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John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Expectation


With his New Frontier program, Kennedy promised to get America movingagain through vigorous governmental activism at home and abroad. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Expectation

John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Expectation
  • With his New Frontier program, Kennedy promised
    to get America movingagainthrough vigorous
    governmental activism at home and abroad.

  • Kennedy campaigned on the issues of civil rights
    legislation, health care for the elderly, aid to
    education, urban renewal, expanded military and
    space programs, and containment of communism
  • Poised to become the youngest man ever elected to
    the presidency and the nations first Catholic
    chief executive, Kennedy practiced what became
    known as the new politics, an approach that
    emphasized youthful charisma, style, and
    personality more than issues and platforms.

  • A series of four televised debates between
    Kennedy and Nixon showed how important television
    was becoming to political life voters who
    listened to the 1960 presidential debates on the
    radio concluded that Nixon had won, and those who
    watched it on TV felt that Kennedy had won.
  • Kennedy won only the narrowest of electoral
    victories, receiving 49.7 percent of the popular
    vote to Nixons 49.5 percent a shift of a few
    thousand votes in key states would have reversed
    the outcome.

The Kennedy Administration
  • A host of trusted advisors and academics the
    Best and the brightest flocked to Washington
    to join the New Frontier. Not everyone was
    enchanted though, and the new administration got
    into hot water.

  • Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio
    Batista in 1959 Cuban relations with Washington
    deteriorated after Castro nationalized
    American-owned banks and industries and the
    United States declared an embargo on Cuban
  • Isolated by the United States, Cuba turned to the
    Soviet Union for economic and military support.
  • In early 1961, Kennedy attempted to foment an
    anti-Castro uprising the CIA-trained invaders
    were crushed by Castros troops after landing at
    Cubas Bay of Pigs on April 17.

  • Kennedy went before the American people and took
    full responsibility.

  • The Peace Corps, the Agency for International
    Development, and the Alliance for Progress
    provided food and other aid to Third World
    countries, bringing them into the American orbit
    and away from Communist influence.

  • Funding for the National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration (NASA) and its Mercury program won
    support on May 5 1961, Alan Shepard became the
    first American in space, and, in 1962, John Glenn
    manned the first U.S. Space mission to orbit the

  • Kennedy could not mobilize public or
    congressional support for his New Frontier
    agenda he managed to push through legislation
    raising the minimum wage and expanding Social
    Security benefits, but a conservative coalition
    of southern Democrats and western and midwestern
    Republicans effectively stalled most liberal

  • After Kennedys assassination, the Tax Reduction
    Act (the Kennedy-Johnson tax cut, 1964) marked a
    milestone in the use of fiscal policy to
    encourage economic growth.

New Tactics for the Civil Rights Movement
  • One of the most notable failures of the Kennedy
    administration was its reluctance to act on civil
  • After the Woolworths lunch counter sit-in, the
    Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
    helped to organize the Student Non-Violent
    Coordinating Committee in order to facilitate
    sit-ins by blacks demanding an end to segregation.

  • The Congress of Racial Equality organized freedom
    rides on bus lines in the South to call attention
    to segregation on public transportation the
    activists were attacked by white mobs.
  • Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent federal
    marshals to Alabama to restore order most
    southern communities quietly acceded to the
    Interstate Commerce Commissions prohibition of
    segregated interstate vehicles and facilities.

  • When thousands of black demonstrators, organized
    by Martin Luther King Jr. marched to picket
    Birmingham, Alabamas department stores,
    television cameras captured the severe methods
    used against them by Bull Connors.
  • President Kennedy responded to the incident on
    June 11, 1963, when he went on television to
    promise major legislation banning discrimination
    in public accommodations and empowering the
    Justice Department to enforce desegregation.
  • Black leaders hailed Kennedys speech as the
    Second Emancipation Proclamation, yet on the
    evening of the address,Medgar Evers, the
    president of the Mississippi chapter of the
    National Association for the Advancement of
    Colored People (NAACP), was shot and killed.

