Dr. Quintard Taylor, Jr.
Scott and Dorothy Bullitt
Professor of American History
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African American History | African American History in the West (Now available at www.blackpast.org)  

History 101:
Survey of the History of the United States
Manual - Chapter 9
The Rise and Fall Liberalism

Introduction | Chap. 1 | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5 | Chap. 6 | Chap. 7 | Chap. 8 | Chap. 9 | Appendix

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History 101 Pages

Readings for Chapter 9 

Terms for Week 9












































Terms for Week 9   

            Wing Luke           

            Barry Goldwater 

            Student Non‑Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 

            Martin Luther King 

            1964 Civil Rights Act 

            George Wallace 

            League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 

            Free Speech Movement 

            Immigration Act of 1965 

            The Counterculture 

            The Great Society 

            Betty Freidan, The Feminine Mystique 

            National Organization for Women (NOW) 

            Phyllis Schlafly 

            Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) 

            Roe v. Wade, 1972 

            Stonewall Riot 


            Iranian Hostage Crisis 

            Saturday Night Massacre 

            Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) 

            Jerry Falwell/Moral Majority 


            The AIDS Crisis 

            Desert Storm 

            Newt Gingrich/Contract With America 

            Monica Lewinsky 

            The World Trade Organization (WTO)     



In the following vignette local historian and political activist Walt Crowley describes the baby boom generation.

    I first saw Seattle from the windows of the Great Northern's Empire Builder early one November morning in 1961.  Three days out from Chicago, the train delivered my mother and me to King Street Station, where my father waited to take us to our new home.  My eyes filled with tears, but not of joy.

    A long, twisting route had brought me to that moment.  I was born fourteen years earlier in a middle class suburb of Detroit.  No one knew it then, least of all me, but I was one drop in a swelling wave of more than 3.8 million births in 1947.  That year was the leading edge of the "baby boom."  This was not some postwar spurt of pent up passion but the first of a series of demographic tsunamis which would not crest until 1957 or abate until 1964, when annual births finally dropped below 4 million.  In all, 75 million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964.  Nearly 50 million of us hit our teens and early twenties between 1960 and 1972 and were old enough to participate as leaders or followers in shaping the Sixties.

    Huge as the baby boom was in absolute numbers, it loomed even larger in relative terms.  The boom followed upon the fertility bust of the Depression and war years and thus overwhelmed the generation of its parents, teachers, professors, and other social guardians... [Nobody] was prepared for my generation, and society never got ahead of the wave.

     But the magnitude of the baby boom cannot alone explain the unprecedented character of its impact on politics, popular culture, art and social values.  This golden cohort was not merely the largest in history, it was also the richest, healthiest, and best educated, and it was born and reared in the world's most powerful nation flush with confidence, idealism, and not a little arrogance.  The adolescence of the baby boom also coincided with a profound transformation of economic organization from capital industry to mass consumerism, dramatic technological innovation, and also great dread.  We were shaped by both unprecedented affluence and anxiety, the first children raised with televised mass marketing and the prospect of nuclear mass destruction.

    The boom did not erupt from the large families typically raised by farmers and the urban poor to provide a domestic work force and hedge against infant mortality.  Most children of the boom were raised with one or two siblings in "nuclear" families.  I, however, was raised an only child; my experience and understanding of the Sixties are condition by this basic natal fact, and diverge early from the lives of others raised in large families.  Beyond this, my upbringing was not exactly average, which deserves a little explanation.  My father was a scientist, inventor, and militant atheist.  My mother was a feisty British war bride raised in the working class row houses of Hartlepool, Sheffield, and Hull.  Both were independent, energetic, and confident citizens eager to build a new world up from the ruins of World War II. Neither of my parents was active politically, but our house resounded with discussions of current events and solutions to the world's problems.  The coffee table was piled high with magazines--news, science and science fiction--which provided my first reading.

    My parents instilled in me a fierce individualism, a passion for justice, a faith in rationalism, and a historical optimism which refuses to surrender to objective reality... I grew up a "liberal" without ever having to ask why, for a thinking, caring person could be nothing else.

    Conservatives like to argue that we were shaped by a "liberal media."  They have a point, but the wrong one.  There is no doubt that television shaped the political consciousness of my generation.  The content of news broadcasts--footage from far off wars in Korea and the Middle East, the Army-McCarthy hearings, scenes of federal troops guarding Negro children during the integration of Little Rock's Central High School, and interviews with Allen Ginsberg and other beatniks--each in its own way undermined faith in the established order and created an appetite for something new and better.  If breakfast cereals could improve themselves every other week, why couldn't the world?

