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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP U.S. History
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Lecture Comments (3)

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Post by Elizabeth Turro on April 11 at 05:12:21 PM

Hi, Kathleen,

Thanks for the message.  The EPA was created in 1970 and there was also a Clean Air Act of 1970 was signed by Nixon as well.  The Act was one of the first laws passed once the agency was created.

Nixon tapped into the "silent majority" and their desire for a more conservative U.S. after the tumultous 1960s.  Nixon certainly helped pave the way for Reagan, and Reagan followed in Nixon's shoes, to a certain extent.  I actually have a great recommendation for a documentary that covers the backlash against liberal democrat Pat Brown, former governor of CA, who lost to Reagan in 1967.  It's called "California State of Mind:  The Legacy of Pat Brown."

I think that you're right that Watergate coupled with the weaknesses of Carter pushed the country towards more conservative leanings, but also the influence of evangelical Christians on the Republican Party helped move the party to the right.  The Nixon presidency epitomized the "imperial presidency" and the idea that the executive branch had become too powerful.  In addition, Reagan and his followers really embrace the idea that "big government" is a bad thing, so social programs start to get defunded, etc.  Even under the Clinton administration, the Democratic party became more moderate and less liberal.  For instance, Clinton's policy regarding welfare was quite conservative, especially in comparison to previous liberal presidents or prominent Democratic government officials.

I could expand more, but these are some thoughts.

Ms. Turro

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Post by Kathleen Etzel on April 10 at 06:02:07 PM

Dear Ms Turro,

    I just have to say I am still loving the lectures (despite the fact that I have to do them in a shorter period of time now that it's time to get ready for the AP Test ! :-) ), especially now that they are in the 20th century!  I really am enjoying the fact that I can see the continuities between time periods, and I feel I have a better understanding of what America really is because I understand how it got here; thank you for that gift.

    I do have two quick questions.  Firstly, when did Nixon create the EPA?  Was it created with the Clean Air Act of 1970 that you mentioned at (20:30) or later?  

    Secondly, as you point out that the Republican Party has grown much more conservative over the years, do you think that Nixon was a transitory president, as a stepping stone to get to a conservative such as Reagan, or do you think that Watergate coupled with the weaknesses of President Carter pushed the country towards more conservative leanings?  I know I am asking for a bit of speculation, but do you think if Watergate hadn't happened, would Ronald Reagan have had the same type of victory and/or impact on the country?

    I'm just curious to see what you think; its sometimes hard being a homeschool student in a vacuum! ;-)


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Post by Kathleen Etzel on April 10 at 05:47:20 PM

(20:31) The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970!

The Rise and Fall of Richard Nixon and The End of the Vietnam War

  • The “silent majority” of conservatives supported stability and elected Richard Nixon
  • The end of the Vietnam War: Nixon ordered secret large-scale bombings of suspected North Vietnamese & Viet Cong bases in Cambodia yet publicly, Nixon said the U.S. withdrawing from the war
  • Vietnamization was President Nixon’s plan to gradually withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam and turn over the fighting to the South Vietnamese as they were trained and armed to defend themselves.
  • Cold war policy shift: Détente: a reduction in hostility, to relax relations with the Soviets, trying to cool the costly arms race & slow their competition in developing countries & he opened up relations w/China
  • Nixon used the “southern strategy” during the Election of 1972 to gain support of southern voters (asked for delay in integration/forced busing) & was successful in winning majorities in every southern state
  • Nixon wanted to cut the cost of gov & turn to the states, so he supported revenue sharing by giving states more control of where fed funding allocated
  • “Imperial Presidency”—under Nixon, the power of president increased a lot
  • He abused his presidential powers & the gov agencies like the CIA, FBI, IRS, & FCC & eventually was forced to resign because of his involvement with the Watergate Scandal

The Rise and Fall of Richard Nixon and The End of the Vietnam War

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Overview 0:07
  • Richard Nixon 1:32
    • Office of Price Administration in Washington
    • Republican Representative
    • Alger Hiss Case
  • Winding Down the Vietnam War 2:33
    • No-Win Situation
    • Cambodia
    • Withdrawing from the War
  • Vietnam War vets 4:48
  • Violence at Kent State University 6:00
    • Ohio
    • National Guard
    • Images of Kent State
  • Nixon's Trip to China and the Cold War 7:16
    • A Bold Move
    • A Policy of Diplomacy
    • Ping-pong Diplomacy
    • Detente
    • Vietnamization
  • Detente 9:50
  • Henry Kissinger 10:15
    • National Security Advisor
    • Realpolitik
  • Nixon and Brezhnev 10:57
    • Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty
    • Antiballistic Missiles
    • ICBMS or SLBMS
  • The Silent Majority Speaks Out 11:49
    • Brown v. Board of Education
    • Miller v. California
    • Milliken v. Bradley
  • 1972 Election 15:02
    • Disarray
    • George McGovern
    • Southern Strategy
    • George Wallace
  • Nixon and Civil Rights 17:12
    • Dixicrats
    • Warren Burger
    • Harry Blackmun
  • Domestic Policies 18:38
    • Inflation Problems and Economic Problems
    • Revenue Sharing
    • More Control of Where Federal Funding Allocated
  • Regulatory Laws Passed 19:26
    • Clean Air Act
    • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • Water Pollution Control Act
    • Endangered Species Act
  • The Fall of Richard Nixon 21:16
    • Enemies
    • Imperial Presidency
  • Pentagon Papers 23:06
    • National Security
    • Theft, Conspiracy and Espionage
  • Nixon and the Plumbers 25:11
    • A Secret Special Unit
    • Illegal Campaigns
    • The Democratic National Committee Offices
  • Cover-up 26:04
  • The Tapes and the Cover-up 26:23
    • Illegal Deeds
    • Impeachment Hearings
    • First President to Resign
  • War Power Act 27:37
    • Reined in the Powers of President
    • Congressional Approval
  • Example 1 28:45
  • Example 2 29:56
  • Example 3 33:01