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National Labor Relations Board ( NLRB)
Where: Washington DC
What: An independent agency of the federal govt charged with union organizing
So what: it represents a deviation from the federal govt tradition stand on unions to support collective bargaining. Will have unforseen down sides in the future, but at the same it got FDR critical votes from labor
John Maynard Mayes
When: 1883- 1946
So what: Keynes believed in " priming the pump", getting the economy goiing, believed in times of economic crisis govt needed to both cut taxes and increase spending to stimulate the economy.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
What: A new deal jobs program focused on the environment
So waht: They planted trees, built roads, and capsites in the national forests, built dams, and other projects to do with conservaton. They were all young men (17-25) and their paychecks were send home to their families.
Works Progress Adminstration ( WPA)
Who: FDR and Harry Hopkins
What: one of the largest New Deal agencies, it employed millions of young men and women to work on public works projects like construction and also cultural arts programs.
So what: almost every community in America had a WPA project. in KC the WPA built ctiy hall and the courthouse. the WPA provided jobs and income for 3 million at its peak, maybe as many as 8 million throughout an 8 year span.
Social Security Act 1935
When: 1935 to present
What: Social Security is all in one an old age pension, unemployment compensation and an aid program for families with dependent children.
When: Late 1940s
Who: Us Companies
What: Extractive industries are things like oil and mining that go into place and strip it of its resources.
So What: THe US had a heavy interest in decolonization thanks to its extractive industries. When nations are colonies, they have no say in who takes their resources and they are not compensated. Once those countries decolonize and are independent, that shifts the balance and it can mean that countries like the US have to actually pay for the resources they drain or they may be cut off from those resourses together.
Senator Joseph Mc Carthy
When: In office from 1947- 1957
Where: From Wisconsin works in the Senate
Who: Senator from Wisconsin, one of the lead politicians who enflamed the Red Scare
So What: McCarthy wasnt the only politician who fanned the flames of communism fear, but he was one of the most vocal, which is why we call the phenomenon McCarthyism. He lead the charge for investigators into possible communists. At one point he claimes to have a list of over 200 members of the state department who were communists. He used a number of tactics, including lying, exaggerating, and guilt by association.
Postwar US Domestic Anxieties
When: Post WW2
Where: Throughout the nation
Who: THe American populace
What: Postwar fears included economic, social/cultural, foreign policy reversals, and espionage
So what: The reason the Red Scare took off like it did was because AMerican had all these underlying fears to tap into and blow things out of proportion. The atmosphere was one of fear and people sought someone to blame and communism became the answer.
When: in office from 1949-76
Who: Known as the Chairman, Mao was a revolutionary and founded the Peoples Republic of China
So What: Americans saw Maos rise to power as a threat and a failure as communism was seemingly spreading past containment. However, Maos communism was native born, not imported from the Soviets. Mao was reacting to Chinas dire situation caused by decades of colonization and being under the influence of forgeiners. His vison was a great one, but as so often happens, in the application of it he became a ruthless authoritarian.
Julius and Ethel Rosenburg
When: Executed in 1953
Who: Husband and wife accused of being communist spies.
What: the case of the Rosenburgs shows just how tense the atmosphere was in American during the Red Scare
So what: Historians mostly agree that Julius was probably a spy, but the evidence isnt there in the case of Ethel. The fear of espionage was so great though that even without evidence, a person accused of spying could lose their life.
Loyalty Review Board
Where: Washington DC
Who: Workers for the govt
What: the board was commission to investigate federal employees and make sure they were loyal Americans, not communists.
So What: 2700 federal employees were dismissed based on the findings of this board. Another 12,000 quit rather than be investigates. The family and freinds of emplyees were interviewed, not the employees themselves.
House UnAmerican Activities Committee ( HUAC)
When: started in 1947
Where: Based in DC, but did investigations throughout the country
Who: Members of the House of Reps
What: HUAC was an investigative committee of the US HOuse of Reps
So What: HUAC investigated suspected threats of subversion or propoganda that attacked the govt. Of course communism was seen as the biggest threat. HUAC had its hands in investingating not only people connected to the federal govt but actors and academics too. HUAC is one of the reasons the blacklists were spread during the 50s.
McCarthys Army Hearings
Where: Washington DC
Who: Joseph McCarthy VS Welch
What: McCarthys hearings after accusing the armed forces of coddling communists in its ranks.
