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How did the political environment change?

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Jenny Baldwin

on 10 June 2016

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Transcript of How did the political environment change?

Presidents of the USA, 1917-1980
1913-21 Woodrow Wilson, Democrat
1921-23 Warren G. Harding, Republican
1923-29 Calvin Coolidge, Republican
1929-33 Herbert C. Hoover, Republican
1933-45 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat
1945-53 Harry S. Truman, Democrat
1953-61 Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican
1961-63 John F. Kennedy, Democrat
1963-69 Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat
1969-74 Richard M. Nixon, Republican
1974-77 Gerald R. Ford, Republican
1977-81 James Earl 'Jimmy' Carter, Democrat

The Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt
The First World War
Leading up to American involvement in The Second World War
The Korean War

Vietnam War
Across the 20th century, the USA fought in many wars. As with any conflict, these wars shaped the politics of the USA, and influenced the direction in which the presidency developed.
Wilson took the USA into WW1, despite campaigning to keep out of it. He also set up and promoted the League of Nations following the end of WW1 without consulting congress. Many people came to feel that he was taking far too big a part in government decision-making.

After Wilson, Harding promised the American people a return to 'normalcy', with Republican ideas. There were many different interpretations as to what he meant by this - black soldiers began to hope for better equality, and WASPs thought it meant a return to life as it had been before the war. Harding himself saw it as meaning a refocus on the USA itself, and the issues that needed resolving at home surrounding tax and tariffs. Though he did set up a committee to study the 'race question'.

Harding's Republican government also saw a turn towards isolationism. This shifted the focus back to the USA, rather than on other nations. Harding's slogan was, "Less government in business and more business in government." This shows the Republican notion of
, it was not the job of the government to manage social problems, but just to manage its own spending, rather than paying to help those who were failing. They became the party of big business. Harding was a president who did not interfere with business, law-making, or international affairs. But many of the people he raised to power were corrupt, exploiting their positions and the system, making his administration look corrupt.

Another Republican president, Herbert Hoover developed the approach of 'rugged individualism'. This came as a result of shifting the emphasis on
in the presidency from being associated with inaction, to meaning people took responsibility for themselves.
President Wilson entered the First World War in 1917, following German attacks on American shipping, and the discovery Germany's plans to make Mexico an ally against the USA.

Although the war did provide an economic boost for the USA, many felt that American involvement in this war had been a mistake.

Following the end of the First World War, Wilson set up and promoted the League of Nations without consulting Congress. The League would have involved the USA more closely in international affairs.

However, this was not what the people wanted. The American people started to turn to Republican leaders who argued for isolationism - where America would support, but not become entangled with, other nations. This included introducing tariffs favourable to US businesses, not setting up colonies, not joining the League of Nations, and cutting back on the number of immigrants granted access to the US.
French for 'leave well alone', this policy meant minimal government interference: for example, not regulating businesses and not providing welfare for the poor.
Also influencing the Presidency was the political landscape of the time, at home and abroad. People's expectations of the Presidency changed, and this was partly due to the changes in political systems abroad, and how these interacted with the US government and people.
The Red Scares
In 1905-1917, Russia went through a series of revolutions. These revolutions encouraged a worldwide revolution by the workers against their masters. This idea terrified American capitalists, especially when workers began to strike.

Anti-communist feeling meant people began to worry that they may be suspected of communist. Many felt they were no longer free to express their opinion if it was left-wing. Attorney General Palmer's prediction of a 'Red revolution' on 1 May 1919 failed to occur. Following the first red scare the government, media and American people began to react to communism in a more balanced way. But, anti-communist feeling never went away.
A theory or system of social organisation in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.
An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
Events leading up to the first red scare
11 Feb
28 April
1 May
8 May
2 June
1 Aug
9 Sept
22 Sept
Mayor of Seattle says he will use the city police force and federal troops if necessary, to break the shipyard strike
The strike leaders call off the Seattle strike
The US post office discovers 36 bombs addressed to various state officials
Workers' rallies across the country; riots in several cities, including Boston and New York
American Legion founded, as an organisation for veterans of the First World War. However, some of its members also carry out 'Red hunting'. By the end of the year, it has over a million members
Bombs explode in eight cities; public officials targeted, including the new Attorney General (head of the Judiciary), A. Mitchell Palmer
New 'Radical Division' set up by Palmer to seek out communist conspiracies. It collects names of 'dangerous' people
Bombs explode in various cities, said to be planted by 'red' groups. Boston police go on strike. Very little actual violence, but the media spread tales of huge riots and federal troops shooting rioters. Four days later, all the police are sacked and a new police force is appointed by the governor of Massachusetts, Calvin Coolidge
Pittsburgh steel workers go on strike; strike spreads across the country to become nationwide. Violence erupts in various parts of the country between strikers and local militia
Steelworkers' strike ends with no gain for the strikers. The country is full of anti-communist feeling

