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HST 102 WEEK 15

by: sayemather

HST 102 WEEK 15 hst 102


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American History since 1865
Jeffrey Gonda
Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in American History since 1865

Popular in History

This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by sayemather on Wednesday April 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to hst 102 at Syracuse University taught by Jeffrey Gonda in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see American History since 1865 in History at Syracuse University.


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Date Created: 04/27/16
April 25th, 2016 The politics of Disillusionment & American Culture in the 1970s Previously on America Since 1865 • Massive social, political, and cultural upheavals. • Vietnam War erodes public faith in the presidency. • Skepticism toward the role and power of the federal government in American life. • Nixon wins the presidency in 1968. Part I: Counterculture Counterculture Protest • As protests evolve, spread, and radicalize - they create their own culture. • Explicit and forceful rejection of middle-class social values. • In style and social behavior, a young generation rebels against conformity. • Commonly known as “Hippies” Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out • A revolution in various dimensions of life: -Sexual behavior. -Drug use. -Clothing. -Language. -Faith. • Rejection of authority and cultural rebellion. Woodstock • A countercultural high-point at Woodstock Music Festival (August 1969) • 400,000 people gather for a massive three-day outdoor concert. • Celebration of independence from adult authority and the rise of alternative lifestyles. Escalating Vietnam(?) Nixon’s Vietnam strategy sparks new protests. • • Nixon’s two-pronged agenda: -“Vietnamization.” -Expansion of the war into Cambodia. • Cambodian invasion generates public outrage. Kent State & Jackson State (1970) • At Kent State Univ. in May, National Guard troops fire into a crowd of protesting studets, killing 4. • Protests explode across 450 college campuses in 1970; 5 million students strike. • National Guard occupies 21 campuses to suppress protests. 10 days later, Mississippi police fire automatic weapons into a crowd at Jackson St., killing 2. • • By June, the Senate terminates the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Pentagon Papers • Nixon’s troubles grow in 1971: New York Times publishes the “Pentagon Papers.” Classified Defense Dept. report by American leaders. • • Nixon tries to stop NYT from publishing, but the Supreme Court upholds the paper’s First Amendment rights. Defeat • The Vietnam War ends in early 1973 with the Paris Peace Accords: -American troops withdraw within 60 days. -N. Vietnamese troops can remain. -Coalition government including the communist insurgency. -Release of American P.O.W.s. • By 1975, the S. Vietnamese government collapse and the country reunifies under Communist control. • 58,000 American deaths; 2-4 million Vietnamese/Cambodian deaths. • The only war the country had ever lost. • Widespread anger and confusion regarding the nation’s failures in Vietnam. Part II: Scandal Re-Election Looming • Despite public protests, Nixon and the G.O.P. remain strong in 1972. • Facing Democratic Sen. George McGovern, the most politically left nominee in the party’s history. The Democrats remain in disarray. • Cutthroat Campaign • Nixon compiles an “enemies list,” targeted for political retribution. • Orders aides to create a group responding to Pentagon Papers leak: the “Plumbers.” • Nixon supported by Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). • Engage in dirty campaign tricks: -Leak the mental health records of Democratic candidates. -Funnel illegal campaign contributions. -Wiretap phones. #Winning • Nixon wins re-election by massive margins. Watergate • But immediately, a scandal begins to emerge. • June 1972, 5 men affiliated with CREEP arrested breaking into Democratic Party HQ at the Watergate Hotel. • Investigations by Judge John. Silica and two Washington Post journalists reveals connections close to Nixon. Denial & Derailing Nixon begins a cover-up, trying to thwart the investigations. • • Congressional investigators discover Nixon has secretly recorded Oval Office conversations. • October 1973, “Saturday Night Massacre”: -Special prosecutor demands the tapes. -Nixon refuses and fires the prosecutor. -Attorney General and deputy resign in protest. • Supreme Court orders tapes released in 1974. Resignation • With the tapes public and investigations mounting, public support for Nixon is gone. • Faces nearly certain impeachment in 1974. • August 1974, Nixon is the first president in American history to resign the office. The Unelected President • In a separate and unrelated scandal, VP Spiro Agnew had resigned in October 1973. • Nixon appoints House minority leader Gerald Ford as his new VP. Ford becomes America’s first unelected president. • • Grans a full pardon to Nixon to prevent any criminal prosecution. Mistrust • Watergate destroys public trust in the presidency and the federal government. • Public disillusionment and cynicism reach new highs. • Ironically, the group that benefits most from the scandal: the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Part III: The Misery Index Economic Troubles • The economy tanks for the first time since the 1930s. • Prolonged “stagflation”: high inflation with stagnant growth or economic contraction. • 1973 energy crisis when foreign oil imports are cut off. • Speeds deindustrialization and growth of the “Rust Belt.” Burnout • By mid-1970s, the Sixties’ revolutionary spirit has burned out. -End of the war. -Fragmentation of protest movements. -Fear of repression. -Turn toward personal interests, careers, families. -Successes of the movement. • Opinion polls show younger Americans are more moderate in their political views. • Social critics dub the events the “Me Decade.” Malaise • Popular backlash brings Democratic president Jimmy Carter in 1976 election. • But Carter lacks an overarching vision or plan to address the nation’s economic woes. • Delivers