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exclusion exploded. At this violent expression of hopelessness the northern

white community drew back rapidly from its reformist stance on the race issue

(the so-called white backlash). In 1968, swinging rightward in its politics,

the nation chose as president Richard M. Nixon, who was not in favor of using

federal power to aid the disadvantaged. Individual advancement, he believed,

had to come by individual effort.

Nonetheless, fundamental changes continued in relations between white and

black. Although the economic disparity in income did not disappear--indeed,

it widened, as unemployment within black ghettos and among black youths

remained at a high level in the 1970s--white-dominated American culture

opened itself significantly toward black people. Entrance requirements for

schools and colleges were changed; hundreds of communities sought to work out

equitable arrangements to end de facto segregation in the schools (usually

with limited success, and to the accompaniment of a white flight to different

school districts); graduate programs searched for black applicants; and

integration in jobs and in the professions expanded. Blacks moved into the

mainstream of the party system, for the voting- rights enactments transformed

national politics. The daily impact of television helped make blacks, seen in

shows and commercial advertisements, seem an integral part of a pluralistic


Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans were also becoming more prominent in

American life. Reaching the level of 9 million by the 1960s, Spanish-surnamed

Americans had become the second largest ethnic minority; they, too, were

asserting their right to equitable treatment in politics, in culture, and in

economic affairs.

Kennedy-Johnson Legislative Accomplishments

In his first 3 months of office, Kennedy sent 39 messages and letters to

Congress asking for reform legislation--messages dealing with health care,

education, housing and community development, civil rights, transportation,

and many other areas. His narrow margin of victory in 1960, however, had not

seemed a mandate for change, and an entrenched coalition of Republicans and

conservative southern Democrats in Congress had prevented the achievement of

many of Kennedy's legislative goals by the time of his death. Johnson, who in

1964 won an enormous victory over the Republican presidential candidate,

Barry GOLDWATER, and carried on his coattails a large Democratic

congressional majority, proceeded with consummate political skill to enact

this broad program.

Johnson launched his WAR ON POVERTY, which focused on children and young

people, providing them with better education and remedial training, and

Congress created a domestic Peace Corps (VISTA). Huge sums went to the states

for education. MEDICARE was enacted in 1965, providing millions of elderly

Americans a kind of security from the costs of illness that they had never

known before. Following Kennedy's Clean Air Act of 1963, the Water Quality

Act of 1965 broadened the effort to combat pollution. New national parks were

established, and a Wilderness Act to protect primeval regions was passed. The

Economic Development Administration moved into depressed areas, such as

Appalachia. Billions were appropriated for urban redevelopment and public


At War in Vietnam

The VIETNAM WAR, however, destroyed the Johnson presidency. The United States

had been the protector of South Vietnam since 1954, when the Geneva

Conference had divided Vietnam into a communist North and a pro-Western

South. By 1961 an internal revolution had brought the South Vietnamese regime

to the point of toppling. President Kennedy, deciding that South Vietnam was

salvageable and that he could not allow another communist victory, sent in

15,000 military advisors and large supplies of munitions. By 1964 it was

clear that a collapse was again impending (the CIA warned that the reason was

the regime's harshness and corruption), and Johnson decided to escalate

American involvement. After his electoral victory that year, he began aerial

bombardment of North Vietnam, which persisted almost continuously for 3 years

to no apparent result other than the destruction of large parts of the North

and heavy loss of life. Meanwhile, the world at large (and many Americans)

condemned the U.S. military actions.

In April 1965, Johnson began sending American ground troops to Vietnam, the

total reaching nearly 550,000 in early 1969. (In that year alone, with a

full-scale naval, aerial, and ground war being waged in Vietnam, total

expenditures there reached $100 billion.) Huge regions in the South were laid

waste by American troops in search of hostile forces. Still victory eluded.

Responding to mass public protests that went on year after year and put the

United States in a state of near- insurrection--and in recognition of

fruitless American casualties, which in 1967 passed 100,000--Johnson decided

in March 1968 to halt the bombing of the North and to begin deescalation. At

the same time he announced that he would not run for reelection. From being

an immensely popular president, he had descended to a position as one of the

most hated and reviled occupants of that office.