FBI raids in 33 cities, somewhere between 5000 and 10000 arrests of communists are made
'Rugged Individualism'
People who believed in rugged individualism felt that:
people, even the poor and homeless, were weakened by government support, because it sapped their self-reliance. The government should not interfere to help those with jobs or homes, either. It should not regulate working hours, pay or working conditions, or fix the bank interest on mortgages and other loans. Businesses had to be free to run them selves, even if they exploited the workforce.
the USA should isolate itself from other countries.
the USA should restrict immigration. When the USA had needed workers, immigrants had been encouraged to think that they could come to the USA to realise dreams of equality and freedom. At the end of the war, with rising unemployment, unlimited immigration made things worse. Most immigrants were moving to improve their lives, not, in the main, to bring wealth into the country.
Bill Clinton used the phrase 'It's the economy, stupid' in his successful 1992 presidential campaign.
The economy is one way in which people measure the success of a president - whether that is fair and appropriate or not! But this means that the economy, and how economic difficulties were dealt with is an extremely important part of being president.
The Great Depression
The problems with the boom
The boom was based, to a large degree, on credit. Banks were lending too much money and people and businesses were borrowing too much. The situation was made worse because a significant number of people were also buying shares on the stock market on credit.

Meanwhile, slowly, but steadily, the prices of farm produce were falling. This put the farmers who had borrowed money (and many had, either to buy their farms or to buy equipment and supplies) in a difficult situation. When they produced more, in order to cover their debts, prices fell still further. At this point, whatever the farmers did, they made their situation worse. They either borrowed more, to cover the drop in prices, or grew more, to try and make more money.

Finally, there was the fact that much of the buying of the boom period was of consumer goods, such as radios and fridges. When, eventually, those who could afford to buy these things had them, the goods began to pile up in warehouses, and businesses began to cut down their workforce, leading to rise in unemployment.
Economic depression
Depression is a severe and prolonged downturn in economic activity. In economics, a depression is commonly defined as an extreme recession that lasts two or more years. A depression is characterized by economic factors such as substantial increases in unemployment, a drop in available credit, diminishing output, bankruptcies and sovereign debt defaults, reduced trade and commerce, and sustained volatility in currency values. In times of depression, consumer confidence and investments decrease, causing the economy to shut down.
Money that a bank or business will allow a person to use and then pay back in the future.
French for 'leave well alone', this policy meant minimal government interference: for example, not regulating businesses and not providing welfare for the poor.
'Rugged Individualism'
People who believed in rugged individualism felt that:
people, even the poor and homeless, were weakened by government support, because it sapped their self-reliance. The government should not interfere to help those with jobs or homes, either. It should not regulate working hours, pay or working conditions, or fix the bank interest on mortgages and other loans. Businesses had to be free to run them selves, even if they exploited the workforce.
the USA should isolate itself from other countries.
the USA should restrict immigration. When the USA had needed workers, immigrants had been encouraged to think that they could come to the USA to realise dreams of equality and freedom. At the end of the war, with rising unemployment, unlimited immigration made things worse. Most immigrants were moving to improve their lives, not, in the main, to bring wealth into the country.
With hindsight we can see how bad the Great Depression was. But, at the time people thought it would improve far sooner than it did. A depression that had followed First World War had only lasted 18th months, so the Republicans, with Hoover as president, favoured leaving the economy to sort itself out.

This led to the decline
in Republicanism.
How Hoover dealt with the Great Depression
June 1930
January 1932
July 1932
Agricultural Marketing Act sets up a Federal Farm Board that could buy up key crops to stabilise prices
Committee for Unemployment Relief (to co-ordinate, and advise on, state efforts for the unemployed) and President's Emergency Committee for Employment set up
Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act increases existing tariffs on foreign imports
National Credit Corporation (NCC) funded by healthy banks and businesses to help failing ones; it starts with a budget of $500 million; by the end of the year, the NCC had lent just $10 million
Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) set up with $300 million to lend to states for relief projects
RFC lending can also be given to farmers and public works can be set up

Federal Home Loan Bank Act has a federal fund to lend money to people in trouble with their mortgages.
Hoover's Leadership
during the Great Depression
Hoover began to realise that
wasn't working. He initially believed that the answer was for private charities to offer local, personal support.

In 1930, Hoover set up the President's Emergency Committee to try and find work projects for the unemployed and persuade businesses to create more jobs. But, it was overwhelmed, and Hoover realised that federal intervention was needed.

Between 1930 and 1932 (the next presidential election year) Hoover gave federal help to the states, advising them on projects and providing at least some funding to help. But this also fell short.

Hoover eventually asked Congress to pass laws giving direct federal help. This was significant and, to many people in Congress and the country, unwelcome change of direction...
Hoover's Leadership cont...
Hoover tried to put through more federal measures, many of which Congress rejected. Even those he did get passed took the government into debt, rather than keeping the government debt down, as he was expected to do. In the last year of his presidency, the government received $2,000 million and spent over $5,000 million, but it was too little, to late. And, despite his attempts to change government thinking on welfare provision, Hoover was the person whom many people blamed for the economic crisis. They even names the huge shanty towns of homeless people that sprang up around many cities 'Hoovervilles' after him.
Hoover's Leadership
Why was Hoover blamed for the Great Depression?
Do you think this was fair?
What kind of impact did this have on the Presidency and politics?
A changing mood!