*  *   *

    If the clay of my personality was still damp at age fourteen, the same could be said of Seattle when I arrived virtually on the city's 110th birthday.  I like to think that we grew up together; certainly we both changed during the next ten years. I was singularly underwhelmed by the city.  Having lived much of my life close to three of the nation's largest cities, I found Seattle puny, provincial, and puritanical.  I would learn only much later about the richness of its past and the titanic struggles for wealth, labor and reform which shaped the city's destiny.  Stories of old strikes and scandals had no place in the classroom, least of all at Jane Addams Junior High School.  Neither, from what I could tell, did education.

    I had left Ridgefield [Connecticut] High School, consistently rated one of the nation's best, to enter what was regarded as one of the worst in an undistinguished system.  It wasn't really a school at all but an asylum for victims of juvenile dementia and hormonal hysteria.  On my first day, I walked into the lunch room to discover a full-scale food fight in progress...  Shocked, I marched directly into the administration office to alert officials to this obvious collapse in social discipline.  The vice principal listened to my appeal for action and then replied, "You're going to be a little troublemaker, aren't you?"

    The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had just visited Seattle, and troublemakers were much in the news at that time... In October 1961, the new Seattle branch of CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] led a "selective buying" campaign to compel the major downtown department stores to hire more black clerks.  The campaign...was later expanded to include "shop-ins" at area grocery stores, in which protesters would fill and then abandon their shopping carts.  Similar tactics clogged up Nordstrom's during "shoe-ins."  Seattle yielded CORE its first employment gains for blacks and adoption of corporate "equal opportunity" policies by Nordstrom and other major retailers...

    Another measure of social progress came in March 1962 when Wing Luke was elected to the Seattle City Council.  He was the first non-white ever elected in the city, and his seat on the Council was the highest elective office yet attained by a Chinese American anywhere in the continental U.S. Luke was no mere token; he became a voice for the "other Seattle" and championed causes such as open housing and minority employment...

Source: Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle, 1995) pp. 3-5, 11-13.



Shortly after the Democratic Party held its Convention in Los Angeles in 1960 where it nominated Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy for President, Ronald Reagan sent the following letter to Vice President Richard Nixon offering his services in the upcoming presidential campaign.  The letter outlines Reagan's belief that the United States is, at heart, a conservative nation and that the GOP should rally many of those non-voting conservatives to political action.

July 15, 1960

Dear Mr. Vice Pres.

I know this is presumptuous of me but I'm passing on some thoughts after viewing the Convention here in L.A.

Somehow the idea persists that someone should put an end to the traditional demonstrations which follow each nomination. True they once had their place when their only purpose was to influence the delegates within the convention hall. Now however TV has opened a window onto convention deliberations and the "demonstration" is revealed as a synthetic time waster which only serves to belittle us in what should be one of our finer moments. One has a feeling that general gratitude would be the reward for any one who would once and for all declare the "demonstration" abandoned.

Starting with the opening speech and continuing through all the speeches until Kennedy's acceptance speech I thought the Democrats could pick up some campaign money by selling the collection of addresses as, "talks suitable for any patriotic occasion with platitudes and generalities guaranteed."

I do not include Kennedy's acceptance speech because beneath the generalities I heard a frightening call to arms. Unfortunately he is a powerful speaker with an appeal to the emotions. He leaves little doubt that his idea of the "challenging new world" is one in which the Federal Govt. will grow bigger & do more and of course spend more. I know there must be some short sighted people in the Republican Party who will advise that the Republicans should try to "out liberal" him. In my opinion this would be fatal.

You were kind enough to write me to comment on the "talk" I had given and which you had read. That is why I'm presuming on your busy day with these thoughts. I have been speaking on the subject in more than thirty eight states to audiences of Democrats & Republicans. Invariably the reaction is a standing ovation--not for me but for the views expressed. I am convinced that America is economically conservative and for that reason I think some one should force the Democrats to publish the "retail price" for this great new wave of "public service" they promise. I don't pose as an infallible pundit but I have a strong feeling that the twenty million non voters in this country just might be conservatives who have cynically concluded the two parties offer no choice between them where fiscal stability is concerned. No Republican no matter how liberal is going to woo a Democratic vote but a Republican bucking the give away trend might re-create some voters who have been staying at home.

