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Baby Boom

A significant increase in the number of children being born; one took place in the United States after World War II.

Brown vs. Board of Education

Supreme Court ruling that declared that racial segregation in public schools was illegal; overturned the separate-but-equal doctrine established in the 1896 case Plessy vs. Ferguson

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Law banning racial discrimination in the use of public facilities and in employment practices

Cold War

Power struggle between the United States and the Societ Union that lasted from 1945 to 1991


U.S. foreign policy followed during the Cold War that sought to prevent the expansion of Soviet communism


Period in the 1970s when relations between the United States and the Soviet Unions were less hostile than in the past

Domino Theory

Belief common during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration and beyond; stated that if one nation in Southeast Asia fell to communism, the rest of Southeast Asia would also fall


Americans who called for U.S. withdrawal from the Vietnam War

Freedom Rider

Bus trips by civil rights workers through various southern states in which protester challenged illegal segregation in bus terminals

Great Society

Legislation introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson to create government programs to end poverty and racism


Americans who pushed for increased military spending and involvement in the Vietnam War


Missile, usually carrying a nuclear warhead that is capable of hitting a target about 10,000 miles away.

Iron Curtain

Figurative reference to the barrier between the democratic, capitalist countries of Western Europe and the totalitarian, communist countries of Eastern Europe

Marshall Plan

U.S. program of giving money to European countries to help them rebuild their economies after World War II.


Method of making vicious accusations without offering proof; named after Senator Joseph McCarthy


Federal health insurance program for people with low incomes


Federal health insurance program for people over the age of 65

Mutual Assured Destruction

The the idea that if the Soviet Union launches its missile against the U.S., the U.S. will have time to launch its missiles at the Soviet Union (and vice versa)

Nonviolent resistance

Protest strategy that calls for peaceful demonstrations and the rejection of violence, even for self-defense

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Alliance formed in 1949 by the United States, Britain , and 10 other countries to help defend each other in case of attack

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Alliance formed by major oil-producing nations in 1960 to maintain high prices by controlling the production and sale of oil

Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)

The treaty that pledged countries in Asia to defend each other against attacks from other countries

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

Congressional act that gave President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to wage war in Vietnam


Political system in which the government controls every aspect of citizens' lives

Truman Doctrine

President Harry S Truman's policy stating that the United States would help any country fighting against communism

United Nations

International organization chartered in 1945 for settling problems between nations


Communist guerrilla force that functioned as the National Liberation Front's army and began fighting against Ngo Dinh Diem's government in South Vietnam in the 1950s

War Powers Act

Legislation that required the president to get congressional approval before committing U.S. troops to any armed struggle

Warsaw Pact

Military alliance formed in 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states


Scandal in which President Richard M. Nixon authorized a cover up of a break in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters; led to Nixon's resignation in 1974

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