The Sixties

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  • 1. The Sixties: Progress or Decline? Part One
    Mr. Shore
  • 2. JFK and “The New Frontier”
    “The torch is being passed to a new generation”
    New Frontier program: aid to education, federal support of health care, urban renewal and civil rights
    Kennedy supports tax cuts to stimulate economic growth
    The economy grew and was further stimulated by new defense programs and space exploration
    Kennedy’s goal is to land on the moon by end of the decade
  • 3. Prosperity and Turmoil
    Postwar economic prosperity peaked in the the ’60s
    Political Assassinations: JFK, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy
    Race Riots and Tensions
    War in Vietnam escalates
    Student Riots, Protests & Anti-Capitalist Radicalism
    Modern Conservative Movement Mobilizes
  • 4. “Camelot Comes to Washington”
    1960 Election: Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts vs. Vice President Richard Nixon
    Richard Nixon was respected for his years of service as President Eisenhower’s VP and was known as a diplomatic statesman, a strong advocate of capitalism against communism and a tough, smart campaigner. Nixon more respected than liked. Nixon from California chose Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts as running mate.
    JFK ran in tough Democratic primaries principally against Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas. Kennedy was a charming, handsome and charismatic young Senator from Massachusetts
  • 5. Election of 1960
    JFK was the second candidate after Al Smith to be a Roman Catholic. Many Protestant Americans feared the President would “take orders” from the Pope.
    Kennedy affirmed his commitment to a strict separation of church and state
    The youthful Kennedy chose Johnson as his running mate
    Kennedy and Johnson did NOT have a close relationship. LBJ viewed the Kennedys and the people around Kennedy as Ivy League, “pin-striped” elitists.
  • 6. Election of 1960 (cont)
    Kennedy and Nixon had four televised debates
    Most people who heard the debates on radio thought Nixon had won
    For the TV audience, Kennedy was considered the clear winner—showing more grace, charm and humor. Nixon appeared stiff, nervous and relatively humorless
    This was the first televised presidential debate and showed the enormous power of TV and visual media in politics
  • 7. The Issues
    Nixon defended the peace and prosperity of the Eisenhower years
    Nixon emphasized the need for continuity and experienced leadership during times of international tension
    Kennedy promised to “get America moving again”
    Kennedy attached the Republicans as weak on military affairs and permitting a “missile gap” that allowed the Soviets to gain potential superiority over the US. In reality, the US still had a lead in missiles
  • 8. Kennedy wins by a slim majority
    In one of the closest elections in US history, Kennedy one by a mere 100,000 votes.
    Widespread charges and identified cases of fraudulent Democratic votes by party machines in Chicago and throughout Texas
    Cases of “dead voters” and multiple votes by the same people
    Nixon chose not to challenge the election results and conceded to Kennedy
    Lingering feeling by Republicans of a “stolen election”
  • 9. Popularity of JFK
    Youngest president elected at 43 years old
    Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy—young, beautiful First Lady
    Two young children—Caroline and JFK, Jr “John-John”
    President’s brother, Robert Kennedy, is the Attorney-General
    Kennedy believes it has “the best and the brightest” on its team: Robert McNamara (Defense), John Kenneth Galbraith (economic advisor), Pierre Salinger (speechwriter)
  • 10. Kennedy’s Foreign Policy
    US leadership in the world
    “Peace Corps” and “Alliance for Progress”
    Failed “Bay of Pigs” Invasion of Cuba (1961)
    Emboldened Soviets build the Berlin Wall
    The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)—US establishes a naval blockade of Cuba to counter the building of nuclear missile sites in Cuba. Showdown with Soviet Union could have led to a nuclear war.
    Khrushchev removed missiles after US pledge not to invade Cuba and the downgrading of US base in Turkey
  • 11. Kennedy’s Foreign Policy (cont)
    1963—Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
    US-Soviet arms race continues
    Kennedy travels to West Berlin: “As a free man, I take pride in the words, Ich bin ein Berliner”
    Kennedy speech in Berlin has electrifying impact—very much like Pres. Reagan’s famous line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
    Proxy wars in Africa and Southeast Asia.
