Ballston spa high school advanced Placement United States History spring semester january 2012

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The Presidency of John F. Kennedy

Foreign Policy Developments


Domestic Policy Developments

The Bay of Pigs Invasion (Cuba) fails for lack of planning and air support.
Decision is made to expand U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

The first Americans died in Vietnam
East Germans erect the Berlin Wall surrounding Soviet East Berlin.
Soviets put the first man (Yuri Gagarin) into earth orbit. Kennedy vows to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.


Kennedy is inaugurated to lead America into the "New Frontier.
Student volunteers begin taking bus trips through the South to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities, which includes bus and railway stations. Several of the groups of “Freedom Riders” as they are called, are attacked by angry mobs along the way. The program, sponsored by The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), involves more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white

U-2 photo evidence reveals Soviet missals are being placed in Cuba, starting the confrontation known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth.


Rachel Carson Publishes Silent Spring (1962) which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented portion of the American public the book inspired led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Federal troops sent in to de-segregate the University of Mississippi.

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issues the Port Huron statement. - Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Formed in 1962 in Port Huron, Michigan, SDS condemned anti-Democratic tendencies of large corporations, racism and poverty, and called for a participatory Democracy.
We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit”

James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Violence and riots surrounding the incident cause President Kennedy to send 5,000 federal troops.

Medgar Evers Mississippi's NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old is assassinated

A direct teletype link (the "Hot Line") is made between the White House and the Kremlin.
Diem, who proved to be a ruthless dictator, was overthrown and killed in a military coup that the United States approved; by the end of the year, 73 Americans had died in Vietnam


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers the "I Have a Dream" speech to the marchers in Washington, D.C.
On November 22, Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, according a Warren Commission report. Others rely on conspiracy theories.

Lyndon Baines Johnson succeeds Kennedy and vows to follow through on JFK's plans for Civil Rights, launching his "Great Society" agenda.

Gideon v. Wainwright upholds a defendant's right to legal counsel.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes his seminal "Letter from Birmingham Jail," arguing that individuals have the moral duty to disobey unjust laws.
Four young girls (Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins) attending Sunday school are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupt in Birmingham, leading to the deaths of two more black youths
Betty Friedan Publishes The Feminine Mystique

The Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson

Foreign Policy Developments


Domestic Policy Developments

While campaigning for President, Lyndon Johnson said “We are not about to send American boys 10,000 miles from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
An incident involving American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam prompts a "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" allowing the president to use all means necessary, including armed force to assist South Vietnam.


LBJ and the Great Society

Lyndon Baines Johnson succeeds Kennedy and vows to follow through on JFK's plans for Civil Rights, launching his "Great Society" agenda.
The landmark Civil Rights Act is passed. Johnson is challenged by conservative Republican Barry Goldwater for president, but wins in a landslide.
Escobedo v. Illinios – ruled that a defendant must be allowed access to a lawyer before questioning by police

The New Left ideology promotes the concept of a "counterculture" against the "Establishment" (Don't trust anyone over 30.)

The 24th Amendment abolishes the poll tax, which originally had been instituted in 11 southern states after Reconstruction to make it difficult for poor blacks to vote.
President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The law also provides the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation

American commitment of ground forces in Vietnam reach nearly 200,000.

Feb. The US states bombing North Vietnam

April- The United States begins to use combat troops to fight against North Vietnam. By the end of the year, the United States had 185,000 troops in Vietnam.
Protests begin at United States colleges and universities- protestors concentrate on teach-ins


The Great Society legislation is launched: Medicare/Medicaid, Voting Rights Act, "affirmative action," Job Corps, Head Start, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), etc.
Malcom X black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is shot to death. It is believed the assailants are members of the Black Muslim faith, which Malcolm had recently abandoned in favor of orthodox Islam.

Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal.

In August, riots break out in the Watts section of Los Angeles.
Black Muslim leader Malcolm X is assassinated.

American troops in Vietnam reach nearly 400,000.


Miranda v. Arizona - verdict leads to the use of so-called "Miranda rights"

National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.

National Guardsmen put down a massive riot in Chicago.

"Black power" becomes the anthem of Stokely Carmichael of the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee).
The militant
Black Panthers are founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.

American troops in Vietnam number nearly 500,000
Domestic opposition to the war also turns to resistance- March on the Pentagon, draft card burning


Nearly 200,000 antiwar protesters march on the Pentagon.

Kerner Commission reports that our nation is becoming two societies, "one black, one white— separate but unequal."

In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court rules that prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional. Sixteen states that still banned interracial marriage at the time are forced to revise their laws.

