President Eisenhower

Chapter 38: Catherine Cain

Election of Eisenhower

Election of 1952


  • Democrats-- Adlai E. Stevenson-- (governor of Illinois - Convention @ Chicago)

  • Republicans-- General Dwight D. Eisenhower- WON (by LARGE majority)

    • VP- Richard M. Nixon (added to satisfy anti communist wing of Republican Party)

      • During presidential campaign-- reports of Nixon secretly tapping gov $$ arose → Eisenhower to consider dropping Nixon.. Nixon went on tv & apologized in Checkers Speech-- saving place on ballot



Election of 1956

  • Republican- Eisenhower- WON

  • Democrat- Adlai Stevenson

The Cold War

Cold War- the conflict between USSR and US post WWII & prolonged for a good 4 decades

  • main conflict--- was communists (USSR) vs anti- communist (America)

Fear of Nuclear War

  • Americans started building bomb shelters in basements,

  • school children practiced “duck & cover” drills

Characterized by Space Race

New Look to U.S. National security policy - 1953

  1. Maintain a simulated economy whilst building up strength

    1. Defense policy- “more bang for the buck” -- focus on increasing Air Force & nuclear weapons - cut spending on conventional forces

  2. Nuclear Diplomacy- to deter Communist aggression or fight a war

  3. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - carry out secret or covert actions against governments/ leaders "directly or indirectly responsive to Soviet control"

  4. Strengthening allies/ friendships of non aligned governments


Stalin’s Death- 1953- did NOT bring on a “peaceful coexistence” - Nikita Khrushchev denied Eisenhower’s attempt to do so

Joseph McCarthy

  • anti- communist crusader---elected bc of war hero record---from Wisconsin-- republican

  • rose to fame- February 1950 speech- accused secretary of state Dean Acheson of knowingly employed 205 comm members

    • l8r said only actually 57-- never gave real names

    • important: gained him national visibility & helped republican party

  • flourished in Cold War atmosphere

    • most ruthless red hunter

    • named officials, writers, and actors as communists or communist sympathizers-- ruining their careers

  • Eisenhower- personally disliked him but allowed McCarthy to control personnel policy @ State Department

    • damaging to morale and effectiveness of the foreign service (McCarthyite Purges)

  • went too far-- attacked US army-- Spring of 1954--35 days of public tv hearings

    • later in year senate named him not a member anymore

Desegregation in the South

  • Jim Crow Laws still in effect in South which still incredibly suppressed the blacks

  • Eisenhower was NOT very active at all in desegregation except in case of direct challenge to federal authority



Little Rock Crisis

  • September 1957

  • Orval Faubus- govt of Arkansas- mobilized national guard to prevent 9 blacks students from enrolling in Little Rock’s Central High School

  • Eisenhower had to send troops to escort the children to classes bc his federal authority was directly challenged



Brown v. Board of Education

  • under chief justice Earl Warren (judicial branch)

  • unanimous decision- segregation in public schools unequal therefore unconstitutional

  • May 1954

  • reversed decision of Plessy v Ferguson (1896) - separate but equal facilities

  • Desegregation must occur now as fast as possible

    • Border states made genuine attempts to do so

    • South- not really- ‘massive resistance’

      • 100s of south congressman and senators signed Declaration of Constitutional Principles- 1956-- unyielding resistance to desegregation


Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • brought on by Rosa Parks

    • December 1955

    • Montgomery, Alabama

    • sat in ‘whites only” section on bus & refused to give it up

    • arrested for violating city’s Jim Crow Laws

      • this sparked a yearlong black boycott of city buses & served notice throughout south that blacks would no longer submit meekly to segregation

  • brought Martin Luther King Jr. into view

  • passionate devotion to justice, fabulous orator, and non violence principles

  • helped lead black revolution in south and nation



Civil Rights Act of 1957

  • 1957

  • set up Civil Rights Commission

    • to investigate violations of civil rights

    • authorize federal injunction to protect voting rights

  • passed by Congress

Eisenhower’s Republicanism Policies

  • “dynamic conservatism”-

    • pledging “in all those things which deal w/ people, be liberal, be human”

    • when it comes to “people’s money, or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative”

  • Middle of the Road

  • Things

    • *overall goal: balance federal budget & guard republic from ‘creeping socialism’

    • wanted to mostly reverse new deal & fair deal policies- but realized it was part of the fabric of American Society

    • Operation Wetback- sent illegal mexican immigrants back to Mexico 1954

    • Native Americans- went to cancel tribal preservation policies of ‘indian new deal’

    • Interstate Highway Act of 1956 –

      • $27 billion plan - build 42 thousand miles of motorways

        • created many construction jobs

    • speeded suburbanization of America

  • Consequences

    • benefitted trucking, automobile, oil & travel industries

    • did not benefit railroads- hurt air quality & increased energy consumption- bad for citylife (downtown life- shopping)

  • only balanced budget 3 times during presidency→ 1959 created largest peacetime deficit thus far in US history

Beginning of the Vietnam War

Dien Bien Phu –

  • early 1950s, nationalist movements had sought to throw French out of Indochina

  • leaders of Indochina countries- Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh, became ^ communist as America became ^ anticommunist

  • May 1954, French garrison trapped in fortress of Dienbienphu in nw Vietnam

    • President Eisenhower decided not to intervene, wary of another war right after Korea

    • Dienbienphu fell to nationalists & conference @ Geneva halted Vietnam @ 17th parallel.

      • pro-Western government in the south, led by Ngo Dinh Diem,

        • entrenched at Saigon as Vietnam-wide elections, which were promised by Ho Chi Minh, elections never held

      • Eisenhower promised economic & military aid to Diem regime of the south

Space Race w/ USSR

  • October 4, 1957- USSR launched Sputnik I (satellite) into space

  • November- USSR launched Sputnik II (carrying a dog)

    • gave USSR superiority of their claim that industrial productivity laid in communism

  • Eisenhower established National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in response (for US development of aerospace)

  • 1958 National Defense and Education Act (NDEA)

    • authorized $887 million in loans to college students & grants for improvement of teaching sciences & languages

    • US did this bc they thought our educational system was lacking in comparison to USSR