430: Unit 2

History 430: United States, 1945-Present, Spring 2021

Part II: Welcome to Nixonland: In which the New Deal Coalition slips away from the Democratic Party.

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3

11. Research Project Begins.  Phase I: Topic, Preliminary BibliographyRead over the research paper guidelines. The next three class meetings will be dedicated to Phase I of the research project. You can find research paper guidelines under the assignments tab on the syllabus, or at THIS LINK. Please enter your topic on the Google doc. You can find the link to the Google doc on Canvas. 

12. Research, Phase I continues.

13. Research, Phase II continues. Preliminary bibliography is due.

14. The movement looks North: King and Black Power, 1966

READ in Yawp, 331-335 (to ..."civil rights"); Docs: Black Power Speech, 36, and Bayard Rustin, “The Failure of Black separatism,” 42; & in Perlstein:

Were King’s strategies likely to work in the North? What is different about Black Power? What impact did Black power have on the "Black Freedom Struggle"? American politics?

If necessary, you may REVIEW: Yawp, 331-335 (to "civil rights.")

15. Culture war, 1968-1969

READ Yawp, 351-353 (stop at last paragraph break) & in Perlstein:

& WATCH Oakie from Muskogee (released October 29, 1969):

What are the battle lines in the culture war?

16. The Politics of feminism

READ Yawp, 361-366, & Perlstein:

& Docs, “Betty Friedan Friedan Has Second thoughts,” 46-49 (stop at "child? ...")

Perlstein writes on p. 693 (bottom): "Here was another development to warm the cockles of Richard Nixon's heart: wedge issues within the New Politics coalition itself." How did the movement for women's rights become a wedge issue within the New Politics coalition? What do you suppose it did to the Old Politics Dems?

17. Nixon's Vietnam policy explodes in Ohio

READ Yawp, 344-347 & in Perlstein:

& Docs, "Revolt of the White Lower Middle Class," 52-54, 56 (first full paragraph only) (warning, contains objectionable language)

How did the Vietnam war polarize Americans?  Whose behavior was more deplorable?  Were the "tin soldiers" of the Ohio National Guard justified in opening fire? Assess the tactics of anti-war protesters in at Kent State and the strategy of "heightening the contradictions."  What is motivating the hard hat rioters? Most middle class college students avoided service in Vietnam, while the sons of the working class made up the bulk of those who served.  Why is that that the former burned the flag and the latter waved it?  What does Nixon take away from the Hard Hat riot?

18. Two elections

READ Yawp, 356-361 & in Perlstein:

& Docs: Nixon statement on busing

& WATCH Democrats for Nixon ad below (fact check ad: Perstein the ¶ starting: “Like the ‘dear…’” on 734)

Last time Jerome Rosow (Perlstein, 498) pointed Nixon toward the cultural half of the story of working class discontent in 1969. What does today's Yawp reading add to our understanding of the other half? Nixon's cultural message didn't seem to work so well in the midterm elections of 1970.  How did Democrats gain the advantage that year? What lessons did Nixon learn from that election? How did George McGovern get the Democratic Nominaton? Was Nixon's busing statement a racist "dog whistle"?

Note, according to a UPI reporter standing directly in front of Muskee at the Union Leader building, he did not shed any tears.  The further you were away from Muskee, the more likely you were to report that you saw tears, he said. 

19. Watergate

READ Yawp, 353 (bottom)-356 & Perlstein:

Which was more consequential, detente or Watergate? Was Nixon unusually corrupt, or just a typical politician who got caught? Asses the press's handling of Watergate.  What stands out more, the heroism of Woodward and Bernstein or the shortcomings of the rest of the media?

Nov. 17, 1973: With echoes of the Checkers' speech, Nixon answers questions about corruption in his administration during the heat of the Watergate scandal:

20. Paper #2 duePlease turn your paper in 10 minutes before the end of the class period in the classroom. I have a few things to tell you about Phase 2 of the research project.

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3