US History (1954-1975)

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    Dwight D. Eisenhower presidency

  • Fall of Dien Bien Phu

    Fall of Dien Bien Phu
    With the loss of the vital fortress of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam, the French were forced to give up their possession of Indochina.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court deliberated that separate facilities are inherently unequal, and de jure segregation is in violation of the 14th Amendment. This decision paved the way for further civil rights activity.
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    Vietnam War

    After removing the French, the now independent Vietnam was split between a communist north and a pro-west south. For 20 years the North Vietnamese tried to conquer South Vietnamese, fighting intervening Americans until 1973.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Montgomery Bus Boycott
    In a famous moment, black woman Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. kicked off his civil rights career leading protesters in a boycott of the bus system, resulting in a Supreme Court decision that bus segregation was unconstitutional.
  • AF of L merges with CIO

    AF of L merges with CIO
    The conjoined AFL-CIO would go on to represent over 11 million unionized workers.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower reelected

    Dwight D. Eisenhower reelected
  • Little Rock Nine

    Little Rock Nine
    Following Brown v. Board of Education, the NAACP registered 9 black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock in the 1957 school year. The school refused to let the students attend, and president Eisenhower responded by having the students escorted to class by a detachment of US Army Airborne troops.
  • NDEA authorized education loans

    NDEA authorized education loans
    After the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, it became clear American needed to catch up in the fields of math and science, so the NDEA was signed in to provide for math and science educations as scientific research was overhauled.
  • Hawaii and Alaska gain statehood

    Hawaii and Alaska gain statehood
    To expand US presence in the Pacific region, Hawaii and Alaska were admitted to the Union.
  • Landrum-Griffin Act

    Landrum-Griffin Act
    Public opinion of organized labor began to decline as evidence surfaced of corruption and racketeering. The Landrum-Griffin Act responded by curbing the power of union officials.
  • Sit-In Movement

    Sit-In Movement
    When a group of nonviolent antisegregation protesters sat in a segregated Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, a wave of sit-ins began in segregated establishments across the South, raising public awareness of the scope of Southern segregation. The most successful wave of sit-ins took place in Nashville, Tennessee, where lunch counters were desegregated as a result.
  • John F. Kennedy elected

    John F. Kennedy elected
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    JFK presidency

  • United States sends military advisers to Vietnam

    United States sends military advisers to Vietnam
    Security of Defense Robert McNamara approves the sending of six divisions (200,000 men) of US troops to "advise" the South Vietnamese.
  • Trade Expansion Act

    Trade Expansion Act
    In order to stimulate international trade, JFK lowered the American protective tariff.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    200,000 to 300,000 civil rights protesters in one of the largest civil rights rallies of all time in support of JFK's civil rights legislation. The rally is famous as the setting for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and for helping pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965).
  • JFK assassination

    JFK assassination
    JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, Lyndon Johnson was immediately sworn into the presdidency.
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    Lyndon B. Johnson presidency

  • War on Poverty

    War on Poverty
    During his State of the Union address, LBJ announced the War on Poverty, an undertaking which would be embodied by the Great Society in 1965, a series of New Dealish economic reforms.
  • 24th Amendment

    24th Amendment
    The 24th Amendment to the Constitution abolished the use of a poll tax in national votes. From 1964 onward black communities wouldn't be subjected to poll taxes during elections.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    After a skirmish with North Vietnamese forces, Congress gave president Johnson a convetional military blank check in Southeast Asia, resulting in the sending of hundreds of thousands of US regular troops.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson reelected

    Lyndon B. Johnson reelected
  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    Using his new power, president Johnson began a massive air bombing campaign against North Vietnam. By the end of the war more bombs were dropped on Vietnam than bombs dropped on the Axis during World War 2.
  • Voting Rights Act

    Voting Rights Act
    The culmination of much civil rights agitation for Black Americans, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed discriminatory voting practices by states aiming to disenfranchise minorities.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    On the Vietnamese new year (Tet), the NVA and Viet Cong launched a coordinated attack on South Vietnamese cities. Though they were beaten back with heavy losses, images of the fighting on the news hurt American enthusiasm for the war at home.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
    The civil rights movement lost its de facto leader to James Earl Ray, who killed King in his motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The killing set off a spree of riots and saw the end of the nonviolent protest movement, with the militant black power phase picking up pace.
  • Richard Nixon elected

    Richard Nixon elected
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    Richard Nixon presidency

  • Stonewall Inn Riots

    Stonewall Inn Riots
    After a violent raid by New York police against gays in the Stonewall Inn, a wave of gay liberation riots began in protest across the country. This event is credited as the beginning of the gay rights movement.
  • Clean Air Act

    Clean Air Act
    This legislation resulted in teh creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal regulatory body dedicated to upholding the environmental regulations set in place by earlier Clean Air Acts.
  • 26th Amendment

    26th Amendment
    The 26th Amendment to the Constitution reduced the legal voting age to 18, bringing in a generation of young voters.
  • Equal Rights Amendment

    Equal Rights Amendment
    Although sex discrimination in education was banned by Title IX of the Education Opportunities Act, the Equal Rights Act, which would outlaw sex discrimination in the workplace, was passed by Congress but failed to be ratified by the states.
  • Richard Nixon reelected

    Richard Nixon reelected
  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe v. Wade
    In the most controversial Supreme Court decision of all time, abortion was rule legal by the court under chief justice Warren Burger.
  • Wounded Knee Incident

    Wounded Knee Incident
    Members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota in a grassroots protest of their mistreatment, agitating for tribal sovereignty. The nation's attention was caught by the incident and the tribes would win a court victory in 1978's United States v. Wheeler.
  • US withdraws from Vietnam

    US withdraws from Vietnam
    After securing the release of American POWs from Hanoi and a cessation of hostilities, president Nixon withdrew all American forces from Vietnam, leaving South Vietnam to face the communists alone.
  • Richard Nixon resigns

    Richard Nixon resigns
    After the Watergate Scandal, Nixon was forced to resign his presidency.
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    Gerald Ford

    After Richard Nixon's resignation, Ford assumed the presidency until losing the 1976 election to Jimmy Carter.
  • Fall of Saigon

    Fall of Saigon
    By the end of 1975 the North Vietnamese had resumed their invasion and rapidly taken South Vietnam. Over 500,000 South Vietnamese fled Vietnam to escape the communists.