Foreign Policy under Nixon

When Richard M. Nixon became president in 1969, he profoundly changed U.S.

foreign policy. The new theme was withdrawal from commitments around the

globe. Nixon revived the kind of nationalist, unilateral foreign policy that,

since Theodore Roosevelt, presidents of his political tradition had

preferred. With Henry KISSINGER as an advisor and later as secretary of

state, he began a kind of balance-of-power diplomacy. He preferred to keep

the United States free of lasting commitments (even to former allies) so that

it could move back and forth between the other four power centers--Europe,

the USSR, China, and Japan--and maintain world equilibrium.

Nixon soon announced his "Vietnamization" policy, which meant a slow

withdrawal of American forces and a heavy building up of the South Vietnam

army. Nonetheless, in the 3 years 1969-71, 15,000 more Americans died

fighting in Vietnam. In April 1970, Nixon launched a huge invasion of

Cambodia in a vain attempt to clear out communist "sanctuaries."

Then, most dramatically, he deflected world attention by ending the long

American quarantine of Communist China, visiting Peking in February 1972 for

general discussions on all matters of mutual concern--a move that led to the

establishment (1979) of diplomatic relations. At the same time, he continued

the heavy bombing attacks on North Vietnam that he had reinstituted in late

1971. He brushed aside as "without binding force or effect"the congressional

attempt to halt American fighting in Vietnam by repealing the TONKIN GULF

RESOLUTION of 1964, which had authorized Johnson to begin military

operations. Nixon asserted that as commander in chief he could do anything he

deemed necessary to protect the lives of American troops still in Vietnam.

In May 1972, Nixon became the first American president to consult with Soviet

leaders in Moscow, leaving with major agreements relating to trade,

cooperation in space programs and other fields of technology, cultural

exchanges, and many other areas. He became more popular as prosperity waxed

and as negotiations with the North Vietnamese in Paris seemed to be bringing

the Vietnam War to a halt. In 1972 the Democrats nominated for the presidency

Sen. George MCGOVERN of South Dakota, a man who for years had advocated

women's rights, black equality, and greater power for the young. With the

nation's increasingly conservative cultural mood and the trend in Vietnam,

Nixon won a massive landslide victory. In January 1973, Nixon announced a

successful end to the Vietnamese negotiations: a cease-fire was established

and an exchange of prisoners provided for.


Few presidents could ever have been more confident of a successful second

term than Richard Nixon at this point. But before the year 1973 was out, his

administration had fallen into the gravest scandal in American history. By

March 1974 the stunning events of the WATERGATE crisis and associated

villainies had led to the resignation of more than a dozen high officials--

including the vice-president (for the acceptance of graft)--and the

indictment or conviction of many others. Their criminal acts included

burglary, forgery, illegal wiretapping and electronic surveillance, perjury,

obstruction of justice, bribery, and many other offenses.

These scandalous events had their roots in the long Democratic years

beginning with Roosevelt, when the American presidency had risen in a kind of

solitary majesty to become overwhelmingly the most powerful agency of

government. All that was needed for grave events to occur was the appearance

in the White House of individuals who would put this immense power to its

full use. Lyndon Johnson was such a man, for he was driven by gargantuan

dreams. One result was America's disastrous war in Vietnam. Richard Nixon,

too, believed in the imperial authority of the presidency. He envisioned

politics as an arena in which he represented true Americanism and his critics

the forces of subversion.

At least from 1969, Nixon operated on the principle that, at his direction,

federal officials could violate the law. On June 17, 1972, members of his

Special Investigations Unit (created without congressional authorization)

were arrested while burglarizing the national Democratic party offices in the

Watergate office-and-apartment complex in Washington, D.C.

A frantic effort then began, urged on by the president, to cover up links

between the Watergate burglars and the executive branch. This cover-up

constituted an obstruction of justice, a felony. This fact, however, was kept

hidden through many months of congressional hearings (begun in May 1973) into

the burglaries. Televised, they were watched by multitudes. The American

people learned of millions of dollars jammed into office safes and sluiced

about from hand to hand to finance shady dealings, of elaborate procedures

for covering tracks and destroying papers, and of tapes recording the

president's conversations with his aides.

With Watergate eroding Nixon's prestige, Congress finally halted American

fighting in Indochina by cutting off funds (after Aug. 15, 1973) to finance

the bombing of Cambodia, which had continued after the Vietnam Peace

Agreement. Thus, America's longest war was finally concluded. In November

1973, Congress passed, over the president's veto, the War Powers Act, sharply

limiting the executive's freedom of action in initiating foreign wars. When

Vice-President Spiro T. AGNEW resigned his office on Oct. 10, 1973, Nixon,

with Senate ratification, appointed Gerald R. Ford to replace him.

