Election of Eisenhower

Election of 1952

Party: Republican

Running Mate: Richard Nixon

States Carried: 39/48

Electoral Vote: 442/531 (Only needs 266 to win)

Popular Vote: 34,075,529

Percentage: 55.2%

Election of 1956

Party: Republican

Running Mate: Richard Nixon

Electoral Vote: 457/530

States Carried: 41/48

Popular Vote: 35,579,180

Percentage: 57.4%

Cold War


political hostility between countries through threats, propaganda,

and other characteristics that were short of open warfare

Events During Eisenhower Years

  • An armistice was signed in Korea.
  • The French lost the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. France withdrew from Indochina and it was broken up into its constituent parts.
  • The USSR and PRC offered military and economic aid to the new country of North Vietnam.
  • Per the policy of containment the US offered military and economic aid to the new country of South Vietnam.
  • The Soviet Union launched Sputnik.
  • US Marines were deployed to Lebanon to stabilize the country after a short Civil War.
  • Castro came to power in Cuba.
  • An American U2 spy plane was shot down over the USSR.

Joseph McCarthy

  • Eisenhower did not approve of McCarthy and he worked actively to diminish his power and influence,
  • He never directly confronted McCarthy or criticized him by name in any speech
  • McCarthy had strong accusations of Communists being harbored within the government
  • Eisenhower had never been an admirer of McCarthy
  • Their relationship became more hostile once Eisenhower was in office
  • In a November 1953 speech that was carried on national television, McCarthy began by praising the Eisenhower Administration for removing Truman holdovers with Communist connections and complained about John Paton Davies, Jr. even though he had actually been dismissed three weeks earlier
  • He also criticized Eisenhower for not doing enough to secure the release of missing American pilots shot down over China during the Korean War.
  • McCarthy had even altered the "twenty years of treason" catchphrase for the preceding Democratic administrations and began referring to "twenty-one years of treason" to include Eisenhower's first year in office.
  • As time went on, Eisenhower faced repeated calls that he confront McCarthy directly which he refused
  • Eisenhower was reported to have said he did not want to stop down to McCarthy's horrible methods

Eisenhower and Desegregation in the South

Little Rock Crisis

  • Eisenhower, as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, faced a difficult problem.
  • He wanted to uphold the Constitution and the laws, but also avoid a possible bloody confrontation in Arkansas.
  • He arranged to meet Governor Faubus there to discuss the tense situation in Little Rock.
  • Eisenhower thought Faubus had agreed to enroll African American students, so he told Faubus that his National Guard troops could stay at Central High and enforce order.
  • Once back in Little Rock, Governor Faubus withdrew the National Guard.
  • A few days later, 9 African American students slipped into the school to enroll and a full scale riot erupted.
  • The situation quickly ran out of control due to Governor Faubus lack of stopping the violence, but shortly appealed directly to President Eisenhower for help.
  • Eisenhower placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal control and sent 1,000 U.S. Army paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division to assist them in restoring order in Little Rock.
  • The daring tactic worked and the African American students were enrolled without further violence
  • The law had remained unbroken
  • Eisenhower was criticized both by those who felt he had not done enough to ensure civil rights for African Americans or went too far in asserting federal power over the states.

Brown V. Board of Education

  • Supreme Court ruled in 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in public schools = unconstitutional
  • Eisenhower disliked the Court's ruling, and he refused to endorse it, when he usually avoided comment of court decisions
  • His silence encouraged resistance to school desegregation.
  • White citizens' councils organized to prevent compliance with the Court's ruling.
  • Some of these groups relied on political action, others used intimidation and violence.
  • Although Eisenhower did not agree, he had a constitutional responsibility to uphold its rulings.
  • He did so in the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, a black woman named Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man
  • Led by Martin Luther King Jr., Montgomery blacks organized a boycott of the bus system.
  • Despite violent attacks, the boycott continued, reducing bus revenue by over 60 percent.
  • In 1956, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision outlawing segregation on buses.
  • This success inspired civil rights leaders to adopt Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience.
  • King and other black ministers established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. SCLC soon found an ally in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which formed after a number of sit-ins at businesses that discriminated against blacks.

Civil Rights Act of 1957

  • President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation.
  • Result = the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
  • established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote.
  • established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures.
  • weakened by Congress due to lack of support among the Democrats.

Eisenhower Republicanism Policies

  • When dealing with people, President Eisenhower was liberal
  • When dealing with the economy and the government, he was conservative.
  • Wanted balance the federal budget and guard America from socialism.
  • Had small government philosophy
  • Supported the transfer of control over offshore oil fields from the federal government to the states
  • In 1954, he gave in to the Mexican government's worries that illegal Mexican immigration to the United States would undercut the bracero program of legally imported farm workers, President Eisenhower rounded up a million illegal immigrants in Operation Wetback.
  • Sought to cancel the tribal preservation policies of the "Indian New Deal," in place since 1934.
  • Wanted to termination of the tribes as legal entities and to revert to the assimilationist goals of the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887.
  • the previous plan was dropped in 1961 after most tribes refused to be terminated.
  • Knew that he could not cancel all of the programs created in the New Deal and Fair Deal, because of the lack of public support
  • Supported the Interstate Highway Act of 1956, which created countless jobs and sped the suburbanization of America as 42,000 miles of highways were built.
  • Eisenhower only managed to balance the budget 3 times while in office
  • In 1959, he incurred the biggest peacetime deficit in the history of the United States.

Beginning of Vietnam War

  • Did not support the Geneva Accords signed by France and Vietnam in the summer of 1954.
  • ^ made the 17th parallel dividing the country of Vietnam to north and south section until two years when they would hold a free election for all of the country.
  • He and his secretary of state John Foster Dulles thought agreement gave the communist too much power in north
  • Decided to create the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
  • Purpose = to stop any more communist influence in Southeast Asia.
  • ^ helped in the start of building a new nation in South Vietnam.
  • In 1955 = birth of government of the republic of Vietnam
  • Leader = Ngo Dinh Diem (after a landslide election)
  • Diem claimed his country was under attack from communist.
  • 1957 = start of Vietnam War
  • Diem imprisoned suspects of communist led to his people's outrage (resulted in protest and demonstrations)
  • North Vietnam focused on putting political pressure on Diem’s regime/gathering followers in the south to overthrow him.
  • National Liberation Front (NFL) was created.

Space Race

  • Signed a public order creating NASA (a federal agency dedicated to space exploration)
  • Created two national security-oriented space programs that would operate with NASA’s program
  • led by U.S. Air Force
  • dedicated to exploiting the military potential of space.


  • led by CIA, the Air Force, and a new organization called the National Reconnaissance Office (existence kept classified until the early 1990s)
  • code-named Corona
  • Would use orbiting satellites to gather intelligence on the Soviet Union and its allies.