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History Ch. 28-32


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Taft-Hartley Act
This 1947 anti-union legislation outlawed the closed shop and secondary boycotts. It also authorized the president to seek injunctions to prevent strikes that posed a threat to national security.
Ronald Reagan continued the deregulation process begun by Jimmy Carter, cutting back on the scope of federal agencies and relying instead on the free market to keep prices of consumer goods and services low and the quality high.
Truman Doctrine
In 1947, President Truman asked Congress for money to aid the Greek and Turkish governments that were then threatened by communist rebels. Arguing for the appropriations, Truman asserted his doctrine that the United States was committed to support free people everywhere who were resisting subjugation by communist attack of subjugation.
President Nixon and Henry Kissinger pursued a policy of detente, a French word meaning a relaxation of tension, with the Soviet Union as a way to lessen the possibility of nuclear war in the 1970s.
war on terror
Initiated by President George W. Bush after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the broadly defined war on terror aimed to weed out terrorist operatives and their supporters throughout the world.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Passed by Congress in 1991, this act banned discrimination against the disabled in employment and mandated easy access to all public and commerical buildings.
Iron Curtain
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill coined this phrase to refer to the boundary in Europe that divided Soivet-dominated eastern and central Europe from western Europe, which was free from Soviet control.
Equal Rights Amendment
In 1972, Congress approved the ERA to the Constitution, a measure designed to guarantee women equal treatment under the law. Despite a three-year extension in the time allowed for ratification, ERA supporters fell three states short of winning adoption.
Fair Deal
A series of reform measures proposed by President Truman in 1949, including federal aid to education, civil rights measures, and national medical insurance. A bipartisan conservative coalition in Congress blocked this effort to move beyond the New Deal reforms of the 1930's.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
In 1954, the Supreme Court reversed the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that established the "separate, but equal" doctrine. The Brown decision found segregation in schools inherently unfair and initiated a long and difficult effort to integrate the nation's public schools.
war on poverty
Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in his 1964 State of the Union address. A new Office of Economic Opportunity oversaw a variety of programs to help the poor, including the Job Corps and Head Start.
Watergate scandal
A break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington was carried out under the direction of White House employees. Disclosure of the White House involvement in the break-in and subsequent cover-up forced President Nixon to resign in 1974 to avoid impeachment.
global warming
A general rise in temperatures, believed by most scientists to be caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels, which expels into the earth's atmosphere excess carbon dioxide and other gases that prevent solar heat from escaping, a phenomenon also known as the "greenhouse effect."
Gulf of Tonkin Revolution
After a North Vietnamese attack on an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, President Johnson persuaded Congress to pass a resolution giving him the authority to use armed force in Vietnam.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
In 1949, the United States, Canada, and ten European nations formed this military mutual-defense pact. In 1955, the Soviet Union countered NATO with the formation of the Warsaw Pact, a military alliance among those nations within its own sphere of influence.
Students for a Democratic Society
Founded in 1962, the SDS was a popular college student organization that protested shortcomings in American life, notably racial injustice and the Vietnam War. It led thousands of campus protests before it split apart at the end of the 1960s.
National Security Council planning paper No. 68 redefined America's national defense policy. Adopted in 1950, it committed the United States to a massive military buildup to meet the challenge posed by the Soviet Union.
Desert Storm
The code name used by the United States and its coalition partners in waging war against Iraq in early 1991 to liberate Kuwait.
flexible response
The Kennedy Administration rejected the Eisenhower strategy of massive retaliation in favor of flexible response, which emphasized the use of conventional as well as nuclear weapons in meeting threats to American society.
First proposed by George Kennan in 1947, containment became the basic strategy of the United States through the Cold War. Kennan argued that the firm American resistance to Soviet expansion would eventually compel Moscow to adopt more peaceful policies.
Iran-Contra affair
Involved officials high in the Reagan administration secretly selling arms to Iran and using the proceeds to finance the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. This illegal transaction usurped the congressional power of the purse.
weapons of mass destruction
Biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons capable of widespread destruction.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
An organization founded by MLK Jr., to direct the crusade against segregation. Its weapon was passive resistance that stressed nonviolence and love, and its tactic direct, though peaceful, confrontation.
Montgomery bus boycott
In late 1955, African Americans led by MLK Jr., boycotted the buses in Montgomery, Alabama, after seamstress Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus. The boycott, which ended when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the protestors, marked the beginning of a new, activist phase of the civil rights movement.
