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Nixon & Ford. Richard Milhous Nixon. Moved up political ladder quickly Seemed done after 1960 presidential loss & then 1962 gubernatorial loss Linked with American values & backlash against radicalism Critics viewed him as sneaky & judgmental . Vietnamization.

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richard milhous nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon
  • Moved up political ladder quickly
  • Seemed done after 1960 presidential loss & then 1962 gubernatorial loss
  • Linked with American values & backlash against radicalism
  • Critics viewed

him as sneaky &


  • Henry Kissinger – special assistant for nat’l security – key policy advisor
  • Withdrawing 540,000 American troops over an extended time
  • With US $, weapons & training, S.Vietnamesewould take over fighting the war
  • Nixon Doctrine – would honor already existing foreign policy commitments but would limit future involvements of US troops
  • Wasn’t enough for true doves – continued large protests
    • Nixon/Agnew attacked “nattering nabobs of negativism” & “bums” – relied on “silent majority”
my lai massacre
My Lai Massacre
  • March 1968 – makes American news Nov. 1969
  • Search & destroy mission of S.Vietnamese village
  • Ordered to kill everyone in village
  • 300 older men, women & children killed (unarmed)
  • Lt. WmCalley only one convicted (initially life sentence hard labor – Nixon intervened & served 3 ½ yrs house arrest)
  • “Culture of Concealment”
  • Jan. 1970 – longest conflict in Amer. history
  • 40,000 killed & over 250,000 wounded
  • Increasingly unpopular in country & at home
  • Disproportionate numbers of Amer’s least privileged & African Americans
  • Morale plummeting – drug abuse
  • Cambodia had been being used to smuggle supplies, troops & weapons
  • Initial “secret” bombings &

then troop invasion to route


  • New pro-west gov’t in pwr
    • Lon Nol
  • Set off new round of

student protests – expanding

the war instead of ending it

kent state
Kent State
  • May 1970 – 4 students killed – Nat’l Guard called in control protests
                  • 9 others injured
                  • Jackson State College – Mississippi- 2 students killed
                  • Massive student strike caused closure of colleges and high schools

Senate repeals Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

  • Cut backs in draft calls
  • 26th Amendment passed (1971)
  • But flames fanned by Pentagon Papers
    • Daniel Ellsberg
  • By 1971 - 65% of Americans wanted out but didn’t want to see S.Vietnam “fall”
  • FBI & CIA increasing “surveillance” of radical protesters & groups
  • Wanting progress to help ‘72 election
  • Kissinger in Paris (Oct) w/Le DucTho – “peace is at hand” – but negotiations break down

“Christmas Bombing” – heaviest use of B-52s on N.Vietnam – major casualties – effort to get new concessions through

  • Pressure put on Thieu to accept offer
  • Jan. 27, 1973 – “ends” the war – POW give back high on list
  • War Powers Act – Amer. troops sent by Pres. & not Congress only when "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces"
    • notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to action & forbids forces from remaining for more than 60 days without an authorization of the use of military force or Congress declaring war
    • Nixon vetoes but is overridden

American forces leave

  • April ‘75 last officials leave embassy
  • NVA takes hold of South – Ho Chi Minh City established
  • Cambodia comes under control of Khmer Rouge
  • US – 55,000 dead

300,000+ injured,

$150 billion directly

& more indirectly

  • Image home &

abroad changed

  • Nat’l “self esteem”


  • China & SU clashing over interpretations of doctrine
  • US played one against the other
  • Feb. 1972 trip to China-

commitment to “one China”

(dial back support of Taiwan)

soviet union
Soviet Union
  • May 1972 – Nixon to Moscow
    • SU concerned about US support of China
    • SU wanting American trade – foodstuff
  • Détente with both communist powers
  • Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty w/SU
  • Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT)
  • Should have signaled slowing of arms race but… both nations move to develop MIRVs (multiple independently-targeted reentry vehicles – multiple nuclear warheads per rocket for saturation of an area)
still hard core anti communist
Still Hard-Core Anti-Communist
  • SalvadoreAllende –Marxist Chilean pres (1970) – Nixon unhappy w/election – trade embargo & CIA working for overthrow
    • Allende dies in army attack (1973)
    • US warm to successor Augusto Pinochet
middle east
Middle East
  • Using relationship w/Shah of Iran to control Sov. expansion in region
  • Yom Kippur War (Oct ‘73) – Syrian/Egyptian invasion of Israel
    • Wanting land back from Six Day War losses
    • SU arming attackers
    • Kissenger (Sect. of St) to Moscow to stop further moves
    • Nixon puts nuclear forces on alert & $2billion in military aid Israel
  • Israel strikes back hard before US brokers cease-fire
  • US will “pay” for Israeli relationship


