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America 1954-1975

By Alirie
  • Eisenhower elected president

    Eisenhower elected president
    Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, general of WWII, won largely on the basis of his promise to fly personally to Korea and end the war. However, it was not until three years after his visit that an armistice was signed. As president, he projected the sincerity and optimism that the war-haunted country sought, but was notably removed from the problems of McCarthyism and civil rights.
  • McCarthyism

    Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy rose to prominence in 1950 by accusing the Secretary of State of knowingly employing 205 Communists. This began his red-hunting career, which did the most harm to free speech of them all. He continued to ruin the careers of dozens of officials, actors and writers with (often) wrongful accusations until he attacked military members in televised hearings and was fired. Source
  • Brown V. Board of Education

    Brown V. Board of Education
    The supreme court’s unanimous decision to integrate schools declared that “separate but equal” was inherently unequal, overturning the decision in Plessy V. Ferguson that sanctioned Jim Crow laws. Source
  • Rosa Parks arrested

    Rosa Parks arrested
    Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white woman. This was the spark for the Montogomery Bus Boycott. The black community of Montgomery refused to use the transportation system until it was desegregated. One of the first major efforts of the movement, it began M. L. King's time as one of its leaders. The boycott lasted until the Supreme Court outlawed segregation of public transportation in '56.
  • Eisenhower re-elected

    Eisenhower re-elected
    Eisenhower again defeated Stevenson for the presidency, by a huge majority. He made the decision to be more active politcally during his second term, as he had been accused of being a "part-time" president. He established and put billions of dollars into NASA. Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, aid was sent to the Middle East to defend against Communism.
  • Little Rock Nine

    Little Rock Nine
    When nine black teenagers in Little Rock, Arkansas, attempted to attend an officially integrated high school, they were met with jeering mobs. The local government did nothing to protect them. President Eisenhower, depsite his indifference record on civil rights issues, ordered the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army to escort the students, signifying that the federal government would not allow the southern states to integrate.
  • Hawaii admitted to the union

    Hawaii admitted to the union
    Hawaii became a state in 1959, after having remained a territory of the US for several decades.
  • Sit-in movement begins

    Sit-in movement begins
    Four black college freshmen in Greensboro, North Carolina, began a wave of civil rights protests by sitting at a whites-only lunch counter. They were turned away, but returned the next day with more students; their numbers soon grew into the thousands. They persisted even when met with abuse and insults. From this movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was formed to organize their efforts. (The organization would eventually change the "nonviolent" to "national".)
  • John F. Kennedy elected president

    John F. Kennedy elected president
    JFK appointed one of the youngest presidential cabinets, which included his brother as Attorney General. The new president won the public's affection with his charm and idealism. He founded the Peace Corps and funded a project to land an American on the moon. He campaigned on the basis of restoring the economy following a recession. To this end, he cut taxes to encouarge spending, and negotiated a wage agreement with the steel industry. Source
  • Kennedy's economic policies

    Kennedy's economic policies
    JFK began his term with a Democratic majority in Congress, but Southern Democrats threatened to join with Republicans and prevent his "New Frontier" legislation. Important reform bills were stalled in Congress by this. Having campaigned on a bid to revitalize the economy, he supported a tax cut to redirect the public's money into businesses. Source
  • Freedom Rides

    Freedom Rides
    Interracial groups of Freedom Riders began taking busses to protest segregation. Busses were torched, four young men were shot, others beaten, and Attorney General Kennedy's representative was beaten unconscious in an ensuing riot. Following all of this, the Kennedy administration finally reluctantly began to pay some attention to the movement, and sent marshalls to protect them. [Source](<a href='
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

    March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
    200,000 marched to Washington in support of proposed civil rights legislation. The day of peaceful demonstration drew national attention to the movement, and King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered that day, would become one of the most famous in American history. Source
  • Kennedy assasinated

    Kennedy assasinated
    Kennedy was shot while riding in an open car, by Lee Harvey Oswald. The nation grieved the loss of the young, charismatic president after barely a thousand days in office. He would receive acclaim for the ideals he represented, as he had few concrete accomplishments. Vice-president Lyndon Johnson replaced him, pledging to continue his policies.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson elected president

    Lyndon B. Johnson elected president
    Johnson defeated Goldwater and Wallace for the presidency. In his term, he cut poverty significantly, raised the general health level of minorities, enacted immigration and education reform, and funded development of Appalacia. Perhaps most significantly, he made huge strides for civil rights legislation, despite his Southern background. He didn't run for a second term, as Vietnam had made him unpopular.
  • Medicare and Medicaid

    Medicare and Medicaid
    As part of Johnson's Great Society reforms, Medicare and Medicaid provided federal assistance for the healthcare of the poor and elderly. Rates of infant mortality in minority groups and poverty in the eldery dropped measurably. These programs conferred new rights to Americans that fell under these categories, and would eventually cause financial instability. Source
  • Voting Rights Act passed

    Voting Rights Act passed
    Pushed through Congress and signed into law by Johnson, the Act outlawed practices such as literacy tests and poll taxes that had disenfranchised blacks following the end of Reconstruction, despite the Fifteenth Ammendment.
  • Watts riots

