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From Camelot to Watergate
Directions: Before you begin reading this chapter, in the column entitled “Anticipation” place a
check mark beside any of the following seven statements with which you now agree. When you
have completed your study of this chapter, come back to this section and in the column entitled
“Reaction” place a check mark beside any of the statements with which you then agree. Note any
variation in the placement of check marks from anticipation to reaction and explain why you
changed your mind.
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____
4. _____
5. _____
6. _____
7. _____
The American CIA trained the Cuban military forces _____ 1.
which, with President Kennedy’s approval, invaded
the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
The Cuban missile crisis ended when Premier
_____ 2.
Khrushchev was forced to back down and remove
Soviet missiles from Cuba.
President Kennedy, who had campaigned as a
_____ 3.
champion of civil rights for African Americans,
aggressively pressured a reluctant Congress to pass
a new Civil Rights bill.
As a result of the Tonkin Gulf incident, President
_____ 4.
Johnson asked for, and Congress passed, a declaration
of war against North Vietnam.
The 1968 Tet offensive was a military victory for the _____ 5.
United States, and a propaganda victory for the North
In 1972, twenty-three years after their victory in a
_____ 6.
civil war, President Nixon finally extended formal
U.S. diplomatic recognition to the Communist
government in China.
President Nixon was forced to resign when he refused _____ 7.
to surrender White House tapes to the House
Judiciary Committee that was investigating his presidency.
After reading Chapter 30 you should be able to:
Show how the civil rights movement changed American life.
Discuss the American role in the Vietnam War and how the war contributed to
domestic divisions.
Evaluate the successes and shortcomings of President Johnson’s Great Society social
Explain how President Nixon tried to wind down American involvement in Vietnam.
Explain how a “third-rate burglary” led to President Nixon’s resignation.
The Cuban Crises
As much a cold warrior as his predecessors, Kennedy proposed to challenge communist
aggression whenever and wherever required. Anti-Castro exiles were eager to organize an
invasion of their homeland, reasoning that the Cuban people would rise up against Castro and
communism as soon as “democratic” forces provided the leadership. Under Eisenhower, the
Central Intelligence Agency had begun training Cuban exiles in Nicaragua. In April 1961,
Kennedy approved their invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The expected popular support did
not materialize, the exiles surrendered, and the chaotic failure exposed Kennedy and the United
States to withering criticism.
Two months later, Kennedy met with Soviet Premier Khrushchev in Vienna. Furious over the
attempted invasion of his Cuban ally, Khrushchev threatened to grab West Berlin. In August, he
closed the border between East and West Berlin and erected a wall of concrete across the city to
prevent East Germans from fleeing to the West. Meanwhile, the Soviets resumed nuclear testing,
and Kennedy announced plans to build thousands of nuclear missiles capable of hitting targets
anywhere in the world. The United States also expanded its space program, as Kennedy vowed
to land a man on the moon within 10 years.
In secret, Kennedy ordered military leaders to plan for a full-scale invasion of Cuba and
instructed the CIA to undertake Operation Mongoose, a failed effort to assassinate Castro. Then,
Khrushchev precipitated the most dangerous confrontation of the Cold War when he moved
tanks, bombers, Soviet troops and technicians, and guided nuclear missiles to Cuba. When
American spy planes discovered the missile sites, Kennedy faced a dreadful decision. In the
wake of the Bay of Pigs he could not appear to back down, and if he invaded Cuba or bombed
Soviet bases and missile sites, Khrushchev might seize West Berlin or bomb the United States
missile site in Turkey.
Kennedy declared the Soviet’s buildup “deliberately provocative” and ordered the Navy to turn
back any vessel heading for Cuba that contained “offensive” weapons. He called on Khrushchev
to dismantle the missile sites in Cuba, and threatened to use nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union
if Cuban-based nuclear weapons attacked the United States. An impasse developed for days until
Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles in return for Kennedy’s lifting of the naval
blockade. Kennedy also promised not to invade Cuba and to withdraw U.S. missiles from
Turkey. To many, Kennedy’s handling of the crisis seemed to repair the damage done to his
reputation at the Bay of Pigs.
