The final agreement, like the Polish accord, was vague and unstable. The US, Great Britain, France and Soviet Union would each control its own "zone of occupation" in Germany, the zones to be determined by the positions of troops at the end of the war. Berlin, the German capital, was already well inside the Soviet zone, but because of its symbolic importance it would be divided into four sectors, one for each nation to occupy. At an unspecified date, the nation would be united, but there was no agreement on how the reunification would occur. As for the rest of Europe, the conference produced a murky accord on the establishment of interim governments, that would be replaced by permanent ones created through free elections. Once again no timetable accompanied the agreements. Truman and Stalin met.
Over the next ten days Truman and Stalin clashed over the difficult issues of reparations, the Polish border, and the fate of Eastern Europe. Truman conceded first on Poland. He recognized the Warsaw government, hoping that noncommunist forces might gradually expand their influence there. Until the 1980s, they did not. Truman reluctantly accepted adjustments to the Polish-German border that Stalin had long demanded; but he refused to permit the Russians to claim any reparations from the American, French,and British zones of Germany. The result, in effect, was to confirm that Germany would remained divided, with the western zones eventually united into one nation, friendly to the United States, and the Russian zone surviving as another nation, with a pro-Soviet, communist government. Soon, the Soviet Union would be siphoning between $1.5 ad $3 billion a year out of its zone of occupation.
earlier than expected, convinced many people that there had been a conspiracy to pass American atomic secrets to the Russians. In 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a young British scientist, seemed to confirm those fears when he testified that he had delivered to the Russians details of the manufacture of the bomb. The case ultimately rested on an obscure New York couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, members of the communist party, who the government claimed had been the masterminds of the conspiracy. The case against them rested largely on the testimony by Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, a machinist who had worked on the Manhattan Project. Greenglass admitted channeling secret information to the Soviet Union through other agents (including Fuchs). His sister and brother-in-law had, he claimed, planned and orchestrated the espionage. The Rosenbergs were convicted and, on April 5, 1951, sentenced to death. After two years of appeals and protests by sympathizers, they died in the electric chair on June 19, 1953, proclaiming their innocence to the end. Julius Rosenberg was arrested in July 1950, a few weeks after the Korean War began. He was executed, along with his wife, Ethel, on June 19, 1953,The Rosenbergs were tried and found guilty in March 1951. Federal Judge Irving R. Kaufman pronounced the death sentence in early April. The Rosenbergs' attorneys worked for over two years to have the verdict overturned. They appealed to the Supreme Court nine times, but the Court refused to review the record. Neither President Truman nor President Eisenhower granted their requests for clemency.
Because the charge was conspiracy, their conviction required no tangible evidence that they had stolen anything or given it to anybody. The key government witnesses were all charged with the same conspiracy and received more favorable treatment in return for testifying that the Rosenbergs were guilty. David and Ruth Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg's brother and sister-in-law, testified that Julius with Ethel's help recruited David into an atomic spy ring in 1944.The Rosenbergs testified in their own defense and denied all charges. They invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer repeated prosecution questions about their political affiliations. During the McCarthy period, many felt that such a refusal to answer was an admission of Communist Party membership and that all Communists were spies for the Soviet Union.
World War II divided Korea into a Communist, northern half and an American-occupied southern half, divided at the 38th parallel. The Korean War (1950-1953) began when the North Korean Communist army crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded non-Communist South Korea. As Kim Il-sung's North Korean army, armed with Soviet tanks, quickly overran South Korea, the United States came to South Korea's aid. General Douglas MacArthur, who had been overseeing the post-WWII occupation of Japan, commanded the US forces which now began to hold off the North Koreans at Pusan, at the southernmost tip of Korea. Although Korea was not strategically essential to the United States, the political environment at this stage of the Cold War was such that policymakers did not want to appear "soft on Communism." Nominally, the US intervened as part of a "police action" run by a UN (United Nations) international peace- keeping force; in actuality, the UN was simply being manipulated by US and NATO anti-Communist interests.Although President Truman hoped to end the war quickly and pressed MacArthur to be more tactful, the brilliant strategist went against presidential orders and continued spouting incendiary lines about his hopes to reunify Korea. After gaining the support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Truman relieved MacArthur of command. The move was extremely unpopular in America; MacArthur was perceived as a popular war hero. Only the support of the JCS saved Truman from impeachment after the firing. Ridgway took MacArthur's command and held off the Communists with strong fortifications and entrenchments just north of the 38TH Parallel, sending occasional offensives against the Iron Triangle, the Communists staging area for attacks into South Korea. Peace negotiations dragged on at Kaesong, then moved and continued to drag at Panmunjom through 1951 and 1952. The US tried using strategic bombing to intimidate the Communists into negotiating a peace treaty, but they wouldn't budge, particularly on the issue of POW (Prisoner of War) repatriation. Neither side wanted to appear weak, and so the talks went on, occasionally breaking down for months. Only after Eisenhower, who was a war hero and was unafraid of Republican criticism (since he himself was a Republican), became President, could the US make substantial concessions to the Communists. In 1953 a peace treaty was signed at Panmunjom that ended the Korean War, returning Korea to a divided status essentially the same as before the war. Neither the war nor its outcome did much to lessen the era's Cold War tension. These attacks on the wealthy, famous, and privileged won McCarthy a devoted national following, though at the height of his influence in early 1954, he gained the approval of only 50% of the respondents in a Gallup poll. He offered a simple solution to the complicated Cold War: defeat the enemy at home rather than continue to engage in costly foreign aid programs and entangling alliances abroad. For a time, McCarthy intimidated all but a few people from opposing him. Even the highly popular Dwight D. Eisenhower, running for president in 1952, did not speak out against him, even though he disliked McCarthy's tactics and was outraged at, among other things, his attacks on General George Marshall. More troubling was labor unrest. As war production ceased, many workers found themselves without jobs. Others wanted pay increases they felt were long overdue. In 1946, 4.6 million workers went on strike, more than ever before in American history. They challenged the automobile, steel and electrical industries. When they took on the railroads and soft-coal mines, Truman intervened, but in so doing he alienated millions of working-class Americans.
While dealing with immediately pressing issues, Truman also provided a broader agenda for action. Less than a week after the war ended, he presented Congress with a 21-point program, which provided for protection against unfair employment practices, a higher minimum wage; from 40c to 65c an hour, greater unemployment compensation, more public housing and slum clearance, and federal aid to education. In the next several months, he added other proposals for health insurance for all Americans (the first president to do so. Why are we still debating this issue?) and atomic energy legislation.
Republicans were quick to attack. In the 1946 congressional elections they asked, "Had enough?" and voters responded that they had. Republicans, with majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1928, were determined to reverse the liberal direction of the Roosevelt years.
Truman fought with the Congress as it cut spending and reduced taxes. In 1948 he sought reelection, despite polls indicating that he had no chance. After a vigorous campaign, Truman scored one of the great upsets in American politics, defeating the Republican nominee, Thomas Dewey, governor of New York. Reviving the old New Deal coalition, Truman held on to labor, farmers and black voters, and so won another term.
When Truman finally left office in 1953, his Fair Deal was but a mixed success. In July 1948 he banned racial discrimination in federal government hiring practices and ordered an end to segregation in the military. The minimum wage had risen, and social security programs had expanded. A housing program brought some gains but left many needs unmet. National health insurance and aid-to-education measures never made it through Congress. Truman's preoccupation with Cold War affairs hampered his effectiveness at home, particularly in the face of intense opposition.
