000 U.S. Marine soldiers invaded the island of Grenada, and overthrew the disruptive radical government, and put in a U.S.-friendly regime. The new government that the United States had just installed was collaborating well with the local Grenadians.
El Salvador, Duarte: Fear of Soviet expansion helped shape policy towards third world revolutions. In El Salvador, the U.S. backed the military rulers in suppressing insurgents (leftists backed by Cuba). The moderate Jose Napoleon Duarte was elected in 1984 with U.S. support, but his ineffective government was voted out in 1989.
•NICARAGUA—Somoza Family, Sandinistas, Contras, Ortega: First, Carter backed the Sandinista revolutionaries in overthrowing dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, who was replaced by Daniel Ortega. Reagan later reversed the policy thinking that the Sandinistas were procommunist. The CIA organized an army of "contras" to oppose the Sandinistas. Fear of another Vietnam-like war prompted Congress in 1982 to halt aid to the contras. Reagan secretly began sending illegal aid to the contras, but was never held accountable.
Arias Peace Plan in Central America: Oscar Arias Sánchez, the president of Costa Rica, was very influential in pushing for peace in Central America which was stalled because of civil wars in the region and the tensions between Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and the U.S. In 1986, the warring nations signed a peace agreement.
•SDI (STRATEGIC DEFENSE INITIATIVE), "Star Wars": SDI was a proposed system of space based lasers and other high-tech defenses against nuclear attack, popularly dubbed "Star Wars." It was proposed by Reagan in 1983 in an effort to ward off the perceived threat of a Soviet strike as U.S.-Soviet relations worsened. Many argued it would escalate the conflict. The system carried a huge price tag, and was fiercely debated until the end of the Reagan administration. The system was never used.
nuclear freeze movement: The movement was a popular reaction to the military and nuclear buildup under Reagan. Protests, rallies, and resolutions against nukes were passed. It was the first popular challenge to Reaganism. Responding to pressure, the U.S. began talks on strategic-arms reductions with the Soviets.
Iranian crisis, the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini: The Iranian crisis started when a Beirut newspaper reported that in 1985 the United States shipped 508 antitank missiles to the government of Iran. This exposure of U.S. intervention led to the American hostage situation held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian radical groups.
Iran-Iraq War: The war began in 1980 over territorial disputes. Fighting spread throughout the gulf region and the U.S. was dragged into the conflict several times, either being attacked or attacking hostile targets. The war ended in 1988, as Iraq began preparing to invade Kuwait. The area remained a volatile region.
•IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR, (or Irangate): Caught selling arms to the anti-American government of Iran, Reagan admitted it and stated his aim had been to encourage "moderate elements" in Tehran and gain the release of American hostages. Key players included Oliver North, who sent millions of dollars from these sales to contras in Nicaragua when Congress had forbidden such aid, and John Poindexter, who hid the affair from the president. Criminal charges were filed against only North.
Panama, Gen. Noriega, drug-trafficking indictment, conviction: In 1987 the U.S. realized that the U.S.-supported ruler of Panama, Manuel Noriega, was profiting on the flow of drugs through his country. A U.S. grand jury indicted Noriega on various drug charges. He ignored the actions. Marines were sent in and he was caught and convicted.
South Africa, apartheid, Nelson Mandela, F.W. De Klerk: When opposition to South Africa’s racist government grew in the U.S., Congress voted to boycott South Africa in 1986. President De Klerk worked with Mandela, who had been jailed for 27 years, to end apartheid. Free elections were held in 1994 and Mandela became president.
Marcos, Philippines, Corazon Aquino: Resistance to the corrupt government of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos intensified after the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benito Aquino. His wife, Corazon led the surge after Marco’s fraudulent 1986 reelection and took control. She was backed by the U.S. and the country was to face turbulent times.
Duvalier, Haiti: Jean-Claude Duvalier, dictator of Haiti from 1971-1986, used oppressive measures and a violent secret police force to control Haitian citizens. Many sought refuge in the United States. In 1986, Haitians staged a revolt against Duvalier and he fled the country. This was followed by years of violent political turmoil in Haiti.
•GORBACHEV, glasnost, perestroika: Mikhail Gorbachev welded influence in transforming the Soviet Union into a less rigidly communist regime. His program of economic and political reform was called perestroika or restructuring. Gorbachev’s call for more openness in government was given the name glasnost. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union continued to improve which furthered the thaw in the Cold War.