American troops in Vietnam peak at over 538,000.
Jan- Tet Offensive- A major push by North Vietnam and the Vietcong showed Americans that the war, despite what our government was saying, was far from over. General Westmoreland, who had our 500,000 troops, wanted 208,000 more.
1968, during Tet, the Vietnam lunar new year - Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army raiding forces attacked provincial capitals throughout Vietnam, even seizing the U.S. embassy for a time. U.S. opinion began turning against the war.
March- President Johnson announced a bombing halt and that he wouldn’t seek re-election.
March, 1968 - An American unit destroyed the village of My Lai, killing many women and children. The incident was not revealed to the public until 20 months later. Lt. Calley, who led the patrol, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years for killing 20 people.

New President Richard M. Nixon begins the policy of Vietnamization by gradually substituting South Vietnamese troops for American troops


Lyndon Johnson withdraws from presidential consideration.

In April, Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. Riots explode across the country.

Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy is assassinated on the eve of his California primary


New Left ideology leads to the disruption of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (Trial of the Chicago Seven, including Tom Hayden).
Martin Luther King, at age 39, is shot as he stands on the balcony outside his hotel room. Escaped convict and committed racist James Earl Ray is convicted of the crime.
President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.
Vice-President Hubert Humphrey nominated to face Richard Nixon in the fall presidential election.

Nixon wins on the basis that he has a secret plan to end the Vietnam War (or at least America's involvement).

Nixon secretly begins bombing Viet Cong strongholds in Cambodia.
Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first men to walk on the moon.


The concert at Woodstock draws top names in music and hundreds of thousands of young people.

TRANSITION to THE 1970s AND 1980s

While the 1970s began with very few controversial issues (besides bringing an end to the conflict in Vietnam), they would soon begin a trend that continues in American life where we see the public react and respond politically to an ever-changing array of foreign and domestic issues. The 1980s would see a return to conservatism with the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  

The Presidency of Richard Nixon

Foreign Policy Developments


Domestic Policy Developments

Nixon initiates foreign policy with so-called "Nixon Doctrine"


Bombing of Laos and Cambodia begins in an effort to cut off North Vietnam from its lines of supply


Shooting of protesters by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State
The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre, occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis


The Supreme Court, in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, upholds busing as a legitimate means for achieving integration of public schools. Although largely unwelcome (and sometimes violently opposed) in local school districts, court-ordered busing plans in cities such as Charlotte, Boston, and Denver continue until the late 1990s.

Nixon makes historic trips to China (opening informal relations with the U.S. for the first time since 1949/first trip to China by an American president) and the USSR another first trip for an American president basic principles of détente signed
Nixon ordered heaviest bombing of the war
SALT I Agreement - Strategic Arms Limitations Talks by Nixon and Brezhnev in Moscow in May, 1972. Limited Anti-Ballistic Missiles to two major departments and 200 missiles


Break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters (Watergate). The burglars were later found to be working for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP)

Investigation of Watergate break-in expands (Woodward/Bernstein)

Minnesota Senator George McGovern is eventually nominated to challenge Nixon. He selects Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate. Within days, it is revealed that Eagleton had received electro-shock treatments as part of his psycho-therapy. He is replaced by former Peace Corps director and Kennedy in-law, R. Sargent Shriver
Nixon sweeps 49 states in the November election. McGovern only carries Massachusetts and not even his native Minnesota.
Nixon's New Federalism instituted with revenue-sharing/block grants to state and local governments

American troops leave Vietnam as South Vietnam assumes the full responsibility of the war effort (Vietnamization)
American assistance to Israel during the Yom Kippur War resulted in an Arab Oil Embargo engineered by the Arab majority of OPEC
Cease fire agreements were formally signed and the draft was ended.
Paris Accord- (January 7, 1973) U.S. signed a peace treaty with North Vietnam and began withdrawing troops. On April 25, 1975, South Vietnam was taken over by North Vietnam, in violation of the treaty.


Scope of the Watergate investigation expands
Roe v. Wade The court legalized abortion by rulings the state laws could not restrict abortion during the first three months of pregnancy
Special Watergate prosecutor appointed, C. Archibald Cox, who was later fired by Solicitor General Robert Bork (later nominated for the Supreme Court by Reagan—appointment denied)
Impeachment hearings begin ,Vice President Spiro Agnew convicted on income tax charges, resigns
War Powers Act, 1973
Gave any president the power to go to war under certain circumstances, but required that he could only do so for 90 days before being required to officially bring the matter before Congress.
Rep. Gerald Ford appointed Vice President

The Presidency of Gerald Ford

Foreign Policy Developments


Domestic Policy Developments


Federal grand jury indictments against Watergate conspirators

Articles of impeachment drafted and passed by the House

US vs. Nixon the court rejected Richard Nixon’s claim to an absolute unqualified privilege against any judicial process
Nixon resigns as President. Ford sworn in as President and names former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President
Ford pardons Nixon - U.S. economy shows signs of weakness as inflation begins to climb

The Mayagüez incident involving the Khmer Rougein Cambodia on May 12-15, 1975, marked the last official battle of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Vietnam falls to Communism


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