Destination: Hiroshima
More on the Hoover presidency
The Congress that met in the last two years of Hoover's presidency began to see changes. Since 1921, the Republicans had a majority in both Houses of Congress. But, as they had failed to solve the problems of the Great Depression, people began to vote Democrat. In 1931, the Democrats were in the majority in the House of Representatives, and gaining seats in the Senate. Also, Hoover was increasingly unpopular with voters. In 1928, he had campaigned under the slogan of 'a chicken in every pot' - even stating that the Republican Party was the poor man's party. It was now clear to almost everyone that they weren't. He was also becoming unpopular with some Republicans, who disliked the steps he was trying to take to end the Great Depression, as a break from the principles of rugged individualism. Despite this, Hoover still won the Republican nomination, as there was no opposition candidate who seemed any better.

In the 1932 presidential campaign, Hoover's Democratic opponent, Franklin D. Roosevelt, offered the American people a 'New Deal' and a new attitude to government. His election campaign song was 'Happy Days Are Here Again'. He was an excellent communicator, and had been an effective Governor of New York. His snappy campaign pointed to Hoover's as being led by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Destruction, Despair, Delay, and Doubt. In the election 40 million people voted - the largest number ever recorded in American history! Hoover only won six states.

During the Roosevelt presidency, the Republican Party unravelled even more. They were so busy trying to counter all the new measures brought in by the Roosevelt administration, that they could not form a viable alternative government.
New Deal thinking as part of the Political Landscape
New Deal Thinking
The New Deal insisted that the government was responsible for the welfare of the people, people needed help to get back on their feet. This was not so different from Hoover's thinking at the end of his presidency. The New Deal provided minimal support, and the tests people had to pass to qualify for relief were so demeaning that some people chose not to take them.

The New Deal also stressed the importance of rapid, national action. This meant federal government had to take over some policy-making that was, under the Constitution, the role of individual states. Roosevelt only managed to get Congress to agree to this because his 'war' rhetoric suggested that this increase in federal powers, and federal institutions set up to administer his policies, were only temporary.

A series of agencies were set up reflected this increase in federal control.
'Alphabet Agencies'
The 'Alphabet Agencies' were set up to aid Roosevelt's New Deal's increased federal control.

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) set up and enforced codes of practice for businesses, including setting working hours and a minimum wage. Businesses could choose not to join the NRA: however, the public were encouraged to support businesses that displayed the NRA symbol of a blue eagle in their windows.

The Agricultural Adjustment Agency (AAA) regulated the major crops, such as wheat, cotton, and milk. It bought up surplus crops and subsidised farmers to grow less of crops that were being overproduced.

There were agencies to provide work and to help different sections of society. They provided their help on a state-by-state basis and, theoretically, states still had some control. But they were all accountable to the federal agencies that provided them with money.
Extend your knowledge: The National Recovery Administration (NRA)
The NRA made many businessmen furious. It did what the previous, Republican, governments had directly avoided: it told businessmen what to do. While businesses could refuse to join the NRA, while it was running (1933-35) many people dealt with businesses in the NRA as much as they could. So businessmen felt that their businesses suffered either way - through NRA interference or through loss of custom.

Find out more: https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/fdr-fireside/
Roosevelt came to power promising a 'New Deal' for the American people, one where federal government and the president would do whatever it took to save the country from disaster. He asked Congress for special powers to deal with the economic situation, as if it was a war, and they granted him these powers.

Despite promising to balance the federal budget, once in power Roosevelt put aside this promise as he believed providing government help was more important, even if that left the government in debt.

Roosevelt understood how to manipulate Congress. He hadn't intended to pass huge amounts of legislation in his first hundred days, but the ease with which Congress accepted his first banking bill led him to keep going, pushing through laws on banking, taxation, economic help for farmers and home owners in difficulty and unemployment.
Structure of the US Political System
'Separation of Powers'
The federal government is split into three branches, each with its own responsibilities...
Legislature - law-making body
Executive - carries out laws
Judiciary - applies and interprets laws
House of Representatives
is part of
Senate and House of Representatives can both pass laws, but each law has to be passed by both houses. The president can veto their laws with the agreement of two-thirds of Congress. Congress must agree taxation and going to war. Senate can veto presidential appointments.
Armed forces
Vice president
advises, reports to
The president is the head of state, so leads foreign policy, and head of the executive. In emergencies, he can issue Executive Orders (laws not confirmed by Congress) but the Supreme Court can override them.
Supreme court
Court of appeals
District courts
can be overruled by
can be overruled by
The Supreme Court can declare any laws illegal if it thinks they break the rules of the Constitution.
Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by Congress.
The state government is split into three branches, each with its own responsibilities...
Legislature - law-making body
Executive - carries out laws
Judiciary - applies and interprets laws
Name varies by state: e.g. legislature, general assembly
Usually 'senate'
Usually 'House of Representatives'
is part of
Law-making and the governor's veto follow the same pattern as the federal legislature above. State legislature can affect international policy (e.g. war) or federal taxes.
Usually a lieutenant-governor
State National Guard
advises, reports to
State supreme court
State court of appeals
Trial courts
can be overruled by
can be overruled by
Local government varies, reflecting the way that the original state government varied when each state was set up.

Each state is divided into counties, run their own local services (water, power, rubbish collection, etc.) and local officials have some power over local planning. Cities have their own municipal governments, as do some, but not all, towns.