On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to deliver his Oval Office

tapes to Congress. This order, in turn, led to the revelation that he had

directly approved the cover-up. Informed by Republican congressional leaders

of his certain conviction in forthcoming impeachment proceedings, Richard

Nixon resigned the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974.

The Third Century Begins

As the nation approached its bicentennial anniversary under President Gerald

R. FORD (1974-77), it was reassured that the Constitution had worked: a

president guilty of grave offenses had been made peacefully to leave his

office. The American people had become aware, however, in the Vietnam

conflict, of the limits to their nation's strength and of questions as to the

moral legitimacy of its purposes. They had also learned, in the Watergate

scandal, of the danger of corruption of the republic's democratic values. The

nation's cities were in grave difficulties; its nonwhite peoples still lagged

far behind the whites in income and opportunity; unemployment seemed fixed at

a level of more than 6 percent, which, for minorities and the young,

translated into much higher figures, and inflation threatened to erode the

buying power of everyone in the country.

Most of these problems continued to plague the American nation during the

presidency (1977-81) of Jimmy CARTER, Democrat of Georgia, who defeated Ford

in the 1976 election. Carter brought to the presidency an informality and

sense of piety. He arranged negotiations for an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty

(signed in 1979) and guided the Panama Canal treaty through narrow Senate

approval (1978). Carter also had to deal with shortages of petroleum that

threatened to bring the energy- hungry U.S. economy to a standstill, with

soaring inflation and interest rates, with the taking (1979) of U.S. hostages

by Iranian militants (see IRANIAN HOSTAGE CRISIS), and with an international

crisis precipitated by Soviet intervention (1979) in Afghanistan. His

popularity waned as problems remained unsolved, and in 1980 the voters turned

overwhelmingly to the conservative Republican candidate, Ronald REAGAN.

Robert Kelley

The Reagan Era

The release of the U.S. hostages in Iran on the same day as Reagan's

inauguration launched the new administration on a wave of euphoria. Aided by

a torrent of goodwill following an attempt on his life in March 1981, Reagan

persuaded the Congress to cut government spending for welfare, increase

outlays for defense, reduce taxes, and deregulate private enterprise. His

"supply side" economic policy (dubbed "Reaganomics" by the media) anticipated

that lower taxes and a freer market would stimulate investment and that a

prosperous, expanding economy would increase employment, reduce inflation,

and provide enough government revenue to eliminate future budget deficits.

The "Reagan Revolution," combined with the tight money policies of the

Federal Reserve System, initially dismayed those who hoped for a reversal of

the economic stagnation of the 1970s. Although high interest rates helped cut

inflation from more than 12 percent in 1980 to less than 7 percent in 1982,

unemployment rose from 7 percent to 11 percent--the highest rate since 1940--

and the annual federal deficit soared to $117 billion, almost twice as high

as it had ever been. The United States experienced its worst recession since

the 1930s. Beginning in 1983, however, the economy rebounded sharply. By the

end of 1986, 11 million new jobs had been created, the consumer price index

had dropped from 13.1 percent in 1979 to just 4.1 percent, and the Dow-Jones

average had climbed to an all-time high.

The Reagan recovery did little for rural America or for the declining

industrial regions of the Midwest. In the first half of the 1980s, 8.4

million people joined the ranks of the poor, an increase of 40 percent.

Nearly 33 million Americans--one out of every seven--were reported as living

below the poverty line. But the bulk of middle-class America, buoyed by low

inflation and its own prosperity, gave the president high marks for his

economic program. Conservatives were pleased with his appointments to the

federal bench, his declarations of faith in traditional values, and his proud


In practice, and often in response to congressional pressure, Reagan balanced

his ardent anti-Communist rhetoric with generally restrained foreign-policy

actions. He denounced the USSR as an "evil empire" but ended the embargo on

grain sales to the Soviets imposed by President Carter after the invasion of

Afghanistan. While presiding over the largest peacetime military buildup in

U.S. history, he observed the still- unratified SALT II arms control treaty

negotiated by his predecessor. He sent American troops to Lebanon as part of

a peacekeeping force but withdrew them after 241 marines were killed in a

bomb attack in October 1983.

Only in Central America and the Caribbean did the president's actions match

his rhetoric. To quash a Communist revolt in El Salvador, Reagan committed

military advisors and furnished financial aid to the Salvadoran government.