One last thought,-- shouldn't some one tag Mr. Kennedy's bold new imaginative program with it's proper age? Under the tousled boyish hair cut it is still old Karl Marx--first launched a century ago. There is nothing new in the idea of a Govt. being Big Brother to us all. Hitler called his "State Socialism" and way before him it was "benevolent monarchy."

I apologize for taking so much of your time but I have such a yearning to hear some one come before us and talk specifics instead of generalities. I'm sure the American people do not want the govt. paid services at "any price" and if we collectively can afford "free this & that" they'd like to know it before they buy and not after it is entrenched behind another immovable govt. bureau.

You will be very much in my prayers in the days ahead.


Ronnie Reagan

Source: Reproduced from the holdings of the National Archives, Pacific Region, Laguna Niguel Office, Laguna Nigel, California.



By 1963 Martin Luther King had emerged as the most important civil rights leader of the era.  However as the campaign to desegregate public accommodations in Birmingham proved far more difficult than King or his followers had anticipated, some white Birmingham clergy openly criticized his efforts as harmful to the harmonious relationship between the races and questioned his commitment to Christianity.  In his letter written while he was under arrest for violating Birmingham's segregationist ordinances, King answers the ministers. 

            I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in."  Several months ago the [SCLC] affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a non‑violent direct‑action program if such were deemed necessary.  We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise...  But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here...  I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.  Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere...  Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea.  Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

            You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham.  But your statement fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations...  It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

            We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.  Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct‑action campaign that was "well‑timed" in the view of those who have not suffered from the disease of segregation.  For years now I have heard the word "wait!"  This "wait" has almost always meant "Never."

            We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God‑ given rights.  The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet like speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse‑and‑buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter.  Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt segregation to say, "Wait."  But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate‑filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters...when you have to concoct an answer for a five‑year‑old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?..."  When your first name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."‑‑then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. 

Source: Leslie H. Fishel and Benjamin Quarles, The Negro American: A Documentary History, (Glenview, Ill., 1967), p. 523. 



The following letters written between June and August, 1964, provide a brief glimpse of the impressions and emotions of the largely white college students who worked in Mississippi during that "Freedom Summer."                                  

June 15

            Us white kids here are in a position we've never been in before.  The direction of the whole program is under Negro leadership--almost entirely.  And a large part of that leadership is young people from the South--Negroes who've had experience just because they're Negroes and because they've been active in the movement.  And here "we" are, for the most part never experiencing any injustice other than "No, I won't let you see your exam paper..."                                                                                                         

Monday night, June 15

            I turned down a chance to work in the southwest part of the state, the most dangerous area.  I talked to a staff member covering that area for about fifteen minutes and he told me about the five Negroes who have been taken into the woods and shot in the last three months...  I told him that I couldn't go in there because I was just too scared.  I felt so bad I was about ready to forget about going to Mississippi at all.  But I still wanted to go; I just didn't feel like giving up my life.  After thinking about this seeming contradiction, I decided that I have not discovered just how dedicated I am to the civil rights cause and that is the purpose of the trip.... 

Dear Mom and Dad,

            A lot of the meetings have been run by a Negro Mennonite minister from Georgia, a member of the National Council of Churches.  (The NCC is paying for this orientation, and has some excellent staff people here.)  His name is Vincent Harding, plump, bespectacled, and brilliant moderator in discussions because he reacts so honestly and humorously to every question.  Yesterday he gave a long talk about people using each other and where to watch out for this within the movement itself (Negro man accuses white girl of being a racist if she won't go to bed with him, or vice versa; or white girl looking for "my summer Negro"; or Negroes in the community using volunteers as the only available victims of their suppressed hostility to whites in general, etc., etc).  These are examples of the kind of honesty that characterizes the whole training session.  His main point was that people within the movement must not use each other because it is that very exploitation of someone else, which turns him from a human being into an object, that the movement is fighting against.                                                                                

                                                                                                                        Love, Susan

 June 27

Dear Mom and Dad,                                                                                                                

            This letter is hard to write because I would like so much to communicate how I feel and I don't know if I can.  It is very hard to answer to your attitude that if I loved you I wouldn't do this--hard, because the thought is cruel.  I can only hope you have the sensitivity to understand that I can both love you very much and desire to go to Mississippi.  I have no way of demonstrating my love.  It is simply a fact and that is all I can say....