  • In response to the support –

OPEC puts oil embargo on US & several Euro nations

  • Interrelated economies cause recession
  • Long lines, lower thermostats & speed limits
  • “energy crisis” – Alaskan pipeline, coal/nuclear power, end of era of cheap/abundant fuel, will shape Amer politics for decades, Detroit adjustmnt
limiting federal gov t concentrating power
Limiting Federal Gov’t & Concentrating Power
  • Believed federal gov’t under Grt Soc had too much responsibility
  • New Federalism – shifting pwr from fed to st & local gov’ts
  • Revenue sharing – st & local gov’ts could spend their fed $ how they saw fit
  • Attempted to block Congressional initiatives against own policies by refusing to spend ("impounding") the funds allocated by Congress to these programs
    • Not the first President to do this, but he did on an unprecedented scale: $15 billion in 1973 alone.
    • The courts invalidated Nixon's impoundment authority
  • Also pushed "executive privilege" to limits, denying the ability of Congress to compel testimony from employees of the exec branch
  • Concentrated fed power w/ White House- at the expense of the executive branch departments
the economy
The Economy
  • National productivity way down
  • Avg family median income stagnated (working wives only reason didn’t decline)
  • Sense of limits found in foreign policy infiltrates economic homefront
  • Deficit spending of 1960s coupled with increased oil prices
  • COL tripled from ‘68 to ‘80

Appn’t conservative to head of Fed Reserve

  • Contracted $ supply
  • Longest & steepest inflationary cycle in history (15% during first 2 ½ yrs in office)
  • 1971 instituted 90 day wage & price freeze
  • Took US off gold standard & devalued dollar
  • “Stagflation” – rising prices but stagnant econ
  • Increased fed spending (largest deficit since WW2)
  • Bizarre contradictions – tight $ to curb inflation & massive gov’t spending to deal w/recession
domestic initiatives
Domestic Initiatives
  • Trying to give the “silent majority” what they want
    • Less federal interference
    • Wanted Congress to legislate against forced busing for desegregation
    • Prohibited Dept of Health, Ed & Welfare from cutting off fed funds from non complying school districts (Court will rule violates Brown II)
    • linked to Southern Strategy for ‘72 election
  • Undoing of New Frnt & Grt Soc -
social policies
Social Policies
  • Increased $ for Food Stamps, Medicaid & AFDC (Aid to Families w/Dependent Children) & added SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  • Automatic COLA for Social Security
  • Philadelphia Plan – new “look” of affirmative action – set hiring “goals” & “timetables” for increasing #s of minorities & women in same proportions found in society (AA under Johnson had been about protecting individuals from discrimination – now it was ensuring privileges on certain groups)
  • EPA – Earth Day
  • OSHA
  • CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
the court
The Court
  • Nixon openly critical of Warren Court during campaign – “permissive” (sexual freedom, civil rights, rights of criminal, practicing of religion) – clearly focused on the individual
  • Took advantage of several vacancies – strict interpreters of the Constit – 4 appntees & Warren Burger to chief justice
  • Didn’t act the way Nixon planned – not so willing to undo the “liberal” rulings (some areas went even further)
    • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (1971)
    • New York Times v. United States (1971)
    • Furman v. Georgia (1972)
    • Roe v. Wade (1973)
    • Bakke v Board of Regents of California (1978)
the election of 1972
The Election of 1972
  • Mostly about foreign policy
  • George Wallace making another bid for Dem nomination – real concern for Nixon if forced into 3rd party again – shot & paralyzed so withdrew
  • Dems nominate Sen George McGovern – liberal stance on for. & dom. policies
  • HUGE win for Nixon
    • The Election results.
    • The Electoral College: Nixon:520 McGovern:17
    • Popular Vote: Nixon: 60.7% McGovern: 37.5%
  • But the Democrats increased their Senate majority and retained control of the House
  • Climate of “imperial presidency” had been developing for several decades
    • “a president must not be one of the crowd…People don’t want him to be down there saying, ‘Look, I’m the same as you.”
  • Empowerment & paranoia involved in keeping it lead to enemies lists, need for “plumbers” to stop leaks, dirty tricks & executive privilege
  • Closed ranks around White House