Col. Qaddafi, Libya: Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was a pro-terrorist and anti-American leader of Libya. In 1986, Libya fired missiles at U.S. military planes and after an explosion at a German nightclub popular with American GI’s, U.S. planes bombed five Libyan sites. Hostilities continue in the region.
INF Treaty, 1987 (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty): The treaty was a 1987 agreement between Reagan and Gorbachev which banned INF’s but did little to end the nuclear threat as 95% of the world’s nuclear arsenal remained. It is an example of the warming Soviet-American relations and renewed the arms control process.
Bush and the Post Cold War Era
With the disintegration of the Soviet empire, the Cold War which shaped U.S. policy for nearly a half-century finally died. The threat of nuclear annihilation subsided and the American public breathed a sigh of relief.
Black Monday, 1987, Stock Market crashes: The market had enjoyed incredible success for the past five years and had tripled in size. On October 19, 1987, it fell 508 points in the largest single day drop in history. Though it soon regained the loss and surged to new heights, the volatility and uncertainty remained.
Jackson, Rev. Jesse, Rainbow Coalition: Jackson, once an associate of King, tried to build a "rainbow coalition" of blacks, Hispanics, displaced workers, and other political outsiders to try to gain nomination and election in 1984. Jackson ran several times for the presidency, but was not moderate enough to gain popular approval.
Election of 1988--candidates, issues: Bush got the Republican nomination while Michael Dukakis won the Democratic nomination over Jesse Jackson. Bush chose Quayle as his running mate for his good looks. Taxes, crime, and personal appearance were the main issues in 1988. Bush won fairly decisively on a negative campaign.
• BUSH, GEORGE: Bush was Vice President under Reagan, and was president from 1989 to 1993. As president, Bush was successful in areas of foreign relations. He eased relations with Russia, resisted the Russian military’s attempted coup in 1991, and fought Saddam Hussein in the Persian gulf. He was not as successful in domestic affairs as the economy dwindled and the deficit rose; the effects of the era of Reaganomics. Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton and Al Gore in the 1992 election.
holes in the "Iron Curtain": Due to Gorbachev’s more liberalized policies, Moscow began losing direct control over Eastern Europe. The USSR reduced its military force in its eastern satellites and allowed more freedom of expression. Non-Communist political movements soon developed in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia.
Berlin Wall falls, Germany reunited: The dismantling of the Berlin Wall began in 1989. Germany, having been divided into East and West Germany since World War II, unified in October 1990. The wall which separated the two countries fell, and citizens were once again permitted to travel between East and West Germany.
Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act: Passed in 1986, the bill required the automatic unilateral slashing of many budget items. These included many domestic and defense programs. The goal of the bill was to reduce the enormous debt of the Reagan years and to have a balanced budget by the year 1991.
national debt triples from 1980 to 1989, 908 billion to 2.9 trillion: In an effort to re-stimulate the economy, Reagan’s administration increased defense spending drastically while lowering taxes. The debt skyrocketed during his term. His philosophy of supply-side economics, or heavy spending in the corporate sector, was a contributing factor.
Clean Air Act, 1990 (also one in 1970): President Bush sponsored the bill, which set stricter regulations on many airborne pollutants. The act was aimed at reducing the chemicals which cause acid rain, smog, ozone damage and many airborne carcinogens. The act was a cornerstone in pollution regulation legislation.
Bennett, William J., "drug czar"--Office of National Drug Control Policy: Bennett was chosen as "drug czar" by Bush in response to national concerns about drugs. His job was to coordinate federal programs against drugs, and his first target was the violent drug lords of Washington, D.C.
Tiananmen Square, Beijing: 400-800 students were massacred by government troops during a pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing’s central square. A wave of repression and executions followed. The U.S. responded with outrage and cut everything but diplomatic relations.
Nicaragua, Pres. Ortega defeated in free election: President Daniel Ortega, the leader of the Sandinista regime, was defeated in 1990 by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro in national elections. Chamorro’s election signaled a more moderate turn for the Nicaraguans, though the transition has met resistance. The U.S. supports Chamorro.
August 1991, attempted coup in Moscow, Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin: In 1991, hard-line communists seized power from Gorbachev, who wished to give more power to the states. The coup failed, but the political turmoil led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union into independent states. Yeltsin, the president-elect, called for Russians to resist the coup.
•END OF THE COLD WAR, Commonwealth of Independent States, 1991: After the failed coup in August of 1991, the 15 Russian states declared independence. Fearful of centralized power but mindful of the economic pitfalls of independence, 12 of the states formed the Commonwealth of Independent States and severed all ties to the old Soviet regime. The Commonwealth was a loose economic union, though it is still considered a single country.
difficulties between Russia and the new republics: The new republics were wary of losing power to Russia, by far the largest and most endowed state, which hampered political unity. Violence erupted in some states. The economy was in shambles after the lifting of economic restraints and a severe drought. The commonwealth was very weak.