    US adopts a “flexible response” policy—increased the reliance on special forces in third world countries
    Dangerous new adventurism because conflict was no longer a matter of massive retailiation
  • 12. The Kennedy Assassination
    Killed by a sniper (Lee Harvey Oswald) in an open-air motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963
    Vice President Johnson sworn in as President on Air Force One
    Conspiracy theories require President Johnson to appoint Chief Justice Earl Warren to establish a Commission to determine the truth of JFK’s assassination
    Warren Commission supports lone killer (Oswald) finding and finds no basis for conspiracy
  • 13. President Johnson
    Persuaded Congress to pass an expanded version of Kennedy’s Civil Rights bill
    Persuaded Congress to pass Kennedy’s tax cut that sparked an increase in jobs, consumer spending and a long period of economic expansion in the Sixties
    LBJ declares “War on Poverty”—inspired by popularity of socialist Michael Harrington’s book, The Other Americans
    Office of Economic Opportunity, Head Start, Job Corps, Community Action Program
  • 14. Election of 1964
    Republicans choose Senator Barry Goldwater to run against LBJ
    Ronald Reagan makes his major political debut as a supporter of Goldwater
    Goldwater writes a manifesto for restoring limited government and against the growing welfare state in The Conscience of a Conservative
    LBJ wins in a landslide promising an expansion of the New Deal called “The Great Society”
  • 15. LBJ’s “Great Society” Programs
    Creation of Medicare, health care for the elderly
    Creation of Medicaid, government paid health for the poor
    Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    New immigration law allowing more Asians and Latin Americans to emigrate to US
    National Foundation of the Arts and Humanities
    Two new cabinet positions: Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Increased subsidies for higher education
    Increased funding for public housing and crime prevention
    Increased federal funding of welfare
  • 16. Civil Rights Acts & 24th Amendment
    1964—Segregation illegal in all public places
    1965—Voting Rights Act ended literacy tests and provided federal registrars in areas of known discrimination
    24th Amendment—abolished poll tax
  • 17. Racial Conflict
    1962—James Meredith, a black Air Force veteran, attempted to enroll in the University of Mississippi
    400 Federal Marshall and 3000 troops were needed to control mob violence and permit Meredith to attend
    1963—Governor George Wallace of Alabama also tried to block a black student. Wallace declared: “Segregation now and forever!”
    Civil Rights activists and Freedom Riders
    MLK nonviolent march in Birmingham
    MLK’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
  • 18. MLK and the 1963 March on Washington
    MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech
    “We Shall Overcome” becomes the Civil Rights unofficial “anthem”
    Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama with both blacks and many whites
    White police violence against marchers
  • 19. “BLACK POWER”
    Many blacks reject an identity they viewed as imposed by a white, racist society and that blacks themselves had internalized
    Blacks who tried to assimilate into mainstream society (which was more of a possibility in a country seeking to be “color-blind”) were considered “Uncle Toms”
    A black Muslim, Elijah Muhammad, establishes the Nation of Islam (calls for black nationalism and whites are “Ice People” as opposed “Sun People” who are people of color
    Malcolm X becomes a contrasting icon to MLK
  • 20. Radicalism and Riots
    Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
    Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
    Stokely Carmichael, chairman of SNCC, repudiates nonviolence and embraces “black power” and black separatism
    In 1966, “Black Panthers” organized by Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and others as a militant, revolutionary socialist movement for black separatism and nationalism
    Black Panther slogans: “Get whitey”, “Burn baby, burn”
  • 21. Radicalism and Riots (Cont)
    Race Riots in major cities from 1964 to 1968
    1965 riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles
    Massive destruction of private property—stores, schools, homes and apartments…etc.