His most distinctive feature was his broad grin. He wore reading glasses. He had a trick knee, the result of a football injury. He caught cold easily and suffered from bursitis and ileitis from time to time. While president, in 1955 he suffered a heart attack, described by doctors as "moderate". In 1956 he underwent an intestinal bypass operation, and had a slight stroke in 1957 that impaired his speech for 24 hours. A bit superstitious, he carried in his pocket three lucky coins, a silver dollar, a five-guinea gold piece, and a French franc. Eisenhower was a rather poor speaker, notorious for his fractured syntax. Sometimes, however, he hid behind this reputation when he wanted to avoid responding directly to a question. Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower, 25, married Marie "Mamie" Doud, 19, on July 1, 1916 at the home of the brides parents in Denver, Colorado. It was soon after completing her education at finishing school that she met Eisenhower at San Antonio in October 1915. Introduced by Mrs. Lulu Harris, wife of a fellow officer at Fort Sam Houston, the two hit it off at once, as Eisenhower, officer of the day invited Miss Doud to accompany him on his rounds. Eisenhower found her vivacious, attractive, and saucy. Stevenson faced an uphill struggle against the popular incumbent president. The Democrats strongest issue, one addressed indirectly, was the state of Eisenhower's health following his heart attack. To quiet rumors, Eisenhower undertook a reasonably active campaign schedule, covering 14,000 miles and 13 states. Stevenson called for an end to the draft in favor of an all-volunteer army and a halt to atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Eisenhower opposed both as serious threats to national security. It was Stevenson who coined the phrase "quality of life" in this campaign. Republicans sought to woo back the black vote lost to Democrats during the New Deal. Pointing to Eisenhower's efforts to enforce school desegregation orders in Little Rock, the GOP launched Task Force '56 to campaign in black neighborhoods. Prominent among blacks for Eisenhower was Democratic Representative Adam Clayton Powell of New York. As a result Eisenhower received 40% of the black vote, more than any other Republican presidential nominee since. Ironically, at the same time, he cracked the traditionally democratic South, becoming the first Republican since Rutherford B. Hayes to carry Louisiana. Eisenhower had supported Richard Nixon for president in 1960. After attending he inauguration of his successor; John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower retired to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and wrote his memoirs. Despite arthritis, he golfed regularly. He supported the Vietnam War. He reluctantly endorsed Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 and, breaking his long-standing rule against endorsing candidates before the convention, came out for Richard Nixon for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968.
Having survived a heart attack in office, Eisenhower suffered several more in retirement, two in November 1965, one in March 1968, another in June 1968, and two more in August 1968. Each time he rallied, but with a progressively weaker heart. In February 1969 he contracted pneumonia following surgery for the removal of a scar-tissue obstruction of the intestine. From March 15, he steadily declined from congestive heart failure and died on March 28, 1969. He was buried in military uniform in an army coffin at Abilene, Kansas.
With 43,000 miles of pavement - it took years to plan and decades to build. When compared to other great engineering accomplishments such as landing on the Moon - the Interstate seems insignificant and mundane. It is, after all, just a road. But that road has changed the very fabric of our nation. It permitted middle class Americans to live further from the city, it made the 72 hour coast to coast road trip a possibility. But the system also has a darker side - it led to the decay of urban centers as the middle class fled to the suburbs. The selected pathway for the new highway was highly politicized on the local level, this frequently led to the highway going straight through minority neighborhoods. First was Ike's personal experience. Back in 1919 he was charged with taking convoy of US troops and material from Washington, DC to San Francisco and it took 62 days to make the trip. The miserable experience stuck in Eisenhower's memory. Then while in Europe, Ike viewed the autobahns constructed by Hitler. These autobahns permitted troops to move quickly across Germany. Even before his election in 1952, Eisenhower noted, "the obsolescence of the nation's highways presents an appalling problem of water, danger and death." He went on to state modern highways were as vital "to defense as it is to our national economy and personal safety." The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially started on December 1, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. It was not, however, the day that the movement to desegregate the buses started. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1943 when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks paid her bus fare and then watched the bus drive off as she tried to re-enter through the rear door, as the driver had told her to do. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1949 when a black professor Jo Ann Robinson absentmindedly sat at the front of a nearly empty bus, then ran off in tears when the bus driver screamed at her for doing so. Perhaps the movement started on the day in the early 1950s when a black pastor named Vernon Johns tried to get other blacks to leave a bus in protest after he was forced to give up his seat to a white man, only to have them tell him, "You ought to knowed better." The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott is often told as a simple, happy tale of the "little people" triumphing over the seemingly insurmountable forces of evil. The truth is a little less romantic and a little more complex. of whom Martin Luther King, Jr., would later write, "Apparently indefatigable, she, perhaps more than any other person, was active on every level of the protest." She was an educated woman, a professor at the all-black Alabama State College, and a member of the Women's Political Council in Montgomery. After her traumatic experience on the bus in 1949, she tried to start a protest but was shocked when other Women's Political Council members brushed off the incident as "a fact of life in Montgomery." After the Supreme Court's Brown decision in 1954, she wrote a letter to the mayor of Montgomery, W.A. Gayle, saying that "there has been talk from 25 or more local organizations of planning a city-wide boycott of buses." By 1955, the Women's Political Council had plans for just such a boycott. Community leaders were just waiting for the right person to be arrested, a person who would anger the black community into action, who would agree to test the segregation laws in court, and who, most importantly, was "above reproach." When fifteen year old Claudette Colvin was arrested early in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat, E.D. Nixon of the NAACP thought he had found the perfect person, but Colvin turned out to be pregnant. Nixon later explained, "I had to be sure that I had somebody I could win with." Enter Rosa Parks Rosa Parks is probably the most romanticized personage in the Montgomery cast of characters. She is often portrayed as a simple seamstress who, exhausted after a long day at work, refused to give up her seat to a white person. While this is not untrue, there is more to the story. Parks was educated; she had attended the laboratory school at Alabama State College because there was no high school for blacks in Montgomery at that time, but had decided to become a seamstress because she could not find a job to suit her skills. She was also a long-time NAACP worker who had taken a special interest in Claudette Colvin's case. When she was arrested in December 1955, she had recently completed a workshop on race relations at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. And she was a well-respected woman with a spotless record.On Thursday, December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a city bus and sat with three other blacks in the fifth row, the first row that blacks could occupy. A few stops later, the front four rows were filled with whites, and one white man was left standing. According to law, blacks and whites could not occupy the same row, so the bus driver asked all four of the blacks seated in the fifth row to move. Three complied, but Parks refused. She was arrested. When E.D. Nixon heard that Parks had been arrested, he called the police to find out why. He was told that it was "none of your damn business." He asked Clifford Durr, a sympathetic white lawyer, to call. Durr easily found out that Parks had been arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Nixon went to the jail and posted bond for Parks. Then he told her, "Mrs. Parks, with your permission we can break down segregation on the bus with your case." She talked it over with her husband and her mother, then agreed.
That night, Jo Ann Robinson put plans for a one-day boycott into action. She mimeographed handouts urging blacks to stay off the city buses on Monday, when Parks' case was due to come up. She and her students distributed the anonymous fliers throughout Montgomery on Friday morning. That evening, a group of ministers and civil rights leaders had a meeting to discuss the boycott. It did not go well. Many ministers were put off by the way Rev. L. Roy Bennett took control of the meeting. Some left and others were about to leave. Those remaining, however, agreed to spread word of the boycott through their sermons on Sunday, then meet again on Monday night if the boycott went well to decide whether or not to continue it.
