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Chapter 39
The Stalemated
Seventies, 1968–1980
I. Sources of Stagnation
• Causes of the slump in productivity:
• The increase of women and teenagers in the work
• The declining investment in new machinery
• The heavy costs of compliance with governmentimposed safety and heath regulations
• The general shift of the American economy from
manufacturing to services
• The Vietnam War precipitated painful economy
– It drained tax dollars from needed improvements in
education; deflected scientific skill and manufacturing
capacity from the civilian sector
I. Sources of Stagnation
– Inflation causes:
• Rising oil prices in the 1970s
• Deepest roots lay in deficit spending in the 1960s
• Especially Lyndon Johnson’s insistence on
simultaneously fighting the war in Vietnam, funding
of the Great Society programs at home
• Military spending and welfare spending are inherently
– Because they put money into people’s hands without
adding to the supply of goods that those dollars can buy.
I. Sources of Stagnation
– Inflation effects:
• Prices increased astonishingly throughout the 1970s
• The cost of living tripled in the decades after Nixon’s
inauguration—in the longest and steepest inflationary
cycle in American history
• The nation’s economy was laid bare by the abrupt
reversal of America’s financial fortunes
• Companies had small incentives to modernize plants
and seek more efficient methods of production
• Now a stalemated, unpopular war and a stagnant
unresponsive economy heralded the end of the selfconfident postwar era
Figure 39-1 p916
II. Nixon “Vietnamizes” the War
– Inaugurated on January 20, 1969, Richard Nixon
• An unlikely conciliator of the clashing forces ripping
apart American society
• Solitary and suspicious by nature, he could be brittle
and testy in the face of opposition
• Harbored bitter resentments against the “liberal
• Yet, he brought one huge valuable asset to the White
– His broad knowledge and thoughtful expertise in foreign
– Applied himself to put America’s foreign-policy in order.
II. Nixon “Vietnamizes” the War
• Vietnamization policy:
– Was to withdraw the 540,000 U.S. troops in
South Vietnam over an extended period
– The South Vietnamese—with American money,
weapons, training, and advice—could then
gradually take over the burden of fighting their
own war
• Nixon Doctrine thus evolved:
– Proclaimed that the United States would honor
its existing defense commitments
II. Nixon “Vietnamizes” the War
• But in the future, Asians and others would have to
fight their own wars without the support of large
bodies of American ground troops
– He sought not to end the war, but to win it by other means
– Without the spilling of American blood
• Antiwar protesters staged a massive national Vietnam
moratorium in October 1969
• Nixon launched a counteroffensive by appealing to
the silent majority who presumably supported the
– His appeal was in fact deeply divisive
– Became clear when Agnew attacked the “nattering nabobs
of negativism” who demanded a quick end to the war
II. Nixon “Vietnamizes” the War
– Nixon himself in 1970 sneered at the student antiwar
demonstrators as “bums”
– By January 1970 the Vietnam conflict:
• Had become the longest in American history
• With 40,000 killed and over 250,000 wounded
• The third most costly foreign war in the nation’s
• Became grotesquely unpopular, even among the
troops in the field
– The armed forces in Vietnam were largely
composed of the least privileged young
II. Nixon “Vietnamizes” the War
• African Americans were disproportionately
represented in the army and accounted for the
highest share of combat fatalities
– The soldiers:
• Black and white fought the Vietnamese
• But also the booby-trapped swamps and steaming
• Drug abuse, mutiny, and sabotage dulled the army’s
fighting edge
• Morale plummeted, with rumors that soldiers were
“fragging” their own officers—murdering them with
fragmentation grenades.
II. Nixon “Vietnamizes” the War
• My Lai Massacre:
– American troops had murdered innocent women
and children in the village of My Lai
– Caused domestic disgust with the war
– Call for a quick end to the demoralizing conflict
– Nixon widened the war in 1970 by ordering an
attack on Vietnam’s neighbor, Cambodia.
III. Cambodianizing the Vietnam War
– On April 29, 1970 Nixon, without consulting
Congress, ordered
• American troops to join with the South Vietnamese
• To clean out the enemy sanctuaries in officially
neutral Cambodia
– There were a lot of campus riots over this move
• At Kent State University in Ohio, jumpy National
Guard fired into a noisy crowd, killing four and
wounding many more
• At historically black Jackson State College, Mississippi,
the highway patrol discharged volleys, killing 2
III. Cambodianizing the Vietnam
War (cont.)