            I hope you will accept my decision even if you do not agree with me.  There comes a time when you have to do things which your parents do not agree with.... Convictions are worthless in themselves.  In fact, if they don't become actions, they are worse than worthless--they become a force of evil in themselves.  You can't run away from a broadened awareness....If you try, it follows you in your conscience, or you become a self-deceiving person who has numbed some of his humanness.  It think you have to live to the fullest extent to which you have gained an awareness or you are less than the human being you are capable of being... This doesn't apply just to civil rights or social consciousness but to all the experiences of life...

                                                                                                Love, Bonnie

                                                         July 30

    Yesterday, July 29, two of us (both white) went to speak in two Sociology classes [at a local white university].  We spoke about our project in Holly Springs and then answered questions.  While some questions were relevant, many were of the nature of:  a "Would you marry a Negro?" "Is your organization Communist?" and "Why are Negroes so immoral?"  Both Alvin and I felt that it was fairly successful.  We were able to answer most of the questions in sociological terms.  The second class which we attended was an advanced class in Urban Sociology.  Their questions were for the most part more sophisticated.  Both classes treated us respectfully and were very attentive to what we had to say... Later, I realized what had been bothering me about those people at [the university].  It was that they were patting themselves on the back for recognizing and admitting that conditions in Mississippi were bad....

            I am beginning to understand why people who work in the Movement come to not really care too much about the kind of thoughts of some "liberal" southern and, for that matter, northern whites.  I try to fight the bitterness... 

Gulfport, August 12

Dear Mother and Father:

            I have learned more about politics here from running my own precinct meetings than I could have from any Government professor...For the first time in my life, I am seeing what it is like to be poor, oppressed, and hated.  And what I see here does not apply only to Gulfport or to Mississippi or even to the South....The people we're killing in Viet Nam are the same people whom we've been killing for years in Mississippi.  True, we didn't tie the knot in Mississippi and we didn't pull the trigger in Viet Nam--that is, we personally--but we've been standing behind the knot-tiers and the trigger-pullers too long.  This summer is only the briefest beginning of this experience, both for myself and for the Negroes of Mississippi.

                                                                                                                        Your daughter, Ellen 

Source:  Elizabeth Sutherland, ed., Letters From Mississippi, (New York, 1965), pp. 3-14, 22-23, 45-72, 145-147, 229-230. 



During the 1964 Freedom Summer hundreds of black and white civil rights workers from throughout the United States assisted black Mississippians to register to vote and to challenge the racially discriminatory laws of the state.  Three of those workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney, were killed near Philadelphia.  The passage below from William Bradford Huie's Three Lives for Mississippi, describes their deaths. 

            The murder was done in the "cut" on Rock Cut Road, less than a mile from Highway 19, about four miles from where the three were taken from the station wagon.  It was before midnight, and the moon was still high.  Three cars were in the cut.  I was told that the three victims said nothing, but that they were jeered by the murderers.  Several of the murderers chanted in unison, as though they had practiced it:

            "Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust, If you'd stayed where you belonged, You wouldn't be here with us."

            Another said:  "So you wanted to come to Mississippi?  Well, now we're gonna let you stay here.  We're not even gonna run you out.  We're gonna let you stay here with us."

            When Schwerner was pulled from the car and stood up to be shot, I was told that the man with the pistol asked him:  "You still think a nigger's as good as I am?"  No time was allowed for a reply.  He was shot straight through the heart and fell to the ground.

            Goodman was next, with nothing said.  Apparently he stood as still as Schwerner did, facing his executioner, for the shot that killed him was the same precise shot.  I was told that another man fired the shot, using the same pistol, but my opinion remains that one man fired both shots. 

            Chaney was last, and the only difference was that he struggled while the others had not.  He didn't stand still; he tried to pull and duck away from his executioner.  So he wasn't shot with the same precision, and he was shot three times instead of once.

            The three bodies were tossed into the station wagon and driven along dirt roads to a farm about six miles southwest of Philadelphia.  All three bodies were buried in darkness with a bulldozer.  They were also uncovered, forty‑­four days later, with a bulldozer.  After the burial the station wagon was driven to a point fifteen miles northeast of Philadelphia, to the edge of the Bogue Chitto swamp.  There it was doused with diesel fuel and burned.  Afterwards the murderers began drinking though none could be called drunk.  They were met by an official of the state of Mississippi.