The MIA decided to let the people vote on whether or not to continue the boycott at the mass meeting that night. There, the decision was unanimous. The boycott would continue.
When the boycott began, no one expected it to last for very long. There had been boycotts of buses by blacks before, most recently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1953. A one-day boycott, followed three months later by a week-long boycott, resulted in buses that were more desegregated but that still had some seats reserved for whites as well as some for blacks. On Thursday, December 8, the fourth day of the boycott, King and other MIA officials met with officials and lawyers from the bus company, as well as the city commissioners, to present a moderate desegregation plan similar to the one already implemented in Baton Rouge and other Southern cities, including Mobile, Alabama. The MIA was hopeful that the plan would be accepted and the boycott would end, but the bus company refused to consider it. In addition, city officials struck a blow to the boycott when they announced that any cab driver charging less than the 45 cent minimum fare would be prosecuted. Since the boycott began, the black cab services had been charging blacks only 10 cents to ride, the same as the bus fare, but this service would be no more. Suddenly the MIA was faced with the prospect of having thousands of blacks with no way to get to work, and with no end to the boycott in sight.
Whites tried to end the boycott in every way possible. One often-used method was to try to divide the black community. On January 21, 1956, the City Commission met with three non-MIA black ministers and proposed a "compromise," which was basically the system already in effect. The ministers accepted, and the commission leaked (false) reports to a newspaper that the boycott was over. The MIA did not even hear of the compromise until a black reporter in the North who received a wire report phoned to ask if the Montgomery blacks had really settled for so little. By that time it was Saturday night. On Sunday morning Montgomery newspapers were going to print the news that the boycott was over and the city's blacks were going to believe it. To prevent this from happening, some MIA officials went bar-hopping to spread the word that the stories were a hoax, that the boycott was still on. Later, the black ministers told King that they hadn't understood the proposal.When that effort to break up the boycott failed, whites turned to violence. King's home was bombed on January 30, and Nixon's home was bombed on February 1.
Next, whites turned to the law. On February 21, 89 blacks were indicted under an old law prohibiting boycotts. King was the first defendant to be tried. As press from around the nation looked on, King was ordered to pay $500 plus $500 in court costs or spend 386 days in the state penitentiary.
Despite all the pressures to end the boycott, blacks continued to stay off the buses. One white bus driver stopped to let off a lone black man in a black neighborhood. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw an old black woman with a cane rushing towards the bus. He opened the door and said, "You don't have to rush auntie. I'll wait for you." The woman replied, "In the first place, I ain't your auntie. In the second place, I ain't rushing to get on your bus. I'm jus' trying to catch up with that ****** who just got off, so I can hit him with this here stick."
By this point, some members of Montgomery's business community were becoming frustrated with the boycott, which was costing them thousands of dollars because blacks were less likely to shop in downtown stores. Although they were as opposed to integration as the next white Montgomery resident, they realized that the boycott was bad for business and therefore wanted the boycott to end. They formed a group called the Men of Montgomery and tried negotiating directly with the boycotters. Eventually, however, these discussions broke down, and the boycott continued.
But blacks had already begun to fight to end the boycott in court. They would no longer settle for the moderate desegregation plan that they had first proposed. Now, they would accept nothing less than full integration. The city was fighting a losing battle. The blacks were armed with the Brown decision, less than two years old, which said that the "separate but equal" doctrine had no place in public education. Surely it must follow that the doctrine had no place in any public facilities. In addition, the city was not in the prejudiced local courts but in federal court, where even a black man could hope to have a fair trial. When the city defended segregation by saying that integration would lead to violence, Judge Rives asked, "Is it fair to command one man to surrender his constitutional rights, if they are his constitutional rights, in order to prevent another man from committing a crime?" The federal court decided 2-1 in favor of the blacks, with the lone dissent coming from a Southern judge. The city, of course, appealed the ruling, but on November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal court's ruling, declaring segregation on buses unconstitutional. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was officially over.
Blacks continued, however, to stay off the city buses until the mandate from the Supreme Court arrived. During that time, MIA officials tried to prepare blacks as best they could for integrated buses. But, as Martin Luther King, Jr., noted wryly, "not a single white group would take the responsibility of preparing the white community."
Blacks returned to the buses on December 21, 1956, over a year after the boycott began. But their troubles were not over. Snipers shot at buses, forcing the city to suspend bus operations after 5 P.M. A group tried to start a whites-only bus service. There was also a wave of bombings. The homes of two black leaders, four Baptists churches, the People's Service Station and Cab Stand, and the home of another black were all bombed. In addition, an unexploded bomb was found on King's front porch. Seven white men were arrested for the bombings, and five were indicted. The first two defendants, Raymond D. York and Sonny Kyle Livingston, were found not guilty, even though they had signed confessions. The remainder of the bombers were set free under a compromise that also canceled the cases of blacks arrested under the anti-boycott laws, although King still had to pay his $500 fine.
The KKK also tried to scare the blacks, but "it seemed to have lost its spell," King wrote. "One cold night a small Negro boy was seen warming his hands at a burning cross." The violence died down after several prominent whites spoke out against it, and the integration of the Montgomery buses was ultimately successful.
On January 10 and 11, 1957, ministers from the MIA joined other ministers from around the South in Atlanta, Georgia. They founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and elected Martin Luther King, Jr., as president. SCLC would continue to work in various areas of the South for many years, continuing the nonviolent fight for civil rights started in Birmingham.
Although the gains of the Montgomery Bus Boycott were small compared with the gains blacks would later win, the boycott was important start to the movement. The lasting legacy of the boycott, as Roberta Wright wrote, was that "It helped to launch a 10-year national struggle for freedom and justice, the Civil Rights Movement, that stimulated others to do the same at home and abroad."