bleak assessments of the nation’s condition and loses public confidence. • His approval ratings are soon worse than Nixon’s low point. What Does it all Mean? • The transition to the Seventies brings a change in the spirit and trajectory of American society: -Exhaustion. -Economic downturn. -Disillusionment. -Scandals/mistrust. -A crisis of confidence. • The nation feels new vulnerabilities militarily, economically, culturally and politically. • Leads to a growing conservative surge. April 27, 2016 Reagan’s Revolution: Politics & Culture in the 1980s America in the 1970s • Scandal, disappointment, and economic decline. Disillusionment and a turn to the “Me Decade.” • • Skepticism toward the federal government. • Organizations and spread of a conservative coalition. • Jimmy Carter and the limits of progress. Part I: The Triumph of Conservatism Carter’s Travails • Carter’s popularity plummets - 21% approval (1980). • An ongoing economic crisis. • Growing foreign policy issues: -Shah of Iran is a key U/S/ partner and brutal ruler. -The Iranian Revolution in 1979 takes an anti-American turn. -More than 50 American hostages are held until 1981. Ronald Wilson Reagan • GOP candidate in 1980 is former CA Gov. Ronald Reagan. • New Deal Democrat in the 1930s. • Actor and union leader in the 1940s. • Spokesman for General Electric in the 1950s. • Rises to political fame with a speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964. • Gov. of California (1966-1974). The 1980 Election • Reagan campaigns with dual messages: -Optimism and a promise to “Make America Great Again.” -Appeal to the backlash against the Sixties. • Reagan trounces Carter at the polls. • Republicans win control of the Senate for the first time since 1952 and make significant gains in the House. “The Great Communicator” • Reagan known for his TV presence, speech-making, and carefully crafted public image. Called the most effective presidential communicator since FDR. • • Relatively uninvolved in day-to-day governance. • Transforms American political rhetoric: -Built around the term “Freedom.” -Adopts and redefines the vocabulary of his political opponents. -Presents conservatism as a progressive social, economic, and political force. A Conservative Coalition • Reagan’s victory builds a broad combination of conservatives, old and new: -Sunbelt suburbs -Urban, working-class, white ethnic communities. -“Small government” advocates. -Advocates for more aggressive foreign policy. -Evangelical Christians. -Libertarian conservatives. Reagan’s Economy • Three key pillars to Reagan’s economic policy: -Tax cuts. -Curtailing the power of organized labor. -“Deregulation.” • Each is a challenge/shift to New Deal philosophies. “Reaganomics” • Tax policy dubbed “Supply-side Economics”: -Sees “excessive taxation” as the cause of the economic crisis. -Cut taxes (esp. corporate rates and top income brackets). -Assumes that lower taxes will increase spending, charitable giving, and work output. -Meant to be paired with major cuts in federal spending. -Transforms U.S. economic policy: a changing view about the proper federal role in the economy. Early Struggles • By 1982, the most severe recession since 1937. • Unemployment reaches 11%. • Republicans lose several seats in Congress. • Spending cuts are limited mostly to social programs; national debt and deficits soar. • By 1984, the economy turns around and begins a sustained upsurge. Morning in America • In 1984, Reagan poised for an easy win; campaigns on a celebration of recovery. • Dem. candidates Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro cannot make inroads. • A massive victory for Reagan. The Culture Wars • Growing TV exposure incentivizes antagonistic politics. • Intense public battles over social, cultural, and moral issues: -Abortion. -Sexuality (Bowers v. Hardwich [19860 and the AIDS epidemic). -Drugs (“Just Say No,” and the “War on Drugs”). -Protests over “multiculturalism.” • Reagan leaves may conservative objectives unfulfilled. A Second Gilded Age? Economic policies and the nature of economic growth lead to growing income inequality. • • The 1980s yield the greatest wealth gap since the 1880s. • Emergence of the “Yuppie” - high income, high spending young professionals. • Homelessness triples from 1980-1988. • Increasing concerns about the economic and social values of the nation. Part II: Melting the Cold War Soviet Struggles • Late 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to protect a friendly regime. • Becomes the Soviet Union’s version of Vietnam. Economic troubles increasingly plague the Soviets. • Reagan and the “Evil Empire” • Reagan takes hardline stance against the Soviets. • A massive military build-up. • Funds the “Strategic Defense Initiative” to develop laser-equipped satellite to shoot down nuclear missiles. • Drives the Soviet Union into an escalating arms race. Reagan and World Diplomacy • Develops the “Reagan Doctrine” promising to support “freedom fighters” anywhere in the world. • Provides support for “authoritarian” non-communist regimes, but not “totalitarian” communist ones. • Uses American troops and (primarily) financial/military aid: -Funds the Afghani resistance to the Soviets (mujahidin). -Send Marines into Grenada (1982) and Lebanon (1983). -Funds counterrevolutionaries in Central America (“Contras”). -Authorizes sale of arms to Iran (1985) to secure release of American hostages. Thawing Out • Leadership change in the Soviet Union: Mikhail Gorbachev. Initiates a new period of negotiation, de-escalation, and cooperation between the Soviets and • the U.S. • In 1989, every communist state in Eastern Europe overthrows their government or pushes communists out of power. • By 1991, the Soviet Union collapses. • The Cold War (active since 1947) ends. Legacies of the Reagan Revolution • Reagan, more than any other figure, brings conservatism to the forefront and mainstream of the nation’s politics. • A growing economic divide and rapidly evolving economy. A mixed legacy for the realization of conservative objectives. • • But few figures have had as dramatic an impact on American politics: -Language. -Ideas. -The political map.


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