Local officials get their powers from the state, but are elected by the people in their district.
Roosevelt's Inaugural Address
Inaugural Speech
The first speech made by an incoming president. In this speech, the president is expected to outline the broad policy he hopes to follow while in office.
In his inaugural speech, Roosevelt demonstrated all his best qualities. He was pragmatic, knew his own mind, and was an excellent communicator.

In his speech he assured the people that: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Who had more power in the Roosevelt presidency: federal or state?

What problems may this cause?

How is this a change in the presidency?
Increasing importance
of the presidency
Roosevelt's legacy
A cartoon from the
Richmond Times Despatch
, 9 January 1937.
Roosevelt and the media
Roosevelt created a significant White House staff to make increased federal intervention in government work. He set up a separate Executive Office of the President, which had several departments to deal with administration. Where Congress wasn't helpful, he used presidential executive orders, designed for use only in emergencies, to push laws through.

Although Roosevelt was not as good on the details of policy, he was extremely good at managing people.

He was elected an unprecedented 4 terms, so he was clearly hugely popular. However, many Republicans and Democrats disliked his enlarging of the powers of the president. In the 1940 presidential campaign, some opponents compared him to dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. From 1936, the Supreme Court, which initially accepted many of his federal agencies and laws that infringed on state rights as temporary emergency measures, began to rule against them as unconstitutional.
Roosevelt and the media
Roosevelt and the media
Roosevelt instituted a series of radio broadcasts, known as 'fireside chats', in which he explained policies to people as if he was chatting to them in their front rooms. He was the first president to receive sackfulls of letters from ordinary people, both asking for help and thanking him for giving help.

He understood the power of the media and the need for their support. He not only used radio broadcasts and speeches, but also held 'off the record' press meetings twice a week with selected reporters at the White House. He told them what was going on and sometimes threw them an 'on the record' piece of information. These briefings meant that, while the press could not always quote him directly on policy, they all had the same understanding of what was going on and felt involved and on his side.
Roosevelt died in 1945. The presidency he left behind was very different from the one Hoover had left behind. Now the president was expected to be involved in forming policy and legislation. The White House also had many more federal boards and committees.

The White House was also expected to tell the media and inform the public about policy.

The government and president were also seen as responsible for welfare, and presidents that followed Roosevelt referred to his 'New Deal' in the names of their welfare reforms, e.g. Truman's 'Fair Deal', and Kennedy's 'New Frontier'

But, the theory of the separation of powers still held. The Supreme Court had upheld state rights.
When war broke out in Europe in 1939, US involvement was extremely unpopular, with many wanting to continue to with isolationism. Though Roosevelt was a whole-hearted supported of the Allies, he knew from the reaction to the First World War that many wanted to stay out of the war. He therefore promised neutrality in one of his fireside chats.

The Second World War, along with the New Deal policies, hauled the USA out of the Great Depression. Without taking the USA into the war, Roosevelt geared the USA up for war production. Most of these supplies went to Britain. War production boosted industry and farming, and led to a significant rise in employment, which grew as the war went on. Within the first year of the war, the USA had produced $47 billion worth of goods. Industry profits rose from $17 million in 1940 to $28 million in 1943.

By June 1940, Britain was fighting alone in Europe, and was dependent on US war supplies. In December 1940, Churchill told Roosevelt that Britain could no longer pay for these supplies. The neutrality acts made it forbade providing war supplies on credit. So Roosevelt proposed two schemes that Congress were happy to pass: the Lend-Lease Act, and the destroyers-for-bases deal.
a policy of remaining apart from the affairs or interests of other groups, especially the political affairs of other countries.
Results of the Second World War
Lend-lease scheme
This scheme theoretically lent Britain supplies, which were to be returned after the war.

Congress passed this act in March 1941.

By the end of the war, the value of lend-lease supplies was about $51 billion.
This deal allowed Roosevelt to give Britain 50 naval destroyers in return for use of bases in British-held countries.
The Second World War
The USA entered the war on 8 December 1941, following the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.

Though the war had boosted the economy, the human cost was high. Of over 16 million who went to fight, just over 400,000 died and nearly 600,000 were wounded or captured.

The war in the Pacific against the Japanese carried on beyond the war in Europe (which ended in May). With many historians arguing it ended with America dropping the second atomic bomb.

Roosevelt declares war on Japan
D-Day landings, Omaha beach scene from 'Saving Private Ryan'
Japanese surrender, ending the Second World War
1945-72 saw 5 very different presidents enter the White House. 3 Democrats, and 2 Republicans. Their differences can be analysed through these 5 factors:
relations with the media
communications with the public
ability to organise/administrate
ability to manage Congress and other political bodies
Harry S. Truman
(1945 - 53)
Dwight D. Eisenhower
(1953 - 61)
John F. Kennedy
(1961 - 63)
Lyndon B. Johnson
(1963 - 69)
Richard M. Nixon
(1969 - 74)
: not charismatic, not very confident; could be overwhelmed by the importance of the job and make mistakes under pressure - resulting in some people using the phrase 'to err is Truman'

: saw working with the media as important; gave careful briefings with flipchart and pointer (economic policy); sometimes didn't explain enough (Korean War)

