United States History And Government



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Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier in Major League Baseball.

  • President Truman issues executive order desegregating armed forces.

  • NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People- Focused on higher education, full political participation, and continued support for civil rights. Challenged school segregation.

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka- Required the integration (desegregation) of all public schools in the U.S. Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson ruling of "separate but equal." Says that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Demonstrates that the Supreme Court can change an earlier decision.

  • In 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce a Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools. This showed that the Federal Government would enforce court decisions on integration. Some Supreme Court decisions are not effective unless the President enforces them.

  • Martin Luther King Jr.- Leader of the civil rights movement during the 1960's.

  • Believed that civil disobedience (nonviolent protest) is sometimes necessary to bring about change.

  • Believed that unjust laws must be disobeyed and the consequences accepted peacefully.

  • Was against using violence to express frustration in achieving racial equality.

  • Led the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

  • Wanted to replace racial segregation with an integrated society.

  • Malcolm X- Civil right leader during 1950's and 60's that advocated black separatism.

  • Civil Rights Act 1964- Passed in an effort to correct racial and gender discrimination. Ended the Jim Crow laws.

  • Voting Rights Act 1954- Removed the literacy test as a voting qualification because different standards of literacy had been applied to different groups of voters. Attempted to remove racial barriers within voting.

  • Affirmative Action Programs- Main goal is to promote economic gains for minorities and women.

  • Fair Housing Act & Americans with Disabilities Act- Government efforts to end discrimination against various groups.

  • Chief Justice Earl Warren- Followed a policy of judicial activism and expanded individual rights in criminal cases.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson

  • Major goal was to reform society through expanded government social welfare programs (similar to Progressive Era reforms).

  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)- Similar to Kennedy's Peace Corps because it attempted to improve the quality of people's lives.

  • Medicare- Established by Congress in 1965 to provide health care to the elderly.

  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution- Increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war and provided justification for Johnson's involvement in Vietnam.

  • Vietnam War reduced Johnson's domestic reform programs (Great Society could not accomplish as much because the U.S. was distracted by the Vietnam War).

  • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)- Expansion of rights for persons accused of crimes.

  • Miranda v. Arizona- Expansion of rights for persons accused of crimes. Assured accused persons the right to be informed of certain constitutional rights at the time of their arrest.

  • New Jersey v. T.L.O. / Tinker v. Des Moines School District - Supreme Court ruled that civil liberties can be both protected and limited in schools. A student's right to privacy is limited under certain conditions.


President Richard Nixon-

  • Detente- Policy to ease tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

  • Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) - Part of the presidential policy of detente. Attempt to reduce world tensions.

  • Expanded economic relations with communist nations.

  • Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China in 1972 in order to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Communist China. Attempted to counteract growing Soviet power and influence in Asia.

  • Watergate Scandal- A break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee led to the investigations that resulted in the resignation of President Nixon.

  • A lasting effect of the scandal was that trust in elected officials was undermined (the people developed a distrust in elected politicians).

  • The Watergate investigation demonstrated that separation of powers works effectively because congress (the legislative branch) used its power to put the President (executive branch) on trial.

  • Showed that the laws of the U.S. are superior to the actions of a President.

  • Nixon resigned his presidency because he was facing impeachment by the House of Representatives.

  • Executive privilege was weakened as a result of Watergate.

United States v. Nixon (1974)- Supreme Court case that directly limited the president's power of executive privilege.

President Gerald Ford

  • Different from all previous Presidencies because he was the first President who was not elected to either the Presidency or the Vice-Presidency.

President Jimmy Carter

  • Camp David Accords (19781- Carter succeeded in providing a foundation for a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Significant because they represented the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab nation.

  • Attempted to bring peace to the Middle East.

  • Emphasized moral principles in foreign policy.

  • Urged the development of alternative fuel sources.

President Ronald Reagan

  • Supply-Side Economics- Lowered tax rates on personal and business income.

  • Supported economic changes favoring big business.

  • Trickle Down Economics- believed that economic growth depends on making increased amounts of capital available to business.

  • Used tax cuts to encourage economic growth.

  • Lowered federal income tax rates.

  • New Federalism- Plan to change the relationship between the states and the Federal Government.

  • Fall of the Berlin Wall marks the end of the Cold War.

  • National debt increased greatly during the 1980's because of the Federal Government's growing reliance on deficit spending.

  • Reagan's Federal budget proposals came under criticism because they included very large deficits (the country spent more money than it took in).

  • Involvement in world affairs in the 1980's was based on a concern for advancing the nation's self-interest (looking out for America before any other country).

  • Sought to prevent the extension of European control over Latin America (tried to keep European nations away from Latin America).

President George Bush-Committed U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf War was to assure the flow of Middle East oil to the U.S. and its allies. A direct result of the Persian Gulf War was that the U.S. liberated Kuwait from Iraqi control.

President Bill Clinton 

  • Similar to President Carter because both leaders attempted to bring peace to the Middle East.

  • Similar to President Andrew Johnson because he was impeached but not convicted.

  • Supported NAFTA because it would stimulate economic growth in the U.S.

  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)- Increased commerce and eliminated tariffs. Encouraged countries to participate in the global economy. Reflected the U.S. commitment to globalization.

  • Sent U.S. troops to Haiti and Bosnia during the 1990's to stop conflicts within those nations.

  • Participated in the bombing of Kosovo in 1999 because of human rights violations.
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