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The Eisenhower Administration
In 1952, General Dwight D. Eisenhower became president of the United States of America. With Richard Nixon as his Vice President, Eisenhower had won 57 percent of the popular vote and 442 to 89 of the electoral vote.
Moderation of Eisenhower?s policies and the influence of Democratic supporters led Eisenhower to coin, “Modern Republicanism” as his maxim for the day. Being conservative with money and liberal with people was a policy meant to sway as many supporters from both wings or schools of thought as Eisenhower could manage. Using this influence Eisenhower discouraged the repealing of The New and Fair deals.
In 1959 Alaska and Hawaii were admitted into the Union as the Forty-ninth and fiftieth states. Both states were the first to be non-continental and had great value in industry and agriculture. Alaska had been purchased from Russia in 1867 while Hawaii had been annexed in 1898.
Eisenhower was a pro-labor president who pushed congress to raise the minimum wage to a dollar as well as encouraging Ford and GM to Promote unemployment benefits. During the Fifties many unions set up welfare funds to aid unemployed, Disabled, and retired workers. In 1959 Congress passed the management labor act, which banned secondary boycotts and picketing by groups not directly associated with the Union in question. Also, Congress passed the Taft Hartley act of 1947, This legislation allows a president to order striking workers in crucial industries back to work for 80 days while the government investigates the dispute. For example, The U.S. Steel Industry workers began a strike for higher wage benefits and President Eisenhower ordered the workers back in to service and worked out a step by step pay increase for all those involved. Eisenhower?s injunction did not solve the problem but did allow for continued progress of steel production while negotiations could take place.
During the Fifties Small farms and private land owners were declining their prosperity, with the exception of large commercial farms. From 1952 to 1956 farm income dropped 26 percent due to a loss in foreign markets. So as a solution to the problem Eisenhower proposed the soil bank, This bank pumped millions of dollars to farms that reduced or withdrew from productions of surplus goods and planted trees or built dams.
The Eisenhower administration inherited a difficult problem of constitutional rights. Congressional committees who were accused of handling suspects of subversion wrongly without due process. For Example, Jo McCarthy accused many government officials, without proper evidence or documentation, of conspiring against the American people. Later, McCarthy was revealed to be a fraud who utilized public paranoia to further his own career.
Keeping with classic Republican doctrine, Eisenhower believed in a small government and the idea of a president having limited powers and abilities. Furthermore, Eisenhower believed that the federal government should be less active in the affairs of the state governments and there one can make the connection to Jo McCarthy who exploited Eisenhower?s hands off approach to begin his investigations.
A common saying for the time was, “Get in the Eisenhower prosperity” which referred to Eisenhower?s support of the New and Fair deals. Eisenhower tried to expand moderately on both the New and fair deal. During this time the stock market reached new highs.
As The United States felt secure in it?s technological superiority, The Soviet Union Launched the world?s first artificial satellite and is considered to be the catalyst for the American space program.
During the fifties, Congress passed (1958) the National Defense Education act, which provided millions of dollars in low cost loans to college students and with significant reductions in payments if they became teachers.
Responding to Eisenhower?s moderate recommendations, congress in 1954, increased social security and exerted benefit coverage to an additional 10.5 million persons. Congress also voted for additional funds for medical research. In 1955, congress, authorized 500 million dollars for urban renewal.
In Brown vs. Board of Education, Oliver Brown sued the Topeka Kansas board of Education, to allow his eight year old daughter, Linda, to attend a previously all-white school. The case reached the Supreme Court and had been ruled in favor of Brown. As another strike for Civil freedoms Thurgood Marshall was the first black man to become a Supreme Court justice.
A Black spot in the history of America is the Termination policy for reserved lands meant for Native Americans. This policy was the government policy of fifties which intended to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American life.