  • To rouse the conscience of the nation and to
    marshal support for Kennedys bill, civil rights
    leaders launched a massive civil rights march on
    Washington in 1963, which culminated in the I
    Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Kings eloquence and the sight of blacks and
    whites marching together did more than anything
    else to make the civil rights movement acceptable
    to white Americans it also marked the highpoint
    of the civil rights movement and confirmed Kings
    position as the leading speaker for the black

  • Southern Senators continued to block the civil
    rights legislation, and violence by white
    extremists shocked the nation when the bombing of
    a church in Birmingham, Al. killed four black
    Sunday school students.

Kennedy Cold Warrior
  • A resolute cold warrior, Kennedy proposed a new
    policy of flexible response measures designed to
    deter direct attacks by the Soviet Union, which
    resulted in the defense budget reaching its
    highest level as a percentage of total federal
    expenditures in the Cold War era and greatly
    expanding the military-industrial complex.

  • U.S.-Soviet relations further deteriorated when
    the Soviets built the Berlin Wall in order to
    stop the exodus of East Germans the Berlin Wall
    remained a symbol of the Cold War until 1989.
  • The Cuban missile crisis was the climactic
    confrontation of the Cold War, which occurred in
    October 1962, when American reconnaissance planes
    flying over Cuba photographed Soviet-built bases
    for ICBMs, which could reach U.S. targets as far
    as 2,200 miles away.

  • In a televised address, Kennedy confronted the
    Soviet Union and announced that the United States
    would impose a quarantineon all offensive
    military equipment intended for Cuba.
  • After a week of tense negotiations, both Kennedy
    and Khrushchev made concessions the United
    States would not invade Cuba, and the Soviets
    would dismantle the missile bases.
  • After the Cuban missile crisis Kennedy
    softened his Cold War rhetoric and began to
    strive for peaceful coexistence in 1963 the
    United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet
    Union agreed to stop testing nuclear weapons in
    the atmosphere, in space, and underwater
    underground testing would continue.

  • A new Washington-Moscow telecommunications hot
    line was established so that leaders could
    contact each other quickly during potential
  • Despite efforts at peaceful coexistence, the
    preoccupation with the Soviet military threat to
    American security remained a cornerstone of U.S.
    policy the Cold War, and the escalating arms
    race that accompanied it, would continue for
    another twenty-five years.

The Kennedy Assassination
  • On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, President
    Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald
    Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president.
  • Kennedys youthful image, the trauma of his
    assassination, and the sense that Americans had
    been robbed of a promising leader contributed to
    a powerful mystique that continues today.
  • This romantic aura overshadows Kennedys mixed
    record of accomplishments he exercised
    leadership in foreign affairs, but some remain
    critical of his belligerent stance toward the
    Soviet Union and lack of attention to domestic

Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society
  • The Momentum for Civil Rights

  • Johnson won the 1964 election in a landslide and
    used his energy and genius for compromise to
    bring to fruition many of
  • Kennedys stalled programs as well as many of his
    own. Those legislative accomplishmentsJohnsonsG
    reat Societyfulfilled and in many cases
    surpassed the New Deal liberal agenda of the

  • On assuming the presidency, Lyndon Johnson
    promptly pushed the passage of civil rights to
    appeal to a broad national audience and to
    achieve an impressive legislative accomplishment,
    which he hoped would place his mark on the
  • The Civil Rights Act passed in June 1964 its
    keystone, Title VII, outlawed discrimination in
    employment on the basis of race, religion,
    national origin, or sex.

  • The Civil Rights Act forced desegregation of
    public facilities throughout the South, yet
    obstacles to black voting remained.
  • To meet this challenge, civil rights activists
    mounted a major civil rights campaign in
    Mississippi known as Freedom Summer,which
    established freedom schools, conducted a voter
    registration drive, and organized the Mississippi
    Freedom Democratic Party.