The missile crisis sobered Kennedy and Khrushchev. They agreed to install a telephone “hot
line” between the White House and the Kremlin, so that in future crises, leaders of the two
nations could communicate instantly. They also signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that
outlawed testing in the atmosphere. The failure of Khrushchev’s bluff proved so humiliating
within the Soviet Union that hardliners eventually forced him out of office. Leonid Brezhnev, his
successor, embarked on an intensive program of long-range missile development.
The Vietnam War
After the French withdrew from Vietnam in 1954, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem
canceled the unification elections planned for 1956, and the Eisenhower administration
dispatched weapons and military advisors to help Diem build a new nation. Ho Chi Minh, the
nationalist leader of the communist Viet Minh, decided to ignore Diem and consolidate his rule
in North Vietnam. The Viet Minh units that remained in the South—called the Vietcong—
formed secret cells and bided their time. In May 1959, Ho attempted to topple Diem; Vietcong
guerrillas infiltrated thousands of villages and assassinated government officials. By the time
Kennedy took office, Diem’s government was tottering, so the new president sharply increased
military and economic commitments to South Vietnam.
Diem’s government soon aroused the ire of the United States. Diem, a Catholic, cracked down
on the Buddhists and had thousands arrested and shot. In protest, some Buddhist monks were
martyred by setting themselves on fire in public. Unable to convince Diem to moderate his
policies, Kennedy sent word to dissident Vietnamese generals of his willingness to support them
if they ousted Diem. On November 1, 1963, several generals surrounded the presidential palace
with troops and tanks, seized Diem and killed him. Kennedy immediately recognized the
generals’ new government.
“We Shall Overcome”: The Civil Rights Movement
Since World War II, demand for change had developed in the South. Its roots lay in southern
industrialization, the impact of massive wartime expenditures and the GI Bill in that region, and
the gradual development of a southern middle class.
The change first came to national attention in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 when an AfricanAmerican seamstress, Rosa Parks, refused to yield her bus seat to a white passenger. Parks was
arrested, and protesting African Americans successfully boycotted the city bus lines. At the
forefront of the movement was African-American minister Martin Luther King, Jr., whose
oratorical skills helped raise national attention and funds for the cause. In 1956, the Supreme
Court ruled Montgomery’s bus segregation law unconstitutional. King formed the antisegregationist Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Other organizations joined the
struggle, notably the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Meanwhile in 1960, African-American students in Greensboro, North Carolina, staged a “sit-in”
by refusing to leave the lunch counter of a Woolworth’s chain store until they were served. The
students sparked a national movement of sit-ins. In May 1961, integrated civil rights foes of
segregation organized a “freedom ride” across the South to test federal regulations prohibiting
discrimination in interstate transportation. Other “freedom rides” followed, and the court cases
they provoked eventually broke down legal racial barriers throughout the South. Some African
Americans were less patient and followed the more militant message of black Muslim leaders
Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. They stressed “black nationalism,” and called upon African
Americans to be thrifty and industrious but to view whites with suspicion and hatred.
When he was jailed for leading demonstrations in Alabama, King outlined his policy of
nonviolent protest in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which explained why civil rights
advocates could no longer wait for justice. At first, a cautious President Kennedy urged state
officials to take the lead in enforcing desegregation. But the Birmingham encounter, which
involved the use of police dogs, water hoses, and electric-prod sticks against demonstrators,
prompted Kennedy to support a modest civil rights bill. To support the bill, civil rights forces
organized a march on Washington, attended by some 200,000 in August 1963. There King
delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, which looked forward to a time when racial prejudice no
longer existed.
Tragedy in Dallas: JFK Assassinated
In the fall of 1963, most observers believed that Kennedy could easily win a second term. Then,
while on a political tour in Dallas on November 22, he was shot in the head by an assassin, Lee
Harvey Oswald, and died almost instantly. Before he could be tried, Oswald was himself
murdered, in full view of television cameras. The fact that Oswald had defected to Russia in
1959 and had formed a pro-Castro movement when he returned to the United States convinced
some that a conspiracy lay at the root of the assassination. An investigation headed by Chief
Justice Earl Warren concluded that Oswald acted alone, but doubts persisted.