When it was ordered to desegregate schools, a large and riotous protest began in Little Rock Arkansas. Eisenhower placed national guard under federal command and to protect the nine African American Students. But The governor of Arkansas, Faubus, Dispatched additional National Guards to prevent the students form entering the school and stirred a the public for a violent reaction hoping to further himself to a third term in office.
A land mark achievement for civil rights in America was The Montgomery bus boycott, which began with a little seamstress known as Rosa Parks. Parks had taken a spot in the middle of her daily bus where blacks and whites shared space. When asked to relinquish her seat she replied that she was too tired and would not. This inspired the NAACP and WPC to boycott the mass transportation of Montgomery. As the spokes person of that boycott, Martin Luther King JR., had been presiding at the original boycott meeting. King, who was a Baptist minister and a renowned civil rights leader, led a march on Washington for equal rights and inspired many for a non-violent solution for discrimination.
The presidential debates in the following years were unique in that they were the first televised and saved the campaign of John F. Kennedy. In these debates The american public viewed The Vice-president vying for the oval office with a bright young senator. Nixon had a disadvantage throughout the debates because his focus was with the present audience and not the viewers of the television broadcast. Kennedy, however, maintained strict eye contact with the camera and therefore spoke directly to the American people.
The election of 1960 resulted in Kennedy?s victory over Nixon by a margin 120 thousand votes from 34 million cast. This close shave would forever effect the president?s policies until his death in 1963. The new administration was nicknamed Camelot, after a Broadway play which depicted a kingdom that uses might to achieve right.
President Kennedy was a foreign relations wizard who constructed elaborate plans to increase American involvement outside of our sphere of influence. A simple and very useful program was the Peace Corp. The Peace corps is an American agency which trains volunteers to promote world peace and friendship by performing social and humanitarian services.
November 22, 1963 is the day that Kennedy, While rallying support for the upcoming election, was shot in Dallas during a parade. The assassin was Lee Harvey Oswald, who was captured an hour and a half after the shooting and himself assassinated during a transfer from one jail to another. The man responsible for the incident was Jack Ruby, a lone assassin who pushed through a police line and shot Oswald at arm?s length.
President Johnson appropriated a commission to investigate the case. Headed by Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, concluded that there was no conspiracy and that both Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.
Before his death, Kennedy had implemented programs to aid The poor, reform, and The space program. There was a liberal consensus that capitalism was the best economic system and that the United States was more threatened by communism abroad, than by domestic issues such as poverty.
Before the passage of the Twenty-third amendment, the residents from The District of Columbia could not vote. But after the passage of the new amendment, though not a state, the District of Columbia could vote and be represented in congress.
Aside form the immediate problem of unemployment, The trade expansion act was passed to help farmers eliminate their surplus and to protect vital industries. Though farm incomes still weakened many other industries were protected and allowed more flexibility. Another attempt to decrease surplus was the Food for peace program, this program was stepped up to 1.5 billion and as part of the program congress purchased 100 million in United Nations bonds to finance a venture in The Congo.
The Sluggish economic growth of the times stemmed from a growing usage for automation and a loss of human jobs. Kennedy enacted several training programs to tackle the unemployed and to increase American production. The Housing act of 1961 mean to strengthen national economy and social fabric, This act provided long term loans at low interest rates to stimulate the construction of middle income housing.
The Trade Expansion act of 1962 was prompted in part by the creation of the common market. This act gave the president power to (over a five year period) cut tariffs below the 50 percent mark or to raise the tariffs in place 50 percent above the 1934 limit. Included with this legislation was an escape clause which allowed the president to retain or re-impose tariffs to protect industries that may be hurt by tariff reduction.
During the sixties, Jim Crow laws had been prohibited as but tolerated as long as all facilitations were, “separate but equal.” The Twenty-fourth amendment prevented states from issuing poll taxes which inhibited a citizen?s right to vote.