• The nation fell prey to turmoil as rioters and arsonists
convulsed the land.
– Nixon withdrew the American troops from Cambodia on June 29, 1970, after only two months
– Results of the Cambodian invasion:
• Deepened the bitterness between “hawks” and
• Disillusionment with “whitey’s war” increased among
African Americans in the armed forces
• The Senate (but not the House) overwhelmingly
repealed the Gulf of Tonkin blank check that Congress
gave to Johnson in 1964
III. Cambodianizing the Vietnam
• American youth were only slightly mollified when the
government reduced the draft calls
• And shortened the period of draftability, on a lottery
basis, from eight years to one year
• They were pleased, though not pacified, when the
Twenty-sixth Amendment in 1971 lowered the voting
age to eighteen (see the Appendix)
• New combustibles fueled the fires of antiwar
discontent in June, 1971:
– When a former Pentagon official leaked to the New York
Times the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study
that documented the blunders and deceptions of the war,
especially the provoking of the 1964 North Vietnamese
attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
IV. Nixon’s Détente with Beijing
(Peking) and Moscow
• Nixon—the road out of Vietnam ran through
Beijing and Moscow:
• The two great Communist powers, the Soviet Union
and China, were clashing with each other over their
rival interpretation of Marxism
– Nixon perceived that the Chinese-Soviet tension afforded
the United States an opportunity to play off one antagonist
against the other
– And to enlist the aid of both in pressuring North Vietnam
into peace
– Henry Kissinger had been meeting secretly with the North
Vietnamese officials in Paris to negotiate an end to the war
in Vietnam
IV. Nixon’s Détente with Beijing
(Peking) and Moscow (cont.)
– He was meanwhile preparing the president’s path to Beijing
and Moscow
– In July 1971 Nixon announced to the nation that he had
accepted an invitation to visit Communist China the
following year
– He made his historic journey in February 1972
– He capped his visit with the Shanghai Communiqué:
» In which the two nations agreed to “normalize” their
» Important part of the accord was America’s acceptance
of a “one-China” policy
» Implying a lessened American commitment to the
independence of Taiwan.
IV. Nixon’s Détente with Beijing
(Peking) and Moscow (cont.)
– Nixon next traveled to Moscow in May 1972:
» To play his “China card” in a game of high-stakes
diplomacy in the Kremlin
» The Soviets were ready to deal with the United States.
• Nixon’s visit ushered in an era of détente:
– Relaxed tension—with the two communist powers
• And produced several significant agreements in 1972
– Including a three year arrangement with the United States
to sell the Soviets at least $750 million worth of wheat,
corn, and other cereals
– Most important, the United States and the USSR agreed to
an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty
» Which limited each nation to two clusters of defensive
IV. Nixon’s Détente with Beijing
(Peking) and Moscow (cont.)
» And to a series of arms-reduction negotiations known
as SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks)
» Aimed at freezing the numbers of long-range missiles
for five years.
– The ABM and SALT accords were a first step toward slowing
down the arms race
– The United States forged ahead with the development of
“MIRVs” (multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles)
» Designed to overcome any defense by “saturating” it
with large numbers of warheads.
» The Soviets proceeded to “MIRV” their missiles
» And the arms race sped up to a perilous plateau, with
over 16,000 nuclear warheads deployed.
IV. Nixon’s Détente with Beijing
(Peking) and Moscow (cont.)
• Nixon’s détente diplomacy did, to some
extent, deice the Cold War:
– Nixon continued to remain staunchly anticommunist
• He opposed the election of the outspoken Marxist
Salvador Allende to the presidency of Chile in 1970
• Allende died from an army attack on his headquarters
in 1973
• Washington warmly embraced Allende’s successor,
military dictator General Augusto Pinochet
• Nixon’s actions set the stage for the United States exit
from Vietnam.
