Dwight D. Eisenhower

34th President of the United States, from 1953-1961

Election of 1952

  • Ran against Democrat Adlai Stevenson
  • Chose Nixon as his running mate to satisfy anti-Communist Republican wing
  • Nixon accused of tapping government funds during campaign, almost removed from ballot
  • Nixon stays on the ballot by publicly apologizing in his televised Checkers Speech.
  • Black and white television changed the campaigning process during this election
  • Eisenhower wins by a large majority

Election of 1956

  • Ran again against Democrat Adlai Stevenson
  • Eisenhower's Health issues were a concern but he ultimately won a landslide victory

Cold War

  • Long competition between the US and the USSR effectively over whose ideology was better, communism or democracy
  • Race to convert other countries to either ideology
  • Race to achieve more power or prestige
  • No open conflict between the two, but it came close a few times
  • Geneva Summit Conference, Eisenhower tries to make peace with new soviet dictator
  • The space Race, but more on that later
  • US and USSR suspend nuclear testing in 1958
  • Lebanon asks for US support to combat communism in 1958
  • US U-2 Spy plane shot down over Russia in 1960

Joseph McCarthy

  • February 1950, Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy made a speech accusing secretary of State Dean Acheson of knowingly employing 205 communist party members
  • while this proved to be false, it gained McCarthy public support
  • With the republican victory in the election McCarthy got even bolder with his communist accusations
  • in 1954, he went too far and attacked the US Army. A few months later he was condemned by the senate for his conduct.

Desegregation in the South

  • Sweatt vs. Painter ruled that black schools were not equal
  • in 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, sparking a year-long black boycott of buses
  • Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas ruled that segregation is schools was unequal and unconstitutional, reversing the decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson
  • more than 100 senators and Congressmen in the deep south signed the declaration of constitutional principles in 1956, opposing desegregation
  • in 1957, Orval Faubus, Governor of Arkansas, mobilized the national guard from to keep blacks from enrolling in Little Rock's Central High School
  • Eisenhower sent federal troops to escort these blacks to their classes
  • 1957, congress passes first civil rights act since reconstruction which set up a permanent civil rights committee
  • Martin Luther King Jr. formed the SCLC in 1957

Eisenhower's Republicanism Policies

  • Dynamic Conservatism
  • liberality with human resources, but conservation of economic resources
  • desire to avoid "Creeping Socialism"
  • decrease military spending significantly
  • shrink the federal government
  • encourage the private sector to compete with the public institutions of the new deal
  • Operation Wetback deported about a million Mexican immigrants
  • cut back the "Indian New Deal" wanting to return to the Dawes Act of 1887
  • Interstate Highway Act

Beginning of the Veitnam War

  • Ho Chi Minh became communist
  • US was giving the French money to help the fight in Southeast Asia
  • French Forces still could not defeat Minh's guerrilla forces
  • French trapped at Dienbienphu
  • Geneva conference established the 17th parallel as the border
  • Southern Vietnam (Pro-Western) led by Ngo Dinh Diem
  • Eisenhower supports the south as long as they undergo the slow process of social reform

Space Race

  • USSR launches Sputnik into orbit Oct 4, 1957
  • Sputnik II follows a month later
  • This hurt America's pride because it showed that communism created more industrial efficiency
  • NASA created by Eisenhower
  • Vanguard explodes just after takeoff which was televised
  • US sends small satellite into orbit and begins testing intercontinental missiles in 1958
  • Education began focusing on science over art