Hussein, Saddam, Iraq invades Kuwait: On August 2, 1990, Iraqi president Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait after oil negotiations between the two broke down. Iraq had complained that Kuwait was exceeding its oil production quota and flooding the world market, driving prices down. This was the direct cause of the Persian Gulf War.
UN Security Council Resolution 661 (trade embargo on Iraq): On Aug. 6, 1990, the resolution imposed an embargo on Iraqi trade effectively halting oil shipments from Iraq and Kuwait. Hussein responded by increasing his forces in Kuwait. The embargo had severe economic effects on surrounding countries who depended on Iraqi trade and oil.
Desert Shield, Gen. Collin Powell: In August 1990, President Bush ordered a buildup of troops into Saudi Arabia called Desert Shield. It was led by General Collin Powell, who became so popular as to later contemplate a 1996 presidential run. Desert Shield became Desert Storm on January 17 with the beginning of the allied air assault.
UN Security Council Resolution 678: The allied operation shifted to a potentially offensive nature with this resolution, issued November 29, 1990. It authorized the use of force by the allies if Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15. The resolution was evoked early on January 17 when Allied planes began the air offensive.
•GULF WAR, Operation Desert Storm, Gen. Schwarzkopf: Beginning with a bombing raid on January 17, 1991, Desert Storm was directed by Gen. Schwarzkopf. The air raid utilized the most advanced missile technology such as smart bombs and cruise missiles to weaken the Iraqi defenses. Iraqi forces, though more numerous than the Allied force, were far behind technologically. The short ground war began on February 24 and ended two days later. An estimated 110,000 Iraqi soldiers died with about 300 U.S. deaths.
SCUD missiles, Patriot Missiles: SCUD’s were Soviet-made surface to surface missiles used by Iraq to bomb Israel during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. They were aimed at provoking Israelite retaliation to fracture the Allied-Arab alliance but were countered effectively by the U.S. Patriots launched to destroy SCUD’s while still airborne.
revolts in Iraq--Shi’ites in South, Kurds in North: Postwar uprisings by Shi’ite Muslims in southern Iraq and Kurds in the North were crushed by Hussein’s army. The fighting claimed nearly 25,000 lives and created massive refuge problems for bordering nations. The U.S. used force to protect the Kurds. The UN created a safe zone for them.
Family Support Act, 1988, "work fare": This Act tried to reform the welfare system. It contained strict work and child support guidelines. Some of its provisions required women on welfare to work if they have no children under 3 years old, and parents without custody could have child support payments withheld from their paychecks.
MTV: MTV was part of the "cable revolution." Cable TV became a fixture in many U.S. households, leading to the rise of smaller networks. Once was dominated by ABC, NBC, and CBS, now stations like CNN, FOX, and MTV were legitimate contenders. MTV specifically became an important marketing tool for music and politics.
1991 Civil Rights Act: The act allowed women, people with handicaps, and religious minorities to collect punitive damages for intentional on-the-job discrimination. Previously, only racial minorities could claim damages. It widened the definition of discrimination and forced businesses to respect citizens rights of equality.
Thomas, Clarence, Supreme Court, Anita Hill: Thomas, the second black justice on the Court, was nominated and seated in 1991. His nomination was plagued with controversy due to sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, a former associate. The charges were dismissed in a series of highly public congressional hearings.
baby-boom generation hits middle age: Once called the "Me Generation," people of the 1980s were interested with personal over public concerns. The "yuppie" was a person preoccupied with physical fitness, money, and materialism. TV’s, VCRs, and personal computers were common.
gentrification: Reversing the trend of the middle-class exodus from urban centers, yuppies bought run-down apartments and town houses in poorer districts and fixed them up. The process often came at the expense of poorer and older residents, including a great number of elderly citizens.
increased Asian, Hispanic immigration: 45% of immigrants since 1960 have been from the Western Hemisphere, and 30% have come from Asia, signaling a new pattern of immigration. The issue of illegal immigration became a hot topic politically, especially in the south west and west. Many bills were passed in an attempt to limit immigration.
"gridlock," Congress vs. the President: Because a Democratic President and a Republican Congress were elected in 1992, both had the power to obstruct the other. This "gridlock" occurred midway through Clinton’s term. Unable to resolve a dispute, many government projects and parks were closed down for several weeks.