June 1972 – Watergate break-in

    • Offices of DNC headquarters
    • Lead by James McCord –
    • Former CIA & security

coordinator for CRP

    • Almost a dead story w/

no real implications on election

  • Washington Post reporters Woodward & Bernstein keep the story alive
the cover up
The Cover-Up
  • Shredding of documents in HR Haldeman’s office (chief of staff)
  • Admin asks FBI/CIA to stop investigating the break in
  • CRP gives almost $450,000 to burglars
the trial
The Trial
  • McCord sends Judge John Sirica letter saying he lied under oath & implicates members of administration in the break-in
  • April 30, 1973 Nixon fires White House counsel John Dean & encourages resignations of Haldeman & John Ehrlichman (Chief Domestic Advisor) as they are implicated in cover-up
  • Nixon goes on tv to reassure no cover-up & that new attny gen will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate – Archibald Cox
  • Senate forms committee to investigate – chaired by Sam Ervin – televised testimony of the “president’s men”
what did the president know when did he know it
“What did the president know & when did he know it?”
  • Dean testifies pres deeply involved in cover-up
  • White House still denying – who’s telling the truth?
  • Alexander Butterfield (pres aid) offers up fact of taping conversations – “help write his memoirs”

Cox wants tapes turned over

  • Nixon refuses & wants attny gen to fire Cox
  • Saturday Night Massacre
    • Richardson refuses to fire Cox & resigns
    • Deputy attny general refuses order – fired
    • Solicitor General Robert Bork fires him
  • Replacement- Leon Jaworski continues to fight for tapes
  • Agnew resigns after revealed he’d taken bribes while Maryland governor & vp
  • House minority leader Gerald Ford become vp

Under pressure, Nixon announces will release 1,254 edited transcripts

  • Not good enough
  • July 1974 SC rules tapes must be surrendered
  • House Judiciary Committee moving on impeachment – obstruction of justice, abuse of pwr, contempt of Congress
  • Tapes missing 18 ½ minutes but implicated in cover-up

Still admitted no guilt

  • Ford sworn in as 38th president
  • 25 members of administration convicted
  • Aug 8, 1974 – Nixon resigns before full house vote on articles
  • Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act (1974): prohibited the impoundment of federal money.
  • Federal Election Campaign Act (1976): provided for partial funding of presidential campaigns.
  • The Freedom of Information Act was also strengthened; the improved FOIA revealed numerous abuses of power by the government, particularly by the FBI and the CIA
i m a ford not a lincoln
“I’m a Ford, not a Lincoln”
  • “Our long national nightmare is over.”
  • Month later pardons Nixon – hurts image
  • Unemployment & inflation on rise
  • OPEC raises prices 400% (1973)
  • Voluntary cut backs – Whip Inflation Now
  • Assumed tight $ policy
  • Worst recession in 40 years
  • Congress has

different plan

  • More than 50 vetoes
    • Actually a goodsign
ford s foreign policy
Ford’s Foreign Policy
  • Followed détente – met with Leonid Brezhnev
    • Arms control talks – groundwork for SALT II
  • Helsinki Accords – greater cooperation btwn Eastern & Western Euro
  • “Peace” agreement btwn Israel & Egypt
  • Had tried to increase aid to S. Viet but Congress refused
  • Mayaguez – 39 crew members – 41 soldiers
election of 1976
Election of 1976
  • Ford challenged by Ronald Reagan in primary but wins out
  • Dems nominate James Earl “Jimmy” Carter – “outside the beltway”
native american rights
Native American Rights

Russell Means

  • Statistically worst in all situations (unemployment, income, education, life expectancy…)
  • Assimilation &Termination policies
  • Inspired by civil rights movement – self determination strengthens
  • Declaration of Indian Purpose
  • American Indian Movement (AIM)
  • Cultural re-imaging
  • Alcatraz
  • Wounded Knee
  • Legal victories
latino americans
Latino Americans
  • Fastest growing minority group – but very diverse
  • Advancement limits/discrimination
  • Chicano culture
  • La RazaUnida
  • United Farm Workers (UFW)
  • Cesear Chavez
  • Young Lords Organization
  • bilingualism
gay rights liberation
Gay Rights/Liberation
  • Historically under-recognized even from within
  • Actively legally persecuted
  • “Stonewall Riot”
  • Gay Liberation Front
  • AIDS crisis brings legal rights to forefront
  • “Don’t ask Don’t tell”