Baruch Plan
In 1946, Bernard Baruch presented an American plan to control and eventually outlaw nuclear weapons. The plan called for United Nations control of nuclear weapons in three stages before the United States gave up its stockpile. Soviet insistence on immediate nuclear disarmament without inspection doomed the Baruch Plan and led to a nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
In 1950, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy began a sensational campaign against communists in government that led to more than four years of charges and countercharges, ending when the Senate censured him in 1954. McCarthyism became the contemporary name for the red scare of the 1950's.
North American Free Trade Agreement
A free-trade plan initiated in the Bush administration and enacted by a narrow vote in Congress in the early months of the Clinton administration. It established a common market without tariff barriers between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
A national policy of acting alone without consulting others.
Contract with America
In the 1994 congressional elections, Congressman Newt Gingrich had Republican candidates sign a document in which they pledged their support for such things as a balanced budget amendment, term limits for members of Congress, and a middle-class tax cut.
The 1965 Medicare Act provided Social Security funding for hospitalization insurance for people over age 65 and a voluntary plan to cover doctor bills paid in part by the federal government.
Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty
Signed by President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev in Washington in late 1987, this agreement provided for the destruction of all intermediate-range nuclear missiles and permitted on-site inspection for the first time during the Cold War.
National Organization for Women
Founded in 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) called for equal employment opportunity and equal pay for women. NOW also championed the legalization of abortion and passage of an equal rights amendment to the Constitution.
Cuban missile crisis
In October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union came close to nuclear war when President Kennedy insisted that Nikita Khrushchev remove the 42 missiles he had secretly deployed in Cuba. The Soviets eventually did so, nuclear war was averted, and the crisisended.
Moral Majority
In 1979, the Reverend Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority to combat "amoral liberals," drug abuse, "coddling" of criminals, homosexuality, communism, and abortion. The Moral Majority represented the rise of political activism among organized religion's radical right wing.
Berlin Wall
In 1961, the Soviet Union built a high barrier to seal off their sector of Berlin in order to stop the flow of refugees out of the Soviet zone of Germany. The wall was torn down in 1989.
Great Society
President Johnson called his version of the Democratic reform program the Great Society. In 1965, Congress passed many Great Society measures, including Medicare, civil rights legislation, and federal aid to education.
Modern Republicanism
President Eisenhower's views. Claiming he was liberal toward people but conservative about spending money, he helped balance the federal budget and lower taxes without destroying existing social programs.
Highway Act of 1956
A significant legislative achievement of Eisenhower's presidency, the Highway Act created the interstate highway system. The system, built over twenty years, provided jobs in construction, shortened travel times, and increased dependence on the automobile while weakening the railroads.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
A cartel of oil-exporting nations. In late 1973, OPEC took advantage of the October War and an oil embargo by its Arab members to quadruple the price of oil. This huge increase had a devastating impact on the American economy.
Roe v. Wade
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled im Roe v. Wade that women had a constitutional right to abortion during the early stages of pregnancy. The decision provoked a vigorous right-to-life movement that opposed abortion.
Marshall Plan
In 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a massive economic aid program to rebuild the war-torn economies of western European nations. The plan was motivated by both humanitarian concern for the conditions of those national economies and fear that economic dislocation would promote Communism in western Europe.
Environmental Protection Agency
Congress created the EPA in 1970 as part of a broader effort to protect the environment and curb the pollution of the nation's air and water.
Strategic Arms Limitations Talks
In 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union culminated four years of SALT by signing a treaty limiting the deployment of antiballistic missiles (ABM) and an agreement to freeze the number of offensive missiles for five years.
Potsdam Conference
The final wartime meeting of the leaders of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union was held at Potsdamn, outside Berlin, in July, 1945. Truman, Churchill, and Stalin discussed the future of Europe but their failure to reach meaningful agreements soon led to the onset of the Cold War.
Bay of Pigs
In April 1961, a group of Cuban exiles organized and supported by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency landed on the southern coast of Cuba in an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro. When the invasion ended in disaster, President Kennedy took full responsibility for the failure.
massive retaliation
The "new look" defense policy of the Eisenhower administration of the 1950's was to threaten "massive retaliation" with nuclear weapons in response to any act of aggression by a potential enemy.
military-industrial complex
In his farewell address in January 1961, President Eisenhower used the phrase "military-industrial complex" to warn about the danger of massive defense spending and the close relationship between the armed forces and the individual corporations that supplied their weapons.
Former liberals who advocated a strong stand against communism abroad and free market capitalism at home became known as neoconservatives. These intellectuals stressed the positive values of American society in contrast to liberals wjo emphasized social ills.