So what: The hearings were televised, allowing people for the first time to see just how fanatical McCarthy was. Welch came across as educated, professional, and gentemanly, while McCarthy just looked bad in every way. McCarthy overreached with this one and it would effectively end McCarthyism.
G Bill 1946
Where: Issued in Washington DC, nationwide effect
Who: Effects returning vets, US Govt
What: Govt bill that provided vets with funding for college education and buying houses ( morgages)
So What: It was massive govt spending that benefited not only vets and their families, but the overall economy; due to the GI Bill we got new practices like the 30 year Mortgage.
Interstate Highway Act 1956
What: Federal Act that commissioned the building of the interstate highway.
So What: INhancing nations defense, and stimulate the economy. Largest peacetime govt spending of its time. It advanced the national defense and caused economic stimulus. It shows that there was something of a political consensus at the time. because this was a Republican idea that enjoyed widespread Democratic support.
1950s Suburban Dream
Where: Major US cities
Who: Middle class Americans mostly whites
What: Movement from the intercity to the outskirts.
So what: Added t othe segregation of cities as suburbs were mainly white and this left the urban core. It became the aspiration of many middle class families and added to the sense of consensus. This becomes the new American Dream.
When: Late 1940s to early 1960s
Who: Veterans and their families
What: Population explosion
So What: Adds 30 million people and created a short term economic boom. New parents created a whole material culture around their kids. It helped create a new child-centered America.
" Leave It to Beaver"
Where: Suburbia across the US... TV
Who: Jerry Mathers ( CBS/ABC)
What: TV show that influenced a generation
So What: Portrayed the idealized American family, the suburban dream. It also created its own imagined community allowing all suburban families to believe they could be just like this.
Dr, Benjamin Spock
Where: Born in New Haven, Connecticut. Died in California, went to Yale.
Who: Pediatrician and author
What: Baby and Child Care was one of the most popular books on child care of the time.
So What: Dramatic change in development theory and parenting models. Dr. Spock advocated against spanking and in favor of things like time-out. He was part of Ameircans shift towars a more child centered society.
Michael Harringtons THE OTHER AMERICA
Where: He was from St. Louis, but his book focused on the whole country.
Who: writer and political activist
What: The Other America argued that at leaser 20% of America was in poverty.
So What: He argued that everything the economic boom enjoyed in the 50s was just an illusion. There were cracks in the system and people were just slipping through those. His writings would really prove influential to Democratic presidents JFK and LBS.
Brown Vs Board of Education of Topeka, KS 1954
Where: Supreme Court
Who: Oliver Brown, THurgood Marschall, and Earl Warren
What: Landmark supreme court case challenging " seperate but equal"
So What: Overturned the precedent set in Plessy VS Ferguson, It found that segregated schools and other facilities were inherently unequal. Browns side argued that segregation has a damaging psychological effect on black children. The court ruled 9-0 in favor of Brown.
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Where: Montgomery, AL
Who: Rosa Parks, Dr. Marther Luther King Jr, and African American citizens of Montgomery
What: Boycott of the bus system by African Americans
So What: This was a grassroots Democratic movement. It was mostly organized through the church. It would launch MLKs career as a civil rights leader. Showed the nonviolent means of protest the movement orginally employed.
Dr. Marther Luther Kind Jr.
When: 1955 ( 1929-68)
Where: From Atlanta, GA, but made his name for himself in Montgomery Alabama.
Who: Minister and civil rights leader
So What: THanks to the Montgomery bus boycott, Dr King found his voice, his purpose. That event launched him into the natinal spotlight and made him the voice of the civil rights movement. He was an articulate and charismatic leader who was able to literally get thousands of people to follor him. Influenced by Ghandi
Little Rock AR 1957
Where: Central High School
Who: The Little Rock Nine, President Eisenhower
What: The attempt of desegregation of Little Rocks main high school
So What: The governor of AR tried to call in the national guard to keep the students from entering the school. The media picked up the story and the nation was so shocked by what is saw that Pres. Eisenhower called in the federal troops to get the deegregation done.
Greensboro Sit-In 1960
Where: Greensboro, NC
Who: Four black college students from NC Agricultural and Technical School
What: Sit-In protests at the lunch counter of the local Woolworths, the lunch counter was segregated ( whites only) and the blacks demanded to be served.
So What: This protest would lead to the organizing of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee ( SNCC) whichi would become a highly influential group in the civil rights movement. The protest was picked up by the press which took it from local to national. Hundreds of blacks and whites flooded into Greensboro to join the original sitin and put pressure on desegregating the south.