: didn't instantly appeal; didn't try to connect; didn't try to explain strategy (Korean War); set speeches wooden, in ad-lib speeches he sometimes made serious mistakes

Organisational ability
: worked well with the White House administration; didn't always choose the right people

Congress, etc.
: worked less well with Congress, despite the fact that there was a Republican majority in Congress after 1946, they blocked many reforms he wanted; had fewer contacts and was less able to network and charm
: deliberately cultivated optimistic, friendly manner

: saw working with the media as important; but often obscured or minimised a problem (the USSR being first into space; the missile gap issue)

: good public manner; accessible, used clear imagery in his speeches (explaining the knock-on effect of a communist takeover in terms of knocking over a line of dominoes)

Organisational ability
: exceptional organisation: set up regular briefings and long-term planning sessions; had everyone concerned in to debate a decision

Congress, etc.
: worked well with Congress, good at political bargaining and persuasion
: from a political family, understood the importance of charm; worked hard on speech-making style and self-presentation

: saw working with the media as important (learned names, had personal chats); used television really well ('presidential family' publicity)

: good public manner; accessible; attractive

Organisational ability
: poor, advisors competed for attention, not working together; Robert Kennedy and Theodore Sorensen did much of the work and reported; abandoned Eisenhower's regular meetings as needed; didn't always consult the right people (Bay of Pigs disaster); less long-term planning

Congress, etc.
: worked very well with Congress, good at political bargaining and persuasion; family connections a big help
: had been in politics for a while, understood the importance of winning people over; could change his style and opinions to get what he wanted

: not a natural with the media, but was careful to keep them informed

: patchy: could give good speeches (speech on voting rights) or stiff, awkward ones; best with smaller groups

Organisational ability
: Kennedy's organisation didn't suit him, but he kept it; his own organisation was good (so blocked legislation before taking it to Congress)

Congress, etc.
: worked very well with Congress, had political background, really understood how to use connections and persuade; good at creative thinking to make things happen (when school funding became a problem because of the issue of funding religious schools he had the funding go to the children)
: clever, capable; but suspicious, hated people disagreeing with him; could make spur-of-the-moment decisions then backtrack

: distrusted the media, very bad at managing it (Watergate)

: not good with people; worked hard at it, but often seemed awkward and insincere

Organisational ability
: reinstated the system of regular meetings and briefings with White House staff, but not good at taking advice

Congress, etc.
: awkward with Congress due to his suspicious nature; did not find it easy to manage Congress because he found it hard to make personal connections and persuade
The Second Red Scare
The Second Red Scare grew out of a climate of fear. The USSR (communist Russia) was spying on the USA, and was especially keen to get hold of nuclear weapons technology. In 1949, the USSR held their first nuclear weapons test. It became apparent that there were many spies for the Soviets amongst the US government employees. The trials of Alger Hiss (1949; retrial 1950), who had been advisor to Roosevelt, and the Rosenbergs (1951) were especially high-profile. The first Hiss trial resulted in a mistrial because the jury could not agree. The second found him guilty.

In 1949, China became communist, the 'loss' of China, and the communist rule in Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe showed communism to be spreading. Truman could not have stopped China becoming communist, but the 'China Lobby' accused him of being responsible because he did not give enough support to Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of the Chinese government against the communist rebels. Truman had been advised not to give more support to Chiang because his government was corrupt. Truman's advisors also thought that the rebels just wanted change in China, not worldwide communism like the Soviets. When communist China aided communist North Korea during the Korean war, critics of Truman's policy towards China said this confirmed their fears.

Both of these developments led to the media beginning to question the American government. Was it doing enough to fight communism and protect its citizens? As with the first scare, this questioning played a significant role in blowing up the Second Red Scare.
Joseph McCarthy and the Second Red Scare

Senator McCarthy headed the Second Red Scare. On 9 February 1950, he made an anti-communist speech to a Republican women's group, claiming he had the names of 205 known communists working in the state department. When reporters asked for the list, he said he had left it on the plane. He gathered some support for this assertion, but revised the number the next day to 57. When called to Senate he changed it again to 81. Despite this muddle of made-up facts, there was a lot of popular support for McCarthy, and the Tydings committee was set up to investigate his charges.

The Tydings Committe issued a majority report saying that McCarthy's accusations were a muddle of half-truths and lies. But people still were carried along by him, with groups of red-baiting vigilantes groups hounding people they thought were communist at work and home, sometimes violently.

