The Decline in Government Confidence, 1960-1980

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  • Why did confidence in government decline, 1960-1980?
    • Key events in 1968 that damaged confidence
      • 31/01: North Vietnamese launch Tet Offensive
      • 27/02: Walter Cronkite films highly critical special report about the war
      • 19/03: Student protests at Howard University, Washington DC
      • 04/04: Martin Luther King assassinated, sparking riots in major cities.
      • 24/04: Student protests occupy buildings in University of Colombia
      • 28/04: Anti-war march in Chicago ends with marchers being beaten up by police
      • 28/06: President Johnson forced to raise taxes
      • 23-28/07: Black protesters and police in gin battle in Cleveland
      • 28/08: Police use violence against peaceful protesters outside National Democratic Convention in Chicago
    • Other Events
      • October 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
      • November 1963: President John F Kennedy assassinated
      • Vietnam War: horrific stories of use of Agent Orange, and soldiers going into battle high on drugs
      • President Carter "attacked" by a rabbit
      • Oil Crisis, 1973: OPEC raises oil prices by 70% and embargoed oil exports to the USA
    • The Main Causes
      • The Media: people had wider access to TV and radio. Under FDR, the media thought they had to explain policies, but after 1953, criticism grew. Media stories after 1968 focused on showing that the government were only telling part of the story.
      • Scandal: The Watergate Scandal (1972-74) showed that the White House was guilty of burglary and surveillance of opponents. Tapes showed Nixon swore, being suspicious and made it clear he was happy to lie.
      • The White House: FDR created bureaus that reported to the president, not Congress. Staff acted in the president's name without consultation, and some took bribes and made deals.
      • The Presidents
        • Johnson put troops into Vietnam without approval of Congress
        • Nixon's communication was forced, and his management of Watergate shocked America.
        • America couldn't forgive Gerald Ford after his pardon of Nixon
      • Social Factors: Violent police reaction to protests, riots after King's death, Nation Guard killed 4 students in 1970




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