V. A New Team on the Supreme
• Nixon and the Supreme Court
• Nixon lashed out against the “permissiveness” and
“judicial activism” of the Warren Court
• The court’s decisions reflected its deep concern for
the individual, no matter how lowly
• In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) the Court struck
down a state law that prohibited the use of
contraceptives, even among married couples
• In 1963 the Court held (Gideon v. Wainwright) that all
criminal defendants were entitled to legal counsel,
even if they were too poor to afford it
V. A New Term on the Supreme
Bench (cont.)
• Escobedo (1964) and Miranda (1966) ensured the
right of the accused to remain silent and enjoy
• Miranda warning –police officers must read to
– These rulings sought to prevent abusive police
tactics, but seemed to conservatives to coddle
criminals and subvert law and order.
V. A New Term on the Supreme
Bench (cont.)
– Conservatives objected to the Court’s views on
• Engel v. Vitale (1962) and School District of Abingdon
Township v. Schempp (1963)
• Justices argued that the First Amendment’s
separation of church and state meant that public
schools could not require prayer or Bible reading
• Social conservatives raised anew the battle cry
“Impeach Earl Warren” (see p. 868)
– From 1954 the Court came under relentless
criticism, the bitterest since New Deal days.
V. A New Term on the Supreme
Bench (cont.)
• Fulfilling campaign promises, Nixon undertook to change the Court’s philosophical
• He sought appointees who would strictly interpret
the Constitution:
– Cease “meddling” in social and political questions
– Not coddle radicals or criminals
• He appointed Warren E. Burger to succeed Earl
Warren on his retirement
• Before the end of 1971, Nixon had appointed four
conservatives out of the nine members.
V. A New Term on the Supreme
Bench (cont.)
• Nixon’s lesson to be learned:
– Once seated on the high bench,
• The justices are fully free to think and decide
according to their own beliefs, not according to the
president’s expectations
– The Burger Court:
– Proved reluctant to dismantle the “liberal” rulings of the
Warren Court
– It produced the most controversial judicial opinion, the
momentous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973
» Which legalized abortion (see. 932)
VI. Nixon on the Home Front
• Nixon presided over significant expansion of
the welfare programs that conservative
Republicans routinely denounced:
– He approved increased appropriations for entitlements like
Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC)
– Adding a new program: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
to assist the indigent, aged, blind, and disabled
– He signed legislation in 1972 for automatic Social Security
cost-of-living increases.
– In 1969 he implemented his so-called Philadelphia Plan:
» Requiring trade unions to establish “goals and timetables” for hiring of black apprentices.
VI. Nixon on the Home Front
• The Philadelphia Plan:
• Required thousands of employers to meet hiring
quotas or to establish “set-asides” for minority
• Dramatically altered the meaning of “affirmative
action” to protect individuals against discrimination
– Nixon now transformed and escalated affirmative action
into a program that conferred privileges on certain groups
– The Supreme Court went along with Nixon’s approach
– In Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) the Court prohibited
intelligence tests or other devices that had the effect of
excluding minorities or women from certain jobs.
VI. Nixon on the Home Front
• The only sure protection against charges of discrimination was to hire minority workers
– Or admit minority students—in proportion to their presence
in the population
– Critics saw this as “reverse discrimination.”
– Nixon’s legacies:
• The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA): concern for the environment
• Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962); piece of muckraking that exposed the poisonous effects of
VI. Nixon on the Home Front
• On April 22, 1970, millions of environmentalists
around the world celebrated the first Earth Day:
To raise awareness and to encourage leaders to act
The Congress passed the Clean Air Act (1970)
The Endangered Species Act (1973)
EPA on the frontline of the battle for ecological sanity
» And made notable progress in reducing automobile
emissions and cleaning up befouled waterways and
toxic waste sites.
• The federal government expanded its regulatory
reach on behalf of workers and consumers
• 1970 Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) into law
VI. Nixon on the Home Front
– Creating an agency dedicated
» To improving working conditions
» Preventing work-related accidents and death
» Issuing safety standards
• The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
– Holding companies accountable for selling dangerous
• In 1971 Nixon imposed a ninety-day wage and price
• He took the United States off the gold standard and
devalued the dollar
• These two rules ended the “Bretton Woods” system
of international currency stabilization that had
functioned for a quarter of a century after World War
II (see p. 841).