            "Well, boys," he said, "you've done a good job.  You've struck a blow for the White Man.  Mississippi can be proud of you... Go home now and forget it.  But before you go, I'm looking each one of you in the eye and telling you this: the first man who talks is dead!  If anybody who knows anything about this ever opens his mouth to any outsider about it, then the rest of us are going to kill him just as dead as we killed those three sonsofbitches tonight.  "Does everybody understand what I'm saying?  The man who talks is dead... dead...dead!" 

Source: William Bradford Huie, 3 Lives for Mississippi, (New York, 1968) pp. 118-121. 



In the following vignette University of Washington historian William Rorabaugh describes the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley that began in September 1964.  Note the movement's links to civil rights activism then taking place in the South. 

            In the early 1960s Berkeley student activists were particularly drawn to the civil rights cause because of the changing racial composition of the city of Berkeley.  Due to black migration from the South, by 1960 the city was one-fifth black.  Berkeley's blacks lived in a corner of the city remote from the University.  One seldom saw a black on campus, black shoppers were not welcome in downtown Berkeley, and both school segregation and discrimination in employment and housing were common.  In 1963 Berkeley voters rejected an open housing ordinance, 22,750 to 20,456, and in October 1964 the school board was nearly recalled over desegregation.  These votes indicated the city's bitter divisions.  The split was ironic, because liberals had long considered Berkeley to be advanced, and they pointed with pride to the black assemblyman elected from a mostly white district as early as 1948.  In truth, white Berkeley was schizophrenic‑-many older residents were native Southerners. Berkeley student activists formed the Berkeley Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to protest job discrimination.  Throughout 1964 CORE and its allies sponsored demonstrations at Lucky's stores in Berkeley, at the Sheraton‑Palace Hotel and along auto row in San Francisco, and at the Oakland Tribune, organ of William F. Knowland, a former U.S. senator. In the summer of 1964, when the Republican national convention met in San Francisco, activists organized anti-Goldwater pickets on the Cal campus.  To some people, it appeared that a handful of agitators systematically used the campus as a staging ground for making trouble.

            In keeping with the...rules banning political activity on campus, activists for‑several years had solicited donations and sign‑ups for protests from card tables set up on the city sidewalk at the edge of campus at Bancroft and Telegraph...  Whether pressured from outside or not, Alex C. Sherriffs, Vice‑Chancellor for Student Affairs...became upset by the activists' presence.  Sherriffs, whose office was in Sproul Hall, perhaps worried less about political activity itself than about its visibility and the effect that it had upon visitors to campus.  In 1964 one of the first sights a visitor saw, at the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph, was a student, possibly blue‑jeaned, bearded, and sandaled, manning a card table, jingling a can, and asking for a donation to support civil rights.  To Sherriffs, this scene was appalling because it created an image of the University as a haven for eccentrics and malcontents.  The vice‑chancellor saw himself as a moral guardian bound to protect the purity of the campus and its clean cut fraternity and sorority kids from unkempt beatniks and wild‑eyed radicals...

            When the University opened that September, activists looked forward to recruitment and fund‑raising.  Over the summer...sixty students had worked for civil rights in Mississippi, and they returned to campus with renewed dedication and determination.  These activists, including Mario Savio and Art Goldberg, were dumbfounded in mid‑September when the University suddenly issued new rules that banned tables...where they had been placed in growing numbers for two or three years.  When the activists sought an explanation for the change, they could get no answers... 

            The activists were better prepared for war than [University President Clark] Kerr.  First, they knew what they wanted.  Although their specific demands changed over time, they ‑demanded an end to the regulation of political activity on campus.  This was called free speech...  The activists identified the issue as a traditional American right in order to appeal to large numbers of students, who in other circumstances might have sided with Kerr. Second, some of the activist leaders were battle‑tested veterans of the civil rights movement. "A student who has been chased by the KKK in Mississippi," observed one student,' "is not easily scared by academic bureaucrats..."  They knew when to advance, when to retreat, how to use crowds, how to use the media, how to intimidate, and how to negotiate. The activists understood their ultimate weapon, the sit‑in, and were prepared to use it. Although the leaders were not close to one another, they spoke a common language gained through a common experience.  Kerr, on the other hand, was as unready to do battle as a southern sheriff facing a civil rights march for the first time.  Again and again, Kerr showed that he understood nothing about his opponents' tactics.  Finally, activist leaders knew how to maintain discipline over their troops.  Mass psychology, song, theater, and other techniques long favored among revivalists and street politicians accompanied innovative mass meetings at which people freely spoke and at which collective decisions were made by, a kind of consensus that came to be called participatory democracy.  Through these techniques and by focusing on the simplicity of the demand for free speech, activists created...an army.  In contrast, Kerr badgered his beleaguered bureaucracy until it could barely function.

