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 Bibliography. Read 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 Docs: Black Power Speech, 36, and Bayard Rustin, “The Failure of Black separatism,” 42; & in Perlstein:

    • Black Power, 96-99

    • LBJ's political future, 104 ("'Mr. President'" to "in a river.")

    • MLK in Chicago and "moral anarchy" in long, hot 1966, 105-113

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:

    • Sabotage, 349-351

    • Culture war at Woodstock, 401-407

    • Nixon's 1969 speech on Vietnam & the Silent Majority, 433-39

    • A scene from trial of those accused of causing DNC Chicago riots, 449-52; (Now, also read in Docs, John Schultz, Interviews with the Chicago 7 Jurors, 57)

    • Orthogonian rage and piety expands: 597-98

& 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:

    • Nixon had a wife, 475 (just the last full paragraph)

    • Women's lib at the kitchen table and on the movie screen, 519-521 (to “interlaced the others”),

    • Nixon and China, 569-570

    • Dick and Pat in China, 1972, 624-627 (stop at “they are”)

    • Sisters v. Sisters at the 1972 DNC, 694-696;

& 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:

    • Kent State 483-489,

    • Hard Hat riots, 493-495

    • Germ of a revolution, 497-499;

& 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:

    • Nixon's strategic genius fails him in 1970 midterm elections, 536-538

    • Muskie’s weird bad luck on the campaign trail in ’72, 623-624

    • Scenes from the Democratic Primary, 1972, 628 (from "The Polling)-634

    • Old Democratic Politics vs New Democratic Politics, 650-651

    • The youth vote comes through for Nixon, 720-721

& Docs (separate handout): 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:

    • Daniel Ellsberg leaks the Pentagon Papers, Nixon snaps, 578-580 (The Huston plan mentioned here is described in a ¶ on 518)

    • Watergate Break-in, take one, 666-667

    • Break-in #2 and The Coverup, 676-683 (skim 680-682 up to "And there it was.")

    • “Astonishing watershed”: press becomes enemy of the people, 728-731 (top ¶)

    • Cronkite Watergate report scuttled, 738 “Another…” to 739 (break)

    • "Nixon More Believable," facing page 563

    • THE END (of consensus), 745 (from "Politically speaking) to 748.

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 due. Please 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