VI. Nixon on the Home Front
– Elected as a minority president:
• With only 43% of the vote in 1968
• He devised a clever but cynical plan—called the
southern strategy—
To achieve a solid majority in 1972
Appointing conservative Supreme Court justices
Soft-pedaling civil rights
Opposing school busing to achieve racial balance.
VII. The Nixon Landslide of 1972
• Election of 1972:
– Foreign policy dominated the presidential
• Vietnam continued to be the burning issue
– Nixon promised to end the war and “win” the peace
– When the North Vietnamese burst through the
demilitarized zone separating the two Vietnams, Nixon
reacted promptly by launching massive bombing attacks
– He also ordered the dropping of contact mines to blockade
the principal harbors of North Vietnam
– The continuing Vietnam conflict spurred the rise of South
Dakota senator George McGovern to the 1972 Democratic
VII. The Nixon Landslide of 1972
• George McGovern:
– Promised to pull the remaining American troops
out of Vietnam in ninety days:
• Earned him the backing of a large antiwar element in
the party
• His appeal to racial minorities , feminists, leftists, and
youth alienated the traditional working-class of his
• Richard Nixon:
• Emphasized that he had wound down the
“Democratic war” in Vietnam from 540,000 to about
VII. The Nixon Landslide of 1972
• His candidacy received an added boost 12 days before
the election from Henry Kissinger announcing that
“peace is at hand” in Vietnam and that an agreement
would be reached in a few days
• Nixon won the election in a landslide:
– Won all states except Massachusetts and the nonstate
District of Columbia (see Appendix)
– He received 520 electoral votes to 17 for McGovern
– Popular majority of 47,169,911 to 29,170,383 votes.
• McGovern counted on the young people’s vote, but
less than half the 18-20 age group even bothered to
register to vote.
VII. The Nixon Landslide of 1972
– The dove of peace, “at hand” in Vietnam just
before the balloting, took flight after the election
• Fighting escalated in Vietnam
• Nixon launched a furious two-week bombing
• North Vietnamese negotiators agreed to a cease-fire
in the Treaty of Paris on January 23, 1973, nearly
three months after peace was prematurely
• Nixon hailed it as “peace with honor”
• The United States was to withdraw its remaining
27,000 troops, and reclaim 560 American prisoners of
VIII. The Secret Bombing of Cambodia
and the War Powers Act
• Continual warfare in Cambodia:
– In July 1973 it was learned that the U.S. Air Force
had secretly conducted 3,500 bombings
• While these forays were going on, American officials,
including the president, had sworn that Cambodian
neutrality was being respected
• Defiance followed secretiveness:
– In January 1973 Nixon brazenly continued large-scale
– He repeated vetoed congressional efforts to stop him.
VIII. The Secret Bombing of
Cambodia and the War Powers
– The years of bombing inflicted grisly wounds on
• Blasting its people
• Shredding its economy
• Revolutionizing its politics.
– The long-suffering Cambodians groaned under
the sadistic heel of Pol Pot:
• 2 million of his people were dispatched to their graves
• He was eventually forced from office.
VIII. The Secret Bombings of
Cambodia and the War Powers
• War Powers Act in November 1973:
– Passed over Nixon’s veto
• It required the president to report to Congress within
forty-eight hours after committing troops to a foreign
conflict or “substantially” enlarging combat units
• Such a limited authorization would have to end within
sixty days unless extended by Congress for 30 days
• The War Powers Act was one manifestation of what
came to be called “New Isolationism,” a mood of
caution and restraint
• The draft ended in January 1973
• Future members of armed forces were volunteers
IX. The Arab Oil Embargo and the
Energy Crisis
• Yom Kippur War:
– The Middle East erupted in October 1973
• Syria and Egypt attacked Israel to regain land lost
during the Six-Day War, 1967
• Kissinger flew to Moscow in an effort to restrain the
Soviets, who were arming the attackers
• Nixon placed America’s nuclear forces on alert and
ordered a gigantic airlift of $2 billion in war materials
to the Israelis
• The Israelis aggressively turned the tide and threatened Cairo itself.
IX. The Arab Oil Embargo and the
Energy Crisis (cont.)