  • The reaction of white southerners to Freedom
    Summer was swift and violent fifteen civil
    rights workers were murdered, and only 1,200
    black voters were registered.
  • To protest these murders, in March, 1965, King
    and other civil rights activists staged a march
    from Selma to Montgomery the marchers were
    attacked by mounted state troopers with tear gas
    and clubs, all of which was shown on national
    television that night.

  • Calling the episode an American tragedy,
    President Johnson redoubled his efforts to
    persuade Congress to pass the pending
    voting-rights legislation.
  • On August 6, Congress passed the Voting Rights
    Act of 1965, which suspended the literacy tests
    and other measures most southern states used to
    prevent blacks from registering to vote.

  • The Twenty-fourth Amendments outlawing of the
    federal poll tax, combined with the Voting Rights
    Act, allowed millions of blacks to register to
    vote for the first time.
  • In 1960 in the South only 20 percent of blacks of
    voting age had been registered to vote by 1964
    the figure had risen to 39 percent, and by 1971
    it was 62 percent.

More than a quarter of a million Americans,
including 50,000 whites, gathered on the Mall in
the nation's capital on August 28, 1963, to
pressure the government to support African
Americans' civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr.
mesmerized the crowd with his "I have a dream"
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  • Enacting the Liberal Agenda

  • When Johnson beat out Republican senator Barry
    Goldwater for the presidency in 1964, he achieved
    one of the largest margins in history 61.1
    percent of the popular vote.
  • Johnson used this mandate not only to promote the
    civil rights agenda but also to bring to fruition
    what he called The Great Society.

  • Wherever he acted, Johnson pursued an ambitious
    goal of putting an end to poverty in our time
    the War on Poverty expanded long-established
    social insurance programs, welfare programs (like
    Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food
    Stamps), and public works programs.
  • The Office of Economic Opportunity, established
    by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, created
    programs such as Head Start, the Job Corps,
    Upward Bound, Volunteers in Service to America,
    and the Community Action Program.

  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
    1965 authorized 1 billion in federal funds to
    benefit impoverished children the Higher
    Education Act provided the first federal
    scholarships for college students.
  • Federal health insurance legislation was enacted
    the result was Medicare for the elderly and
    Medicaid for the poor.

  • The creation of the National Endowment for the
    Arts and the National Endowment for the
    Humanities in 1965 supported artists and
    historians in their efforts to understand and
    interpret the nations cultural and historical
  • Another aspect of public welfare addressed by the
    Great Society was the environment Johnson
    pressed for expansion of the national park
    system, improvement of the nations air and
    water, and increased land-use planning.

  • At the insistence of his wife, Lady Bird,
    President Johnson promoted the Highway
    Beautification Act of 1965.
  • Liberal Democrats brought about significant
    changes in immigration policy with the passage of
    the Immigration Act of 1965, which abandoned the
    quota system of the 1920s.

  • By the end of 1965, the Johnson administration
    had compiled the most impressive legislative
    record of liberal reforms since the New Deal it
    had put issues of poverty, justice, and access at
    the center of national political life, and it
    expanded the federal governments role in
    protecting citizens welfare.
  • By the end of the decade, many of its programs
    were under attack limits that confronted it were
    the political necessity of bowing to pressure
    from various interest groups and limited funding
    for its programs.

  • The results of the War on Poverty were that the
    poor were better off in an absolute sense, but
    they remained far behind the middle class in a
    relative sense.
  • Democratic support for further governmental
    activism was hampered by a growing conservative
    backlash against the expansion of civil rights
    and social welfare programs.
  • After 1965, the Vietnam War siphoned funding away
    from domestic programs in 1966 the government
    spent 22 billion on the war and only 1.2
    billion on the War on Poverty. As Martin Luther
    King Jr. put it, the Great Society was shot down
    on the battlefields of Vietnam.

