Domestic policy refers to things that happen here in the United States and do not involve other countries.
Presidents in the 20th century established a variety of domestic policies.
1.5 Dwight D. Eisenhower - 1953-1961
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight Eisenhower was president from 1953 to 1961.
Social Security - Eisenhower expanded the Social Security System in the United States.
Federal-Aid Highway Act - Eisenhower supported the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. This act created the Interstate Highway System using gasoline tax money.
Civil Rights - Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 to escort the Little Rock Nine to class thus showing his support for civil rights.
1.6 John F. Kennedy – 1961-1963
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was president from 1961 to 1963.
New Frontier - Kennedy called his domestic policy program the New Frontier.
Kennedy’s plans for this program included money from the federal government for education, medical care for the elderly, and help for rural areas.
Civil Rights - Kennedy also wanted to end racial discrimination.
Assassination - Before many of Kennedy’s policies could become law, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963
1.7 Lyndon B. Johnson – 1963-1969
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Johnson was president from 1963 to 1969. (He was Kennedy’s vice president and became president when Kennedy died.)
Great Society - Johnson called his domestic policy program the Great Society.
It included many of Kennedy’s goals such as money for education and medical care for the elderly called Medicare.
It also included medical care for the poor called Medicaid, a “war on poverty,” improvement of urban areas, and crime prevention.
Under President Johnson’s Great Society plan, many of President Kennedy’s ideas finally became law.
1.8 Richard M. Nixon – 1969-1974
Richard M. Nixon
Richard Nixon was president from 1969 to 1974.
Foreign Policy - Nixon was more concerned about foreign policy or the United States’ relationships with other nations, but he did push for a domestic program known as New Federalism.
New Federalism - New Federalism gave more power to the state governments instead of the federal government. (Remember that the first two political parties debated about this - the Democratic-Republicans wanted stronger state governments while the Federalists wanted a stronger federal government.)
Resignation - Nixon was the only president to ever resign from office. He resigned in 1974 due to the Watergate scandal which involved a break in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters
1.9 Gerald R. Ford – 1974-1977
Gerald R. Ford
Gerald Ford was president from 1974 to 1977.
Whip Inflation Now - Ford was very concerned about the economy. He created the Whip Inflation Now (WIN) program. This program asked Americans to reduce their spending.
Equal Rights Amendment - Ford also supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
1.10 James E. “Jimmy” Carter – 1977-1981
James E. “Jimmy” Carter
Jimmy Carter was president from 1977 to 1981.
Energy Crisis - While president, Carter had to deal with economic problems and the energy crisis. The energy crisis involved gas shortages and high gas prices.
Airline Deregulation Act - President Carter pushed for the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 which got rid of government control of airline fares.
1.11 Ronald W. Reagan – 1981-1989
Ronald W. Reagan
Ronald Reagan was president from 1981 to 1989.
Reganomics (Just like Carter and Ford, Reagan also was worried about the economy.)
Reagan’s plan to fix the economy became known as Reaganomics.
It decreased inflation (an increase in prices and decrease in the value of money).
It also decreased the number of people who were unemployed.
War on Drugs - Reagan also declared a War on Drugs and pushed for drug-free schools, treatment for drug addiction, and public awareness of drugs.
Deficit - While Ronald Reagan had helped to decrease inflation and increase employment, there was a government deficit at the end of his time in office. A deficit is when the government spends more money than it is making.
1.12 George H.W. Bush – 1989-1993
George H.W. Bush
George H. W. Bush was president from 1989 to 1993.
Deficit - One of the first things Bush had to do was deal with the deficit problem.
Space Program - Bush also worked to expand the space program.
Americans with Disabilities Act - Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 into law which prohibits discrimination based on disability.
1.13 William J. “Bill” Clinton – 1993-2001
William J. “Bill” Clinton
Bill Clinton was president from 1993 to 2001.
Reform - Two things that Clinton pushed for were welfare reform and healthcare reform.
Deficit to Surplus (He also worked to correct the deficit problem that began during Reagan’s time in office.)
During the time Clinton was in office, the United States went from having a deficit to a surplus.
A surplus is when the government has more money that it needs.
Congress impeached Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury or lying under oath. (To impeach means to bring formal charges against a president who is in office. He was only the second President to ever be impeached. Andrew Johnson was the first). After a President is impeached, there is a trial in the Senate and if 2/3 of the Senate find the person guilty, they can be removed from office.
Clinton was not removed.
1.14 George W. Bush – 2001-2009
George W. Bush
George W. Bush was the president from 2001 to 2009. (When he was elected, it was the second time in history that the son of a president became president. The other father-son pair was John Adams and John Quincy Adams.)
No Child Left Behind - Bush pushed for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which aimed to improve student performance in schools and send money to low-income schools.
September 11th Attacks - During his time in office, President Bush also dealt with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. (While this was also a foreign policy issue, it did impact domestic policy since the attacks happened here in the US.)