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Vice-President Lyndon Johnson succeeded Kennedy to the presidency. He could be heavyhanded or subtle, and also devious, domineering, persistent, or obliging, whatever might advance
his political interest. Johnson modeled his political career after Franklin Roosevelt, and he
considered social welfare legislation his specialty. Johnson sought to enact Kennedy’s unfinished
domestic agenda that had been largely blocked in Congress by a loose coalition of Republicans
and southern Democrats. In 1964, Congress passed Kennedy’s tax cut proposal and an expanded
version of his civil rights proposal became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Great Society
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination by employers against African Americans
and women, broke down certain legal barriers to African Americans voting in the South, and
outlawed most forms of segregation. Unlike his predecessors, Johnson also made sure that the
government enforced civil rights legislation.
Noting the number of poor people in an otherwise affluent society, Johnson proposed a war on
poverty to give poor people direct economic assistance and the opportunity to improve
themselves. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created the Job Corps and training programs
for the unskilled. The programs combined the concept of government aid for the needy with the
idea of individual accountability.
In 1964, Johnson won a term of his own by handily defeating conservative Arizona Senator
Barry Goldwater. Goldwater had opposed expanded social programs and advocated a tough
stance in foreign affairs. Johnson won a sweeping victory with the support of African Americans,
business interests, labor, and other traditional Democratic groups. Soon Great Society measures
were enacted on a scale reminiscent of the New Deal. The Medicare Act provided hospitalization
insurance and doctor’s coverage for the retired. Medicaid provided for grants to the states to pay
the medical expenses of poor people.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act supplied federal funds to school districts. Head
Start, a program for poor preschoolers, was designed to prepare them for elementary school and
became an unqualified success. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 authorized federal intervention to
protect African-American registration and voting in local, state, and federal elections. Other laws
passed at Johnson’s urging in 1965 and 1966 included the establishment of the National
Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and measures
supporting highway safety and beautification, crime control, clean air, slum clearance, and the
preservation of historic sites. The Immigration Act of 1965 did away with most provisions of the
national-origin system of admitting newcomers. Instead, 290,000 persons per year were to be
admitted on the basis of such factors as job skills and the need for political asylum.
Results of the Great Society programs were mixed. Because local districts misused the funds,
ESEA did not improve academic performance. Medicare and Medicaid provided good medical
treatment, but led to large increases in healthcare costs. The Job Corps had little measurable
effect on the unemployment rate.
Johnson Escalates the War
President Johnson greatly expanded the United States’ role in Vietnam. He decided to punish
North Vietnam directly for prosecuting the war in the South. In early 1964, he secretly ordered
American warships to escort the South Vietnamese navy on missions far into the Gulf of Tonkin.
During one of these spy missions, North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fired upon American
destroyers. Using this “incident” as pretext, Johnson obtained a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution from
Congress authorizing him to repel any future attacks. Under the same resolution, Johnson
subsequently dispatched combat troops to South Vietnam, and directed air attacks against targets
in North Vietnam.
President Johnson committed himself to pursuing the war to a military conclusion and believed
that he was defending freedom and democracy. The new American strategy was not to seize any
particular battlefield, but to kill as many of the enemy as possible through “search and destroy”
operations. The United States was engaged in a full-scale war never declared by Congress.
Opposition to the War
The war sharply divided the American public. Some critics of the war, such as Arkansas Senator
J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, viewed the struggle as a
civil war between the Vietcong and the South Vietnamese government, which they considered
repressive and undemocratic. Opponents of the war also objected to massive aerial bombings, the
use of napalm and defoliants, the killing of Vietnamese civilians by American troops, and, above
all, to the heavy loss of life—both American and Vietnamese.
