Focus Question: What factors helped Richard Nixon win the election of 1968?
Richard M. Nixon (68-74) • New Federalism – distribute some federal power to the states. • Pursued Conservative Policies • Little government spending • Cuts to programs that cost money
Did not get along with Congress • Refused to spend money on programs he didn’t like • Used the FBI, CIA and IRS to harass those who opposed him. (Liberal Democrats, Anti-War and Civil Rights Advocates)
Clashed with the Supreme Court on nominees. Wanted conservatives on the bench. • They rejected two of his nominees.
1973- The economy wasn’t growing • Inflation and Unemployment rose = Stagflation • Vietnam War had drained the government’s money
Reduced supply of oil by Arab nations in the US because of our support of Israel • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – power to research, set and enforce pollution standards. Still exists today
Watergate • The Watergate scandal is named for the Watergate hotel and office complex in Washington D.C. • It is what eventually ruined Richard Nixon
June 17: Five men were arrested at Watergate during a pathetically bungled break-in at the Democratic Headquarters • The purpose of the break-in was to plant listening devices in the phones of democratic leaders and to obtain info
Sept 15: Eventually seven men are indicted • Nov 7: Nixon crushes George McGovern in the 1972 election • Dec 8: The wife of one of the seven arrested men dies is a plane crash
She is carrying $10,000 (all in $100’s), to be delivered as “hush money” to someone in Chicago • April 30, 1973: Nixon shakes up his White House staff in an effort rid himself of any wrong doing
June 25: Nixon is accused of authorizing “hush money” to be delivered to the seven men arrested • July-Oct: Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after being found guilty of tax evasion. Gerald Ford is chosen the new VP
Oct 30: Nixon is forced to hand over Oval Office tapes. Two tapes are missing. • Nov 21: Investigators learn that one tape has an 18 minute gap
Jan 4, 1974: Nixon refuses to turn over 500 additional subpoenaed tapes • March 1: Seven former White House staff members are indicted for obstructing justice
April 29: Nixon offers a 1,200 page transcript of the tapes that have been subpoenaed • July 24: Supreme Ct. rules that the tapes must be turned over
July 27: The House Judiciary Comm. Approves 2 articles of impeachment • Aug 5: Nixon admits he ordered a halt to the Watergate investigation break-in
Aug 8: Nixon announces that he will resign at noon the following day. He does so because republican congressmen told him he will likely be impeached and convicted
Aug 9: Nixon formally resigns. Gerald Ford is sworn into office • Sept 8: Ford grants Nixon a full pardon
Discussion Questions • 1. Explain Nixon’s New Federalism. • 2. Why did the “President’s Men” break in to the Democratic Headquarters?
Assistant Director of the FBI Revealed himself in May of 2005. Died in December of 2008
Gerald R. Ford (74-76) • Ford was likeable and honest but he pardoned Nixon • The poor economy didn’t help
His efforts to help the economy failed • “Whip Inflation Now” (WIN) – encouraged Americans to cut back on oil and gas • In two years he vetoed 50 pieces of legislation that would have put more money into the economy.
Ford did negotiate with China and the Soviet Union and signed the Helsinki Accords (along with 35 other nations) which would promise greater cooperation between nations in Eastern and Western Europe.
Jimmy Carter (76-80) • Carter was an outsider • Not involved with scandalous Watergate affair • He was a peanut farmer with a nuclear physics degree • Governor of Georgia
Carter promised to “never lie to the American public.” • He won a close election over Ford • Many had not forgiven Ford for his pardon of Nixon and of draft-dodgers
Carter faced an energy crisis • Oil prices were high because of the oil cartel (Org. of Petroleum Exporting Countries) who were controlling prices. • New sources of energy were expensive • National Energy Act – taxed gas-guzzling cars
Nuclear Disaster at Three-Mile Island • Partial Core Meltdown in a Nuclear Generating Station • Reactor overheated after cooling system failed • Release of radioactive gases • No one killed or injured • Debate over Nuclear Power
Economic Problems of the 1970’s • Caused by automation • Few manufacturing jobs • Caused by more foreign competition • Led to a 26% approval rating for Carter, lower than Nixon
Foreign Policy • Carter arranged a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt • The U.S. has been providing assistance to Iran since the 50’s. In 1979, religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini led a rebellion against the Iranian gov’t.
The U.S. supported the Shah of Iran • Muslim fundamentalists seized power in Iran • Took control of the American embassy and held 52 hostages for 444 days • The U.S. banned all trade with Iran
Hostages were freed just minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated on Jan 20, 1981
Carter signed an agreement that would return control of the Panama Canal to Panama on Dec. 31st, 1999.
Discussion Questions • 1. Why didn’t American’s support Ford from the beginning? • 2. What happened at Three Mile Island?
Focus Question: What are some topics that remain a constant source of focus for Presidents over time?
Conservativism • American history has been marked by swings between liberal and conservative policies. • Liberal – 30’s New Deal, 60’s Great Society • Conservative – Roaring 20’s, 50’s
Conservatives took more control in 1980 • High Inflation • Most thought their taxes were too high • The gov’t was involved in their life
“New Right” was born • Goals • Reducing the power of government • Cutting expensive programs • Mainstreaming Civil Rights • No preference towards any groups minority or majority
Ronald Reagan wins the presidency in 1980 on these beliefs • Reagan’s goal was to cut the federal government down to a minimum and grant large tax cuts to free money for personal investment
Increase defense spending • Strategic Defense Initiative – SDI – system to keep Americans safe from enemy missiles. Nicknamed “Star Wars”
John Hinkley Jr. March 30, 1981 Attempted to assassinate President Reagan It was an attempt to impress actress Jodi Foster whom he was obsessed with. Found not guilty by reason of insanity. Attempted Assassination