National Defense Education Act
Passed in response to Sputnik, it provided an oppurtunity and stimulus for college education for many Americans. It allocated funds for upgrading funds in the sciences, foreign language, guidance services, and teaching innovation.
In 1948, a group of southern Democrats known as the dixiecrats bolted from their party and supported Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina as the presidential candidate of the States Rights party.
Dien Bien Phu
In 1954, Vietminh rebels besieged a French garrison at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the interior of northern Vietnam. In May, after the United States refused to intervene, Dien Bien Phu fell to the communists.
gay liberation movement
In the 1970s, homosexuals began an effort to win social and legal acceptance and to encourage gays to affirm their sexual identity. Despite some advances, the movement was slowed by the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the insistence of the military on banning openly gay individuals from the armed services.
freedom ride
Bus trips taken by both black and white civil rights advocates in the 1960s. Sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality, freedom rides in the South were designed to test the enforcement of federal regulations that prohibited segregation in interstate public transportation.
Camp David accords
In 1978, President Carter mediated a peace agreement between the leaders of Egypt and Israel at Camp David, a presidential retreat near Washington, D.C. The next year, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty based on the Camp David accords.
This region consists of a broad band of states running across the South from Florida to Texas, extending west and north to include California and the Pacific Northwest. Beginning in the 1970s, this area experienced rapid economic growth and major gains in population.
In 1947, William Levitt used mass production techniques to build inexpensive homes in surburban New York to help relieve the postwar housing shortage. Levittown became a symbol of the movement to the suburbs in the years after WWII.
baby boom
Post-WWII Americans idealized the American family. The booming birth rate after the war led children born to this generation to be commonly referred to as "baby boomers."
Acquired immune-deficiency syndrome, a disease of the immune system transfused by blood, especially by sexual contact or contaminated needles. AIDS reached epidemic proportions in the United States in the 1980s before it was gradually contained in the 1990s.
Iranian hostage crisis
In 1979, Iranian fundamentalists seized the American embassy in Tehran and held fifty-three American diplomats hostage for over a year. The Iranian hostage crisis weaked the Carter presidency; the hostages were finally released on January 20, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan became president.
New Frontier
The campaign program advocated by JFK in the 1960 election. He promised to revitalize the stagnant economy and enact reform legislation in education, health care, and civil rights.
National Security Act
Passed in 1947 in response to perceived threats from the Soviet Union after WWII. It established the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council.
March on Washington
In August 1963, civil rights leaders organized a massive rally in Washington to urge passage of President Kennedy's civil rights bill. The high point came when MLK Jr., gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to more than 200,000 marchers in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
In October 1957, the Soviet Union surprised the world by launching Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth. The resulting outcry in the United States, especially fears that the Soviets were ahead in both space exploration and military missiles, forced the Eisenhower administration to increase defense spending and accelerate America's space program.
undocumented aliens
Once derisively called "wetbacks," undocumented aliens are illegal immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America.
Strategic Defense Initiative
Popularly known as "Star Wars," President Reagan's SDI proposed the construction of an elaborate computer-controlled, anti-missile defense system capable of destroying enemy missiles in outer spaced. Critics claimed that SDI could never be perfected.
Tet Offensive
In February 1968, the Viet Cong launced a major offensive in the cities of South Vietnam. Although caught by surprise, American and South Vietnam forces successfully quashedthis attack, yet the Tet Offensive was a blow to American public opinion and led President Johnson to end the escalation of the war and seek a negotiated peace.
Berlin airlift
In 1948, in response to a Soviet land blockade of Berlin, the United States carried out a more massive effort to supply the two million Berlin citizens with food, fuel, and other goods by air for more than six months. The airlift forced the Soviets to end the blockade in 1949.
supply-side economics
Advocates of supply-side economics claimed that tax cuts would stimulate the economy by giving individuals a greater incentive to earn more money, which would lead to greater investment and eventually larger tax revenues at a lower rate. Critics replied that supply-side economics would only burden the economy with larger government deficits.
House Un-American Activities Committee
This congressional committee played a prominent role in attempting to uncover and punish those suspected of aiding the communist cause in the early years of the Civil War.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Effectively banned literacy tests for voting rights and provided for federal registrars to assure the franchise to minority voters. Within a few years, a majority of African Americans had become registered voters in the southern states.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
A radical group advocating black power. SNCC's leaders, scornful of integration and and interracial cooperation, broke with MLK Jr., to advocate greater militancy and acts of violence.
affirmative action
The use of laws or regulations to achieve racial, ethnic, gender or other diversity, as in hiring or school admissions. Such efforts are often aimed at improving employment or educational opportunities for women and minorities.

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