The cost of the war came to exceed $20 billion a year. Because so many objected to the war,
Johnson did not ask Congress to raise taxes to underwrite the costs. Resulting deficits forced the
government to borrow huge sums, caused interest rates to soar, and pushed prices higher. As
human and financial costs mounted, the United States seemed a captive of the “superpower
mentality,” the arrogant belief that it was destined as a great power to act at any cost as a world
The Election of 1968
Opposition to Johnson’s war policies grew steadily, particularly on college campuses. Some
students thought that the United States had no business intervening in an Asian civil war, others
objected to being drafted, and still others opposed the use of education deferments for college
students while non-students were subject to the draft.
In November 1967, Minnesota Senator Eugene J. McCarthy announced that he would challenge
President Johnson’s renomination to put the Vietnam question before voters. Early in 1968,
North Vietnam and the Vietcong launched the Tet offensive. Though the Communists suffered
huge losses, the offensive had a devastating psychological impact in the United States, creating
an enormous shift of opinion against further escalation of the fighting. When it was learned that
Johnson planned to send more troops to South Vietnam, McCarthy polled a stunning 42 percent
of the Democratic vote in the New Hampshire primary.
McCarthy’s strength prompted New York Senator Robert Kennedy, brother of the slain
president, to enter the race. When Johnson removed himself from the race on March 31, VicePresident Humphrey, with the support of most party regulars, announced his candidacy. In the
closely-watched California primary, Kennedy emerged with a small margin of victory, but he
was assassinated by an Arab nationalist immediately after his victory speech. Kennedy’s death
ensured Humphrey’s nomination.
The Republicans gave Richard Nixon a second presidential nomination. To appeal to the South,
Nixon chose as his running mate Maryland Governor Spiro Theodore Agnew, who had criticized
the activities of African-American radicals in Baltimore during rioting, which occurred in the
aftermath of the King assassination. Many southerners, however, flocked to the candidacy of
Alabama’s conservative Democratic Governor George C. Wallace on the American Independent
party ticket. Wallace was anti-black and anti-intellectual, opposed forced desegregation of
schools, and denounced the “coddling” of criminals.
Humphrey’s nomination came amid rioting by police and antiwar activists at the Democratic
convention in Chicago. The violence played into the hands of Nixon, who, in making relatively
few public appearances, relied on television interviews and taped commercials prepared by an
advertising agency. Nixon pledged national unity, firm enforcement of the laws, and indicated
without offering specifics that he would “end the war and win the peace” in Vietnam. Nixon won
the election, but Democrats easily retained control of Congress.
Nixon as President: “Vietnamizing” the War
President Nixon proposed a phased withdrawal from Vietnam of all non-South Vietnamese
troops, with internationally supervised elections to follow. North Vietnam rejected the plan and
called on the United States to withdraw unconditionally. As the war dragged on, Nixon tried to
build up the South Vietnamese forces so that the Americans could leave, a strategy called
“Vietnamization.” These withdrawals did not quiet protestors, who declared “Vietnam
Moratorium Days.” Vice-President Agnew verbally assailed the demonstrators and Nixon
ignored them and appealed to the “silent majority” to support Vietnamization. Troop
withdrawals continued in an orderly fashion and casualties declined. A new lottery system for
drafting men for military service eliminated some inequities in the selective service law.
Meanwhile, it was learned that during the Tet offensive an American unit had massacred
civilians, including women and children, in the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai, a tragedy that
accented debate over the purposes of the war and its corrosive effects on the soldiers. My Lai and
the war continued to divide the public, and Nixon seemed uncertain as to the proper course to
pursue. Facing a dilemma, he tried to convince the public that he was firmly in control of events,
unwilling to admit his own uncertainty.
The Cambodian “Incursion”
In April 1970, a week after he announced that Vietnamization was proceeding well, Nixon
ordered thousands of troops to destroy communist “sanctuaries” in neutral Cambodia. He also
resumed bombing targets in North Vietnam. Nixon’s critics charged that these decisions to
resume escalation of the war were so unwise that they questioned if the president had become
mentally unbalanced.