  • America in Vietnam From Truman to Kennedy
  • Into the Quagmire, 19451968

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America in Vietnam From Truman to Kennedy
  • Beginning in the 1940s, the United States became
    interested in supporting an anti Communist
    government in Vietnam. U.S. policymakers feared
    that the loss of any pro-Western government
    would prompt a chain reaction of losses in the
    region, termed the domino effect.

  • President Kennedy increased American involvement
    in the region, but after his assassination, top
    U.S. advisors argued that a full-scale
    deployment was needed in order to prevent the
    defeat of the South Vietnamese. President
    Johnson moved toward the Americanization of the
    war with Operation Rolling Thunder, a protracted
    bombing campaign that failed to incapacitate the
    North Vietnamese.

  • Vietnam was once a part of a French colony but
    was occupied by Japan during World
  • War II after the Japanese surrendered in 1945,
    Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh proclaimed Vietnam
    an independent nation, which began an eight-year
    war the Vietnamese called the French War of
  • Ho called on President Truman to support the
    struggle for Vietnamese independence,
  • but Truman ignored his pleas and instead offered
    covert financial support to the French.

  • Trumans reasons for supporting the French were
    concerns that newly independent countries might
    align with Communists maintaining good
    relations with France, whose support was crucial
    to the success of the new alliance the North
    Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the
    strategic roles Indochina was seen to play in
    reindustrializing Japan.

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  • In 1950, Soviet and Chinese leaders recognized
    Ho Chi Minhs republic in Vietnam in turn, the
    United States recognized the French-installed
    government of Bao Dai.
  • Truman and Eisenhower provided military support
    to the French in Vietnam Eisenhower argued that
    aid was necessary in order to prevent
    non-Communist governments from collapsing in a
    domino effect.
  • The 1954 Geneva accords partitioned Vietnam
    temporarily at the seventeenth parallel and
    committed France to withdraw its forces from the
    area north of that line and provided that voters
    in the two sectors would choose a unified
    government within two years.

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  • To prevent a Communist victory in Vietnams
    election, Eisenhower saw to it that a
    pro-American government took power in South
    Vietnam under the leadership of Ngo Dinh Diem.
  • Realizing that the popular Ho Chi Minh would
    easily win in both the North and South, Diem
    called off the reunification elections that had
    been scheduled for 1956, a move the United
    States supported.

  • Ngo Dinh Diem First President of the Republic of

  • After France removed itself from the region in
    1956, America replaced it as the dominant foreign
    power in the region.
  • Though Vietnam was too small a country to upset
    the international balance of power, Eisenhower
    and subsequent U.S. presidents viewed Vietnam as
    a part of the Cold War struggle to contain the
    Communist threat to the free world.

  • Between 1955 and 1961 the Eisenhower
    administration sent Diem an average of 200
    million a year in aid and stationed approximately
    675 American military advisors there.
  • In 1960, North Vietnam organized opponents in
    South Vietnam into the National Liberation Front
    (NLF) Kennedy increased the number of American
    military advisors, but sent no line troops, and
    also sent economic development specialists.

  • Kennedy adopted a new military doctrine of
    counterinsurgency soon the Green Berets of the
    U.S. Armys Special Forces were being trained to
    repel guerrilla warfare.
  • President Kennedy saw Vietnam as an ideal
    testing ground for the counterinsurgency
    techniques that formed the centerpiece of his
    military policy.

  • President Kennedy saw Vietnam as an ideal
    testing ground for the counterinsurgency
    techniques that formed the centerpiece of his
    military policy.
  • In 1960, North Vietnam organized opponents in
    South Vietnam into the National Liberation Front
    (NLF) Kennedy increased the number of American
    military advisors, but sent no line troops, and
    also sent economic development specialists.

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  • American economic aid did little good in South
    Vietnam, and the NLFs guerrilla forces
    (Vietcong) made considerable headway against
    Diems regime.
  • Anti-Diem sentiment flourished among peasants,
    who had been alienated by Diems strategic
    hamlet program, and Buddhists, who charged the
    government with religious persecution.

