Chapter 29: America Under Stress: 1967-1976 1

Chapter 29: America Under Stress: 1967-1976 1

Chapter 29: America Under Stress: 1967-1976 1


America Under Stress: 1967-1976


After you read and analyze this chapter, you should be able to:

1.Analyze the expectations that led Johnson to choose the policy of escalation of America’s role in Vietnam and the military outcome of his decision.

2.Evaluate why women, Latinos, and American Indians chose to become more confrontational in seeking equality in American society.

3.Describe how Nixon’s foreign policy choices differed from those sought by traditional Republican conservatives.

4.Understand how Nixon’s choices in dealing with the economy and environment reflected his “pragmatic conservatism.”


I.Liberal Forces at Work

A.The Warren Court

1.The Court’s decisions in the 1950s redefined race relations and contributed a legal base to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

2.Between 1961 and 1969, the Court issued over 200 criminal justice decisions that, according to critics, hampered law enforcement.

a)Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

b)Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)

c)Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

3.In Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington v. Schempp (1963), the Court applied the First Amendment—separation of church and state—to state and local actions that allowed prayer and the reading of the Bible in public schools.

4.Critics also complained that the Courts’ actions condoned and promoted immorality.

5.The Court’s rejection of statewide gerrymandering, or redrawing voting districts so as to favor one party, was less controversial but equally lasting in importance.

B.The Emergence of La Causa

1.Beginning in the 1960s, Mexican Americans, who were near society’s lowest levels of income and education, also organized to assert their social and political rights.

a)Across South Texas, Mexican Americans banded together to form El Partido Raza Unida to spread the political “revolution” throughout Texas.

b)The Mexican American movement was a local one, born of poverty and oppressive segregation; reflective of this grassroots character was the important role that youths played in the movement.

2.Before and during the 1960s, nearly one-third of all Mexican Americans worked at stoop labor in the fields and were not covered under minimum wage or labor laws.

a)Finally, in 1962, Cesar Chavez created the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) to seek higher wages, better working and living conditions, and dignity for migrant workers.

b)When Chavez called for a strike against the grape growers of central California, it lasted five years until most of the major growers accepted unionization and improved wages and working conditions.

c)But, even today, the majority of Mexican Americans have not achieved social or economic equality in the United States.

C.American Indian Activism

1.American Indians, too, began to assert their rights with new vigor since the 1960s.

a)Indians on and off reservations organized and called for changes in white attitudes and new federal and state policies.

b)Increasingly militant Indian leaders demanded the protection and restoration of their ancient burial grounds, along with fishing and timber rights.

c)Kennedy and Johnson provided some change, ending the termination program and advocating self-rule and cultural pluralism for American Indians, and Nixon continued the process by expanding federal programs.

2.The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act gave tribes control over the operation of many federal programs on their reservations.

a)Indian leaders applauded such efforts but lamented the slow pace of change, continued to complain about the corruption and inefficiency in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and insisted that they still did not control their own lives.

b)American Indians have also protested federal and state regulations that restricted gambling on reservations; it is a source of revenue and jobs.

3.Although some American Indian leaders turned to Washington and the courts to assert Indian rights, others took more direct action.

a)In 1968, the Chippewas organized the American Indian Movement (AIM) to dramatize police brutality toward Indians in Minneapolis and to demand social justice for urban Indians.

II.Johnson and the War

A.Americanization of the Vietnam War

1.Communism presented a direct challenge to American interests in South Vietnam, where the Viet Cong appeared to be beating the South Vietnamese.

a)American advisers saw little hope for improvement, and many agreed that a larger American combat role was required to stabilize Vietnam.

b)President Johnson agreed but worried that it was not politically wise to expand the American combat role in Vietnam during an election year, so it was delayed.

c)While planning continued, the Johnson administration began generating public support for a larger American role in defending South Vietnam.

2.Fixed on the domino theory, the White House awaited a chance to ask Congress for permission to use whatever force necessary to defend South Vietnam.

a)The chance came when North Vietnamese torpedo boats skirmished with the American destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin.

b)The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave Johnson the freedom to take whatever measures he wanted in Vietnam, but he remained cautious and limited bombings to the August retaliatory air strikes.

c)The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and the National Security Council proposed using American airpower against industrial and commercial targets in North Vietnam so that there would be limited need for large numbers of American ground forces.

d)General William Westmoreland, commander of the American forces in Vietnam, disagreed, insisting that the inept ARVN could never defeat the Viet Cong—American troops were therefore necessary.

e)Operation Rolling Thunder, the air assault on North Vietnam, began in March 1965; as the United States escalated the war, so too did the enemy.

f)Reluctantly, Johnson gave the green light to sending more American forces to Vietnam—it had now become an American war.