This chapter begins by recalling the career of Fannie Lou Hammer, an African American civil rights worker and her attempts to register to vote. During his term in office, President John F. Kennedy vigorously pursued foreign policy issues. On the domestic front, he asked Congress for broad-ranging reform legislation to combat the country's problems of racism and poverty. At the time of his death, Kennedy's domestic agenda had made little to no progress in Congress. It was President Johnson who took major steps to accomplish the American ideal of equality when he launched the Great Society. In addition to the civil rights movement, feminists and other ethnic minorities began to articulate their political and economic needs. President Johnson had great plans for America; he hoped to make it a country free of poverty and racial discrimination. Even though he worked harder at it than any president before or since, he failed to end poverty. Despite all that he did or tired to do, Lyndon Johnson was hated by many before the elections in 1968, so much so that he decided not to run for reelection. The lack of funding for his war on poverty, his unpopular Vietnam War policy, and ultimately his pursuit of a victory in Vietnam that could not be achieved caused his presidency to collapse. With it sent many noble efforts to better American society. staged a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter; and in the following weeks, similar demonstrations spread throughout the South, forcing many merchants to integrate their facilities. Take a close look at the photo in your text on page 1034. This photo shows a sit-in at a lunch counter. The three people sitting at the counter are practicing King's policy of non-violent resistance, in other words turn the other cheek. Now, place yourself in that photo, could you sit there and have people pour mustard, ketchup, sugar, salt, pepper, soda on you and not react? You can imagine the name calling that was going on as well. Could you turn the other cheek? I know I would probably have a hard time doing so. When we speak of heroes, generally soldiers and their bravery on the field of battle comes to mind. Those folks who sat at those lunch counters are heroes as well. They took the abuse to improve us as a society. Shortly after this picture was taken the two women were dragged from their stools out into the street by their hair and thrown in jail. Kennedy was born at home in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, He was the first president born in the 20th century. Kennedy grew up in comfort in Brookline, 1917-1926, New York City 1926-1929, and Bronxville, New York, from 1929, as well as the Kennedy summer home in Hyannis Port, Cape Cod, and the family's winter vacation quarters in Palm Beach, Florida. He spent much of his childhood recuperating from a host of ailments, including scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles, chicken pox, bronchitis, tonsillitis, appendicitis, jaundice, and a bad back. His brothers used to joke that Jack was so sickly that a mosquito took a big risk biting him. Still, he was an active child, a scrapper who took a lot of pounding from his big brother Joe. Roman Catholic. Kennedy, the only Catholic president rarely spoke of his religious beliefs. He did not accept completely the teachings of the Catholic church. For example, he supported the use of birth control devices and opposed federal aid to parochial schools. To many, the religious issue seemed an overwhelming barrier to the Kennedy candidacy in 1960. Kennedy confronted the issue in a speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association during the campaign. He said, "I believe in an America where the separation of Church and State is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be a Catholic, how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote." He went on to say that he was prepared to accept defeat on the basis of the issues. "But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being president on the day they were baptized than it is the whole nation that will be the loser in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people." As president, Kennedy declined to raise relations with the Vatican to the ambassadorial level and attended Protestant services from time to time. the nationally televised debates of September 26 and October 7, 14, and 21; an estimated 115 million people watched at least one of them. The first was the most important, because it fixed perceptions of the two candidates and drew the largest audience, 70 million viewers. To most observers the confrontation appeared to be a draw. Yet a draw was a plus for Kennedy, for it demonstrated that he had mastered the issues as well as his more experienced opponent. But it was the physical comparison of the two men that most hurt Nixon. Kennedy appeared tan, fit, composed; Nixon, having lost weight in the hospital, appeared haggard, pale, menacing. Kennedy himself believed that without the debates he would have lost the election. Kennedy also enhanced his standing among blacks in October when civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Atlanta during a sit-in. Kennedy personally called Mrs. King to express sympathy and offer assistance, while brother Robert Kennedy interceded with a local judge to arrange for King's release on bail. Soon after the civil right leader's father issued a statement that he had intended to vote for Nixon but was switching to the Democratic nominee because "Jack Kennedy has the moral courage to stand up fro what he knows is right." Vice presidential nominee Lyndon Johnson was instrumental in carrying the state of Texas, where Nixon won a majority of the Anglo vote, but the Democratic ticket swept the Chicano barrios to carry the state by less than 50,000. Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961 - On April 17, 1961, 1,500 Cuban exiles, trained and armed by the CIA, invaded Cuba at Cochinos Bay (Bay of Pigs). Their mission was to establish a beachhead and spark a popular uprising that would topple the Communist regime of Fidel Castro. The invaders were led to believe that U.S. forces would follow in support if they met overwhelming resistance. The support never came. Castro's tanks and soldiers pinned them to the sea, making it impossible for them to establish themselves securely on shore. After three days of fighting, 1,100 survivors surrendered. The United States paid Cuba $53 million in food and medical supplies for their release in 1962. The invasion had been planned by the Eisenhower administration, but President Kennedy approved its execution and accepted full responsibility for its failure. In October 1962 U.S. intelligence learned that the Soviet Union was constructing offensive nuclear missile bases in Cuba capable of striking the eastern two thirds of the United States as well as much of Latin America. Although the Soviet Union steadfastly maintained that the weapons were defensive, aerial photographs proved otherwise. In a solemn television address on October 22, President Kennedy condemned the Soviet Union for lying about the nature of the buildup and ordered a quarantine for Cuba, in which, he said, "All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back." He then warned Moscow, "It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union." He also called for "the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba." Tense days followed as Soviet ships steamed toward the American blockade. Finally, in an exchange of notes that reflected indecision in the Kremlin, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the missile sites and return the weapons to the Soviet Union in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba. By the end of 1962 U.S. intelligence confirmed their removal. the president was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, a clerk at the book depository, a former Marine and self-avowed Marxist who lived for a time in the Soviet Union. The murder weapon was a 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano Italian carbine with scope, which Oswald had purchased through the mail for $19.95. After the shooting, Oswald fled the book depository and was arrested about 45 minutes later at the Texas Theatre. Oswald denied shooting the president. On November 24, while being transferred under custody to the county jail, Oswald was shot to death at point-blank range by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, before live television cameras. Because Oswald did not live to stand trial, it was left to the Warren Commission to establish his guilt and determine that he acted alone. From its publication, the Warren Report was criticized as incomplete and inaccurate by those contending that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy. A conspiracy, some believed, directed by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the mafia, the CIA, the FBI, or even vice president Lyndon Johnson. In past little over 40 years since Kennedy's death conspiracy theories have abounded. Seems the only people who were not in on the plot to kill Kennedy were little green men from Mars. I was six years old when the assassination occurred and have grown up listing to all the ideas and theories on who did it. Having looked at it all, I truly believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin that day in Lyndon Johnson idolized Franklin Roosevelt. He wanted history to remember him as the president who completed the social programs of the New Deal had started, for making an America "where no child will go unfed and no youngster will go unschooled; where every child has a good teacher and every teacher has good pay, and both have good classrooms; where every human being has dignity and every worker has a job; where education is blind to color and employment is unaware of race; where decency appeals and courage abounds."
Johnson's "War on Poverty" directed by the Office of Economic Opportunity, funded the Job Corps, which retrained the unemployed for the new kinds of jobs available in high-technology industries. The Office of Economic Opportunity provided catch-up education in "Head Start" schools for boys and girls from impoverished families, white as well as black, and tutored inadequately prepared students so they could attend universities. Volunteers in Service to America was a domestic Peace Corps. It sent social workers into decaying inner cities and poor rural areas. Medicare provided government-funded health insurance for the elderly, chronically ill, and very poor.
For working-class and middle-class families, the Great Society generously funded schools, colleges, and universities, and provided low interest student loans that made higher education possible for hundreds of thousands of young people who, otherwise, could not have afforded it.
By all accounts Johnson was a complex personality, fiercely competitive, "always in a rush," said his wife, a man who relished power, a master manipulator who harnessed his finely tuned political instincts to achieve lofty goals. Journalists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak said of him during his term, "He could be as gentle and solicitous as a nurse, but as ruthless and deceptive as a riverboat gambler." Others described him as secretive and stubborn. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson regrets that the public did not get to see the soft side of the president. "He was a warm and mellow man in so many ways, gentle and extremely loving. But he was not eager to get up in front of thousands or millions of people and act that way. He was that way with his neighbors, his friends, and in his home." Lyndon B. Johnson, 26, married Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor, 21, on November 17, 1934. Just five years old when her mother died, Lady Bird was raised by her father and aunt. In 1934 she graduated near the top of her class from the University of Texas. That same year she met Johnson, then a secretary to a congressman, at the home of a mutual friend. Johnson invited her to breakfast the following morning, poured out his life story to her there, and proposed marriage later that day. Unsure of just what to make of such forward behavior, Lady Bird refused but confessed to having a "moth to flame" feeling about him. After much soul searching, she heeded the advice of her father, who wholeheartedly approved of Johnson, and agreed to marry him. As First Lady, she traveled some 200,000 miles promoting a campaign to improve the landscape of America, the so-called beautification program, a term she disliked because it sounded cosmetic and trivial. If there is a prize for the political scam of the 20th century, it should go to the conservatives for propagating as conventional wisdom that the Great Society programs of the 1960s were a misguided and failed social experiment that wasted taxpayers' money.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, from 1963 when Lyndon Johnson took office until 1970 as the impact of his Great Society programs were felt, the portion of Americans living below the poverty line dropped from 22.2 percent to 12.6 percent, the most dramatic decline over such a brief period in this century. The Great Society's main contribution to the environment was not just passage of laws, but the establishment of a principle that to this day guides the environmental movement. The old principle was simply to conserve resources that had not been touched. Lyndon Johnson was the first president to put forth a larger idea:
"The air we breathe, our water, our soil and wildlife, are being blighted by poisons and chemicals which are the by-products of technology and industry. The society that receives the rewards of technology, must, as a cooperating whole, take responsibility for [their] control.
