Politics, presidency and society USA 1968-2001

Cards about politics, presidency and society, topic D7, Unit 1, Edexcel AS History

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  • Created on: 02-01-12 14:19

The state of America in 1968

1.) Tet Offensive Jan-Feb >> unpopular with many people, showed a great division between those who supported the war & those who did not
2.) Death of MLK highlighted racial tensions
3.) Assassination of Robert Kennedy highlighted class and political divide/tensions
4.) Disruption of the Miss America pageant highlighted tension between feminists & traditionalists
5.) Richard Nixon won the presidency >> 'Middle America'

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The presidency of Gerald Ford

- When Ford was first sworn in there was a stigma of relief across the country at being rid of Nixon & the climate of secrecy
- After he pardoned Nixon he lost many votes
- He had a poor relationship with congress
- Ronald Reagan called him a 'caretaker' who had been in Congress for too long (since 1948)
- Lost the presidency to Jimmy Carter in 1976, likely because the Republicans had been in power for such a long time, Ford was a 'bumbler' & Carter was a Democrat

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How America had lost faith in its government in th

- When Carter became president, only 54% of eligible Americans had even voted in the election
- A welfare worker said 'Why don't people vote? Because it doesn't make a difference'
   - % who thought government 'will do what is right most of the time >> 1969 = 56% >> 1979 = 29%
   - % who believed government officials were 'smart people who know what they are doing' >> 1969 = 69% >> 1979 = 29%
   - % 'people who run the country don't care what happens to you' >> 1966 = 28% >> 1977 = 60%

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Why America had lost faith in the government by th

- The country still weakened & disillusioned by memories of Vietnam & Watergate, both of which painted a poor image of politics

- Liberalism was being increasingly discredited & much of society seemed to want a return to traditional conservative values

- The country was suffering crises in energy, the economy, inner cities & health care

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Why Ford wasn't re-elected, summarized

- Poor relationship with Congress
- No clear goals, lacked good presidential qualities
- Press portrayed him in a bad light (e.g. 'Bozo the clown' on a New York magazine cover) >> image was that of a bumbler
- Right-wing Republicans criticized him >> Reagan called him a 'caretaker'
- Women voters >> did not appeal to them
- Pardon of Nixon

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How Watergate affected the US

- Congress called for his impeachment in July (1974), instead he resigned in August
- Lost Republican support in the WH >> Barry Goldwater famously said 'Nixon should get his *** out of the White House'
- Nixon came out of the presidency with a villanous reputation
- Congress enacted new laws to limit the power of the presidency, e.g. Ethics in Government Act (1978)
- It had such an impression on America and other countries that many scandals now have 'gate' added onto the end.

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