            Throughout September 1964 skirmishes continued as defiant activists set up tables and were cited by irritated deans.  The angry students escalated the conflict by moving their tables to Sproul Plaza.  This protest led to a mill‑in inside Sproul Hall and the summary "indefinite suspension' of eight students [including] Mario Savio [and] Art Goldberg... Finally, on October 1, University police went to the plaza to arrest a former student, Jack Weinberg; who was manning a CORE table.  The police drove a car onto the plaza to take Weinberg to be booked, and as Weinberg got into the car, someone shouted, "Sit down."  Suddenly, several hundred students surrounded the car.  The police did not know what to do, because they had never encountered such massive defiance.  Kerr's bureaucracy became paralyzed.  This event launched the Free Speech Movement.  Participants later recalled the spontaneity of the "sit‑down," the thrill of power over the police, and the feeling that something important was happening.  For thirty‑two hours Weinberg sat in the back of the police car. Although students came and went, there were always at least several hundred surrounding the car. Among those who observed the sit‑down was Jerry Brown; the governor's son, then living in Berkeley, who was hostile to the protest.  During the night students who disapproved of the sit‑down‑‑many from nearby fraternities‑‑molested the protesters by tossing lighted cigarettes and garbage into the crowd.  The activists responded by singing civil rights songs.  During the sit‑down the demonstrators used the roof of the police car (with police permission) as a podium to speak to the crowd.  People aired all sorts of views, and the discussion moved from the rules banning political activity to analyses of the University's governance.  Students expressed their powerlessness, which contrasted with the power that they held over the immobilized police car.  So many people stood on the car's roof that it sagged; the FSM later took up a collection and paid the $455.01 damage.  Several times a twenty‑one year old junior, Mario Savio, removed his shoes to climb atop the car, and when he spoke, his words seemed especially to energize the crowd.  He became a celebrity and was identified by the crowd as the leader of the activists. From then on Savio battled Kerr. It was not a fair match....  

Source: William J. Rorabaugh, Berkeley at War, The 1960s (New York, 1989), p. 18-19, 20-21. 



On March 7, 1965, Martin Luther King led demonstrations at Selma, Alabama, to secure voting rights for black Americans.  One week later President Lyndon Johnson spoke before a joint session of Congress to urge passage of voting rights legislation that would guarantee that right.  Johnson for the first time placed the full support of the Presidency behind Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.  Here is part of his address to Congress: 

            Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress:

            I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.  I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause.

            Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote.  This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections....which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.  We cannot refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in.  We have already waited one hundred years and more, and the time for waiting is gone....

            But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over.  What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America.  It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for them­selves the full blessings of American life.

            Their cause must be our cause too.  Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

            And we shall overcome.

            As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil I know how agonizing racial feelings are.  I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society.

            But a century has passed, more than a hundred years, since the Negro was freed.  And he is not fully free tonight.

            The time of justice has now come.  I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back.  It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come.  And when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American.

            For Negroes are not the only victims.  How many white children have gone uneducated, how many white families have lived in stark poverty, how many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we have wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

            So I say to all of you here, and to all in the Nation tonight, that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future.

            This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all: black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller.  These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease.  They are the enemies and not our fellow man, not our neighbor.  And these enemies too, poverty, disease and ignorance, we shall overcome... 

Source:  Thomas A. Bailey and David M. Kennedy, The American Spirit, (Lexington, Mass., 1984), pp. 872‑873. 



In 1964 Martin Luther King, shortly after his notification that he was the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, got an anonymous letter suggesting he was a fraud and that he commit suicide.  It was later determined that the letter origi­nated with the FBI which was trying to discredit King and retard the Civil Rights Movement.  The letter is reprinted below. 