  • As opposition to Diem deepened, Kennedy decided
    the leader would have to be removed in a
    November 1963 U.S.-supported coup, Diem was
    driven from office and assassinated by South
    Vietnamese officers.
  • When Johnson became president, he continued and
    accelerated U.S. involvement in Vietnam to
    prevent charges of being soft on communism.

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Escalation The Johnson Years
  • After the removal of Diem, Secretary of Defense
    Robert McNamara and other top advisors argued
    that a full-scale deployment of forces was needed
    to prevent the defeat of the South Vietnamese.

  • Johnson knew that he needed congressional support
    or a declaration of war to commit U.S. troops to
    an offensive strategy, so he told the nation that
    North Vietnamese torpedo boats had fired on
    American destroyers in international waters in
    response to South Vietnamese amphibious attacks.

  • On August 7, 1964, Congress authorized the Gulf
    of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed Johnson to
    take all necessary measures to repel any armed
    attack against the forces of the United States
    and to prevent further aggression.
  • The Johnson administration moved toward the
    Americanization of the war with Operation Rolling
    Thunder, a protracted bombing campaign that by
    1968 had dropped a million tons of bombs on North

  • Operation Rolling Thunder intensified the North
    Vietnameses will to fight the flow of their
    troops and supplies continued to the south
    unabated as the Communists rebuilt roads and
    bridges, moved munitions underground, and built
    networks of tunnels and shelters.
  • A week after the launch of Operation Rolling
    Thunder, the United States sent its first ground
    troops into combat by 1968, more than 536,000
    American soldiers were stationed in Vietnam.

  • Vietnams countryside was threatened with
    destruction the massive bombardment plus a
    defoliation campaign seriously damaged
    agricultural production and thus the economy.
  • The dramatically increased American presence in
    Vietnam failed to turn the tide of the war yet,
    hoping to win a war of attrition, the Johnson
    administration assumed that American superiority
    in personnel and weaponry would ultimately
    triumph. C. American Soldiers Perspectives on
    the War

  • Approximately 2.8 million Americans served in
    Vietnam, at an average age of only nineteen some
    were volunteers, including 7,000 women enlistees.
  • Many soldiers served because they were drafted
    until 1973, when the nation shifted to an
    all-volunteer force, the draft stood as a
    concrete reminder of the governments impact on
    the lives of ordinary Americans.

  • Blacks were drafted and died roughly in the same
    proportion to their share of the draftage
    population black and white sons of the poor and
    the working class shouldered a disproportionate
    amount of the fighting.
  • Young men from more affluent backgrounds were
    more likely to avoid combat through student
    deferments, medical exemptions, and appointments
    to the National Guard, thus making Johnsons
    Vietnam policy more acceptable to the middle

  • Rarely were there large-scale battles, only
    skirmishes rather than front lines and conquered
    territory, there were only daytime operations in
    the areas the Vietcong controlled at night.
  • Racism was a fact of everyday life many soldiers
    lumped the South Vietnamese and the Vietcong
    together in the term gook.

Lieutenant Colonel John P. Vann (left) shown
during his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1963,
discussing a tactical decision.
  • Fighting and surviving under such harsh
    conditions took its toll cynicism and bitterness
    were common and the pressure of waging war under
    such conditions drove many soldiers to seek
    escape in alcohol or drugs.
  • As Womens Army Corps (WACs), nurses, and
    civilians serving with organizations such as the
    United Service Organization (USO), women
    volunteers witnessed death and mutilation on a
    massive scale.

The Cold War Consensus Unravels Public Opinion
on Vietnam
  • By the late 1960s, public opinion began to turn
    against the war in Vietnam television had much
    to do with these attitudes as Vietnam was the
    first televised war.
  • Despite glowing statements made on television, by
    1967, many administration officials privately
    reached a more pessimistic conclusion regarding
    the war.
  • The administration was accused of suffering from
    a credibility gap in 1966, televised hearings
    by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised
    further questions about U.S. policy.