3.Throughout 1966 and 1967, both sides continued to escalate the war.

a)American aircraft rained bombs on North Vietnam and supply routes south, especially the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but arms and provisions still moved.

b)In the Tet Offensive of January 1968, some of the bloodiest fighting of the war took place as the North Vietnamese attacked 41 cities in the south; American and South Vietnamese forces moved to recapture lost cities and villages.

c)The Tet Offensive was a military defeat for North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. It provoked no popular uprising against the South Vietnamese government, the Communists held no cities or provincial capitals, and they suffered staggering losses in men and material.

d)Tet was, nonetheless, a “victory” for the North Vietnamese in that it seriously weakened American support for the war.

B.The Antiwar Movement

1.In 1965, most Americans still supported the nation’s role in Vietnam, but the largely college-based opposition to the war was more outspoken.

a)Those opposing the war fell into two categories: pacifists and radical liberals opposed the war for moral and ideological reasons, and others opposed the war for more pragmatic reasons—the draft, the loss of lives and money, and the inability of the United States to either defeat the enemy or create a stable South Vietnam.

b)Until 1967, Johnson displayed little concern about the antiwar movement, but as the number of protesters increased, Johnson responded with Operation Chaos, in which federal agents infiltrated, spied on, and tried to discredit antiwar groups.

2.Johnson’s circle of advisers also began to oppose the war.

III.Tet and the 1968 Presidential Campaign

A.The Tet Offensive

1.Tet was a “victory” for the North Vietnamese because it seriously weakened American support for the war.

2.Tet destroyed the Johnson administration’s credibility and inflamed a growing antiwar movement.

3.By March 1968, Johnson and most of his “wise men” had also concluded the war was not going to be won.

B.Changing of the Guard

1.Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy challenged Johnson’s leadership.

2.Quietly, Johnson decided not to run for the presidency.

C.The Election of 1968

1.The Vietnam War and protests against it became the major issues of the campaign.

a)Senator Robert Kennedy’s assassination stunned the nation but ensured the nomination of Hubert Humphrey, since President Johnson was not running.

b)In the streets of Chicago during the Democratic convention, radical factions within the Students for a Democratic Society promised physical confrontation, while Mayor Richard Daley was determined to maintain order.

c)Television cameras broadcast the riots on August 28. Many Americans were disgusted by the chaos and, in turn, associated it with the Democratic Party.

d)Richard Nixon easily won his party’s nomination at an orderly Republican convention.

e)Nixon won a comfortable margin in the Electoral College while receiving only 43 percent of the nation’s votes.

IV.Nixon Confronts the World


1.While the Soviets were an important agenda item in foreign affairs, Nixon and his adviser, Henry Kissinger, also knew that Vietnam was the most immediate problem.

a)It dominated and shaped nearly all other issues: the budget, public and congressional opinion, foreign policy, and domestic stability.

b)Nixon’s solution was Vietnamization, reducing the total American role while enhancing South Vietnam’s military capability; it began in the spring of 1969.

c)Expanding on the theme of limiting American involvement, the president issued the Nixon Doctrine: countries warding off communism would have to shoulder the bulk of the military burden, with the United States providing political and economic support and limited naval and air support.

2.Adding to the public disillusionment about Vietnam was the publication of the Pentagon Papers, a collection of official documents gathered by former Defense Department researcher Daniel Ellsberg that showed that government officials had deceived the American public about conditions in Vietnam from the 1950s.

3.In 1970, Nixon ordered American troops to cross the border into Cambodia and destroy North Vietnamese and Viet Cong headquarters and supply areas.

a)The Cambodian invasion generated loud protests across the United States, especially on college campuses like Kent State, where four protesters were killed and 11 were wounded.

b)Outraged students responded to these killings as well as those at Jackson State University by shutting down over 100 campuses as thousands of antiwar demonstrators marched through Washington.

c)An angry Senate repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and forbade the further use of American troops in Laos or Cambodia.

d)However, as Nixon had predicted, with American soldiers returning home, opposition to the war shrank, and more Americans supported the administration’s quest for an honorable peace.

4.The cease-fire established in 1973 soon collapsed, and Congress cut aid to South Vietnam.

a)In November 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Act, which required the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of the deployment of troops overseas and withdraw them within 60 days if Congress failed to authorize it.

b)Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, fell to the Viet Cong in March 1975, and the war ended as it had begun—with Vietnamese fighting Vietnamese.

B.Modifying the Cold War

1.As part of his push for an “era of negotiation,” Nixon pursued detente, a policy that reduced tensions with the two Communist superpowers.

a)China was the key to this strategy since Nixon hoped—and correctly so—that American friendship with the Chinese would encourage the Soviets to improve their relations with the United States.

b)Soviet leader Brezhnev increased trade with the West, and the superpowers announced a Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement (SALT I) that restricted antimissile sites and established a maximum number of ICBMs and SCLBMs.

2.In Latin America, Nixon followed closely in Johnson’s footsteps, working to isolate Cuba and prevent any additional Communist-style leaders from gaining power.

a)Nixon used covert operations to destabilize the socialist-Marxist government of Salvador Allende in Chile.

