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Affirmative Action

Policy that gives special consideration to women and members of minority groups to make up for past discrimination.


General pardon by which government absolves offenders.

Bakke v. Board of Regents, University of California at Davis, 1978

Barred colleges from admitting students solely on basis of race, but allowed them to include race along with other considerations.

Camp David Accords

In 1978, President Carter mediated a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Carter and the leaders of the two countries negotiated the treaty at Camp David, a presidential retreat near Washington, D.C.

Carter, Jimmy

A former governor of Georgia, was elected president in 1976. He was inexperienced in national politics and had a troubled one-term presidency.


This is a French term meaning the relaxation of tensions. The word was used to identify U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Chinese relations in the 1970s, as the superpowers pursued friendlier relations with each other.


Bring charges against an official such as the President.

Khomeini, Ayatollah

He was a revered Iranian religious leader who was returned from exile to take control of teh Iranian government when the shah was overthrown in 1979. He was strongly anti-American.

Kissinger, Henry

He was Secretary of State from 1973 to 1976, but he played a major role in formulating U.S. foreign policy during both Nixon presidencies. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which ended America's involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973.

Mitchell, John

Attorney General under President Richard Nixon; deeply involved in the Watergate scandal.

New Federalism

President Nixon's call for a new partnership between the federal government and state governments; President Reagan's plan to cut back the role to the federal government while giving more responsibility to state and local governments.


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a cartel of mostly Middle East Arab nations, united behind an Arab boycott and cut off oil sales to the West in 1973.

Pentagon Papers

These papers were classified Defense Department documents on the history of the United States' involvement in Vietnam, prepared in 1968 and leaked to the press in 1971.


A German term meaning "practical politics," or foreign policy based on interests rather than moral principles.


A period of slow business activity.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

In 1978, in a two-part decision, the Supreme Court ruled first that Allan Bakke was a victim of reverse discrimination. Bakke, a white applicant, was twice denied adminssion into the University of California-Davis (UC-D) medical school even though his test scores were higher.

Saturday Night Massacre

On Saturday, October 20, 1973, President Nixon abruptly dismissed his attorney general and an assistant in order to have Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired. The event caused an outburst of public indignation and calls for Nixon's impeachment.

Shuttle Diplomacy

Diplomacy between hostile countries conducted by a mediator who travels back and forth between the countries.

Southern Strategy

President Nixon adopted a special strategy to seek political support from conservative southern Democrats in the 1972 campaign.


This referred to the economic condition of the 1970s in which price inflation accompanied slow economic growth.

United Nations

During World War II, the "United Nations" was the name adopted by the United States, Britain, and their allies against Germany and Italy; after 1945, an international organization joined by nearly all nations.


A complex scandal involving attempts to cover up illegal actions taken by administration officials and leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

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