  • Economic developments put Johnson and his
    advisors even more on the defensive the costs of
    the war became evident as the growing federal
    deficit nudged the inflation rate upward,
    beginning the inflationary spiral that plagued
    the U.S. economy throughout the 1970s.
  • After the escalation in the spring of 1965,
    various antiwar coalitions organized several mass
    demonstrations in Washington participants shared
    a common skepticism about the means and aims of
    U.S. policy and argued that the war was
    antithetical to American ideals.

The button on this fatigue hat belonging to a
veteran who served two tours of duty demonstrates
veterans' response to the many Americans who just
wanted to forget the war that the United States
failed to win. Because their war was so different
from other American wars, Vietnam veterans often
returned home to hostility or indifference. The
POW-MIA pin refers to prisoners of war and those
missing in action. This man was unusual in
serving two tours of duty in Vietnam most
soldiers served only one year.
Soldiers in previous wars had served "for the
duration, but Vietnam warriors had one-year
tours of duty a commander called it "the worst
personnel policy in history, because men had
less incentive to fight near the end of their
tour, wanting merely to stay alive and whole. The
U.S. military inflicted great losses on the
enemy, estimated at more than 200,000 by the end
of 1967. Yet it could claim no more than a
stalemate. In the words of infantryman Tim
O'Brien, who later became an award-winning
author, "We slay one of them, hit a mine, kill
another, hit another mine. . . . And each piece
of ground left behind is his the enemy's from
the moment we are gone on our next hunt.
Abe Fortas, a distinguished lawyer who had argued
a major civil rights case, Gideon v. Wainwright
(1963), before the Supreme Court, was a close
friend and adviser to President Lyndon Johnson.
This photograph of the president and Fortas taken
in July 1965 illustrates how Johnson used his
body as well as his voice to bend people to his
Student Activism
  • Youth were among the key protestors of the era.
  • The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), in
    their manifesto, the Port Huron Statement,
    expressed their disillusionment with the consumer
    culture and the gulf between the prosperous and
    the poor and rejected Cold War ideology and
    foreign policy.
  • The founders of SDS referred to themselves as the
    New Left to distinguish themselves from the
    Old Left of Communists and Socialists of the
    1930s and 1940s.

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  • At the University of California at Berkeley, the
    Free Speech Movement organized a sitin in
    response to administrators attempts to ban
    political activity on campus.
  • Many protests centered on the draft, especially
    after the Selective Service system abolished
    automatic student deferments in January 1966 in
    public demonstrations of civil disobedience,
    opponents of the war burned their draft cards,
    closed down induction centers, and broke into
    Selective Service offices and destroyed records.

  • Much of the universities research budget came
    from Defense Department contracts students
    demanded that the Reserve Officer Training Corps
    be removed from college campuses.
  • The Johnson administration had to face the
    reality of large-scale opposition to the war with
    protests like Stop the Draft Week and the
    siege on the Pentagon.

The Counterculture
  • The hippie symbolized the new counterculture, a
    youthful movement that glorified liberation from
    traditional social strictures.
  • Popular music by Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob
    Dylan expressed political idealism, protest, and
    loss of patience with the war and was an
    important part of the counterculture.

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  • Beatlemania helped to deepen generational divide
    and paved the way for the more rebellious,
    angrier music of other British groups, notably
    the Rolling Stones.
  • Drugs and sex intertwined with music as a crucial
    element of the youth culture as celebrated at the
    1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, which
    attracted 400,000 young people.

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  • In 1967, at the worlds first Human Be-In at
    San Franciscos Golden Gate Park, Timothy Leary,
    urged gatherers to turn on, tune in, and drop
    out the year 1967 was also the Summer of Love
    in which city neighborhoods swelled with young
    dropouts, drifters, and teenage runaways dubbed
    flower children.