Determined to oust Nicaragua's pro-Communist Sandinista government, he gave

covert aid to antigovernment rebels--known as the contras--in defiance of a

congressional ban on such aid. In 1983 he used military force to topple a

pro-Cuban regime on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Reagan and his running mate, George Bush, easily defeated their Democratic

opponents, Walter MONDALE and Geraldine FERRARO, in 1984, but the Democrats

maintained control of Congress and the president offered fewer domestic

initiatives during his second term. Partisan wrangling over what parts of the

budget to cut in order to reduce the staggering federal deficit led to

passage of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act (1985), which mandated automatic,

across-the-board spending cuts over a period of years. The Supreme Court

declared the automatic cuts unconstitutional in 1986, however, and repeated

failure by the president and Congress to agree on budget reductions kept the

deficit at record levels. Disputes over the control of trade policy also

worsened the imbalance of imports over exports, which rose to $161 billion in


Tax reductions and defense spending, however, kept the economy booming.

Reagan boosted defense spending 35 percent above the 1980 level, and in 1986

he secured congressional approval for a major INCOME TAX reform law that

further cut taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals and also reduced by

6 million the number of poorer taxpayers.

At the end of Reagan's tenure the GOP could boast that his administration had

helped create 16.5 million new jobs, bring down the unemployment rate to a

17-year low, cut double-digit inflation down to about 4 percent, and raise

the gross national product by one-third. Democrats, on the other hand, could

criticize "Reaganomics" for promoting prosperity at the expense of the poor

and the nation's future well-being. The number of people below the poverty

line rose by 8 million, and their lot was made worse by cuts of nearly $50

billion in social-welfare programs. Reductions in subsidized housing from $30

billion in 1981 to $7 billion in 1988 made HOMELESSNESS part of the national

lexicon, and the number of Americans without any health-care insurance rose

to 37 million. By borrowing rather than taxing to rearm, Reagan mortgaged the

financial future. The cost of servicing the national debt rose from 8.9

percent of all federal outlays in 1980 to 14.8 percent in 1989. Moreover,

persistent trade and budget deficits made the country a debtor nation for the

first time since 1914.

During its eight years in office, the administration had a significant impact

on the composition of the federal judiciary. President Reagan appointed three

conservatives to the Supreme Court and elevated conservative William

Rehnquist to the position of chief justice. Overall, he filled about half of

the 700 federal judgeships, most of them with conservative appointees.

A major scandal of Reagan's second term was the IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR, in which

national security advisor John M. Poindexter, Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North,

and other administration officials were involved in a secret scheme to sell

arms to Iran, diverting some of the proceeds to the contra rebels in

Nicaragua. Investigation of this affair by Congress in 1987 led to the

prosecution of Poindexter and North, and damaged the administration's image.

Ironically, developments in foreign affairs during Ronald Reagan's second

term led this most anti-Communist of presidents into a new, harmonious

relationship with the Soviet Union and to sign the first superpower treaty

that actually reduced nuclear armaments. Soviet leader Mikhail GORBACHEV,

determined to relax tensions with the West, met with Reagan in 1985 and 1986;

in 1987 they signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, and in 1988 a

triumphant Reagan traveled to Moscow for a fourth summit and further arms-

reduction talks.

The Bush Administration

The remarkable reduction in cold-war tensions, combined with the promise of

continued prosperity with no increase in taxes, carried Republicans George

BUSH and Dan QUAYLE to victory over Democratic candidates Michael DUKAKIS and

Lloyd BENTSEN in 1988. Lacking his predecessor's strong personal following

and facing a Democratic-controlled Congress, Bush sought to govern in a more

moderate, middle-of-the-road way than Reagan. The rapid demise of communism

in Eastern Europe in 1989-90 and upheaval in the USSR in 1991 provided him

with an opportunity to lessen international tensions and to reclaim the

primacy of the United States in world affairs. Bush intervened militarily in

Panama in 1989 to overthrow its president, Manuel NORIEGA. In mid-1990,

responding to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait, he ordered more than

400,000 American troops to the Persian Gulf region to defend Saudi Arabia.