As protests to the non responsiveness of the government?s urgings, many non-violent protesters began, “Sit ins.” Sit Ins were peaceful protests that involve sitting and not leaving an establishment while refusing patronage. Also, Protesters took to freedom rides, rides which protested the Jim Crow Laws upon interstate travel and mass transit.
At this time a great deal of effort was being exerted to full integrate schools and to require all schools to comply with the orders of the President and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had ruled that “Separate but equal” was constitutional but reversed their decision and ruled it to be unconstitutional.
George Wallace was a third party candidate for president in 1968, his focus was on blue collar anger in the north and racial tension in the north and did not stuck with too many other issues as he was vying for a strong segregation vote from the south.
After the death of Kennedy, President Linden B. Johnson took office and began an expanded social assistance with his great society program. He also began increasing the American support to the Vietnam war. Johnson arrived as a new deal democrat in 1937 and eventually became Vice President under Kennedy. The Great society was the term for Johnson?s prgrams of social development. Under Johnson, Kennedy?s Tax cut bills branched out to aid public education , medical care, and poverty.
In his State of the Union address, Johnson declared war upon poverty and began the so-named program which supported the passing of the Economic opportunity act (1964) and created VISTA (volunteers in service of America). At the time there were a great number of homeless, uneducated, and impoverished citizens who were taking regular “paychecks” from federal aid to the poor.
In 1963 The supreme court ruled that all those suspect of a crime who cannot afford legal consultation will be appointed a lawyer free of charge. In 1964 the Supreme court ruled that a lawyer must be present during questioning from police officials. In 1966 The Supreme court ruled that a suspect of a crime must be informed of their rights prior to questioning. While aside from legal “tweaking” The supreme court ruled in 1965 that it was illegal to ban contraceptives and that each person within the United States can only be worth one vote per issue voted upon.
The Election of 1966 was won by Johnson by a 61 percent vote, with his election Johnson followed the policies of Kennedy ad pushed for a stronger space program. In that year, The democrats took the majority in the Congress and vehemently supported Johnson?s policies.
After a rather large recession, The United States began selling quantities of gold on the open market for foreign held dollars. This making gold less of a monetary element and more of commodity.
After Sputnik was launched as the world?s first artificial satellite the United States stepped up funding for a moon mission dramatically. With a goal of reaching the moon before the end of the sixties, man landed on the moon July 20, 1969.
The civil rights act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in public accommodations by employers, unions, and voting registrars. Though, to help the economic stability of our nation congress out into law the Economic opportunity act (1964). This law created an office of Economic opportunity and authorized 1 billion for the war against poverty. Also, Food stamps began to be put into wide spread use. Food stamps are vouchers which cover the expense of food for those who?s expenses outweigh their income and require assistance. The Urban transportation act was passed to improve some of the worst railways in the world and to improve the commerce in areas which rely upon mass transit. Another policy which took effect was the conservation of natural resources, which evidence suggested, would eventually run out.
Allowing for time the Ruling of the Supreme Court to reapportion the voting system took effect and was firmly enforced. Along with this ruling, Congress passed in 1965 a bill to eliminate Jim Crow laws from voting institutions.
In 1966, a new organization too form that began a violent touch to civil rights agenda. The Black Panthers wanted African American to lead their own communities and demanded that the government rebuild the ghettos as repayment for so many years of oppression. In Rochester, New York City, cites in New Jersey, and In Los Angeles (From 1964-1965) violent displays and riots popped up with amazing frequency. August 11, 1965, An African American man is pulled over for drunk driving and resists arrest. One of the officers panics and swings his riot club igniting the near bystanders to riot. Thirty-four people died in that riot and several more were injured. Another group that was protesting for Civil rights were The SNCC, (The Students for Non violent Coordinating Committee) eventually became a black power organization, had workers carry guns for protection.
Finally, The Civil rights act of 1968, provided that the federal government would offer protection to Civil Rights workers and included a ban on the discrimination, but not preferential treatment, of certain races in real estate.
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