– America’s policy of backing Israel against its oilrich neighbors exacted a heavy penalty:
• In October 1973, OPEC nations announced an
embargo of the United States and several European
allies supporting Israel, especially the Netherlands
• The oil-rich Arab states cut their oil production
• The shortage triggered a major economic recession,
not only in the United States, but France and Britain
– The “energy crisis” energized long-deferred
• Congress approved a costly Alaska pipeline
• National speed limit of 55 miles per hour to cut costs
IX. The Arab Oil Embargo and the
Energy Crisis (cont.)
• Agitation movement of heavier use of coal and
nuclear power
– The 5 months of the Arab “blackmail” embargo
in 1974 signaled the end of an era
• The era of cheap and abundant energy
• Since 1948 the United States had been a net importer
American oil production peaked in 1970, than declined
Americans had tripled their usage since World War II
Automobiles increased 250% between 1949-1972
By 1974 America was oil-addicted and extremely vulnerable
to any interruption in supplies.
XI. The Arab Oil Embargo and the
Energy Crisis (cont.)
• OPEC quadrupled its price for crude oil after
lifting the embargo in 1974
– Results:
• Huge new oil bills disrupted the U.S. balance of international trade
• Added further fuel to the raging fire of inflation
• U.S. took the lead to form the International Energy
Agency in 1974:
– Counterweight to OPEC
– And various sectors of the economy
– Dawning age of energy dependency
X. Watergate and the Unmaking of a
• Watergate scandal:
• On June 17, 1972, 5 men were arrested in the
Watergate apartment-office complex in Washington:
– Planning to plant electronic “bugs” in the Democratic
party’s headquarters
– Soon revealed they were working for the Republican
Committee to Re-Elect the President, “CREEP”
• Nixon administration’s “dirty tricks”
– Watergate break-in one of them
– Forging documents to discredit Democrats
– Using the Internal Revenue Service to harass innocent
citizens named on a White House “enemies list”
X. Watergate and the Unmaking of
a President (cont.)
– Burglarizing the office of the psychiatrist who had treated
the leaker of the Pentagon Papers
– Perverting the FBI and the CIA to cover the tricksters’ tracks.
• Vice-President Agnew was forced to resign October
1973 for taking bribes about the Watergate Affair in
– Nixon denied any prior knowledge of the break-in
– And any involvement in the legal proceedings against the
– John Dean III, former White House lawyer, accused top
White House officials, including the president:
» Of obstructing justice by trying to cover up Watergate
and silence its perpetrators.
X. Watergate and the Unmaking of
a President (cont.)
– Another White House aide revealed a secret taping system
had recorded most of Nixon’s Oval Office conversations
– Nixon, citing his “executive privilege,” refused to hand over
the tapes
– On October 20, 1973 he ordered the “Saturday Night
Massacre” firing of his own special prosecutor appointed to
investigate the Watergate scandal and other White House
– Responding to the House Judiciary Committee’s demand for
the tapes, Nixon agreed in spring 1974 to release “relevant”
portions of the tapes
– On July 24, 1974 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that
“executive privilege” gave him no right to withhold evidence
– Nixon reluctantly complied.
X. Watergate and the Unmaking of
a President (cont.)
– Nixon made public three subpoenaed tapes of
conversations with his chief aide on June 23, 1972
– The notorious “smoking gun” tape (see p. 927) revealed the
president giving orders, six days before the Watergate
break-in, to use the CIA to hold back an inquiry by the FBI.
– Nixon’s own tape-recorded words convicted him of being
– House Judiciary Committee drew up articles of impeachment based on:
» Obstruction of justice
» Abuse of presidential power
» Contempt of Congress.
X. Watergate and the Unmaking of
a President (cont.)
– The public wrath proved to be overwhelming:
• Republican leaders in Congress concluding he was
• They informed him that his impeachment by the full
House and removal by the Senate were foregone
conclusions and that he would do best to resign:
• He announced his resignation in a dramatic television
appearance on August 8, 1974
– The nation had survived a wrenching constitutional crisis
– Proved the Founding Fathers’ impeachment machinery
could work
X. Watergate and the Unmaking of
a President (cont.)
• The principles that no person is above the law, and
that presidents must be held to strict accountability
for their acts, were strengthened
• The United States of America had cleaned its own
sullied house
– Giving an impressive demonstration of self-discipline and
self-government to the rest of the world.