    Watts riots
    A week of rioting and looting ensued in the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts after police arrested and beat two black men. It resulted in 34 deaths, over 1000 casualties and hundreds of destroyed buildings. The riots, part of a rising violent trend, were the accumulated result of long frustration with poverty, prejudice and police brutality. The government made little effort to repair the damage. Source
  • Johnson signs Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

    Johnson signs Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
    This law abolished the 1921 nationality-based immigration quota, and doubled the number allowed to immigrate annually, and allowed the admission of citizen's relatives outside of established quotas. At the same time, it put a limit on immigrants from the Western Hemisphere. Following this, immigration rapidly expanded, especially from Latin America and Asia, changing the racial composition of the country. Source
  • Black Panther Party established in Oakland

    Black Panther Party established in Oakland
    By '66, the Civil Rights Movement was beginning to show its claws, so to speak. The radical socialist Black Panthers advocated a seperate nation for African-Americans, believing they would never be accepted by whites. Members proudly carried weapons for self-defense, shunning the nonviolence of King's movement in the South.
  • Tet Offensive launched

    Tet Offensive launched
    This campaign was part of Johnson's attempt to increase American troops in Vietnam until the North Vietnamese backed down. It didn't work, as the enemy only matched the US's escalations. However, it resulted in a military victory for the US, making it possible that continued escalation would have won the war. Instead, it only increased opposition to the war effort within the US and abroad.
  • My Lai massacre

    My Lai massacre
    American soldiers wiped out every civilian, man, woman and child, in the South Vietnamese town of My Lai and razed it to the ground, because it was supposedly harboring Viet Cong. When this was discovered by the American public, it added to antiwar feelings and became one of the most notorious symbols of the war.
  • Martin Luther King assasinated

    Martin Luther King assasinated
    One of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement was shot on the balcony of a motel in Memphis by James Earl Ray. The civil rights movement was disheartened, and many cities broke out into riots. At the same time, however, black voter registration continued to shoot upwards, and the effort towards racial equality continued. Source
  • Stonewall Riots

    Stonewall Riots
    Several days of violent protests by the gay community followed a police raid on the Greenwich Village Stonewall Inn. This inspired gay rights groups to form throughout the country, making it one of the
  • Richard Nixon elected president

    Richard Nixon elected president
    Nixon defeated Democrat Humphrey and Alabama governor Wallace for the presidency. Once inaugurated, he began a policy of "Vietnamization," withdrawing troops over an extended period to give South Vietnam a chance to build their defense. In 1971 he visited China, the first recognition of the new government since the revolution, and visited the USSR the next year. This began the Cold War's era of detente, less tension with Communist nations. Source
  • Moon landing

    Moon landing
    Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first humans to set foot on the moon.
  • Invasion of Cambodia

    Invasion of Cambodia
    Without consulting Congress, President Nixon ordered American troops to join the South Vietnamese in Cambodia. It was discovered that secret bombings had been carried out on Cambodia for over a year. Nixon continued these bombings even after the ceasefire in 1973. This led to the War Powers Act, which required the president to notify Congress when ordering troops to a foreign conflict.Source
  • Kent State shooting

    Kent State shooting
    After the invasion of Cambodia, angry protests erupted across the country. At Kent State University in Ohio, the protests escalated with rock throwing, and the National Gaurd was called. The National Gaurd shot into the crowd; four students were killed and more were injured. This increased antiwar sentiment and the division of the country.
  • Watergate scandal

    Watergate scandal
    Five men were arrested breaking into the Democratic headquarters, installing electronic spy equipment. Nixon denied any knowledge of the break-in, but refused to produce secret tapes of the Oval Office that were revealed by a former White House aide. He postpone their release, claiming executive privilege. Source
  • Cease-fire and US withdrawal from Vietnam

    Cease-fire and US withdrawal from Vietnam
    As part of Vietnamization, Nixon brought the number of US troops in Vietnam from 540,000 to 30,000. After a two-week bombing campaign to force the North Vietnamese to negotiations, a cease-fire was arranged. The US was to remove its remaining troops and have its POWs released, while the North Vietnamese were allowed to keep some troops occupying parts of South Vietnam. Source
  • Nixon resigns, Ford assumes presidency

    Nixon resigns, Ford assumes presidency
    Following the delayed release of tapes that revealed his involvement in the Watergate cover-up, and threats of impeachment, Nixon resigned the presidency. A vote of Congress replaced him with Gerald Ford. Source
  • Ford pardons Nixon

    Ford pardons Nixon
    The new president Ford gave a full pardon to Nixon for any crimes he had committed during his time as president, whether currently discovered or not. Already questioned because of his installment by a vote of Congress and his position as vice president under Nixon, Ford's legitimacy as president seemed shakier as this suggested to many a connection with Nixon's alleged crimes.
  • Saigon falls, last Americans leave Vietnam

    Saigon falls, last Americans leave Vietnam
    Despite all of America's support to South Vietnam, through years of fighting and the re-building efforts of Vietnamization, South Vietnam collapsed to the Communists shortly after American troops withdrew. The last Americans, along with roughly 140,000 South Vietnamese, were evacuated by helicopter.