Where: Birmingham, AL
Who: MLK Jr and other civil rights leaders and also police commissioner Bull Connor
What: Civil Rights protest
So What: Connor got a court injungction to stop and protest form taking place in Bormingham. King and other civil rights activists decided to make Birmingham an example and protest anyways. The peaceful protests were met with shocking violence all of which was aired on national TV. Thousands were arrested, including King, who wrote his famous jailhouse letters from that jail. Racial tensions got so bad that a black church was firebombed, killing 4 young girls.
March on Washington 1963
Where: Washington DC
Who: MLK Jr
What: Massive civil rights march on the Washington mall
So what: One of the largest political rallies for human rights in the US History. It called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Dr. King gave his famous " I have a Dream" speech.
Civil Rights Act 1964
Where: Washington DC ( applied to whole nation)
Who: Proposed by JFK, passed under LBJ
What: A landmark piece of legislation that outlawed major forms of discrimination including racial degregation.
So What: JFK originally proposed this bill in 1963, but he couldnt get it passed. After his assassination, Johnson used both the political good will towards JFK and his connections in the Congress to ge tthe bill passed. It was followed by the Voting Act in 1965 that got rid of the poll tax and literary test. Together these bills effectively ended Jim Crow segeregation in America.
Ho Chi Minh
When: In office 1951-1969
Where: North Vietnam
Who: Vietnamese nationalist and socialist leader
So What: IN addition to being inspired by Marx and Lenin, he was also inspired by American diplomacy. He repeatedly sought aid form the US and was either rejected or ignored. Finally the Soviets for help and they gave him modest aid. This made him a communist in the eyes of Washington. He had the popular support of almost all the north and much of the south.
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
Who: French and Vietnamese
What: IT was an agreement ending the first Indochina War. France agreed to give up its colonies, Vietnam was divided into North and South. And internationally monitored elections were to be held to decide the ultimate fate of the country.
So What: THe US was not an official party to the Geneva Accords, but we did have reps. present and we agreed to abide by the accords. At this point the US goes from financing the French and their war to financing South Vietnam in a strategy called nation building.
When: Starts in 1954
Where: South Vietnam
Who: THe Eisenhower Administration
What: THe US gave South Vietnam $7 billion to modify their culture and make Pro-Capitalism
So What: This starte to Americanize the Vietnamese conflicted it one step down the slippery slope. Ultimately the US failed to realize that a nation could not be built from the outside in, it has to be built from the inside out.
Ngo Dinh Diem
When: In office 1955-1963
Where: South Vietnam
Who: The first " president" of South Vietnam
So What: Like Minh, Diem was also a nationalist, he believed in building South Vietnam, he received the backing of the US, originally for being tough against communism. The problem was he was also tough to tough against communism. The problem was he was also tough to virtually every other group in Vietnam too. HE didnt enjoy the popular support that Minh had in the north. HIs govt was overrun by corruption, Diem canceled the elections in 1956. Eventually falls out of favor wit hthe US and JFK approves his removal.
National Liberation Front ( NFL)
Where: South Vietnam
Who: Insurgency group against Diem
What: Coalition of people who felt oppressed or let down by the Diem administration
So What: Minh didnt originally support the NFL. He resisted funding them until 1959 when it became obvious elections would never happen. At that point we get the creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail from North Vietnam into South Vietnam.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
When: Aug 1964
Where: Washington DC
What: Authorized the president to escalate the conflict in Vietnam
So What: This resolution was the closest thing to congressional approval the war ever got. It was passed on bad if mot false information.
When: Jan-Feb 1968
Where: South Vietnam
Who: NFL and North Vietnamese holiday of Tet
What: Surprise attack on the Vietnamese holiday of tet
So WHat: The NFL suffered massive casualties on this attack, but in public opinion the still won because with this attack Americans become convinced that they could not win the war.
Baby Boom Generation
Who: Children born during and after WW2
What: Explosion in the birthrate
So What: Due to the baby boomers, AMerica becomes a more child centered society. There is a marked increase consumerism . In general, this generation tended to be better educated amd more affluent. Changed the demographics of the country, as this became the biggest cohort in the nation. The baby boomers were the first generationto grow up on the TV and with modern media. Two major groups to come out of this generation is the Yippies and the Hippies.