While Martin Luther King Jr., and the NAACP remained committed to nonviolence, others grew more militant. The Black Panthers, founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, called for minority control of ghetto neighborhoods and armed rebellion against the white establishment. Stokely Carmichael, chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, coined the phrase "Black Power", an ambiguous term interpreted by such extremists as H. "Rap" Brown to mean armed revolt and by moderates like an expression of race pride. During 1964-1968 riots erupted sporadically in cities across the country. In 1967 alone disturbances broke out in more than 100 cities; about 100 people were killed, thousands were injured, some 12,000 were arrested. Hardest hit was Detroit, where after 5 days of rioting the damage totaled hundreds of millions of dollars. Urban violence erupted again in April of 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis. President Johnson escalated the U.S. role in Vietnam. In August 1964 North Vietnamese torpedo boats reportedly attacked the U.S. destroyer Maddox and, possibly, the Turner Joy, in the Gulf of Tonkin. The United States promptly retaliated with air strikes against naval installations in North Vietnam. In a televised address, President Johnson condemned North Vietnam for "open aggression on the high seas," defended U.S. reprisals as "limited and fitting," but reassured his audience, "We will seek no wider war." Within days of the attack Johnson requested and received broad, open-ended congressional authority to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed both houses of Congress. The Congress gave the administration and our military a "blank check" to conduct the Vietnam War. In February 1965 the United States launched Operation Rolling Thunder; air raids over North Vietnam. The next month President Johnson dispatched the first contingent of 3,500 Marines to Danang, marking the beginning of 8 years of U.S. ground combat in South Vietnam, a war of attrition that was to spark violent antiwar protests in the United States and ended in a Communist victory. The number of US troops in Vietnam reached 180,000 by the end of 1965, 400,000 at the end of 1966, 470,000 by late 1967, and peaked at 550,000 in 1968. Even while escalating the war, the Johnson administration continued to press for a negotiated settlement, but the North Vietnamese refused to talk until the US unconditionally stopped bombing the North. In January 1968 the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive. Although the campaign failed to topple the government in South Vietnam, its intensity and scope dealt a severe psychological blow to an administration that had been predicting victory. In March 1968 President Johnson, handicapped by the "credibility gap" between promise and performance, announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam and his decision not to seek reelection in order, he said, to devote his full energies to achieving peace. Meanwhile the antiwar movement continued to grow. In 1967 demonstrators marched on the Pentagon; an antiwar rally in New York attracted 125,000 protesters. Young men openly burned their draft cards in defiance. After attending the inaugural of his successor, Richard Nixon, Johnson retired to the LBJ Ranch in Texas. He held a three-part series of televised interviews, December 1969-May 1970, with broadcaster Walter Cronkite. He wrote his memoirs and tended the-day-to-day operations of the ranch and seemed to find an inner peace that had eluded him as president. In his last public appearance six weeks before his death, he addressed a civil rights symposium at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. Johnson's death occurred January 22, 1973, about 4P.M., enroute from the LBJ Ranch to San Antonio, Texas. Johnson, plagued by hardening of the arteries, had been hospitalized for chest pains in March 1970 and survived a second heart attack in April 1972. He was stricken by a third attack while napping about 3:30P.M. on January 22, 1973. He groped for the telephone and summoned a Secret Service agent. He died on the way to the hospital. To offset his youth and inexperience in foreign affairs, President Kennedy decided to take a tough stand against Communism. This led him to expand America's nuclear arsenal, to redesign America's fighting forces, to speed up America's space program, and to attend to the third world with a program of economic development. Although Lyndon Johnson pledged to concentrate on domestic affairs, the threat of communism led him to commit increasing attention and resources to skirmishes in Vietnam and Latin America. The war in Vietnam was like no other. Soldiers were transported to war in commercial airliners. In Vietnam, enemy bombings occurred on America's military bases, carried out by harmless-looking villagers. The Vietnam War was a civil war, in which American soldiers often could not distinguish friend from foe. Its sacrifices were enormous. It cost President Johnson his presidency. The poor lost when funding for Great Society programs was withdrawn to support the war. The war cost the lives of over 50,000 American soldiers and more than one million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. Probably more important it left scars on the lives of all who fought or lived during the Vietnam Era, scars that have yet to heal completely. President Nixon was elected in 1968 pledging to end the war in Vietnam, but in fact he wanted to win that war. After "Vietnamizing" the war, he, at the same widened the war. In the end a truce was signed and American withdrew the troops, but by 1975, the North had united Vietnam under a communist government and Nixon had been driven from office in disgrace. Nixon was born the evening of January 9, 1913, in the small frame house his father had built in Yorba Linda, California. He weighed 11 pounds at birth. Nixon grew up amid poverty in Yorba Linda, 1913-1922, and Whittier, California, from 1922. At age 3 he fell out of a buggy and gashed open his scalp on the wheel. He nearly bled to death during the 25-mile trip to the nearest hospital. At 4 he almost died again, this time from pneumonia. He was a quiet, obedient child, dutifully helping out with chores and keeping out of mischief. Every morning before school he trucked produce in from Los Angeles, washed it, and mounted it for display in Nixon's Market. At night he lay in bed listening to the trains pass by and dreamed of becoming a railroad engineer. When the Teapot Dome scandal engulfed the Harding administration, 10-year-old Richard looked up from the newspaper on day to tell his mother, "I would like to become a lawyer, an honest lawyer, who can't be bought by crooks." Nixon was a hardworking, serious, prompt student throughout his school years. He attended elementary schools in Yorba Linda and Whittier, California. He entered Fullerton High School and in his junior year transferred to Whittier High. At Fullerton he won the Constitutional Oratorical Contest and represented the West Coast in the National Oratorical Contest. His Whittier High debate coach commented, "He had this ability to kind of slide round an argument instead of meeting it head on, and he could take any side of a debate." He graduated from Whittier High first in the class of 1930. At Whittier College 1930-1934, he majored in history and was captain of the debating team. In extracurricular activities, he played second-string tackle on the football team, belonged to the drama and glee clubs. To help meet expenses he did research at the law library for 35c an hour under a program sponsored by the New Deal's National Youth Administration and shared a rundown off-campus farmhouse, without running water and electricity, with three other students. His sober demeanor and preoccupation with his studies earned him the nickname Gloomy Gus. He graduated from Duke Law School third of 25 students of the class in 1937. He was admitted to the California bar in November 1937. Dr. David Abrahamsen, a psychoanalyst, described him as a man torn by inner conflict, lonely, hypersensitive, self-absorbed, suspicious, and secretive. Bruce Mazlish, a historian trained in psychoanalysis concluded in his book, In Search of Nixon (1972) that the predominant characteristic of the "real" Nixon behind the public figure was a fear of passivity, of appearing soft, of being dependent on others. In Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character (1981), historian Fawn Brodie painstakingly sought to demonstrate that he was a compulsive liar and concluded: "Nixon lied to gain love, to shore up his grandiose fantasies, to bolster his ever-wavering sense of identity. He lied in attack, hoping to win...And always he lied, and this most aggressively, to deny that he lied." Richard M. Nixon, 27, married Thelma "Pat" Ryan, 28, on June 21, 1940. Pat was 13 when her mother died of cancer, 17 when he father passed away. She worked her way through one year year at Fullerton Junior College as a bank clerk. In 1930 she hitched a ride to New York with an elderly couple and found work as a secretary, then as an X-ray technician. Two years later she used her savings to enroll as a merchandising major at the University of Southern California. She continued to work part time at a variety of jobs, including as a movie extra. In 1935 she was paid $25 for a walk-on and one-line speaking part (later cut from the final version) in Becky Sharp. She also appeared as an extra in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and a few other films. Graduating cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1937, she taught typing and shorthand at Whittier High School and continued acting, as an amateur at the Whittier Little Theater. Nixon, far ahead in the early polls, carefully avoided offering specific solutions to the main issues. Said to have a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam, he promised an honorable peace settlement. He called for the restoration of law and order while upholding the rights of minorities and dissidents, a crackdown on narcotics traffic, and end to the draft and creation of a volunteer army, and a reduction of taxes and inflation. Humphrey, beset by lack of funds, deep divisions within the party, and the lingering specter of violence in the streets of Chicago, set out to put some distance between himself and the unpopular Johnson administration on the war issue. He announced, "As president I would be willing to stop the bombing of North Vietnam as an acceptable risk for peace." He repeated his long-standing commitment to civil rights and enjoyed the support of organized labor. Wallace, building from a strong base in the Deep South, pitched his law and order, anti busing campaign to blue-collar voters. Aided by President Johnson's October 31 order to halt the bombing of North Vietnam, Humphrey rapidly closed the gap in the polls during the final days but failed to overcome Nixon's lead. Opponent Democrat George McGovern. The Democratic national convention in Miami Beach in July was notable for the large representation of women and minorities. McGovern selected Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri as his vice presidential running mate. Soon after the convention, however, it was disclosed that Eagleton had undergone electric shock therapy for mental depression. McGovern at first stood behind his running mate "1,000 percent". But under intense pressure from party leaders he dumped him from the ticket. He next chose, former Peace Corps director R. Sargent Shriver of Maryland. The Democratic platform called for "immediate total withdrawal of all Americans from Southeast Asia," reduced defense spending, congressional participation in decisions involving war and peace, full employment, tax reform, desegregation, including busing to achieve racial balance, an end to capital punishment, and a ban on handguns. McGovern never was able to shake his image as a radical leftist. His proposal that the government give everyone $1,000, offered during the primaries and in the face of harsh criticism from fellow Democrats largely abandoned, and his call for a minimum income floor and public-service jobs for the needy were ridiculed by Republicans as unsound. His call for immediate withdrawal from Vietnam was derided as a "cut-and-run" strategy that would undermine U.S. prestige abroad and destroy chances for retrieving prisoners of war. He also campaigned for tax reform and sharp cuts in defense spending. The AFL-CIO, long an important source of campaign strength for Democrats, this time declined to endorse either candidate for president. The Eagleton affair consumed valuable time at the beginning of the campaign and squandered McGovern's most precious asset, his reputation for refusing to compromise for political advantage, as he at first supported then dumped his beleaguered running mate. Many dismissed as campaign rhetoric McGovern's charge that the administration was deceiving the American public when, less than two weeks before the election, national security advisor Henry Kissinger announced that peace was "at hand" in Vietnam (turned out to be untrue) And although most of the most important facts of Watergate had already been disclosed, few listened when McGovern described the Nixon administration was "the most corrupt" in U.S. history (turned out to be true). President Nixon both steadily reduced U.S. involvement in the war and expanded the fighting beyond the borders of Vietnam into Cambodia and Laos, a policy critics dubbed "widening down" the war. Under the Vietnamization program, South Vietnamese forces were trained and equipped to take over for U.S. troops as they were withdrawn. From a 543,000 man contingent in 1969, U.S. forces in Vietnam were cut to 340,000 in 1970, 177,000 in 1971, and 25,000 in 1972. To coincide with Vietnamization, the president also announced the Nixon Doctrine, which called for reduced presence of U.S. forces in Asia generally. On April 30, 1970, 70,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia to strike enemy sanctuaries along the border and disrupt supply lines. A main objective, to capture the Communist headquarters in Cambodia, failed. President Nixon justified the raid as necessary to protect the dwindling ranks of U.S. forces in Vietnam and to ensure the success of the Vietnamization program. But it drew a firestorm of protest in the United States, most dramatically on the campus of Kent State University, where the Ohio National Guardsman fired into a crowd of 2,000 demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine. To counter the growing wave of violent protests on campuses and in cities across the country, President Nixon considered but never carried out the hiring of Teamster union "thugs" to "go in and knock their heads off", according to a transcript of a White House tape recording obtained by the New York Times in 1981. Meanwhile doves in Congress stepped up the pressure to end the war. In 1970 the Senate repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which had been cited as equivalent to a congressional declaration of war. Adding to the growing American distaste for the war was the disclosure of the My Lai massacre of March 1968, in which unarmed South Vietnamese civilians were slaughtered by U.S. troops. On June 17, 1972, five agents of the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP) were arrested in the act of burglarizing the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. What was dismissed by the White House as a "third-rate burglary attempt" touched off a chain of events that was to unravel the worst political scandal in U.S. history and for the first time force a president to resign in disgrace. Over the next two years numerous misdeeds committed by or in the name of President Nixon were disclosed by investigative reporters, notably Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, and the Senate Select Committee on Watergate, chaired by Democratic Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina:Nixon campaign officials had installed eavesdropping devices inside Democratic headquarters at Watergate
A Republican dirty tricks squad had attempted to sow dissension among Democratic candidates
White House officials, including the president, authorized payment of hush money to Watergate defendants and otherwise attempted to cover up criminal acts
A White House unit created to plug leaks of classified information, had burglarized the office of psychiatrist Daniel Ellsberg, the former government official who had distributed the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study of the origins of the Vietnam War, to the press
The Nixon administration had drawn up an Enemies List in order to, according to a White House memo, "use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies." Including on the list were black Representative John Conyers of Michigan, with a notation "Has known weakness for white females"; CBS newsman Daniel Schorr "a real media enemy"; show business celebrities Carol Channing, Bill Cosby, Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, and Tony Randall; businessmen and academics.