Thousands of students opposed the Cambodian incursion. At Kent State University, National
Guardsmen, who were poorly trained in crowd control, suddenly opened fire on student
protesters, and four students were killed. In Mississippi, state policemen killed two AfricanAmerican students at Jackson State University. A wave of student strikes followed, and hundreds
of colleges were shut down. The condemnation of the invasion led Nixon to remove ground
forces from Cambodia, but he escalated the air attacks. In March 1972, Nixon ordered heavy
bombing when North Vietnam mounted assaults throughout South Vietnam, and he authorized
the mining of Haiphong and other northern ports to stop supplies from reaching the communists.
Détente with Communism
As the war continued, Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger drafted new
diplomatic strategies toward China and the Soviet Union. In February 1972, Nixon and Kissinger
flew to Beijing, where the United States agreed to support the admission of China to the United
Nations and to develop economic and cultural exchanges. The visit ended 20 years of American
refusal to acknowledge the communist conquest of China.
In May 1972, Nixon and Kissinger flew to Moscow, where the United States agreed to the first
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, and Nixon also permitted massive grain sales to the Soviets.
Nixon and Kissinger called the new policy détente, a French word meaning “relaxation of
tensions.” Shortly before the 1972 presidential election Kissinger announced peace to be “at
hand” in Vietnam.
Nixon in Triumph
President Nixon defeated South Dakota Senator George McGovern in a landslide in the 1972
presidential election. The coalition that Franklin Roosevelt had assembled came unglued, as only
African Americans voted solidly for McGovern. Nixon interpreted his reelection as a mandate
because he secured the votes of millions of traditional Democrats. Moreover, his “southern
strategy” shattered precedent by bringing the entire former Confederacy into the Republican
In January 1973, a settlement was signed in Vietnam, and the last troops and prisoners of war
began returning to the United States. Still, the North Vietnamese retained control of large
sections of the south. Nixon secretly pledged to South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu that
the United States would “respond with full force” if North Vietnam resumed its offensive. More
than 57,000 Americans had died in the long war, which cost $150 billion. Nearly a million
communists and 185,000 South Vietnamese soldiers were reported killed.
Domestic Policy Under Nixon
Nixon inherited an inflationary economy caused primarily by the military expenditures and easymoney policies of the Johnson administration. He balanced the 1969 budget and the Federal
Reserve Board forced up interest rates to slow the expansion of the money supply. But prices
continued to rise, and unions made large wage demands. In 1971, Nixon implemented a 90-day
price and wage freeze. He then established a commission to limit wage and price increases when
the freeze ended. These controls did not check inflation completely and angered unions, but they
did slow the upward spiral.
In other domestic matters, Nixon proposed a “minimum income” for poor families, a plan which
got nowhere among conservatives in Congress. He sought to shore up southern support for the
Republican party with the appointment of conservative “strict constructionists” to the Supreme
Nixon offered proposals to strengthen the presidency and reduce the interference of the federal
government in the affairs of individuals. In 1973, he replaced wage and price controls with
voluntary restraints. Prices thereafter soared. Nixon limited federal expenditures, halted social
welfare programs, reduced grants, and impounded (refused to spend) money appropriated by
Congress for purposes he opposed. Nixon’s staff claimed “executive privilege,” a doctrine never
before applied so broadly, when challenged about administration actions.
The Watergate Break-in
On June 17, 1972, five men affiliated with the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP)
broke into the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex of apartments and offices in
Washington, D.C. The burglars were part of an unofficial surveillance group known as “the
plumbers,” which was established to halt leaks to the press. Nixon denied that he or his party was
behind this incident and the matter had no impact on the 1972 election.
One burglar, James W. McCord, wrote Judge John Sirica that high officials had known about the
burglary in advance and had paid the defendants “hush money” to keep their connection secret.
The head of CREEP, Jeb Stuart Magruder, and Nixon’s counsel, John W. Dean III, confirmed
McCord’s charges. Dean claimed in testimony before a special 1973 Senate Watergate
committee that Nixon participated in efforts to cover up the break-in. The committee uncovered
other damaging disclosures of illegalities and financial improprieties.
