Dwight D. Eisenhower


First Election: 1952

  • Dwight Eisenhower vs Adlai Stevenson
  • Nixon chosen as vice president in an attempt to collect some republican votes with an anti-communist running mate
  • Nixon was accused of stealing government funds for himself, but when Eisenhower tried to remove him from the ballot he apologized publicly and remained.
  • First election in which television began to play an important role

Second Election: 1956

  • Eisenhower ran against Aldai Stevenson again
  • He chose Nixon to run alongside him for a second time
  • He was getting old, and his health was deteriorating, but Eisenhower still won with a landslide victory

The Cold War

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  • The Cold War was a prolonged competition between the United states and USSR to determine whether communism or democracy was more effective.
  • The two raced to acquire global prestige and more countries under their influence.
  • The war never broke out into actual open conflict, but came very close multiple times.
  • At Geneva Summit, the two sides attempted a peace conference but tensions continued to mount.
  • Both parties agree to halt nuclear testing in 1958
  • Also in 1958, Lebanon asked the US to help it combat communism, showing that other countries preferred to side with the United States.

The Communist Buster

Joseph McCarthy

  • February of 1959
  • Senator Joseph R. McCarthy made a speech accusing Dean Acheson of employing 205 Communist party members
  • Although he had no solid evidence, this gave McCarthy huge public support in the time of the Second Red Scare.
  • After Eisenhower's election, McCarthy became even bolder and struck out against hundreds more of government officials for appearing too Communist.
  • Eventually McCarthy went too far. When he attacked army officials, he was stopped and accused of conduct unbecoming of a member of the Senate.

Desegregation in the South

Rosa Parks

Refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. This led to buses becoming a popular boycott for blacks for about a year after the original incident in 1955.

Court Cases

  • Sweatt vs. Painter - ruled that black schools of the time could not be considered equal
  • Brown vs Board of Education - ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional, officially repealing the decision made in Plessy vs Ferguson.
Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, actually mobilized the national guard in 1957 to keep black students from enrolling in a white school at Little Rock.

Eisenhower then retaliated with federal troops to send them back to their classes.

Also in 1957, the first Civil Rights act is passed since the Reconstruction era.

Eisenhower's Policies

  • Dynamic conservatism
  • Conserve economic resources but spend human resources freely
  • Avoid the encroachment of Socialism
  • Cut military spending
  • Reduced federal government
  • Encouraged the private sector
  • "Operation wetback" - the return of around 1 million illegal immigrants to their homelands
  • Staying true to the Dawes Act of 1887
  • Construction of an Interstate Highway with the Interstate Highway Act
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Vietnam War

  • As Ho Chi Minh descended into Communism, the US contributed $1 Billion annually to the French to help maintain the fight for democracy in Southeast Asia. However, it was not enough, and the French could not secure a victory.
  • The French eventually became trapped at Dienbienphu.
  • Vietnam split between Southern Vietnam (supported by the US) and Northern (Communist opponents), with the dividing line set at the 17th parallel at the Geneva conference.
  • Our allies in Southern Vietnam were led by Ngo Dinh Diem

The Race to Space

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  • USSR technically wins with the launch of Sputnik on October 4th, 1957, followed by Sputnik II shortly afterwards.
  • This showed to Americans that Communism was actually an effective form of government for industrial efficiency, and this was a drastic hit to America's democratic pride.
  • In the race, president Eisenhower created NASA for the creation, testing, and launching of all US spacecraft.
  • 1958 - US begins testing orbital satellites and intercontinental missiles.
  • Education beginning to focus on natural sciences rather than arts.