McCathy remained powerful until 1953 when he investigated the army. These interviews were televised, and around 20 million people tuned in to watch. His treatment of the interviewees was so unreasonable that he lost support, the Senate even passed a vote of censure against him and the Red Scare died down.
Anti-Communism, 1954-80

The Red Scares changed the political scene because they led to a significant curb on civil liberties. The FBI was given powers to investigate people and bring them to be questioned by Loyalty Boards or HUAC on very little evidence. It was allowed to open letters, tap phones, and bug offices and homes. Its behaviour was moving towards that of the repressive communist regimes that the government condemned. At the height of both scares, people had their freedom of speech and freedom of expression severely limited by worries about what would happen if they expressed even vaguely liberal views. In the late 1950s, a third of librarians removed books such as the works of Karl Marx from their shelves, to avoid being accused of having communist sympathies for stocking them. When Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the USSR, visited the USA in 1959, he was met with large anti-communist demonstrations - one placard read 'THE ONLY GOOD COMMUNIST IS A DEAD COMMUNIST!' Anti-communism was one of the few policies that united many Republicans and Democrats; between 1953 and 1963, not one Senator publicly supported a softening of attitude to the USSR or China. Various groups were set up from the 1950s to press the government to take a hard line in relations with communist countries. One of the most powerful of these was the Committee on the Present Danger, first set up in 1950. It was reformed in 1976 and had many powerful advisors as members.
House Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC), set up in 1938, made permanent in 1945, investigated people for all 'un-American' activities, but focussed on 'communists'.
Changing Attitudes
Conservative Reaction
The Second Red Scare and increasing violence against black civil rights campaigners was making many people uneasy about the political climate in America. President Kennedy promised a breath of fresh air through his liberal approach.

Kennedy defined what liberalism was, and stated that he was proud to be one. Many people saw the values he outlined as those of the American Dream.

Liberals were usually educated and middle class, or even wealthy. Their views would have got them into trouble during the Red Scares. They supported equality, civil rights, and social welfare, and believed that government intervention could improve things and were prepared to limit individual liberties to help those in need. Liberal politicians introduced the idea of
positive discrimination
Positive Discrimination
Preferential treatment in employment, education, social welfare, or other areas of life, given to minority groups that have suffered from discrimination in order to redress inequality.

In the USA at this time, they defined 'five minorities' who were: American Indians, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and women.
While liberal politicians were trying to change the face of politics from within, many young people wanted to remake society completely.
The Hippies
Radical Student Groups
Wanted to loosen the tight family system and live in communal societies
Believed in a simple way of life
Some took mind-altering drugs and exercised wider sexual freedoms than traditional marriage provided
Though they wanted to change society, they were prepared to live separately to those who did not hold their beliefs
Country Joe's anti-Vietnam song
Wanted a more equal world, closer to the view of the American Dream
Rejected racism, anti-communism, and protested, often violently, against the war in Vietnam
Radical students were the most visible, and so affected how all students were viewed
They copied the non-violent protests of the civil rights movement (e.g. sit ins), but when these didn't work they became more violent
Some small extreme groups even went so far as to plant bombs
Many older Americans were bewildered by the counter-culture, it went against everything they believed in. Those who had been unable to go to university themselves thought the students were being ungrateful. When some students went even further and resorted to violence, it added to the feeling that the liberal government wasn't working.

This changed the political landscape as politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, began to campaign for the New Right. In 1969, the Republican Richard Nixon started campaigned to the New Right. Some young people also began to look to the New Right as they didn't want society to change as much as the Hippies or the radical students.
Religious right movement
Bill Bright, 1967 evangelical preacher - 'Campus Crusade for Christ' movement went to campuses all over the USA, including the extremely radical Berkeley, California.

During the 1970s, a religious right movement emerged that campaigned for a return to traditional values, with a move away from 'liberal' policies.
Impact on Domestic Policy
The Second World War led to more US involvement abroad, the opposite of the isolationism that had followed the First World War. The USA was a founding member of the UN in 1945.

Though the USA and USSR (communist Russia) had been allies in the Second World War, they had extremely different ideologies. Truman was anti-communist, and Stalin was anti-capitalist. These frictions developed into a cold war between the USA and USSR. Truman told Congress that the USA needed a policy of 'containment', stopping the spread of communism by helping countries that might otherwise end up in communist hands.

This 'Truman Doctrine' was soon followed by the Marshall Plan - a system of aid to war-torn countries, to prevent their ending up in communist hands.

In 1949, the USA was one of the founding members of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), where allies promised to respond to an attack on any one of them. The Cold War now drove a lot of the USA's policy making.
Cold War!
The 'Truman Doctrine' and Marshall Aid
The Cold War - impact on industry and the presidency...
Nuclear defence
The arms race
The armed services
Once it became clear that the USSR had nuclear capabilities, the US government had to be seen to be preparing for a nuclear attack.
Early 1950s - Federal Defense Administration set up, set up to organise evacuations, give out pamphlets with advice.
Schools ran 'duck and cover' exercises
1956 - Interstate Act road network was designed for the rapid evacuation of cities.