President Nixon repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. His principle accuser, White House counsel John
President Nixon repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. His principle accuser, White House counsel John Dean, maintained that although the president may not have authorized the Watergate break-in, he did direct the cover-up that followed. The truth probably never would have been known were it not for the existence of an elaborate White House taping system installed by President Nixon, presumably as an aid in reconstructing the events of his administration for his memoirs. While vowing his innocence, Nixon at first refused to turn over the tapes to the Senate investigating committee, citing executive privilege. Only after the Supreme Court unanimously ordered him to release them did he do so. One tape arrived with a mysterious 18 1/2 minute gap that sound experts concluded had been deliberately erased. The tapes generally supported Dean's version of events and thoroughly discredited the president. Nixon later regretted not having destroyed the tapes. Meanwhile, special prosecutor Archibald Cox and successor Leon Jaworski proceeded with prosecution of Nixon officials. Besides the original burglars and John Dean, those convicted of or pleading guilty to unlawful activity were secretary Dwight Chapin, special presidential counsel Charles Colson, adviser John Ehrlichman, chief of staff Bob Halderman, White House consultant E. Howard Hunt, personal attorney to the president Herbert Kalmbach, White House aides Bud Krogh and Fred Larue, CREEP counsel G. Gordon Liddy, CREEP director Jeb Magruder, attorney general John Mitchell, CREEP director, Herbert Porter, CREEP dirty trickester Donald Segretti, commerce secretary and CREEP finance director Maurice Stans. President was named an unindicted co-conspirator. In televised proceedings in July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee, approved three articles of impeachment against President Nixon
Obstruction of Justice - making false or misleading statements to investigators, withholding evidence, condoning and counseling perjury, interfering with lawful investigations, approving payment of hush money, attempting to misuse the CIA, using the Justice Department information to help subjects of investigation avoid criminal liability, making false or misleading statements to the public, holding out the prospect of favored treatment to those convicted in exchange for their silence
Abuse of power - misusing the IRS, FBI, Secret Service, and other executive personnel; maintaining an unlawful secret investigative unit within the office of the president; failing to prosecute the criminal acts of subordinates interfering with the Watergate investigation.
Failure to comply with congressional subpoenas
The committee concluded, "In all of this Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office."
Nixon retired to San Clemente, California, reportedly in deep depression. In September 1974 he accepted from his successor, President Gerald Ford, a "full, free and absolute pardon" for all federal crimes that he "committed or may have committed or taken part in" while president. He attempted to take possession of the White House tapes but was thwarted by an act of Congress. In his last years Nixon succeeded in rehabilitating his public image to some extent, and gained respect as an elder statesman in the area of foreign affairs, being consulted by both Democratic and Republican successors to the Presidency.Nixon died on April 22, 1994 in New York City at the age of 81, from complications related to a severe stroke, and was buried beside his wife Pat Nixon on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California. Per his request, Nixon did not receive a state funeral, as customary for former presidents. However, President Bill Clinton spoke at the April 27 funeral, and former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush and their respective first ladies were also in attendance. This was the first gathering of five presidents in one place.n. Ford was actually born as Leslie Lynch King Jr. on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother first married Leslie King in 1912, reportedly beaten at times by her husband, she fled with her infant son to the safety of her parent's home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1916, the year after her divorce, she married Gerald R. Ford. Leslie King Jr. was then renamed after his adoptive father, Gerald Rudolf Ford, Jr. He later changed the spelling of his middle name to Rudolph. From the age of 2 Ford grew up in modest circumstances un Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a spirited, industrious, and athletic youngster. He helped out with chores, tending to the coal furnace, mowing the lawn, and washing dishes. As a teenager he drove a Model T Ford with a rumble seat but one day he threw a blanket atop the overheated engine and returned to find the car destroyed in flames. Ford attended Madison Elementary School for kindergarten, East Grand Rapids Elementary School for grades one through six, and South High School for seventh grade through senior year. At South High, he excelled in history and government, performed well in math and sciences, but did poorly in Latin. At the end of his junior year he made the National Honor Society and ranked in the top 5% of his class. He also held down part-time jobs, working at an amusement park and frying burgers at a local restaurant. He also was a star center for the South High Trojans football team and was named to the all-city squad. Following his graduation in 1931, he entered the University of Michigan on a partial scholarship as a prelaw student majoring in economics and political science. Generally a B student, he earned As in four courses - money and credit, European history from the decline of Rome to 1648, organized labor, and American government. By all accounts, Ford is open, friendly, forthright, honest, and considerate. He appears to genuinely like people and , although a 30-year veteran of the political wars, made remarkably few enemies along the way. Bud Vestal, a Grand Rapids reporter observed, "He never in his life tried to outsmart anybody. But if from intellectual hubris a tormentor gave him a chance, Jerry would outdumb him, swiftly and deadpan. It might be days before the attacker would realize he'd been had." Ford is 6 feet and weighed about 195 as president. He had blond hair, which he combed straight back. He has blue eyes, and has managed to retain the trim figure of his youth. Except for weak knees, the result of football injuries, his health generally has been sound. Although he took a lot of kidding in the press and from comedians for lack of physical coordination, he described himself as "the most athletic president to occupy the White House in years." Ford is a right-handed sportsman but writes and eats with his left hand. In September 1974 President Ford granted "a full, free and absolute pardon" to the former president Nixon "for all offenses against the United States which he has committed or may have committed or taken part in" during his term in office. He did so, he said, because during the long period of delay and protracted litigation that would precede Nixon's trial, should he be indicted, "ugly passions would again be aroused. And our people would again be polarized in their opinions. And the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad." The pardon drew a firestorm of criticism Ford's press secretary Jerald Horst, resigned in protest. To those who believed Ford had shown favoritism in pardoning Nixon before he was even indicted while his agents were tried, convicted, and sent to prison, Ford responded that the humiliation of resigning the presidency in disgrace was punishment enough, "equivalent to serving a jail term," Ford argued. In separate incidents in September 1975, two women tried and failed to shoot President Ford. On September 5, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, 26, a disciple of mass-murder Charles Manson, drew a Colt .45 from her thigh holster and squeezed the trigger just as Ford reached to shake her hand in a crowd outside the Senator Hotel in Sacramento, California. The gun failed to fire because, although it contained a clip of ammunition, there was no bullet in the chamber. She was the first person convicted under the 1965 statute making attempted assassination of a president a federal offense punishable by life imprisonment. She was sentenced to life. In San Francisco, on September 22, Sara Jane Moore, 45, a political activist and one-time FBI informant pulled a .38 revolver from her purse and fired one shot at President Ford from about 40 feet away. An alert bystander spoiled her aim and she was quickly subdued. The shot missed Ford by a few feet. Miss Moore was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. In 1979 she was recaptured hours after escaping from the Federal Correctional Institution at Alderson, West Virginia. This is where Martha Stewart is currently spending her time, wonder if they have met each other? Carter was bon October 1, 1924, at Wise Hospital in Plains, Georgia. He was the first president born in a hospital. When Carter was 4 years old the family moved from Plains to a farm at nearby Archery, a largely black community, where Jimmy spent the rest of his childhood. He early encountered racial discrimination as he was free to play with black children but attended segregated schools and church services. Although the Carters were well-off by community standards, they had neither electricity nor running water. Home entertainment was limited to reading or listening to a battery-operated radio. Carter was a well-behaved, industrious youngster. At age 5 he was selling boiled peanuts on the streets of Plains. He also helped work the fields. Still, he occasionally got into trouble and later recalled that between the ages of 4 and 15 he was whipped six times by his father, once for stealing a penny from the church collection plate, another for shooting his sister with a BB gun. His hero as a child was his