Many found it difficult to believe that a president could lie to the entire country, but the
disclosure that Nixon’s office conversations and telephone calls had been taped prompted the
Senate committee to demand access to the tapes to determine the extent of Nixon’s involvement.
As Nixon’s poll standings declined, he named an independent special prosecutor to investigate
Watergate. When the prosecutor, Archibald Cox, sought access to White House tapes, Nixon
ordered his dismissal in what was called the “Saturday Night Massacre” of October 20, 1973.
Cox’s dismissal caused an outburst of public indignation and prompted the House Judiciary
Committee to consider impeachment of Nixon.
Nixon then named a new special prosecutor and promised him access to pertinent documents.
Nixon surrendered tapes to Judge Sirica with the understanding that the evidence would be
presented to the grand jury, not the public. Some tapes were missing, and an important section of
one had been erased.
More Troubles for Nixon
Along with the Watergate affair, other morale-shattering crises developed. The nation faced a
serious grain shortage, which caused wheat prices to more than triple. Then Vice-President
Agnew resigned after pleading no contest to evading taxes on bribes received while he was the
executive of Baltimore County and governor of Maryland. Acting under the six-year-old
Twenty-fifth Amendment, Nixon nominated House Republican Leader Gerald Ford of Michigan
to succeed Agnew.
After Agnew’s exodus, it was disclosed that Nixon had paid only about $1,600 in income taxes
during two years in which his earnings had exceeded half a million dollars. Nixon claimed that
his returns had been legal because he had taken a deduction for the gift of his vice-presidential
papers to the National Archives. The tax dispute further eroded Nixon’s reputation.
The Judgment on Watergate: “Expletive Deleted”
Special prosecutor Leon Jaworski continued the investigation of Watergate. In March 1974, a
grand jury indicted the highest ranking members of the president’s staff and named Nixon an
“unindicted co-conspirator.” Meanwhile, the IRS announced that Nixon’s deductions on his
income taxes had been unjustified, and he agreed to pay nearly half a million dollars in taxes and
Transcripts of the Nixon tapes convinced the public that Nixon had abused his office. When
Jaworski subpoenaed additional tapes in search of more decisive evidence, Nixon refused to
obey the subpoena. In United States v. Nixon the Supreme Court forbade Nixon use of executive
privilege for purposes of withholding evidence “demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial.” Faced
with likely impeachment and conviction, Nixon complied with the subpoena.
In the summer of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee adopted three articles of impeachment
against Nixon. They charged the president with obstructing justice, misusing the powers of his
office, and failing to obey the committee’s subpoenas. Nixon at first refused to resign, for he
expected to hold the support of at least 34 senators needed to escape any conviction of
impeachment that might be voted on by the full House. On August 5, however, a “smoking gun”
tape revealed that Nixon had tried to obstruct justice by engaging the CIA to persuade the FBI
not to follow up leads about Watergate on grounds of national security. With that disclosure,
Nixon’s remaining congressional support crumbled. Impeachment by the House and conviction
by the Senate seemed certain.
The Meaning of Watergate
Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974; Vice-President Ford was sworn in as his successor at noon
the next day. Within weeks of taking office, Ford pardoned Nixon for whatever crimes he may
have committed in office. To many, the pardon seemed premature because Nixon had not been
officially charged with any crime. In fact, he seemed without remorse and unaware of his
transgressions. Some question whether Nixon could have permanently altered the political
system had he weathered Watergate. His exaggerated view of executive privilege may have
reflected his need for reassurance that he was an effective leader.