But federal/state legislative divide made a national system of defence difficult. The government advised, some states acted and people were expected to look out for themselves.
Between June 1947 and June 1948, the US holdings of atomic bombs rose from 13 to 50. When the USSR also began to make atomic weapons, it started an arms race that cost both countries huge amounts of money and resulted in both sides stockpiling enough nuclear weapons to cause a massive devastation if they were ever launched (MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction). The funding of the arms race became a political bone of contention whenever it came up for debate.
The creation of a large, permanent military force affected the domestic economy. The military cost money to run, but it also provided jobs and was a major customer for many businesses, from food to fabric. The existence of this army, the arms race and the Cold War itself created not just a Democrat/Republican divide in politics, but also a 'hawks'/'doves' divide that crossed political boundaries.
A monetary hawk (hawk for short), is a term used to describe someone who places keeping inflation low as the top priority in monetary policy.
A monetary dove, is a term used to describe someone who emphasises issues like unemployment over low inflation.
Hawks vs. Doves
The growth of the USA as a Cold War power changed the position of the president in several ways:
Power of the president increased as increased involvement in NATO and the UN meant the president could make more treaties and go to war without Congress.
Nuclear arsenal was the only one able to challenge that of the USSR, so therefore felt committed to doing so
1947 National Security Act - reorganised US military forces under a new Defense Department based at the Pentagon. The president was its commander-in-chief, and could therefore move forces around without Congress' permission
National Security Act created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Council, both of which reported to the White House, not Congress
The existence of nuclear weapons meant that a nuclear war might begin without warning - the president had to have the power to react at once, and not wait to ask Congress for permission.
Took place in the context of the Second Red Scare
Truman wanted to fight a 'limited war' - containing the North Koreans in North Korea, rather than all-out war
Truman emphasised that it was UN rather than US action in Korea

Korea emphasised the way the Cold War shifted presidential attention away from domestic policy to international policy. All domestic policy went through Congress, but presidents had more freedom to act alone in foreign affairs.

The Cold War led to an expectation that the USA would become more involved in world affairs, as they were the only country capable of maintaining a balance of power with the USSR.

Following the Second World War the Republicans wanted to become a real opposition force in Congress again. A combination of the Second Red Scare and Truman's handling of the Korean war provided an opportunity for this.
Extend your knowledge: The Korean War
The Korean War was a UN operation. The UN troops fighting with the South Koreans were from 16 countries - but most were American (260,000 US troops and never more than 35,000 from the other 15 countries). The war was led by an American. At the end of the war, the US death toll (in combat) was 33,629. The border between North and South Korea and did not change.
Extend your knowledge: General MacArthur
MacArthur was in charge of the war in Korea from the start, and, from the start, he had wanted a very different war from Truman. He criticised Truman's 'limited war' policy and advocated nuclear bombing of North Korea, and even China, both publicly and privately, at a time when members of an administration were expected to support the Republican backlash. He didn't stop at criticism. He disobeyed orders, on several occasions, in ways that could have led to all-out war. For example, on 5 November 1950, he bombed the bridges over the River Yalu (despite orders not to bomb within five miles of the border) and then took troops to the river despite orders to halt.
Impact of the Korean War on the Presidency
Media and War
Shift in the way the media dealt with the presidency - the media initially promised Truman support, expecting the access and information Roosevelt had provided during the Second World War, but Truman held back information to try to avoid further inflaming anti-communist feeling, so the media sought out less reputable sources of information, and became critical of the presidency
Truman began television briefings, but found it hard to regain media support once he had lost it, which made it hard to regain public support
When Truman sacked General MacArthur, he had little public support, despite MacArthur's disobeying direct orders from his commander-in-chief
When issues with the USSR needed a peaceful resolution, opponents of Truman said this didn't sound like Truman Doctrine, even though Truman Doctrine was about economic aid, not fighting
Congress and the White House had always bickered, but now it was being conducted in the glare of the media, this led to disillusionment with the presidency and government in general, as it was part of the American Dream that the government had three branches that worked co-operatively
Extend your knowledge: The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War began when the French were driven out of the country by communist Vietnamese rebels in 1954. The UN intervened to divide the country into a communist North and a democratic South (the USA helped with the elections). Unfortunately, Ngo Dinh Diem, the elected leader, was corrupt and his government was seen by many Americans as almost as bad as the communist regime.

The friction between North and South meant that the USA spent the 1950s giving South Vietnamese troops training, advice and supplies. The first troops were sent in by President Kennedy in 1961. From then on, the war escalated and became more and more unpopular. The USA was fighting a guerilla war, where it often could not distinguish allies from enemies, and where some of the population were involved in helping the rebels and some were innocent. The final withdrawal from Vietnam came in 1975, troop withdrawals having started in 1969; it was the first war the USA had lost, and it had looked bad while losing it.
Write down a sentence for each of these wars and how they changed the presidency.