XI. The First Unelected President
• Gerald Randolph Ford
– The first man to be made president solely by a
vote of Congress:
– Entered the White House on August 1974 with
serious handicaps:
• He had been selected as vice president, following
Spiro Agnew’s resignation in disgrace
• The sour odor of illegitimacy hung about this
president without precedent
• Ford granted a complete pardon to Nixon for any
crimes he may have committed as president,
discovered or undiscovered.
XI. The First Unelected President
• Ford as president:
– First sought to enhance the so-called détente
with the Soviet Union that Nixon had crafted
– 1973 he joined 30 world leaders at Helsinki,
Finland, to sign several historic accords
• One wrote an end to World War II by legitimizing
Soviet boundaries of Poland and Eastern European
• In return the Soviet signed a “third basket”
XI. The First Unelected President
– Guaranteeing more liberal exchanges of people and
information between East and West
– Promote certain “basic human rights.”
• Reactions to the Helsinki accords:
– Small dissident movements in Eastern Europe and some in
the USSR
– West Germany cheered it as a milestone of détente
– American grain and technology flowed to the USSR, little of
importance flowed back
– Moscow continued its human rights violations, including
restrictions on Jewish emigration—prompted Congress to
add punitive restrictions to a U.S. Soviet trade bill
– Ford clung stubbornly to détente.
XI. The First Unelected President
• But the American fury over Moscow’s double-dealing
– Steadily mounted so that by the end of his term the
president was refusing even to pronounce the word détente
in public
• The thaw in the Cold War was threatening to prove
chillingly brief.
XII. Defeat in Vietnam
– Early in 1975 the North Vietnamese gave full
throttle to their long-expected drive southward
• Without U.S. aid, the South Vietnamese quickly and
ingloriously collapsed
• Last Americans evacuated on April 29, 1975
• Also rescued were 140,000 South Vietnamese:
– Ford compassionately admitted these people to the United
States, where they added further seasoning to the melting
– Eventually some 500,000 arrived (see pp. 930-931)
• America’s longest, most frustrating war
ended not with a bang but with a whimper.
XII. Defeat in Vietnam
– Technically America did not lose the war; their
client nation had
– The cost of the war:
• 118 billion in current outlays
• 56,000 dead and 300,000 wounded
– The people of the United States had in fact provided just
about everything, except the will to win—and that could not
be injected by outsiders
– America had lost more than a war:
Lost face in the eyes of foreigners
Lost its own self-esteem
Lost confidence in its military prowess
Lost much of the economic muscle–global leadership.
XIII. Feminist Victories and
• American feminists:
• Although they had their differences, showed vitality
and momentum:
– They won legislative and judicial victories
– Provoked an intense rethinking of gender roles (see pp. 934935)
– Thousands marched in the Women’s Stride for Equality on
the fiftieth anniversary of woman suffrage in 1970
– In 1972 Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments
» Prohibiting sex discrimination in any federally assisted
educational program or activity
XIII. Feminist Victories and
Defeats (cont.)
• It created opportunities for girls’ and women’s
athletics at schools and colleges:
– Giving birth to a new “Title IX generation” that would
mature in the 1980s and 1990s
– It helped professionalize women’s sports.
– The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the
Constitution won congressional approval 1972:
• 28 of the necessary 38 states quickly ratified the
amendment, first proposed by suffragists in 1923
• Hope rose that the ERA might soon become the law
of the land.
XIII. Feminist Victories and
Defeats (cont.)
– Even the Supreme Court seemed to be on the
movement’s side:
• In Reed v. Reed (1971) and Frontiero v. Richardson
(1973) the Court challenged sex discrimination in
legislation and employment
• Landmark case of Roe v. Wade (1973)
– The Court struck down laws prohibiting abortion, arguing
that a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy was
protected by the constitutional rights of privacy.
XIII. Feminist Victories and
Defeats (cont.)
– The feminist movement faced a formidable
• 1972 Nixon vetoed a proposal to set up national
public day centers
– It would weaken the American family
• Antifeminists blamed the women’s movement for the
rising divorce rate, which tripled between 1960-1970
• The Catholic Church and the religious right organized
a powerful grassroots movement to oppose the
legalization of abortion.