Define the following:
freedom rides _____________________________________________________________
“search and destroy” ________________________________________________________
impoundment _____________________________________________________________
executive privilege _________________________________________________________
“the best and the brightest” __________________________________________________
“expletive deleted” _________________________________________________________
Describe the following:
Vietcong _________________________________________________________________
Warren Commission ________________________________________________________
Montgomery bus boycott ____________________________________________________
“Letter from Birmingham Jail”________________________________________________
Job Corps ________________________________________________________________
Head Start ________________________________________________________________
SALT I __________________________________________________________________
Medicare/Medicaid _________________________________________________________
Operation Mongoose _______________________________________________________
Minutemen _______________________________________________________________
“I Have a Dream”__________________________________________________________
Identify the following:
Robert S. McNamara _______________________________________________________
Lee Harvey Oswald ________________________________________________________
Malcolm X _______________________________________________________________
Barry M. Goldwater ________________________________________________________
Eugene McCarthy __________________________________________________________
Robert F. Kennedy _________________________________________________________
Hubert H. Humphrey _______________________________________________________
George C. Wallace _________________________________________________________
George Ball _______________________________________________________________
Henry A. Kissinger _________________________________________________________
George S. McGovern _______________________________________________________
John J. Sirica _____________________________________________________________
Refer to the Southeast Asian map below. Place the correct letter that corresponds with the
location of the following:
Mekong River
North Vietnam
My Lai
Phnom Penh
South Vietnam
Multiple-Choice Questions
President Kennedy was stung early in his administration by a failed U.S. foreign policy
at My Lai.
at the Bay of Pigs.
in the Gulf of Tonkin.
in Operation Mongoose.
In 1962, Premier Khrushchev precipitated the most dangerous confrontation of the Cold
War when he
A. erected a concrete wall between East and West Berlin.
B. unilaterally ordered the resumption of the Soviet nuclear testing program.
C. secretly placed guided nuclear missiles into Cuba.
D. refused to allow Richard Nixon to visit the Soviet Union.
Pressure for change in the postwar South came from all of the following EXCEPT
A. the vast wartime expenditures by the federal government for bases and defense
industries in the South.
B. presidential pressure on southern politicians to modernize the South.
C. the development of an African-American middle class in southern cities.
D. the impact of the GI Bill on southern colleges.
In the 1950s, southern civil rights activists used all the following tactics EXCEPT
freedom rides.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington,
D.C. in 1963 to support
A. the Montgomery bus boycott.
B. civil rights demonstrators jailed in Birmingham.
C. the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
D. President Kennedy’s civil rights bill.
Which one of the following is NOT true of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
A. Like its many predecessors, it lacked enforcement authority.
B. It outlawed discrimination by employers against African Americans.
C. It outlawed discrimination by employers against women.
D. It prohibited racial segregation in most places of public accommodation.
All of the following were social programs initiated by President Johnson EXCEPT
A. the War on Poverty.
B. the Job Corps.
C. Head Start.
D. the Peace Corps.
President Johnson’s Great Society programs included all of the following legislation
A. Clean Air Act.
B. Medicare Act.
C. Voting Rights Act.
D. Economic Opportunity Act.
President Johnson’s Great Society programs
A. helped poor people get better-paying jobs.
B. lowered the cost of medical care.
C. significantly improved most secondary school students’ performance.
D. better prepared preschool children for elementary school.
In July 1965, just before he escalated U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, one of
President Johnson’s advisors told him that the U.S. could not win in Vietnam and that the
U.S. should withdraw, even if that meant South Vietnam would fall to the communists.
That advisor was
A. Robert McNamara.
B. McGeorge Bundy.
C. George Ball.
D. Henry Kissinger.
Match the president with the connection his administration had to Vietnam.