    Rift begins that begins to strain the traditional political support of Jewish American for black due to growing anti-Semitism of black radicals and targeting of Jewish stores and property in black communities during riots. Radical blacks hostile to the prominent role of Jews in New York public schools
  • 22. Student Radicalism
    1962—Establishment of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) led by Tom Hayden
    Port Huron Statement—universities should be governed through participatory democracy. Called for a “New Left” that counters “American imperialism”, capitalism, traditional bases for authority, traditional family structure and gender roles, traditional curriculum, scholarship and standards of academia. Stresses the vanguard role of youth and socialists in creating “community” and “economic democracy”
    SDS spinoffs include anti-Communist League for Industrial Democracy, non-violent Worker Student Alliance, communist Progressive Labor Party, the violent Revolutionary Youth Movement and Weather Underground
  • 23. Radicalism
    SDS calls their cause the Free Speech Movement
    Berkeley students demand more “relevant” curriculum as well as rule changes such as permission to drink on campus and dorm visits by persons of the opposite sex
    By 1968, SDS factions called for a “white fighting force” to be allied with the “Black Liberation Movement” to achieve “the destruction of US imperialism and achieve a classless world: world communism.”
    Radicals fight Chicago police at 1968 Democratic National Convention which becomes a violent mob fight
  • 24. Radicalism
    Universities across the country were disrupted or closed down by student demonstrations and antiwar (Vietnam) protests
    Use of explosives at various public sites such as Haymarket Square in Chicago
    Weather Underground: “Days of Rage” in October, 1969
    Violence escalates through 1970
  • 25. Counterculture
    The “Hippies”
    Rebellious style of clothes and appearance—long hair, beards, beads, jeans
    Generational music—Folk/protest music of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan; Rock and Roll—”The Beatles”; “The Rolling Stones”; Jim Morrison; Janis Joplin
    Communal Living and “free sex”
    Drugs seen as “expanded consciousness”—use of hallucinogens such as LSD. Prof. Timothy Leary extols virtues of LSD and other drugs to see a “deeper” reality
  • 26. Counterculture
    Widespread use of marijuana
    Experimentation with a wide range of mind-altering drugs
    Inevitably many became addicted or were never able to cope with daily life
    Growing acceptance of casual sex and multiple partners before marriage (made easier with contraceptives and antibiotics)
    Renewed feminist movement that challenged all traditional ideas of the role of women’s sexuality and identity
    Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
    Establishment of National Organization of Women (NOW)
    The iconic event: Woodstock Music Festival
  • 27. The Vietnam War
    2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam
    58,000 died in the war
    Kennedy sent “military advisors” and a small contingent of about 16,000 combat troops
    President Johnson gets formal authority to commit US troops to defend South Vietnam by Congress in the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964
    General popular support for defending democracies against Communist aggression in the region
  • 28. The War Escalates
    Remember the “Flexible Response Doctrine”
    Prolonged air attacks over North Vietnam—”Operation Rolling Thunder” in 1965
    By end of 1965 there are over 185,000 US troops in Vietnam led by General William Westmoreland
    Incremental increase of troops to 485,000 in 1967 to peak of 540,000 in March, 1969
    16,000 had died by this point
    Nation deeply polarized: Hawks vs. Doves
    War takes turn for the worse due to N. Vietnam’s successful Tet Offensive in 1969
  • 29. War Protests
    Increasingly angry and violent war protests
    Some protestors even target returning veterans
    Peace Movement allies with some counterculture—”Make Love, Not War”
    Public opinion divided. Many believe the failure of US policy is due to its incremental nature and failure to use overwhelming force
    Country experiences inflation because of both new domestic spending and expenses of war
    LBJ is unpopular and demoralized
    Protesters chant outside White House: “Hey, hey, LBJ—how many kids did you kill today
    LBJ decides NOT to run for another term in 1968
  • 30. Election of 1968
    Democrats nominate VP Hubert Humphrey to head the ticket at raucous Convention with riots outside the Conventional Hall
    Senator Robert Kennedy had been assassinated after winning the California primary
    Governor George Wallace tapped into white resentment over civil rights and racial violence as well as those offended by the Counterculture
    Richard Nixon reemerges to become the Republican nominee
    Nixon wins election.