XIII. Feminist Victories and
Defeats (cont.)
• For many feminists the most bitter defeat
was the death of the ERA:
– Led by Phyllis Schlafly:
• Argued that the ERA would remove traditional
protections that women enjoyed by forcing the law to
see them as men’s equals
• Further believed that the amendment would threaten
the basic family structure
• In 1979 Congress extended the deadline for ratification, but opponents dug in their heels
• The ERA died in 1982, three states short of success.
XIV. The Seventies in Black and White
• Race remained an explosive issue in the
– The Supreme Court in Milliken v. Bradley (1974)
blindsided school integrationists:
• When it ruled that desegregation plans could not
require students to move across school-district lines
• Effectively exempted suburban districts from
shouldering any part of the burden of desegregating
inner-city schools:
– Reinforcing “white flight” from cities to suburbs
– It pitted the poorest, most disadvantaged elements of the
white and black communities against one another
XIV. The Seventies in Black and
White (cont.)
• Affirmative-action programs remained highly
– Whites charged “reverse discrimination,”
charging their rights had been violated:
– Allan Bakke: Supreme Court upheld his claim that his
application to medical school had been turned down
because of an admissions program that favored minority
– University of California at Davis medical school had to admit
– Yet the Court ruled that racial factors might be taken into
account in admissions policy.
XIV. The Seventies in Black and
White (cont.)
– Native Americans:
• Used the courts and well-planned acts of civil disobedience
• They wanted to assert their status as separate semisovereign peoples
• They seized the island of Alcatraz in1970 and the
village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1972
• In United States v. Wheeler (1978) the Supreme Court
declared that Indian tribes possessed a “unique and
limited” sovereignty, subject to the will of Congress
but not to individual states.
XV. The Bicentennial Campaign
• America’s 200th birthday, in 1976, fell during
a presidential election year
– Gerald Ford, Republican nomination in his own
right, defeated Ronald Reagan, who ran as a
conservative candidate
– Democratic James Earl (“Jimmy”) Carter, Jr., a
dark horse candidate
• He ran against the memory of Nixon and Watergate as
much as against Ford.
XV. The Bicentennial Campaign
• Election results:
– Carter 51% of the popular vote; electoral count
at 297 to 240
• He won all states except Virginia in his native South
• 97% of the African American vote was Carter’s
• Had hefty Democratic majorities in both houses
• Carter as president:
• Enjoyed notable success as Congress granted his
request to create the Department of Energy
• And to cut taxes
XV. The Bicentennial Campaign
• Popularity remained high:
– Even though he pardoned some ten thousand draft evaders
of the Vietnam War era:
• Didn’t last long:
Campaigned against the Washington “establishment”
Never quite made the transition to being an insider himself
Repeatedly rubbed congressional fur the wrong way
He isolated himself in a shallow pool of fellow Georgians
» Whose ignorance of the ways of Washington
compounded the problems of their greenhorn chief.
XVI. Carter’s Humanitarian Diplomacy
• Carter displayed an overriding concern for
“human rights” as the guiding principle of his
foreign policy
– In Rhodesia and South Africa he and his U.N.
ambassador, Andrew Young, championed black
– His most spectacular foreign policy achievement:
September 1978 when he invited President
Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister
Menachem Began of Israel to a summit
conference at Camp David
XVI. Carter’s Humanitarian
Diplomacy (cont.)
• Persuaded them to sign an accord (September 27,
1978) that held considerable promise of peace:
– Israel agreed in principle to withdraw from territory
conquered in the 1967 war
– And Egypt promised to respect Israel’s borders
– Both parties pledged themselves to sign a formal peace
treaty within three months.
• Carter resumed full diplomacy relations with China in
early 1979 after a nearly thirty-year interruption.
• He successfully pushed through two treaties to turn
over the Panama Canal to the Panamanians
– The United States gave up control of the canal on December
31, 1999.
XVI. Carter’s Humanitarian
Diplomacy (cont.)