•ELECTION OF 1992—candidates, issues, Ross Perot: The election of 1992 was primarily between the Democrat Bill Clinton and the Republican incumbent George Bush. Ross Perot, of the Independent party, did well in early polls, dropped out of the running, then returned near November with much less support. The major issues were the state of the economy, which had taken a turn for the worse at the end of the Bush administration, the state of medical insurance, and Bush’s record of foreign diplomacy.
bombing of World Trade Center: In 1993, a bomb in a parking structure of the World Trade Center Building in New York killed six and injured nearly 1000 people. Officials later arrested militant Muslim extremists who condemned American actions towards Israel and the U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War.
European Economic Area, Jan. 1, 1993: The 7 nations of the European Free Trade Association (except Switzerland) and the 12 European Community nations signed an accord to create an enlarged free-trade zone, the EEA. Some nations have loosened border and currency restrictions to make political unity easier.
GATT, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade: An international plan to reduce tariffs and establish laws governing trade of services, investments, and other economic issues, was approved by the 117 members of GATT. The plan also established an agency to deal with international trade disputes, called the World Trade Organization.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): After a fierce political struggle, NAFTA was approved by Congress in 1993. It eliminated trade barriers between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, making the flow of commerce more efficient. The NAFTA victory for free trade set the stage for the GATT treaty.
disintegration of Yugoslavia: In 1991-1992, Yugoslavia split into Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. Violence erupted in Bosnia as Serbs and Croatians fought, killing tens of thousands. Many of Bosnia’s Muslims were victims of "ethnic cleansing," mass expulsions to promote a Serbian ethnic partition of Bosnia.
PLO-Israel Peace Treaty (1993), Arafat, Rabin: A historic treaty was signed between Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin which would allow Palestinian self-rule in parts of Israel, protect Israelis in Palestinian areas, and a recognition of Israel and the PLO as legitimate entities. Radical Israelis and Palestinians denounced the treaty and violence ensued.
Somalia: A massive famine caused by warring factions of the government prompted George Bush to send troops (along with the UN) to protect relief efforts in December 1992. The effort succeeded in ending the famine, but not the violence. Soon, the U.S. was sustaining casualties, and by 1994 the U.S. left leaving the UN in charge.
Whitewater: A scandal which has plagued Bill and Hillary Clinton while in the White House, the Whitewater affair revolves around the question if the Clinton’s benefitted improperly from their involvement in a real estate venture, the Whitewater Development Corp. Investigators began searching for incriminating evidence.
Clinton’s health plan: Clinton’s dream of universal health care package died as the bill could not get approval by resistant Republicans. The bill would have required employers to pay 80% of their employees’ medical costs, among other major changes. Several compromises were attempted by Clinton, but the issue was dead by September 1994.
"greenhouse effect": The large amount of fossil fuels burned by cars, homes, and factories has led to a rise in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide traps heat near the surface of the planet, raising its temperature. The problem is made worse by tropical deforestation, and has become a major environmental concern.
1994 Congressional election: The Republican Party, capitalizing on Clinton’s perceived inactivity, gained a majority in Congress. More than 300 GOP candidates signed a "Contract with America" pledging support of several popular initiates. Gingrich authored the contract and became Speaker of the House. Dole became the Senate majority leader.
intervention in Haiti: The term referred to Operation Restore Democracy. Supported by the Clinton administration, the plan was designed to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. The mission was successful, but Aristide did little towards turning Haiti into a democracy. Clinton later withdrew his support.
Oklahoma City bombing, 1995: On April 19, 1995 a 2½ ton bomb exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast destroyed the front section of the building, killing 68; of whom 19 were children. Officials Terry Nicoles and Timothy McVeigh were right wing militant extremists angry at the government.
Million Man March, 1995, Farrakhan: Led by the radical Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a major rally for African-Americans was held in Washington DC. Farrakhan preached the need for blacks to become active family and community members. Officials estimated 400,000-837,000 black men came. Women were discouraged from attending.
Rabin assassinated, 1995: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin was shot and killed by a Jewish settler just after speaking at a mass peace rally. The man who shot him was arrested on the scene. He acted in protest to the signing of the PLO-Israeli Peace Accord of 1993. The future is uncertain under newly elected P. Minister Netehayu.
budget showdown between Congress and the President: Negotiations between President Clinton and Congress regarding balancing the budget wrapped up in May 1997. Republicans had originally wanted a constitutional amendment specifying a balanced budget, but Clinton resisted. The agreed upon plan is a moderate compromise.