Chapter 40: The Stalemated Seventies 1968-1980

Sources of Stagnation:
  • Economy stagnated! Why?
  • Shift from manufacturing to services
  • Vietnam War + Great Society welfare + no tax increases = inflation
  • Cost of living tripled in the 70s
  • Germany and Japan had modernized plants, America had not.
  • Stalemated war and Vietnam and economy in America

Nixon "Vietnamizes" the War:

  • "Vietnamization" - withdraw the 540,000 US troops from S Vietnam over time => Nixon Doctrine: honor existing defense commitments, but in the future, other countries had to fight their own wars.
  • "Doves" still protested - Oct. 1969 - Boston Common protest
  • Nixon speech Nov. 1969 - "silent majority" supported the war. VP Spiro Agnew went after anti-war media and protesters.
  • Vietnam War - long, costly, draftees were lower class (many blacks), low morale. To end war quicker, Nixon ordered attack on Cambodia.

Cambodianizing the Vietnam War:

  • April 1970, Nixon (w/o Congress) ordered US forces to clean out enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia => nationwide protests: arson, rock-throwing. Some killed in turmoil by National Guard.
  • Nixon withdrew troops from Cambodia June 1970, 2 months later.
  • Senate repealed Gulf of Tonkin "blank check." Gov reduced draft and period of draftability. 26th amendment - lowered voting age to 18.
  • 1971 New York Times published top-secret Pentagon Papers -lies of Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Leaked by Daniel Ellsberg.

Nixon's Détente w/ Beijing and Moscow:

  • Nixon and national security adviser Dr. Henry A. Kissinger decided to play off big Commies - China and USSR - against each other to pressure N Vietnam into peace
  • Feb 1972 - Nixon went to China - improved relations. May 1972 Nixon went to USSR - they were in need of food and afraid of US backed by China. The decided to back US, détente.
  • 1972 - great grain deal. 3 years, US sell $750 million in grain to USSR
  • Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty - limited each nation to 2 clusters of defense missiles. Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) - freeze # of nuclear missiles for 5 years.
  • Both nations made MIRVs (more warheads to a rocket)

A New Team on the Supreme Bench:

  • Earl Warren Court - concern for the individual
  • (1965) Griswold v. Connecticut - right to use contraceptives - "privacy"
  • (1963) Gideon v. Wainwright - criminal defendant right to attorney
  • (1964) Escobedo and (1966) Miranda - right to remain silent
  • (1964) NY Times v. Sullivan - could only sue for libel if they could prove malice was intended.
  • (1962) Engel v. Vitale and (1963) School District of Abington Township v. Schempp - against required prayer and Bible-teaching in schools.
  • (1964) Reynolds v. Sims - state legislatures must be reapportioned according to human population.
  • 1969 - Nixon nominated Warren E. Burger to replace retiring Warren, by 1971 Nixon had appointed 4/9 conservative justices => new court actually remained quite liberal.

Nixon on the Home Front:

  • Continues welfare programs! Increased $$ for Food Stamps and Medicaid, AFDC (Aid to Families w/ Dependent Children [single mothers]). Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - poor, old, disabled. Raised SS w/ rising standard of living (inflation!). [Reduced poverty to 11%]
  • Philadelphia Plan of 1969: construction-trade unions needed timetables for hiring black people -> extended to all federal contracts. Affirmative action was taken to the next level. Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) - prohibited intelligence tests that might be used to exclude minorities.
  • 1970 - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) - reduced auto emissions and cleaned waterways. Rachel Carson - 1962 - Silent Spring.
  • Inflation! 1971 - 90-day wage and prize freeze. Took US off gold standard and devalued dollar.
  • "Southern strategy" for election of 1972.

The Nixon Landslide of 1972:

  • 1972 - N Vietnam invaded through DMZ w/ tanks -> Nixon launched bombing on cities and harbors. This stopped N Vietnamese offensive.
  • Democrats: George McGovern -> pull troops out in 90 days - tried to appeal to leftists and youth.
  • Republicans: Nixon -> winding down the war (had gone from 540,000 to 30,000 troops). "Peace is at hand"
  • Nixon won 520 to 17. Congress was Democrat majority.

Bombing North Vietnam to the Peace Table:

  • Met for peace, no settlement agreed, fighting -> Nixon launched intense 2-week bombing of N Vietnam to get 'em back to conference table.
  • Jan 1973 - cease-fire arrangements. US was to withdraw remaining troops, S Nam could still get support but no more troops. N Nam allowed to keep troops in S Nam.
  • Peace or American retreat?

Watergate Woes:

  • June 1972, burglary at Democratic HQ (Watergate apartments in DC)
  • Republican Committee for Re-election of the Prez - CREEP - raised $ unlawfully, sabotage against Democrats. 5 CREEPers arrested at Watergate.
  • White House aids and advisors in on the fraud. Illegal use of FBI and CIA and IRS to audit or harass political opponents. White House "enemies list"
  • 1973-1974: TV hearings. John Dean (former White House lawyer) testified that top dogs, including Nixon were involved in covering up Watergate.