When Iraqi troops refused to withdraw from Kuwait in January 1991, demanded

by Bush in an ultimatum, he authorized a massive bombing, and then ground

assault, on Iraq and its forces in Kuwait, and won a swift victory. (See


Decisive in acting abroad, Bush failed to evolve a domestic program that

adequately addressed a persistent recession starting in 1990. That year,

despite the recession, he and congressional leaders agreed to a deficit-

reduction package that raised federal taxes, thereby breaking his "no new

taxes" 1988 election campaign pledge. He also failed on his promise to be

both "the environment president" and "the education president," and angered

many women by nominating Clarence THOMAS to the Supreme Court and continuing

to support him despite allegations of sexual harassment. Concerned about the

economy and demanding change, many conservative Republicans backed political

columnist Patrick J. Buchanan's effort to contest Bush's renomination while

moderates rallied to the independent candidacy of H. Ross PEROT. Also

focusing on the nation's economic woes and promising change, William

Jefferson "Bill" CLINTON, governor of Arkansas, beat several rivals in the

Democratic primaries and chose as his running mate Tennessee senator Albert

GORE--like Clinton, a baby-boomer, a white Southern Baptist, and a moderate.

Capitalizing on a slumping economy and increasing unemployment, the Clinton-

Gore ticket won 43 percent of the highest voter turnout (55 percent) since

1976 and 370 electoral votes. The Republicans Bush and Quayle tallied just 37

percent of the popular vote and 168 electoral votes, while Perot garnered 19


The Clinton Administration

Despite the movement into Washington of new people with fresh ideas, the

Clinton administration got off to a slow, unsteady start. Crises in Bosnia,

Haiti, Somalia, and Russia forced the president to focus on the volatile,

multipolar world of the post-cold war era. At the same time, Clinton backed

down from his promise to prohibit discrimination against gays in the military

and reneged on his pledge, for lack of revenue, to cut middle-class taxes.

Defeated by Congress on his proposals to stimulate the economy, Clinton then

won by the narrowest of margins a highly compromised federal budget plan to

reduce the deficit. The president had more success in persuading Congress to

enact family-leave, "motor voter" registration (see VOTER REGISTRATION), and

campaign finance reform bills, to approve the NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE

AGREEMENT, and to consent to his nomination of Ruth Bader GINSBURG to the

Supreme Court. Clinton's future effectiveness and reputation rested largely

on the fate of his plans to reform the health-care system and to provide

effective solutions to the problems of economic insecurity and social

disorder haunting middle-class Americans.

Harvard Sitkoff



Ahlstrom, Sydney E., A Religious History of the American People (1972);

Banner, Lois W., Women in Modern America, 2d ed. (1984); Barth, Gunther,

Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American History (1990); Blum, John

M., et al., The National Experience: A History of the United States, 7th ed.

(1989); Cohen, Warren I., ed., The Cambridge History of American Foreign

Relations, 4 vols. (1993); Curti, Merle Eugene, The Growth of American

Thought, 3d ed. (1964; repr. 1981); Ferrell, Robert H., American Diplomacy,

3d ed. (1975); Garraty, J. A., The American Nation, 7th ed. (1991);

Heilbroner, R. L., and Singer, Aaron, The Economic Transformation of America:

1600 to Present, 2d ed. (1984); Hofstadter, Richard, The American Political

Tradition and the Men Who Made It, 2d ed. (1973); Huckshorn, R. J., Political

Parties in America, 2d ed. (1983); Morison, S. E., and Commager, H. S., The

Growth of the American Republic, 2 vols., 7th ed. (1980).

To c.1860:

Bailyn, Bernard, The Peopling of British North America (1986); Boorstin,

Daniel Joseph, The Americans: The National Experience (1965; repr. 1985);

Elkins, Stanley, and McKitrick, Eric, The Age of Federalism (1993); Genovese,

Eugene, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (1974).

From c.1860:

Biles, Roger, A New Deal for the American People (1991); Foner, Eric,

Reconstruction (1988); Higham, John, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of

American Nativism, 1860-1925, 2d ed. (1965; repr. 1988); Hodgson, Godfrey,

America in Our Time (1976); Hofstadter, Richard, The Age of Reform: From

Bryan to F. D. R. (1955); Leffler, Melvin, A Preponderance of Power (1992);

Leuchtenburg, William E., Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1940

(1963); and In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan (1985);

McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988); Nevins,

Allan, Ordeal of the Union, 8 vols. (1947-71); Painter, Neil I., Standing at

Armageddon: The United States 1877-1919 (1987); Preston, Daniel, Twentieth

Century United States History (1992); Schlereth, Thomas J., Victorian America

(1988); Schlossstein, Steven, The End of the American Century (1990);

Sitkoff, Harvard, The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954-1992 (1993); Wiebe,

R. H., The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (1967; repr. 1980); Winkler, Allan,

Modern America (1991).



Выполнил:ученик 9 ”Г” класса средней школы № 5 г.Благовещенска

Никифоров Владимир.



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