Which of these wars do you think had the biggest impact on the presidency? Explain your choice.
Impact of the Vietnam War on the Presidency
Because of the power of the presidency in foreign affairs, presidents were seen as driving policy in the war, and were therefore more responsible for it than domestic affairs
Presidents found themselves more and more involved in a war that was more and more unpopular, but as it continued it became harder to leave the war without putting many South Vietnamese in danger
Final withdrawal from Vietnam did not reflect well on the American government and the presidency - despite a notion of 'planned withdrawal', the USA army scrambled to get out of Vietnam, leaving some South Vietnamese to the North Vietnamese reprisals
American people were relieved to be out of the war, but were humiliated to have fought a 'dirty' war, to have lost it, and then left in such a scramble, leaving many South Vietnamese in the lurch
People were now likely to look more critically at the role and behaviour of the president in future wars
Who protested against the war?
What role did the media play?
Mutual distrust grew between officials (e.g. the police) and certain groups in society (e.g. demonstrators). Old and young, black and white, rich and poor, famous and unknown, all protested against the war. Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) began when six veterans marched together in a peace demonstrations in New York City in 1967. It soon had a membership of over 30,000. It campaigned to show the horror of the war and the shabby way many veterans were treated when they returned home, often with disabilities or stress-related illnesses that meant they found it hard to keep a job. No-one understood post-traumatic stress disorder, so most veterans, no matter their problems and disabilities were told by the military, and in some cases friends and family too, to put it all behind them and get on with their lives. Many faced abuse for the atrocities that people read about and saw on television, even if they had not been involved in them.
Media coverage of the war was intensive. At the start of the war the media reported events as the White House press conferences, or their military press officers in Vietnam, described them. However, as the war went on and they saw the war up close, reporters increasingly reported shocking stories: soldiers going into battle high on drugs; the massacre of an entire village of civilians at Mai Lai; spraying toxic defoliant Agent Orange on villages, not empty fields; the rewarding of soldiers with ice cream and beer if their mission had a high kill count. This was not just because the stories made news (a mission that wasn't a massacre was not very newsworthy), but because the media were shocked by the ethos prevailing in Vietnam. This was not a war to be fought honourably; their opponents were 'just Gooks'. On 27 February 1968, news reported Walter Cronkite returned from Vietnam after the Tet Offensive and broadcast a scathing criticism of the way the war was being run. Cronkite was a highly influential and respected television reporter. His programme increased public reaction against the war; President Johnson was heard to say after it that he had lost the support of 'middle America' for the war.
A racist word used to describe someone of South East Asian descent
Why did confidence in government decline, 1968-80?
Key events in 1968 that damaged confidence in government
31 Jan
The North Vietnamese launch the Tet Offensive, which is to be a turning point in the attitude of many people to the Vietnam War
27 Feb
19 March
4 April
24 April
28 April
5 June
28 June
23-28 July
28 August
Walter Cronkite returns from Vietnam and films a highly critical special report about how the war is being waged
Student protest at Howard University, Washington DC: rallies, protests, sit-ins; demonstrations this year become more and more violent
Martin Luther King, campaign leader for black American civil rights, assassinated, sparking riots in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Newark, Washington DC and many other cities
Student protestors occupy buildings in the University of Colombia
Anti-war march in Chicago ends with marchers and bystanders being beaten up be the police
Robert Kennedy (brother of President Kennedy, assassinated in 1963) is assassinated
President Johnson is forced to raise taxes, despite promises not to
Black protestors and police in gun battle in Cleveland, Ohio
The police use violence against peaceful demonstrators outside the National Democratic Convention in Chicago
The media
Mishandling of events
The White House administration
Social factors
The presidents

How the media contributed to damaging confidence in the government/presidency
People had wider access to the media than in earlier years; radio, television and newspaper reporters changed their views of their relationship with the president and the government. Under Roosevelt, the media saw their job as explaining policies. From 1953, when the Korean War began and Truman mishandled the media, criticism grew. The media took to Kennedy and his government, but from 1968, the media came increasingly to see their job as uncovering government deception. Media stories focused more on showing that the government and the president were telling only part of the story, keeping things from the American people.
Mishandling of events
Public confidence was even more seriously shaken by evidence that they couldn't trust the government. The Watergate scandal (1972-74) showed that the White House and President Nixon were guilty not only of burglary, but also of surveillance of political opponents. Tapes of discussions in the White House showed Nixon in a terrible light; he swore, was suspicious of everyone and made it clear that he was perfectly happy to lie to the American people. Public confidence hit rock bottom. The media had uncovered the crime and the cover-up. They hadn't trusted the Nixon administration - and they had been right not to do so.
The government could not avoid responsibility for the conduct of the war in Vietnam. Because presidents were more involved in decision-making after Roosevelt, presidents who found themselves bogged down in the war could not avoid responsibility either. As the media exposed army scandals and government mishandling of the war, public opposition grew. Again, the issue became one of trust.
The White House Administration
Roosevelt enlarged the White House staff and created bureaucracy that reported to the president, not to Congress. As the presidential staff grew, the number of groups reporting directly to the president also grew. Staff members acted in the president's name without consulting him; some took bribes and made deals. The costs of staffing and campaigning rose, so presidential campaigns needed more money, becoming dependent on those who donated funds. Doners were usually unions or big businesses: both expected to have influence if their candidate won.
The presidents
All presidents in office during the years 1968-80 contributed to the decline of confidence. Johnson put US troops into Vietnam, without Congress's approval. He communicated poorly with both the press and the public. Nixon's public communication style was forced, and few warmed to him as a person. His mismanagement of the Watergate scandal shocked people deeply. So did the later corruption in the administration that was revealed. Public reaction to this meant that the Americans could not forgive Gerald Ford (who took over as president when Nixon stood down) when he pardoned Nixon, rather than taking him to a trial that would last years and corrode confidence further. The public didn't elect Ford as president at the subsequent presidential elections. Instead, they supported Jimmy Carter. Carter was one of the least politically experienced presidents ever, and it showed. He won because he was clearly a very moral man - his main campaign point was that he would never lie to the people. However, he couldn't manage Congress and his presidency was marked by poor decisions and a lack of flexibility. He had come to power by being very moral, but he was also very stubborn and didn't consult enough or look at political realities.
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