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  • Many young people stayed out of the
    counterculture and the antiwar movement, yet
    media coverage made it seem that all of American
    youth were rejecting political, social, and
    cultural norms.

The Widening Struggle for Civil Rights
  • Once the system of legal, or de jure, segregation
    had fallen, the civil rights movement turned to
    the more difficult task of eliminating the de
    facto segregation, enforced by custom.

  • Outside the South, racial discrimination was less
    flagrant, but it was pervasive, especially in
    education, housing, and employment for example,
    Brown outlawed separate schools, but it did
    nothing to change the educational system where
    schools were all-black or all-white because of
    residential segregation.

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  • As civil rights leaders confronted northern
    racism, the movement fractured along generational
    lines older, established civil rights activists
    supported the nonviolent efforts of the Southern
    Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the
    National Association for the Advancement of
    Colored People (NAACP), while younger activists
    questioned the very goal of integration into
    white society and some embraced Black separatism

  • Black rage had expressed itself historically in
    demands for racial separation, espoused in the
    late nineteenth century by the Back to Africa
    Movement and in the 1920s by Marcus Garvey

  • Black separatism was revived by a religious group
    known as the Black Muslims, an organization that
    stressed black pride, unity, and self-help and
    was hostile to whites.
  • The Black Muslims most charismatic
    figure,Malcolm X, advocated militant protest and
    separatism, although he condoned the use of
    violence only for self-defense.
  • Malcolm X eventually broke with the Nation of
    Islam and was assassinated by three Black Muslims
    while delivering a speech in Harlem in 1965.

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  • A more secular black nationalist movement calling
    for black self-reliance and racial pride emerged
    in 1966 under the banner of Black Power the
    same year, the Black Panthers organization was
    founded to protect blacks from police violence.
  • Among the most significant legacies of black
    power was the assertion of racial pride as
    exhibited by many blacks insisting on the usage
    of Afro-American rather than Negro and the
    adoption of African clothing and hairstyles to
    awake interest in black history, art, and

  • Support for civil rights by white Americans began
    to erode when blacks began demanding immediate
    access to higher-paying jobs, housing, and
    education, along with increased political power,
    and when a wave of race riots began in 1964,
    primarily over the issue of police brutality.
  • The National Advisory Commission on Civil
    Disorders (the Kerner Commission) released a 1968
    report on the riots and warned that the nation
    was moving toward two separate and unequal
    societies one black, one white

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  • On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was
    assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, setting off
    an explosion of urban rioting in more than 100
    cities with his assassination, the civil rights
    movement lost the leader best able to stir the
    conscience of white America.

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  • The legacies of the civil rights movement were
    that segregation was overturned, federal
    legislation ensured protection of black
    Americans civil rights, southern blacks were
    enfranchised, and black candidates entered the
    political arena, yet more entrenched forms of
    segregation and discrimination persisted.

The Rights Revolution
  • The black civil rights movement provided an
    innovative model for other groups seeking to
    expand their rights.
  • The situation of Mexican Americans changed when
    the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)
    mobilized support for Kennedy and worked with
    other groups to elect Mexican American candidates
    to Congress.

  • Younger Mexican Americans rejected the
    assimilationist approach of their elders in
    1969, 1,500 students met in Denver to hammer out
    a new nationalist political and cultural agenda.
    They coined the term Chicano and organized a
    new political party, La Raza Unida (The United
    Race), to promote Chicano political interests.

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  • Chicano strategists also pursued economic
    objectives César Chávez organized the United
    Farm Workers (UFW), the first union to represent
    migrant workers successfully.
  • North American Indians suffered the highest
    levels of unemployment and poverty, the most
    inadequate housing, and the least access to
  • Some Indian groups became more assertive, taking
    the new label of Native Americans, embracing the
    concept of Red Power, and organizing protests
    and demonstrations. In 1968, the militant
    American Indian Movement (AIM) was organized.