V.Nixon and the Presidency

A.Nixon as Pragmatist

1.Nixon believed that Republicans needed to emphasize conservatism that did not automatically reject social responsibility and executive activism.

2.Nixon’s battle with inflation during his administration was a losing one, in part because of economic events over which he had no control.

B.Building the Silent Majority

1.As a part of the ongoing “southern strategy” to garner the region’s votes, the administration opposed busing to achieve school integration, worked to slow down integration in other areas, and sought to put a southerner on the Supreme Court.

C.An Embattled President

1.Nixon was convinced that he was surrounded by enemies and used the FBI, the IRS, and other government organizations to intimidate and punish his opposition.

a)Seeking inside information on the opposition, the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP) approved sending burglars into the Democratic National Headquarters office in the Watergate building to copy documents and tap phones.

b)A security guard notified police, but the Watergate break-in had little apparent effect on the public or the 1972 election.

c)The cover-up of these activities, however, proved to be Nixon’s undoing and led to calls for his impeachment or resignation.

d)Nixon resigned the nation’s highest political office on August 9,1974.

D.An Interim President

1.Soon after taking office in 1974, President Ford pardoned former President Nixon for any crimes he might have committed; the pardon was unpopular and unleashed public and congressional protests.

a)Showing that Ford’s political honeymoon was indeed short-lived, Democrats opposed Ford’s policies to deal with the economic problems of inflation, recession, and the federal deficit: he wanted to cut spending, raise interest rates, and cut business taxes.

b)Democrats confronted the president by introducing legislation to create jobs and increase spending for social and educational programs; but, when these programs passed Congress, Ford vetoed them.

c)The consequences of the pardon, rising inflation and unemployment, and thousands of unused Win buttons were a sharp drop in Ford’s popularity and a political stalemate.

2.Ford fared only slightly better in his foreign policies.

a)Keeping Kissinger as secretary of state, Ford continued Nixon’s policies, including Vietnamization, arms limitation, and detente.

b)When North Vietnamese forces seized Saigon in April 1975, Americans were happy the conflict was no longer an American war.

c)Kissinger continued his shuttle diplomacy, and, in September 1975, Israel and Egypt signed an agreement whereby Israeli troops withdrew from some occupied areas and Egypt resigned from the anti-Israeli Arab coalition.


Identify the following items and explain the significance of each. While you should include any relevant historical terms, using your own words to write these definitions will help you better remember these items for your next exam.

1.Cesar Chavez

2.National Farm Workers Association

3.Warren Court

4.Yates v. United States

5.Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

6.Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)

7.Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

8.Engel v. Vitale (1962)

9.Abington v. Schempp (1962)

10.Jacobvellis v. Ohio (1963)

11.Griswold v. Connecticut (1964)

12.Baker v. Carr (1962)

13.Reynolds v. Sims (1964)

14.La Causa

15.League of Latin American Citizens



18.Brown Berets

19.Russell Means

20.Alcatraz Island

21.American Indian Movement

22.Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act

23.Mann Doctrine


25.Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

26.William Westmoreland

27.Ho Chi Minh Trail


29.Operation Chaos


31.1968 election

32.Eugene McCarthy

33.write-in campaign

34.Robert Kennedy

35.Hubert H. Humphrey

36.Richard M. Nixon

37.George Wallace

38.Spiro Agnew

39.Henry Kissinger

40.Silent Majority



43.Nixon Doctrine

44.My Lai

45.War Powers Act


47.Leonid Brezhnev

48.Strategic Arms Limitation agreement

49.intercontinental ballistic missile

50.Salvador Allende




54.John Mitchell


56.southern strategy

57.George McGovern

58.Committee to Reelect the President


60.Gerald R. Ford

61.Saturday Night Massacre



Select the correct answer.

1.The United States intervened militarily in the Dominican Republic in the mid-1960s

a.when the government there seized all property owned by Americans.

b.because President Johnson wanted to resurrect the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. prevent further inroads by communism. prevent the Soviet Union from establishing another missile base in the Caribbean.

2.According to the terms of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,

a.Congress gave President Johnson unlimited authority to increase America’s military involvement in Vietnam.

b.the United States declared that it would go to war with China in order to prevent a Communist victory in Vietnam.

c.the United Nations declared that America must leave Vietnam or face condemnation by the world body.

d.South Vietnam was told to assume all responsibility for its own defense.

3.The Tet Offensive can be best described as unqualified military victory for North Vietnam.

b.undermining support within the United States for the war in Vietnam.

c.the occasion when China and the Soviet Union intervened militarily in support of North Vietnam.

d.the reason that the Johnson administration decided to escalate America’s involvement in Southeast Asia.

4.The war in Vietnam differed from World War II because

a.the Republican Party opposed America’s participation in the Vietnam conflict.

b.during the 1960s, isolationist sentiment once again became widespread and influenced foreign policy.

c.America provided only backup support to its ally in Vietnam.

d.a vocal antiwar movement during the Vietnam conflict decisively affected domestic politics.