Student for a Democratic Society ( SDS)
When: Approx 1961
Where: Prot Huron, Michigan
Who: college students
What: Political activist group
So What: SDS comprised of the New left. Many of them came from Democratic backgrounds but they felt that there wasnt enough activism in the Old Left. They were known as Yippies. THey were mostly focused on the hot button issues of the time like civil rights. They found it hard though to connect with everyday Americans, thus they many focused their efforts on the universities.
Berkley Free Speech Movement
Where: Unniversity of California, Berkley
Who: Mario Savio and other SDS memebers
What: Student protest against banning protest
So What: SDS uses the media to their advantage in the instance, taking their protest from Berkley and spreading it across the country. THe point, according to SDS memebers, was that political activism was protected as free speech and had a place at colleges and universities.
Democratic National Convention
Who: Yippies VS Democratic Party officials and Mayor Daley
What: an explosive confrontation over who should be the Democratic presidential candidate.
So What: Hubert Humphrey was LBJ's vie president and when he decided not to run for a 2nd term, the powers that be in the Democratic Party chose Humphrey as their candidate. THis enraged the activists in the part who wanted a vote. The Yippie activists showed up in mass at the convention to protest. The Democratic mayor of Chicago called out the police to stop the demonstrations. The Yippies in turn called out the media. The violent confrontation was thus broadcasted across the country.
1960s Counter Culture
Who: Hippies and other countercultures
What: A variety of cultural movements against the norms of society.
So What: While Yippies were the political activists , Hippies were the activists of another kind. they focused on culture, not politics. They wanted to change the accepted mainstream society.
Woodstock Music Festival
When: August 1969
Where: Woodstock, NY
Who: Hippies plus numerous bands
What: One of the biggest music festivals and counterculture gatherings of the era.
So What: Woodstock us considered a pivitol event in the history of both Rock and Roll and counterculture, It brought together all the hallmarks of the Hippie movement: drugs, music, and free love.
Jack Kerosauc ( Beats)
Who: An American author and poet
What: Literacy jazz, the beats generation were nonconformists in the Age of Consensus
So What: The beats a genreation proceeded the hippies and 60s counterculture. They would become an inspiration that later became a movement. His master work on the road would become a normal of sorts for hippies when it came to life and travel. Beats writes merges literature and music. The Beats had a certain rhythm to it.
Who: Policy makers social scientists and American women
What: A policy to promote traditional American family values
So What: The point of domestic containment was to protect the nuclear family in the new nuclear age. Conservative Americans saw communis, as a threat to the American way of life. They saw women as being the first line of defense against this threat. Women were encouraged to marry young and bring up a family. They were serving their country and freedom by doing so
Who: Children of WW2 veterans
What: an explosion in the birthrate
So What: The baby boom made America more child centered. With the focus being directed at children and childhood, motherhood got reevaluated too. Thanks to the baby boom, stay at home moms not only became more frequent, but they were advocated. Women were encouraged to stay home and raise their kids. Women who wanted to work outside the home were often recommeneded to therapist because there was someting wrong with them.
I Love Lucy
Who: Lucille Ball
What: 1950s TV Show
So What: 50s TV had many shows depicting the ideal American family. 50s Americans learned much of their popular culture from these shows. However, in reality Lucille Ball used her show to subtly challenge the accepted gender roles of the times. Using her comedic talent she almost always managed to challenge or under mind in the patriarchal control of her husband. She also had a very strong personaltiy that was hers and hers alone.
Betty Friedans The Feminine Mystique
Who: writer activist and feminist
What: Landmark book about modern American women and what she called the problem with no name.
So What: According to some historians credit this book with starting what is known in academia as second wave feminism. The book is credited with giving a voice to a group of women who felt repressed and forgotten by society. Many of the women in her book describe feeling like they have no personality, no identity. THeres something missing in their lives. Two major criticisms of this work is she was only really focusing on middle class white women, but she genralized her finding to all women. Also she doesnt acknowledge the fact that ther was already a sizable portion of American women working outside the home by 1960.
Presidents Commission of the Status of Women
Where: Washington DC
Who: COmmission appointed by JFK led by Eleanor Roosevelt
What: Commission to look at the situations and experiences of women, especially the working class.
So What: The commission found that the govt could improve the lives and circumstances of working women by providing them with more educational opportunities and helping to provide quality, affordable childcare. While no major legislation came out of this commission, it would clear the way for later reform such as the Title VII of the Civils Rights Act ( 1964)
National Organization of Women ( NOW)
Who: Betty Freidman and other feminists activists
What: Organization that was meant to be like the NAACP for women.
