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Modern America 1960-2000


Modern America 1960-2000 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Modern America 1960-2000

Modern America1960-2000
  • The election of 1960 was between Eisenhowers
    Vice President, the communist hunter, Richard M.
    Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy from
  • In the first ever televised presidential debate
    the young and fresh-looking Kennedy appealed to
    the new television generation
  • Kennedy was only the second Roman Catholic to be
    nominated for president and he had an
    Irish-American background
  • But at 43 Kennedy became the youngest president

  • Kennedys tenure was nicknamed the Camelot years
  • The First Lady was the fashionable socialite
    Jackie Kennedy who did as much to promote the
    country as her husband
  • With television the public could see the
    president playing with his children and on
    vacation and they relate to him as a family man
  • Kennedy called his agenda the New Frontier and
    he wanted to extend the New Deal
  • However even the Democratic Congress refused to

  • One of the presidents goals was to put the first
    man on the moon
  • In 1961 Alan Shepard, Jr., became the first
    American in space
  • In 1962 astronaut John Glenn, Jr., became the
    first American to orbit the Earth
  • Congress rejected Medicare a social security
    program for the elderly
  • Equally, Kennedys strong support for the Civil
    Right movement cost him the support of many
  • November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated in
  • While Oswald was being moved from Dallas jail to
    another he was assassinated by Jack Ruby

  • The Warren Commission determined the assassin Lee
    Harvey Oswald had acted alone and there was no
  • Kennedy was succeeded by his Vice President
    Lyndon Baines Johnson from Texas
  • Johnson was a skilled politician and he was able
    to push much of Kennedys legislation through
  • Johnsons plan was to create the Great Society
  • With Kennedy seeming to be a martyr, Congress was
    more receptive to passing Johnsons agenda
  • Medicare passed in 1965, as did Medicaid (paid
    for medical needs of the poor)
  • Johnson urged the nation to wage unconditional
    war on poverty in America

War on Poverty
  • In response to Johnsons request Congress created
    the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Job
    Corps, and VISTA
  • In the 1964 election Johnson faced the Republican
    Barry Goldwater of Arizona who was ultra
    conservative and against big government and civil
  • Johnson won because the Democrats portrayed
    Goldwater as an extremist
  • In the early 1960s the economy was strong and
    could support the Vietnam War and social programs
    but gradually the cost of the war forced a
    reduction in social spending

  • The Republicans nominated Richard Nixon again
  • Nixon called for a return of law and order and
    appealed to Middle America which was a good
    move after the liberalism of Kennedy and Johnson
  • Nixon won and with his Vice President Spiro Agnew
    he set out to promote New Federalism
  • His main goal was revenue sharing allowing the
    states some flexibility in spending federal money
  • His money made more money available but also
    created inflation

  • Years of spending on the war and social programs
    started to drain the economy and led to
  • Stagflation is a stagnant economy with inflation
  • To avoid a disaster Nixon used Keynesian
    economics and abandoned any idea of balancing the
  • The economy improved, the debt increased

  • In 1970 the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was passed and
    lowered the voting age from 21 to 18
  • In the Korean War and Vietnam there had been no
    declaration of war and the president had sent
    troops Congress demanded more power
  • In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Resolution
    (over Nixons veto). The Resolution limited the
    presidents use of troops to 90 days without
    congressional approval

  • In June 1972 5 burglars at the Watergate Hotel in
    Washington D.C. had been arrested
  • When they talked it became clear they were part
    of a scheme to bug the Democratic national
  • Nixon insisted he was not involved, but as the
    investigation progressed it became clear to all
    who was involved
  • Nixon agreed to appoint an independent
    prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in an effort to clear
    his name

  • Cox ordered Nixon to cooperate in response Nixon
    ordered Cox be fired
  • In what became known as the Saturday Night
    Massacre Two government officials resigned
    rather than fire Cox. A third official obliged
  • In May, 1974 the House set up a special committee
    to consider impeachment
  • While all this was going on Agnew was forced to
    resign because of bribery charges. Nixon
    appointed Gerald Ford the new Vice President
  • The Supreme Court ruled Nixon could not hide
    behind executive privilege
  • When it was clear Nixon was involved he resigned

Gerald Ford
  • Nixon resigned and was replaced by Ford
  • Soon after taking office Ford pardoned Nixon
  • In the wake of Watergate the activities of the
    FBI and CIA were investigated Kennedy had hired
    a mobster to assassinate Castro and Nixon had the
    president of Chile overthrown
  • Because a weak economy and distrust after
    Watergate the Democrats won the White House in

