Dwight D. Eisenhower

Maggie Hohfeler

Election of 1952

  • Democratic nomination- Adlai E. Stevenson
  • Republican nomination- Dwight D. Eisenhower; VP- Richard Nixon
  • Nixon was accused of tapping government funds, Eisenhower seriously thought about taking him off of ballot
  • Nixon kept on ballot after delivering Checkers Speech- a pity-full speech named after his dog, Checkers

Election of 1956

  • Democratic nomination- Adlai E. Stevenson again
  • Democrats hard pressed to find an issue to attack Eisenhower with, and voters liking the prosperity they had

Cold War

  • Nuclear weapons so highly intensified the tension that both countries agreed to stop the production of nuclear weapons
  • July 1958- Lebanon approached US for aid under the Eisenhower Doctrine- said that we would help countries militarily and economically prevent Communism from taking them over. We helped without ending a single life.
  • Khrushchev approached UN with a complete disarmament program, met with President Eisenhower at Camp David
  • It seemed like a peaceful resolution could happen- the "spirit of Camp David"
  • When an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over Russia, no more peaceful resolution

Joseph McCarthy

  • Joseph McCarthy accused many government officials of being Communists'
  • Was a Republican senator
  • Got the public wrapped up in his hunts- McCarthyism
  • Made a big mistake- attacking the military
  • The Army attacked back with televised trials- the public saw the lack of evidence McCarthy had and soon disbanded from following him

Desegregation of the South

  • Black life governed by Jim Crow laws- separate social arrangements that kept them separate, economically inferior and politically powerless against the whites
  • Sweatt v. Painter (1950)- Supreme Court ruled that separate professional schools for blacks did not meet the equality test
  • Rosa Parks- refused to give up a white seat on a bus in Montgomery. Her refusal sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott- a yearlong black boycott of city busses and showed blacks would no longer submit to segregation
  • Dr. Martin Luther King- pastor, great orator, passion for justice made him the leader of the black revolution. Created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference- a joined effort of black churches on behalf of black rights.
  • Little Rock Crisis- the governor of Arkansas Oral Faubus mobilized the National Guard to prevent 9 black students from enrolling in Central High School. Eisenhower sent troops to escort the children to class.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)- Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. This reversed the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
  • Civil Rights Act of 1957- set up a permanent Civil Rights Commission to investigate violations of civil rights and authorized injunctions to protect blacks' voting rights


  • Operation Wetback- Eisenhower rounded up millions of illegal Mexican immigrants after the Mexican government worried that they were taking the jobs that the braceros were coming over legally for
  • "Indian New Deal"- Eisenhower wanted to terminate the tribes as legal entities and wanted to assimilate like in the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887. After most tribes refused, the plan was dropped.
  • Interstate Highway Act- 1956, created tons of jobs and sped the suburbanization of America with many miles of highways being built

Vietnam War

  • Early 1950's- nationalist movement trying to get rid of French in Indochina, including Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh who became increasingly Communist
  • May 1954- French fort at Dienbienphu was trapped. Eisenhower did not intervene, scared of another war directly following the Korean War
  • Dienbienphu fell to Nationalists- leaving the pro-Western government South of the 17th parallel, led by Ngo Dinh Diem
  • US promised aid to Diem regime

Space Race

  • October 4, 1957- Soviets launch Sputnik I- a satellite
  • A month later, they launch Sputnik II
  • Concerns: if Soviets could launch a satellite, they could attack us with missiles; is our education sufficient?
  • Eisenhower started NASA- focused on creating missiles and satellites
  • National Defense and Education Act- authorized loans to needy college students for the improvement of teaching sciences and languages