Dwight E. Eisenhower

34th President of the United States

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Election of 1952

  • Republican Dwight E. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon against Democratic Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman
  • Eisenhower chooses Nixon to appease the anti-communists
  • Nixon gets involved in Watergate scandal, which involved him tapping into government funds for his own benefits
  • Nixon apologized in his Checkers Speech, allowing him to stay on the ballot: significant as this was televised across the country
  • Eisenhower wins by a landslide

Democrat Electoral - 89 Popular - 27,375,090

Republican Electoral - 442 Popular - 34,075,529

Election of 1956

  • Ran against Adlai Stevenson again but with vice president nominee Estes Kefauver
  • Eisenhower had health issues during the election
  • Wins once again by a majority vote
  • People were assured 'Ike' could lead them to a victorious fight against communism

Democrat Electoral - 73 Popular 26,028,028

Republican Electoral - 457 Popular 35,579,180

Cold War

- major buildup and race between the major superpowers, US and USSR, militarily and economically to spread democracy or communism around the world. It was a 'cold' war as no actual battles took place, but the threat of nuclear war was always on the horizon.

  • Geneva Summit Conference - Eisenhower discusses peace talks with the USSR
  • Lebanon asks for help from US to fight communism in 1958
  • Both agree to suspend nuclear testing in 1958
  • US U2 plane shot down in 1960
  • Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy started going on an accusing spree deciding who was communist: most of these accusations were false and he had no evidence
  • McCarthy's reign fell when he attacked the Army in 1954, losing his position as Senator

Desegregation in the South

  • Segregation had been in place for 2 generations
  • 1955 Rosa Parks doesn't give up her seat in the bus for a white man
  • Sweatt vs. Painter decided black schools were not equal
  • Brown vs. Board reversed Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling segregation in schools unconstitutional
  • Congressmen in the Deep South opposed desegregation, and signed the Declaration of Constitutional Principles in 1956
  • Little Rock High School Crisis - 9 African Americans were enrolled in Little Rock High School, blocked by Orval Faubus, the Governmor of Arkansas
  • Eisenhower himself intervened and sent federal troops to aid in escorting the 9 students
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Forms the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose goal was to achieve civil rights with nonviolence

Eisenhower's Republicanism

  • Dynamic Conservatism
  • Cut military spending
  • Liberal with human resources, but conservative with economic resources
  • Operation Wetback - deported 1 million illegal Mexican immigrants back because he feared that it might affect the US Bracero program
  • Wanted to avoid "creeping socialism"
  • cut back "Indian New Deal", unsuccessful as Indians didn't want to
  • Interstate Highway Act: ironically went against his conservatism, used more money than Truman to achieve this

Vietnam War

  • Ho Chi Minh shifts toward leftist values
  • US aided France financially in their resistance against the Viet Cong
  • French were trapped at Dien Bien Phu
  • South Vietnam led by Ngo Dnh Diem is pro-western and democratic

Space Race

  • October 4, 1957 USSR launches Sputnik into orbit, first satellite in space
  • Also sends first animal, dog, to space 'Mutnik'
  • Eisenhower creates NASA to compete with USSR
  • 1958, US sends satellite into orbit, but still behind USSR
  • US in a scramble to one-up USSR