The Eisenhower Era

By Joseph An

The Election of Eisenhower

Election of 1952:

  • Democrat Adlai Stevenson vs. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Eisenhower's running mate was Richard Nixon
  • Nixon gives the Checkers Speech on television to cast down suspicion of him receiving secret funds for his personal expenses. This speech demonstrated the power and impact of television
  • Eisenhower promised to settle the Korean War
  • Won 442 to 89 in electoral votes and won popular votes since he was a war hero

Election of 1956:

  • Stevenson vs Eisenhower again
  • Eisenhower wins 457 to 73 in electoral votes
  • Regardless of both houses of Congress siding with the democrats, Eisenhower still won

The Cold War

The Cold War created a period of mistrust between the U.S and USSR. Both sides did not respect each other's form of government, use of nuclear arms, and foreign affairs. To combat against this, the USSR intended to expand communism and their research on space while America attempted to prevent communism and competing with USSR in space.

U-2 Incident-

  • American spy-plane was shot down near Soviet Union
  • Symbolized mistrust between the Soviet and US

Fidel Castro-

  • Cuban leader Castro overthrows and nationalizes Cuba in 1959
  • He turned to communist ideals and sided with the Soviet Union
  • Soviet leader Khrushchev threatened to launch nuclear missiles at the US if they intervene into Cuba

Joseph McCarthy

  • Senator Joseph McCarthy was continuously paranoid of communists in America and kept accusing people without evidence or rationality
  • Claimed George Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson of being communist
  • Eventually condemned by the Senate after accusing the U.S Army
  • Eisenhower showed little attention to McCarthy, saying "I will not get in the gutter with that guy"

Desegregation in the South

  • In the Little Rock Central High School Crisis, Eisenhower calls in federal troops to force an Arkansas high to allow black students to be admitted
  • The Brown vs Board of Education case argued that segregated schools are unconstitutional and should be integrated, which countered the Plessy vs. Ferguson case
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott represented non-violence protest against racial segregation in which Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat to white men on a bus
  • Civil Rights Act of 1957- relatively ineffective but gave power to the federal judiciaries and authority to judge discriminatory acts


Eisenhower was known to be favorable to both the democrats and the republicans since he showed respect for both sides.

  • To save money, Eisenhower cut back on military spending and government companies such as the TVA
  • The government increased the demand for grain by 2 million dollars a day to stop crop inflation
  • To keep the bracero farmworker program stabile, a million mexican immigrants were returned back to Mexico
  • Ike wanted Native Americans to be reassimilated into American culture rather than having live independently
  • Eisenhower kept social security and signed the Interstate Highway Act, which built 42,000 miles of road. These highways would create new jobs and facilitate trade/transportation

The Vietnam War

  • The French gave up on Vietnam at Dienbienphu, where they were surrounded by Ho Chi Minh's army
  • A conference at Geneva resulted, which divided Vietnam in half at the 17th parallel with the north being communist and the south non-communist
  • Eisenhower promises to economically and militarily aid southern Vietnam under the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

The Space Race

  • After hearing the USSR had placed the first satellite Sputnik I into space, Americans became paranoid and feared that USSR could use this technology to launch nuclear rockets
  • The additional production of Sputnik II inspired Americans to start more research into space technology
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created to start projects on space satellites and ICBMs
  • The National Defense and Education Act was implemented to fund college loans for math and science courses