  • As a method of protest, in 1969 Native Americans
    seized and occupied Alcatraz for over a year.
    Later, protesters occupied the Federal Bureau of
    Indian Affairs in Washington.
  • In February, 1973, AIM activists began an
    occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the
    site of an army massacre of the Sioux in 1890.
    The seventy-one-day siege, in which the Federal
    Bureau of Investigation (FBI) killed one
    protestor and wounded another, alienated many
    whites, but it spurred government action on
    tribal issues.

1968 A Year of Shocks
  • The Johnson administrations hopes for Vietnam
    evaporated when the Vietcong unleashed a massive
    assault, known as the Tet offensive, on major
    urban areas in South Vietnam.
  • The attack made a mockery of official
    pronouncements that the United States was winning
    the war and swung public opinion more strongly
    against the conflict.

  • Launched by the North Vietnamese in January 1968,
    the Tet Offensive took the war to major cities
    for the first time. NLF troops quickly occupied
    Hue, the ancient imperial city, and held it for
    nearly a month. Supported by aerial bombing, U.S.
    marines finally took back the city, street by
  • Nonetheless, the Tet Offensive was considered a
    psychological and propaganda victory for the Viet
    Cong, as it exposed the falsities previously set
    forth by General William Westmoreland and the
    Johnson Administration, and increased domestic
    opposition to the war.

  • Antiwar Senator Eugene J.McCarthys strong
    showing in the presidential primaries reflected
    profound public dissatisfaction with the course
    of the war and propelled Senator Robert Kennedy
    into the race on an antiwar platform.
  • On March 31, 1968, Johnson stunned the nation by
    announcing that he would not seek reelection he
    vowed to devote his remaining months in office to
    the search for peace, and peace talks began in
    May 1968.

  • The year 1968 also witnessed the assassination of
    Martin Luther King Jr. and its ensuing riots
    students occupied several buildings at Columbia
    University a strike by students and labor that
    toppled the French government and the
    assassination of Robert Kennedy, which shattered
    the dreams of those hoping for social change
    through political action.
  • The Democratic Party never fully recovered from
    Johnsons withdrawal and Robert Kennedys

  • At the Democratic convention, the political
    divisions generated by the war consumed the
    party outside the convention yippies
    demonstrated, diverted attention from the more
    serious and numerous activists who came to
    Chicago as delegates or volunteers.

  • The Democratic mayor of Chicago, Richard J.
    Daley, called out the police to break up the
    demonstrations. In what was later described as a
    police riot, patrolmen attacked protestors at
    the convention with Mace, teargas, and clubs as
    TV viewers watched, which only cemented a popular
    impression of the Democrats as the party of

  • Democrats dispiritedly nominated Hubert H.
    Humphrey and his running mate Edmund S.Muskie and
    approved a platform that endorsed continued
    fighting in Vietnam while diplomatic means to an
    end were explored.

  • The turmoil surrounding the civil rights and
    antiwar movements strengthened support for law
    and order many Americans were fed up with
    protest and dissent.
  • George Wallace, a third-party candidate,
    skillfully combined attacks on liberal
    intellectuals and government elites with
    denunciations of school segregation and forced

  • Richard Nixon tapped the increasingly
    conservative mood of the electorate in an amazing
    political comeback, winning the 1968 Republican
    presidential nomination.
  • On October 31, 1968, Johnson announced a complete
    halt to the bombing of North Vietnam Nixon
    countered by intimating that he had a plan for
    the end of the war, although he did not.

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  • On election day, Nixon received 43.4 percent of
    the vote to Humphreys 42.7 percent, defeating
    him by only 510,000 votes out of the 73 million
    that were cast, and Wallace finished with 13.5
    percent of the popular vote.

  • The closeness of the 1968 election suggested how
    polarized American society had become, and Nixon
    appealed to the silent majority.