maternal uncle Thomas Gordy, a navy radioman. It was his influence that prompted Carter to attend the naval academy. Carter attended public elementary and high school in Plains. He was remembered as a model student, well behaved and eager to read. His favorite subjects included history and literature. The greatest educational influence on Carter was Julia Coleman, his English teacher. She encouraged his interest in literature, drew up reading lists for him, and, when he was 12, introduced him to War and Peace, a work that Jimmy was disappointed to learn was not about cowboys and Indians. President Carter paid tribute to Miss Coleman in his Inaugural Address. At Plains High School, Carter played on the basketball team. After graduation in 1941, he attended Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia. He applied to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and, after taking additional math courses at Georgia Institute of Technology in 1942, was admitted in 1943. At Annapolis, Plebe Carter underwent the traditional hazing. He was reportedly whacked in the rear with serving spoons for failing to wipe that irrepressible smile off his face to the satisfaction of upperclassmen. Baptist. Baptized at age 11, Carter was what he called a superficial Christian until early 1967, when, in despair over his gubernatorial defeat, he communed with his sister Ruth Carter Stapleton, an evangelist, and became a born-again Christian. He said of the experience, "I formed a very close, intimate personal relationship with God, through Christ that has given me a great deal of peace, equanimity, and the ability to accept difficulty without unnecessarily being disturbed." He subsequently volunteered for Baptist missionary work among the poor in New York and elsewhere. President Carter taught Bible class at the First Baptist Church in Washington. He and the First Lady nightly took turns reading the Bible to each other in bed. He does not adhere to a completely literal interpretation of the Bible. President Carter kept fit by jogging, hiking, bicycling, playing tennis, cross-country skiing, and bowling (about 160 average). He also was an avid fisherman. A speed-reader clocked at 2,000 words per minute with 95% comprehension, Carter regularly devoured three or four books a week in addition to work-related material. He had classical music (Bach, Vivaldi) piped into the Oval Office but appreciated such modern musicians as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and the Allman Brothers. With the First Lady he screened about two motion pictures a week in the White House. He drank moderately, usually Scotch. He smoked an occasional cigar. Ensign Jimmy Carter, 21, married Rosalynn Smith, 18, on July 7, 1946 at the Plains Methodist Church. Rosalynn grew up amid hardship following the death of her father when she was 13 years old. To supplement her mother's income as a postal clerk and at-home seamstress, Rosalynn worked in the local beauty parlor and helped with the sewing. Meanwhile she maintained an excellent scholastic record, graduating valedictorian of her high school class. She went on to study interior decorating for two years at Georgia Southwestern College. From childhood she was best friends with Ruth Carter, Jimmy's sister, and often visited the Carter home. But Jimmy never showed much interest in her until 1945, when, home on leave from Annapolis, he suddenly asked his sister to fix him up with her President Ford, the only man to enter the White House without having won a national election as president or vice president, began the campaign more than 30 points behind in the polls. Capitalizing on the powers of incumbency and exploiting Carter's image as a man "fuzzy on the issues", he managed to close the gap by election day to "too close to call". The most damaging issue to Ford's campaign was his pardon of former president Richard Nixon for crimes relating to the Watergate scandals. The Carter campaign was sidetracked temporarily on publication of a controversial interview with Playboy magazine. In it Carter candidly confessed: "I've looked on a lot of woman with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times." With Ford steadily gaining in the polls, the outcome seemed to depend on the debates. Most observers believed Ford outperformed Carter in the first debate, in Philadelphia September 23, limited to domestic issues, an encounter best remembered for a 20-minute loss of the audio portion of the program caused by a defective amplifier. In the second debate, in San Francisco October 7, on foreign policy, Ford stumbled badly, asserting that Eastern Europe was free of Soviet domination. Carter, pointedly addressing ethnic voters, responded, "I'd like to see Mr. Ford convince Polish-Americans that they're not under Russian domination." Carter continued to take the offensive in the third debate, in Williamsburg, Virginia, October 22, on general issues. Meanwhile, in the first nationally televised vice presidential debate, Senator Robert Dole, to the chagrin of his party, reinforced his image as the Republican hatchet man in blaming the Democrats for all the wars of the twentieth century. In the end, Carter was able to combine support in the South, the industrial North, and among blacks, white ethnics, and labor to offset narrowly Ford's strength in the West and among upper-income white-collar voters. Carter was the first man from the Deep South elected president since Zachary Taylor in 1848. The Middle East peace process, begun with a bold gesture by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in his historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977, had stalled in September 1978, when President Carter invited Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David. During 13 days of intense, highly personal negotiations in the seclusion of the Maryland retreat, the three heads of state hammered out two documents, signed amid great fanfare before television cameras - a Framework for Peace in the Middle East and a Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel. Although snags later developed, chiefly over the issue of Palestinian autonomy, the Camp David Accords led to a formal peace treaty in March 1979, ending a 31-year state of war between Egypt and Israel, and the return of occupied Sinai to Egypt, completed in stages by April 1982. On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Teheran and took more than 60 American hostages. For their safe return, the militants demanded that the deposed Shah Reza Pahlevi, then in New York undergoing medical treatment, be returned to Iran to stand trial. On the order of Iranian leader the Ayatollah Khomeini, nearly all the women and blacks plus one very ill hostage were released. The remaining 52 Americans were held captive for more than a year, pawns in a global war of nerves that outraged and frustrated the American government, provided an anti-American focus to the chaotic Islamic revolution in Iran, and contributed to the 1980 defeat of President Carter. Following the embassy takeover, the Carter administration undertook a massive diplomatic, economic, and, eventually, military offensive to win release of the hostages. In November 1979 President Carter suspended oil imports from Iran and froze Iranian assets in the United States. In December 1979 the UN Security Council called for the immediate release of the hostages, and President Carter expelled all 183 Iranian diplomats in the United States. Canadian embassy personnel hid six Americans who had eluded capture in the embassy takeover and in January 1980 arranged for them to slip out of Iran posing as Canadian diplomats. In early April 1980 Carter imposed more economic sanctions and barred all Americans except journalists from traveling to Iran. With no resolution in sight, Carter on April 24, 1980 dispatched a military force to rescue the hostages. The unit landed in Iran, but the malfunction of three helicopters caused the commander to abort the raid prior to the assault on Teheran. During the evacuation, two aircraft collided, killing eight servicemen. To foil any such future raids, the Iranians scattered the hostages among locations throughout Iran. The death of the shah in Cairo in July 1980 spurred hopes that the hostages might soon be freed, but Khomeini now demanded return of the late shah's assets, cancellation of all U.S. claims against Iran, unfreezing Iranian assets in the United States, and a U.S. pledge of noninterference in Iranian affairs (See how what we did in Iran in the 50s came back to bite us?) Meanwhile war broke out between Iraq and Iran, making the latter now even more vulnerable to economic pressure. In November 1980 the militants relinquished the hostages to the Iranian government. With Algeria acting as intermediary, a deal was stuck. Khomeini agreed to release the hostages in exchange for unfreezing Iranian assets in the United States, thus dropping his other demands. The hostages left Iran on January 20, 1981, ending 444 days of captivity, as President Carter turned over the government to Ronald Reagan. Having been defeated for reelection, Carter retired to Plains, Georgia, to learn that the family peanut warehouse had fallen deeply in debt while in blind trust during his presidency. Since leaving office, Carter has been active in international human-rights efforts, often as an impartial observer of first-time free elections. He has served as an international mediator in North Korea, Haiti, Bosnia, Venezuela, and elsewhere, and has worked to focus world attention on epidemics in Africa. He made a highly publicized trip to Cuba in May, 2002, becoming the most prominent American to visit the nation since Castro came to power. The Carter Center in Atlanta, founded in 1986, became an important arena for the discussion of international affairs. Carter also has been deeply involved with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps working-class people in North America and abroad build and finance new homes. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his efforts to advance peace, democracy, human rights, and economic and social development.