Jimmy Carter
  • Carter was a liberal from Georgia who succeeded
    by claiming to be a Washington outsider
  • Carter faced the same economic problems that had
    confronted Nixon and Ford
  • He got into trouble with his own party when he
    tried to cut pork-barrel spending
  • Carter made human rights his main agenda
  • He was able to bring Israel and Egypt together
    for talks at Camp David in 1978 leading to a
    treaty the following year

Central America
  • Carter was interested in promoting social and
    political change in Latin America to stop
  • In 1977 two treaties about the Panama Canal
    reached Congressa) Panama would run the
    waterwaybefore taking over control in 1999b)
    Guaranteed the neutrality of the waterway, but
    allowed for the US to use force to defend the
  • The Senate ratified the treaties by one vote

  • Hard-line Republicans such as Ronald Reagan
    wanted to keep control of the canal
  • In 1989 when the US was tired of the antics of
    Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega the launched
    a military raid to kidnap the dictator
  • Noriega was put on trial in Miami and convicted
    of drug trafficking

  • In 1979 Leftist forces ousted the US-backed
    dictator of Nicaragua
  • The rebels called themselves Sandinistas
  • The Sandinistas tried to organize a rebellion in
    neighboring El Salvador before the US stepped in
  • The United States helped secretly organize
    counterrevolutionaries Contras
  • President Reagan wanted to keep everything secret
    in case the people thought this was another
  • When the policies became public Congress withdrew
    aid for the Contras

  • Reagan persuaded friendly governments to help
    finance the rebellion
  • Administration officials even used a secret fund
    of money that had been collected by selling arms
    to the Iranians
  • Investigations into the Iran-Contras affair
    lasted months, but no evidence was found to
    attach blame to Reagan

The End of the Cold War
  • President Reagan was a hard-line anticommunist
    who increased military spending
  • In 1983 he launched his costly and controversial
    Star Wars Initiative (SDI) to defend the United
    States from attack by using satellites
  • The program was abandoned in the 1990s as
    ineffective and too costly
  • In the 1980s the control of the Soviet Union was
    being challenged by a union group in Poland,
    known as Solidarity

  • In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the head of the
    Communist party and started to reform the Soviet
  • He cut military spending and restarted détente
    with the United States and western Europe
  • In 1987 at the Washington summit the two leaders
    signed the INF Treaty to limit nuclear missiles
  • In 1988 George Bush, who had been Reagans Vice
    President became president
  • In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down ending the Cold
  • In 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved and the
    Commonwealth of Independent States appeared

The First Gulf War
  • In 1990 Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded
    neighboring Kuwait
  • The UN approved military action to liberate
  • In January 1991 the US-led Operation Desert Storm
    started and lasted until February 28 1991 when
    Kuwait was liberated

The 1992 Election
  • Despite the success of Operation Desert Storm the
    economy was faltering badly
  • Bush did little to help and in the months
    following the war he watched his approval rating
  • By the time of the election people were looking
    for a change
  • The Democrats nominated the youthful governor of
    Arkansas, Bill Clinton
  • The Republicans re-nominated George Bush

  • The election changed when billionaire businessman
    Ross Perot ran as an independent
  • Perot appealed to conservatives who wanted fiscal
  • In July Perot announced he was not going to
    finish the race, but then in October he
    re-entered the contest
  • In the election Perot took 19 of the popular
    vote mostly dissatisfied Republicans
  • Clinton won the election and promoted himself as
    a new Democrat
  • But in the 1994 off-year elections the
    Republicans captured both Houses of Congress

  • With control of Congress the Republicans
    attempted to stop the president
  • By the time of the 1996 election the economy was
    riding the dot com boom and Clinton easily
    defeated Bob Dole
  • However the Clintons were already being
    investigated for illegal investments in Arkansas,
    known as the Whitewater case
  • The president was also charged with having an
    affair with a 22-year old intern, Monica
    Lewinsky, and lying under oath
  • In December 1999 the House voted to impeach the

  • The verdict was not guilty of perjury and
    obstruction of justice, so the president was
    allowed to remain in office
  • Nevertheless his integrity was badly damaged and
    in the election of 2000 the president was of
    little help to his Vice President Al Gore
  • In one of the most controversial elections in
    history George W. Bush, the governor of Texas and
    son of the former president defeated Al Gore by 5
    electoral votes
  • The main issue was the counting of votes in
    Florida (25 electoral votes). The Supreme Court
    stopped the recounting which gave the votes to
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