A. Truman
1. aid to the French in postwar Indochina
B. Kennedy
2. military advisors and support for the generals who overthrew
C. Johnson
3. military and economic aid to the Diem government
D. Eisenhower
4. first to send combat troops to South Vietnam and bombers to
North Vietnam
A. A1, B2, C3, D4
B. A2, B3, C4, D1
C. A3, B4, C1, D2
D. A1, B2, C4, D3
Vietnam war opponents opposed the war for all of the following reasons EXCEPT
A. it was a civil war in which the United States should not be meddling.
B. its expense was driving up taxes.
C. it was producing an unconscionably heavy loss of life.
D. the military draft was interfering in the plans of young men.
The Tet offensive was a
A. military victory for the United States, and a psychological victory for the Vietcong.
B. military victory for the Vietcong, and a psychological victory for the United States.
C. military and psychological victory for the United States.
D. military and psychological victory for the Vietcong.
In the political fallout after the Tet offensive, _____ announced he was a candidate for
A. Robert F. Kennedy
B. Eugene McCarthy
C. Richard Nixon
D. Barry Goldwater
In the 1968 election, Democrats won all of the following EXCEPT
A. control of Congress.
B. a majority of the popular vote, but not the electoral college.
C. African-American voters.
D. support from the urban poor.
Upon becoming president in 1969, Richard Nixon saw his chief task was to
A. end U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
B. control inflation.
C. reduce the authority of the federal government.
D. restore dignity to the office of the president.
“Vietnamization” refers to
A. calls for an American military victory in the war.
B. encroachment of the communists into South Vietnam.
C. what happened to U.S. troops during their tour of duty in Vietnam.
D. Nixon’s plan for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.
President Nixon’s policy of détente meant all of the following EXCEPT
A. U.S. exports to China would increase dramatically.
B. the Soviet Union and the United States would conclude a strategic arms agreement.
C. the United States would support China’s admission into the United Nations.
D. the Soviet Union and China would mediate an end to the Vietnam war.
The peace settlement between the United States and North Vietnam included all of the
following EXCEPT
A. withdrawal of all U.S. forces from South Vietnam.
B. prompt return of all U.S. prisoners of war.
C. withdrawal of all North Vietnamese forces from South Vietnam.
D. an immediate ceasefire.
In the Watergate crisis, the House Judiciary Committee drew up three charges of
impeachment against President Nixon. They included all of the following EXCEPT
A. obstruction of justice.
B. misuse of the powers of the office.
C. income tax evasion.
D. failure to obey the committee’s subpoenas.
Essay Questions
Discuss the key election of 1968 in reference to parties, primaries, nominees, strategies,
tactics, issues, outcome, and long-range significance.
Evaluate President Johnson’s and Nixon’s Vietnam policies and show how they
immersed the United States in the war in Vietnam and eventually led to the removal of
American forces from Southeast Asia.
Explain how the reality of the Kennedy administration was often at odds with the image
of Camelot.
Show how the Watergate affair forced Richard Nixon from office and diminished his
standing in history.
Discuss the promises, shortcomings, and long-term significance of President Johnson’s
Great Society.
The terms “liberal” and “conservative” are used in history and political science to refer to
opposite shades of opinion on the issues. Identify each of the following points of view, referring
to issues between 1963 and 1974, as “L” for liberal, or “C” for conservative.
Considered the limited use of atomic weapons in Vietnam but insisted such weapons
would not be needed if the nation were fully committed to a military victory
Placed faith in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty
Opposed Nixon’s wage and price guidelines on principle as well as practicality
Stressed personal responsibility in formulating social programs to assist the poor
Felt that many poor persons lacked motivation and had become alienated from society
because of their own shortcomings, not the lack of opportunity
Urged an emphasis on “butter” over “guns” in the allocation of national resources
Considered a “minimum income” for the poor to be an unwise repudiation of supplyand
Stressed desegregation of public schools more than integration
Was partial to Nixon-Kissinger détente
____10. Endorsed George McGovern’s plan to funnel money directly to the poor
____11. Backed the appointment of “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court
____12. Believed that the United States was not exerting sufficient military might in Vietnam.
____13. Felt that a nation as affluent as the United States could handily fund “Great Society”
programs for the downtrodden
____14. Receptive to some arguments raised by Wallace though he may have voted for Nixon
____15. Repudiated suggestions that the Clean Air Act of 1965 would cost jobs in certain vital
industries without bringing much improvement in the environment
____16. Believed that the Viet Cong were “nationalists” who wanted a better life and
independence for South Vietnam
____17. Denounced the bombing of civilian targets in Vietnam
____18. Emphasized that Mao Zedung was responsible for the deaths of 30 to 60 million people
____19. Initially regarded Fidel Castro too undisciplined and too unpredictable to be a member
of the Communist party
____20. Believed that the media misled the public about the military progress made by United
States troops in Vietnam