• Trouble stalked Carter’s foreign policy
– The reheating of the Cold War with the Soviets:
• Détente fell into disrepute as thousands of Cuban
troops, assisted by Soviet advisers, appeared in
Angola, Ethiopia, and elsewhere in Africa
– To support revolutionary factions
– Arms-control negotiations with Moscow stalled in the face
of this Soviet military meddling.
XVII. Economic and Energy Woes
• Carter’s economic troubles
• Stinging recession in Ford’s administration
• Brought inflation rate down slightly to under 6%
• When Carter took over:
– Prices resumed dizzying ascent,
– Driving the inflation rate above 13% by 1980 (see Figure
– Bill for imported oil plunged America’s balance of payments
deeply into the red (an unprecedented $40 billion 1978)
• The “oil shocks” of the 1970s taught Americans that
they could never again seriously consider a policy of
economic isolation, as they had tried to do between
the two world wars.
XVII. Economic and Energy Woes
• America’s economic disease
– Deficits in the federal budget of $60 billion,
• The “prime rate” vaulted to a 20% rate in 1980s
• Carter blamed it on the nation’s costly dependence
on foreign oil
• Mohammed Reza Pahlevi had long ruled oil-rich Iran
with a will of steel:
– Overthrown in January 1979
– Violent revolution by Muslim fundamentalists who fiercely
resented the shah’s campaign to westernize and secularize
his country
XVII. Economic and Energy Woes
• They denounced the United States as the “Great
• The crippling upheavals spread to Iran’s oil fields
• Oil stopped flowing, shortages appeared, and OPEC
hiked petroleum prices
• Americans again were caught in the oil crisis
– Carter retreated to Camp David, remaining out of public
view for ten days
– Carter called in over a hundred leaders to give their views,
while the nation waited for the results of these
extraordinary deliberations
XVII. Economic and Energy Woes
– When Carter came down from his mountaintop on July 15,
1979, he stunned a perplexed nation with his malaise
• The malaise speech:
– Chided his fellow citizens for falling to a “moral and spiritual
– And for being too concerned with “material goods”
– Later he fired four cabinet secretaries and circled the
wagons of his Georgia advisers more tightly about the
White House,
» By reorganizing and expanding the power of his
personal staff.
Figure 39-2 p937
XVIII. Foreign Affairs and the Iranian
• SALT II agreements
– June 1979 Carter and Soviet leader Leonid
Brezhnev met in Vienna to sign SALT II:
• Limiting the levels of lethal strategic weapons in the
Soviet and American arsenals
• Conservative critics tried to carve up the SALT II treaty
when it came to the Senate for debate in the summer
of 1979
• Political earthquakes in the petroleum-rich Persian
Gulf region buried all hopes of ratifying the SALT II.
XVIII. Foreign Affairs and the
Iranian Imbroglio (cont.)
• November 4, 1979 anti-American Muslim militants
stormed the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran
– Took all of its occupants hostage
– They demanded that the United States ship back to Iran the
exiled shah
– Americans agonized over the fate of the hostages
– And the stability of the entire Persian Gulf region
• December 27, 1979, the Soviet army blitzed into
Afghanistan and poised for a thrust at the oil jugular
of the gulf
• President Carter reacted vigorously to these alarming
XVIII. Foreign Affairs and the
Iranian Imbroglio (cont.)
– He slapped an embargo on the export of grain and hightechnology machinery to the USSR
– Called for a boycott of the upcoming Olympic Games in
– Proposed the creation of a “Rapid Deployment Force” to
respond to suddenly developed crises in faraway places
– And requested that young people (including women) be
made to register for a possible military draft
– Proclaimed that the United States would “use any means
necessary, including force,” to protect the Persian Gulf
against Soviet incursions.
• He conceded that he had misjudged the Soviets,
• And the SALT II treaty became a dead letter in the
XVIII. Foreign Affairs and the
Iranian Imbroglio (cont.)
• The Iranian hostage crisis
– Carter’s and America’s bed of nails
The captured Americans languished in cruel captivity
Carter tried to apply economic sanctions
The political turmoil in Iran rumbled on endlessly
Carter at last ordered a daring rescue mission
The mission failed when some members failed to
reach the destination
• Then two of their aircraft collided, killing 8 of the
would-be rescuers.
• The disastrous failure of the rescue raid proved
anguishing for Americans.