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THE UNITED STATES IN THE MODERN WORLD 1968-1992
USH25 The student will describe changes in national politics since 1968.
a. Describe President Richard M. Nixon’s opening of China, his resignation due to the Watergate scandal, changing attitudes toward government, and the Presidency of Gerald Ford.
b. Explain the impact of Supreme Court decisions on ideas about civil liberties and civil rights; include such decisions as Roe v. Wade (1973) and the Bakke decision on affirmative action.
c. Explain the Carter administration’s efforts in the Middle East; include the Camp David Accords, his response to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and the Iranian hostage crisis.
d. Describe domestic and international events of Ronald Reagan’s presidency; include Reaganomics, the Iran-contra scandal, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON - #37
WWII Veteran (served in the US Navy in the Pacific)
Never learned to read music but could play 5 instruments: saxophone, clarinet, accordion, violin, and piano
Once lost his bid to be his high school student-body president
First elected to Congress in 1946
Led the House on Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during the 2nd Red Scare
Served as Dwight Eisenhower’s VicePresident
In 1972 Nixon visited communist China.
This visit opened China to American markets and highlighted a shift in American policy in regards to communism and was one of the greatest accomplishments of Nixon’s term in office.
THE WATERGATE SCANDAL
In 1972, Nixon ran for re-election. He was worried that he might lose the race to his challenger George McGovern.
Workers from Nixon’s campaign were caught breaking in to the Democratic National Headquarters located in the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington, D.C.
They were looking to steal the Democrats’ “game plan” for the election.
Nixon’s administration tried to quickly cover up the break in but Congress organized an investigation and found tapes of Nixon speaking with the break in suspects and Nixon was implicated
THE WATERGATE SCANDAL
Nixon officially announced his resignation in August 1974
Due to mounting public pressure and a threat of impeachment, Nixon chose to resign from office.
This made Richard Nixon the first and, so far, only President to ever voluntarily leave office.
The Watergate scandal caused many Americans to lose confidence and trust in a government they viewed as corrupt and untrustworthy.
THE WATERGATE SCANDAL
After Nixon resigned, his VicePresident Gerald Ford became President.
Ford oversaw America during a time of severe economic recession.
He was wounded twice by two separate assassination attempts
His reputation was further tarnished when he pardoned former President Nixon for any wrong doing in the Watergate scandal.
Supreme Court Decisions of the 1970’s
Two landmark decisions were handed down by the Supreme Court in the 1970’s.
Roe v. Wade
Legalized women’s right to an abortion
Bakke v. Regents (of the University of California)
Allowed for affirmative action in college admissions
ELECION OF 1976
REPUBLICAN: Gerald Ford DEMOCRAT: Jimmy Carter
PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER - #39
In 1976 Georgia Democratic Governor Jimmy Carter beat Ford for the presidency.
Carter’s administration was heavily influenced by international issues.
One highlight was the Camp David Accords, a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1978.
The Camp David Accords were the first signed peace agreement between the nations of the Middle East.
Through much of the 20th century, the Middle Eastern country of Iran had been an ally of the United States.
1979 – Iranian Revolution
Muslim leaders led a revolution that led to the overthrow of the Shah (king) of Iran while he was out of the country
Revolutionaries wanted instill a religious based government
Ayatollah Khomeini (the leader of the Shi’a sect of Islam in Iran) became the ruler of Iran
Iranian Hostage Crisis
In response to President Carter’s refusal to send the Shah back to Iran, Islamic revolutionaries stormed the US embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.
Hostages were finally released on January 20, 1981 when Carter left office and Ronald Reagan was sworn in.
Event only served to strengthen the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.
ELECTION OF 1980
REPUBLICAN: Ronald Reagan DEMOCRAT: Jimmy Carter
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN - #40
Ronald Reagan, former governor of California elected President in 1980.
Started his adult life as a Hollywood actor
As a conservative, Reagan believed that the federal government should have a smaller role in American life.
Pursued an economic policy critics called “Reaganomics”; included tax breaks and budget cuts.
Instituted his plan for the economy known as “Reaganomics”
Also commonly called supply-side economics or “trickle-down” economics
Reaganomics operated off the idea that if the corporations were give less government restriction and allowed for their profits to increase then it would lend to greater job growth and wealth for middle class America
Reaganomics saw the one of the largest job growths and income growths among all levels of American society in US history
ELECTION OF 1984
REPUBLICAN: Ronald Reagan DEMOCRAT: Walter Mondale
During Reagan’s second term, a scandal involving the sale of weapons tarnished his administration.
In an attempt to free 7 American hostages from Iran, Reagan’s administration offered to sell Iran weapons for the hostage’s release.
This money would in turn be used to fund the rebellion of antiCommunist fighters (called “Contras”) in Nicaragua.
Both the sale of arms to Iran and the funding of the Nicaraguan Contras violated acts of Congress.
THE COLD WAR ENDS
One of the biggest accomplishments of Regan’s administration is the downfall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War
Through urging and negotiating several key Soviet leaders agreed to expand more individual freedoms to its citizens.
Reagan, while decreasing domestic spending, increased military spending.
Following in a like minded attitude, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev instituted the policies of glasnost and perestroika that led to economic changes in the communist nation.
Glasnost – open discussions of political and social reform
Perestroika – political movement to reform the communist party inside the Soviet Union
THE COLD WAR ENDS
Reagan famously encouraged Soviet leader Gorbachev to end Soviet control of its satellite nations.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
October 1989 – Berlin Wall is torn down
Reunification of communist East Germany and capitalist West Germany
THE COLD WAR ENDS
On Christmas Day in 1991, Gorbachev resigns as leader of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union is dissolved into 15 individual “republics” including Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The collapse signified the over 50 year standoff between the US and the Soviet Union known as the Cold War was over.
ELECTION OF 1988
REPUBLICAN: George H.W. Bush DEMOCRAT: Michael Dukakis
PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH - #41
Promising to keep pushing the politics of the Reagan administration, Reagan’s Vice President, George H.W. Bush, is elected president in 1988
Bush’s presidency is mostly known for guiding the US through the Gulf War (the 1st war in Iraq).
THE GULF WAR
Saddam Hussein orders the Iraqi Army to invade their neighbor to the south, Kuwait in order to take over the oil fields
The United States led a coalition of 34 nations in support of Kuwait and other allied countries in the Middle East
US and Coalition commander was GEN Norman Schwarzkopf
The Allied Coalition pushed deep into Iraq and threatened to invade the Iraqi capital of Baghdad depose Saddam’s regime
Saddam backed down and eventually a cease-fire was called between the US-led coalition and Iraq
The agreement allowed Saddam to stay in power if Iraqi forces swore to never invade Kuwait again