So What: NOW was intended to be like the NAACP for women. They pushed for enforcement of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. They also advocated women having full participation in American society.
Who: Former members of the Democratic Party
What: Realignment of American politics
So What: Reagan Democrats typically identified as middle aged/ middle class white men who felt threatened or displaced by the civil rights and feminist movements of the 60s and 70s. The Democratic Party had come out in favor of these movements which made this segment of the population feel like the party no longer represented them and their best interests, so they switches to the Republican party being more able to identify with Reagan and his policies.
Where: US ( bible belt)
Who: Ministers like Jerry Falwell
What: The Religious Right
So What: The evangelical voting block represented 1/3 of Reagans new conservative coalition. In many ways their rise to prominence was a cultural pushback against many of the cultural/political movements from the previous decades. They are still a significant froce even in the modern Republican Party.
Supply Side Economics
Who: Consumers, businesses, and the Reagon Admin
What: A theory that if you cut taxes, consumers will spend more
So What: In Theory, this is a viable economic plan. Where Reagan went wrong is at the same time he was cutting taxes, he was increasing defense spending. That doesnt balance out. SupplySided Economics is a type of trickle down theory. And it did work in the short term to produce an economic boom.
1982 Tax Cuts
What: The largest tax cuts in Amercan History
So What: THis was $131 billion tax cut across the board. While basically everyone saw modest reduction in their taxes, the biggest tax cuts were concertrated on business. It did provide job growth during the Reagan Admin.
S and L Crisis
Who: Reagan administration
What: Deregulation of the savings and loans industry
So What: S&Ls were allowed to invest in real estate. There was a short term boom in real estate, followed by a bubble and a bust and many savings and loans companies either went out of business or they had to be bailed out by govt.
Repeal of Glass-Stegall
Where: Washington DC
Who: Clinton with Republican support
What: Repeal of FDR regulation on the commercial banking industry
So What: The repeal of this regulation allowed commercial banks to invest in mortgages. Due to this deregulation we will eventually get a banking crisis and the banking industry will need a bail out.
When: Late 1980s
What: Huge increase to our national debt
So What: While Reagan did reduce spending on many social programs, he also reduced taxes and increased defense spending which made the deficits balloon. To be Fair, however, most modern presidents definitely since LBJ but maybe even since FDR have increased the deficit substantially.
King Ibn Saud
Where: Red Sea
Who: First king Saudia Arabia
What: A meeting that took place between King Saud and FDR
So What: At this meeting a deal was struck. The US would provide Saudi Arabia with military security in exchange for cheap Saudia Oil. The US was not actually seeking the oil for itself at this time, we were actually trying to get oil to help rebuild Europe and Japan post WW2. It was a matter of global economic security.
Gamel Abdul Nasser
Who: Member of the Egyptian military who led the revolution of 1952
What: Nasser would become central to Cold War politics in the middle east.
So What: Nasser was an Arab nationalists, NOT communist. However he did buy arms from the soviets, which made him a communist and things really get ugly in 1956 when he nationalized the Suez Canal.
Where: Middle East
Who: US, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey
What: A Cold War military alliance
So What: This military alliance was meant as a counter to possible soviet power in the region. Also it was in response to Nassers rise in power in Egypt. Unfortunately at the same time this alliance didnt sit well with our other middle eastern ally, Israel.
Shah Reza Pahlavi
Six Day War ( June War)
Who: Israel VS several of its Arab neighbors
What: A very breif, but very sucessful war for Israel
So What: This war succeeded in making Israel a power in the Middle East. Due to this war Israel ends up occupying the territories of Sinai, Golan Heghts Gaza, and the West Bank
Who: Dictator of Iraq
So What: When Saddam came to power the US backed him because he was anti-communist and anti-Iranian. He started a war with Iran, in which the US protected him from being sanctioned or facing charges of war crimes for using chemical weapons against enemies.
Who: Freedom fighters against the Soviets
What: The Mujahadeen was a coalition of not just different afghan tribes but fighters from throughout the Muslim world.
So What: America supported the Mujahadeen in their fight against the Soviets. They are able to eventually drive the Soviet out. Following the Soviet retreat there is a power vacumm created and the various groups that made up the mujahadeen fight it out amongst themselves seeking control. The Taliban come out on top.
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