By Paulina Gonzalez


Presidential election of 1968
  • Johnson was out, V.P. Hubert H. Humphrey seemed the next logical choice.
  • McCarthy, Kennedy, and Humphrey were potential Democrats.
    • Robert Kennedy was likely to become the Democratic nominee, but was shot and killed.
    • Humphrey would be nominated.
  • Richard Nixon ran Republican.
  • was a "hawk" and spoke of getting law-and-order in the cities at home.
  • George C. Wallace, ran for the American Independent party.
  • He ran almost exclusively on a pro-segregation
  • Nixon would won the election, 301 to Humphrey's 191.
  • Wallace got 46 southern electoral votes.

The presidential election of 1972
  • The Democrats nominated George McGovern who promised to end the war in 90 days.
    • supported by young adults and women.
    • campaign was hurt when it became known that his V.P. candidate, Thomas Eagleton, received psychiatric treatment.
  • 12 days before the election, Henry Kissinger announced that "peace is at hand" and an agreement would be announced in a few days.
  • Nixon won in a huge way, 520 to 17.

Vietnam War under Nixon… Vietnamization, Cambodia, War Powers Act

  • Nixon promised an honorable end to the war.
  • pursued "Vietnamization", the returning U.S. troops and turning the war over to the Vietnamese.
  • became the "Nixon Doctrine" said the U.S. would honor its commitments, but the Vietnamese would have to go it without American troop numbers.
    • Nixon appealed to the “silent majority”, those who supported the war, but without the sound and fury of the protesters.
    • early in the war the fighting was done disproportionately by the poorer classes.
      • college students got a deferment from the draft.
      • African-Americans had higher casualties than whites.
      • Most Vietnam ground soldiers were just out of high school the average age was 19.
  • Morale was low. High casualties and no clear mission made many go to drugs, mutiny, sabotage, and killings of troop's own officers
  • High frustration was seen in My Lai Massacre
  1. At that village, U.S. troops killed the entire village, including women and children.
  2. increased protest at home and helped lead to charges of "baby killers"
  3. unfair charge for nearly all of the troops.

  • Cambodia
    • North Vietnamese used Cambodia to plan for attacks.
    • land was out-of-bounds for U.S. troops
    • North channeled supplies through Cambodia down the "Ho Chi Minh Trail."
  • In 1970, Nixon ordered the U.S. to invade Cambodia
    • University students, protested to moving into Cambodia.
  • A protest at Kent State University got out of hand
  • The National Guard was called in to disperse the protestors.
  • the Guard opened fire and killed four protesters.
    • Happened in Jackson State College killing two.
    • Nixon pulled out of Cambodia after two months.
    • U.S. troops resented Nixon's reversal
    • Congress was regretting Tonkin Gulf Resolution.
    • Senate repealed the Resolution
    • The Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971) was passed.
    • lowered the voting age to 18.
    • reasoning was that 18 and 19 year olds should be allowed to vote for the politicians sending them off to war.
    • The New York Times published "Pentagon Papers"
    • a top secret study that showed mess ups by JFK and LBJ.
    • The Pentagon Papers helped the "credibility gap" which was the gap between what the government said "the war is going great" and the reality it wasn't.

Policy of “détente”

  • China and the Soviet Union fought over what it means to be a communist.
  • Nixon stepped in to try and play one against the other.
  • Henry A. Kissinger secretly meet in Paris with North Vietnamese officials hoping end the war.
  1. also preparing the way for Nixon to visit China and Russia.
  • Nixon went to China, in 1972.
  • symbolic visit where each side promised to get along better.
  • Three months later, Nixon went to Russia.
  • With better U.S.-China relations, he though Russia would want to reconcile as well and he was right.
    • The U.S.S.R. was low on food.
    • A deal was made where the U.S. would sell $750+ million of grain to the Soviets.
    • disarmament was made as well.
    • America and the Soviets agreed to an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) reduction and to a string of "Strategic Arms Limitations Talks" (SALT).
      • The quantity may have been limited, but agreements were ignored on both sides
      • "MIRVs" (multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles) were several nuclear weapons were mounted on a single missile and were the new thing.
  • Still, getting along better with China and Russia brought on another round of détente or eased tensions.
  • Nixon was still fighting against communism seen in the government's involvement in Latin American governments possibly going communist.

Watergate, Nixon’s impeachment, and his ultimate resignation

  • During the campaign, five men had been caught breaking into the Democratic party's headquarters in the Watergate building. They were snooping files and planting microphones. It was discovered they were part of CREEP (the Committee to Reelect the President).
    • Nixon said he knew nothing of the business.
    • Nixon's V.P., Agnew, had his own mini-scandal involving past bribes.
    • Agnew resigned and Ford was chosen as the new Vice President.
  • The Senate investigated Watergate.
  • former White House lawyer, John Dean, accused Nixon of a cover-up.
  • It was learned Nixon had tape recordings of all Oval Office conversations, tapes were sought. Nixon refused which looked bad.
    • "Saturday Night Massacre", Nixon fired Watergate investigators and the attorney general, which also looked bad.
    • Some tapes were handed over in 1974 at the Supreme Court's ruling. They revealed Nixon's foul mouth—embarrassing but not impeachable.
    • A month later, impeachment for "obstruction of justice" was going forward so Nixon handed over all of the tapes. Those revealed Nixon had indeed ordered a cover-up—this was an impeachable offense.
  • Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974.
  • Ford was sworn in as the new president.