The Great Tape Controversy:

  • July 1973 - aide reported White House and phone calls were wire-tapped. Wanted tapes to support Dean's testimony, Nixon refused on executive privilege (confidentiality)
  • VP Spiro Agnew forced to resign for taking bribes. 25th amendment. Gerald Ford replaced Agnew.
  • Oct 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre" - Archibald Cox ("Special prosecutor" for Nixon) issued subpoena for tapes. Fired Cox.

The Secret Bombing of Cambodia and the War Powers Act:

  • 1973, it was discovered that Nixon had ordered the Air Force to bomb Cambodia in 1969, 14 months before it went public
  • Nixon continued to bomb Cambodia after 1973 cease-fire -> compromised to end bombing and get approval next time.
  • Cambodia torn from blasts, economy, Pol Pot "killing fields"
  • Nov 1973 - War Powers Act - Prez must report to Congress 48 hours after committing troops or enlarging combat.
  • Draft had ended. Congress wanted to reduce troops abroad (Europe). Nixon said no.

The Arab Oil Embargo and the Energy Crisis:

  • Oct 1973 - Syrian and Egyptian attacks on Israel. Nixon had $2 billion in war materials air-lifted to Israel - worked!
  • Arab made oil embargo on US and Israel lovers.
  • => Energy crisis. Alaska pipeline, national speed limit.
  • Lifter embargo 1974, but quadrupled prices -> inflation! -> International Energy Agency

The Unmaking of a President:

  • Supreme Court made Nixon fork over the tapes -> proved he was involved in Watergate cover-up -> publicized
  • If impeached, his removal would be certain. If he resigned, hew would at least get retirement $$
  • 1974 boo-hoo farewell address
  • Showed that public opinion and self-government were legit in US

The First Unelected President:

  • Gerald Ford - some called him dumb
  • Pardoned Nixon - "buddy deal" accusers said. He just wanted to get on w/ it.
  • 1975 - Helsinki, Finland - détente agreements. Legitimizes Sov boundaries in exchange for more people and info exchange.
  • Sovs didn't suffice. One-way street. Criticized.

Defeat in Vietnam:

  • 1975 N Nam moved in and S Nam collapsed
  • Remaining Americans and many Vietnamese evacuated to America
  • Longest war. $118 billion. 56,000 dead. America lost face :( Pride wounded.

Feminist Victories and Defeats:

  • 1970 - Stride for Equality
  • 1972 - Title IX - prohibited sexism in fed-assisted education programs/activities -sports.
  • 1972 Equal Rights Amendments (ERA) - ratified by many states, but not enough to Consitutionalize. Phyllis Schlafly opposed. ERA died 1982.
  • (1971) Reed v. Reed, (1973) Frontiero v. Richardson - no sexism in employment
  • (1973) Roe v. Wade - legalized abortion
  • 1972, Nixon vetoed nationwide public day care
  • Family values? Divorces, baby-slaughter, yikes!

The Seventies in Black and White:

  • (1974) Milliken v. Bradley - ruled integration couldn't require students to move cross school-district lines => "white flight"
  • Affirmative action controversial. (1978) Allan Bakke didn't get into med school cuz they favored minorties. Supreme court rule no preference to any group - colorblind.
  • (1978) US v. Wheeler - active American tribes got limited sovereignty - national gov., not states

The Bicentennial Campaign and Carter Victory:

  • 1976. Repubs: Geral Ford
  • Democrats: James "Jimmy" Carter -> "I'll never lie to you." Georgian, Baptist, uncorrupt, "outsider"
  • Carter won 297 to 240. South and blacks. Democratic Congress.
  • Created Department of Energy, cut taxes 1978, pardoned draft evaders, rubbed Congress'
    "fur" the wrong way

Carter's Humanitarian Diplomacy:

  • Sept 1978 - Camp David, Maryland - Israel (Begin), Egypt (Sadat), and Carter (mediator). Signed accord: Israel agreed to relinquish territory from 1967 war, Egypt promised to respect Israel's borders.
  • 1979 - diplomatic relations w/ China
  • Give Panama Canal to Panamanians by 2000
  • Cuban and Sov commies went to Africa to support uprisings.

Economic and Energy Woes:

  • Inflation - soaring oil prices, America was dependent on international trade
  • Bank loans had 20% interest - small biz and construction failed.
  • Carter called for legislation for energy conservation (including stop makin gas guzzling cars). People and Congress didn't give a damn, so they didn't do anything.
  • 1979 Muslim extremists overthrew the westernized/secular Iranian gov. - hated US -no oil.
  • OPEC => prices up
  • July 1979 - Carter Camp David meeting w/ 100 leaders -> speech: America's too materialistic. (what the heck?)
  • Fired 4 secretaries in Cabinet. Got more Georgians.

Foreign Affairs and Iranian Imbroglio:

  • June 1979, Carter met w/ Sov leader Leonid Brezhnev to sign SALT II agreements - limist level of lethal weapons - stalled in Congress.
  • Nov 1979 - Islamo-crazies stormed US embassy in Iran and took occupants hostage - wanted exiled Shah back.
  • Sov army invaded Afghanistan - they fought back - Sov's Vietnam.
  • Carter wanted to negociate w/ Iran, but there was no government. -> Rescue mission - equipment failure, planes ran into each other, 8 rescuers died. Fail blog would have a field day with this.