            In view of your low grade...  I will not dignify your name with either a Mr. or a Reverend or a Dr.  And, your last name calls to mind only the type of King such as King Henry the VIII...    

            King, look into your heart.  You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes.  White people in this country have enough frauds of their own but I am sure they don't have one at this time anywhere near your equal.  You are no clergyman and you know it.  I repeat you are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that.  You could not believe in God... Clearly you don't believe in any personal moral principles.    

            King, like all frauds your end is approaching.  You could have been our greatest leader.  You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile.  We will now have to depend on our older leaders like Wilkins, a man of character and thank God we have others like him.  But you are done.  Your "honorary" degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you.  King, I repeat you are done.    

            No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself...  I repeat--no person can argue successfully against facts...  Satan could not do more.  What incredible evilness...  King you are done.  The American public, the church organizations that have been helping--Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what you are--an evil, abnormal beast.  So will others who have backed you.  You are done.    

            King, there is only one thing left for you to do.  You know what it is.  You have just 34 days in which to do it (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significant [sic]).  You are done.  There is but one way out for you.  You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation. 

Source:  David J. Garrow, The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York, 1981), pp. 125‑126.   



The four days of rioting that swept the Watts section of Los Angeles in August, 1965 proved a turning point in the Civil Rights struggle.  The nation's attention, which had previously been focused on the rural South now shifted to the ghettos of the North and West as African Americans demonstrated their anger with the prevailing political and economic status quo.  The passage below describes the death of Charles Patrick Fizer, one of the 34 people killed during the riot.

            Charles Patrick Fizer, born in Shreveport Louisiana, sang because he loved to--and for money.  People paid to hear Charles Fizer sing.  For a brief time, he made it big.  Most of the Fizer family migrated to California during World War II to take jobs in the buzzing Los Angeles area aircraft plants and shipyards.  In 1944, when he was only three, Charles Fizer was taken there by his grandparents.  He lived with them for a time.  Then, when he was seven, he moved to Watts with his mother.

            The Fizer family was a religious one.  Charles attended the Sweet Home Baptist Church and became an enthusiastic choir member.  He had a good voice.  By the time he was fifteen, he was singing in night clubs....He became part of a successful group of entertainers.  He broke in singing second lead with the Olympics, as the group was known....Came the Olympics' recording of "Hully Gully," and Charles Fizer was something to be reckoned with as an entertainer.  The record sold nearly a million copies.  The Olympics won television guest shots.  Charles came up with a snaky dance to fit the "Hully Gully" music.  Other hit songs followed, and it seemed nothing could stop Charles Fizer from reaching the top. [But] Charles became restless.  With his fellow performers, he became impatient.  His testy attitude and souring views cost him his job with the singing group.  He and another entertainer formed a night club duo, but it flopped. The summer of the Los Angeles Riot, he hit bottom.  He served six months at hard labor on a county prison farm after being arrested with illegal barbiturates.

            He was released Thursday, August 12.  The riot already was in progress.  Even as the violence spread in Los Angeles, Charles Fizer wakened early Friday, went job-hunting and found work as a busboy....But there would be no work Saturday─the restaurant manager decided to close until peace was restored in the city... But that night Charles Fizer drove through Watts after the curfew hour.  In the center of the fire-blackened community, he stopped short of a National Guard roadblock at 102nd and Beach Streets.  Inexplicably, he backed the Buick away from the barricade.  Suddenly, he turned on the car's headlights and shifted into forward gear. What compelled him to jam the accelerator to the floor only he could say─and soon he was past explaining.  Too many white faces challenging him?  Perhaps.  A white man giving him an order?  Perhaps. In any event, he pointed the car straight for the roadblock.  Guardsmen cried to him to halt and fired warning shots into the air.  Then came the roar of M-1 carbines.  The Buick spun crazily and rammed a curb. Charles Fizer never realized his resolve to make a new life.  Inside the car he lay dead, a bullet in his left temple.  The time was 9:15 P.M.

Source:  Jerry Cohen and William S. Murphy, Burn, Baby, Burn:  The Los Angeles Race Riot August, 1965, (New York, 1966), pp. 211-213.



In the Spring of 1966 Stokely Carmichael became chairman of the Student Non‑Violent Coordinating Committee and soon afterwards advanced the concept of Black Power.  In a article published later that year he discussed its ramifications for America. 

            The history of every institution of this society indicates that a major concern...has been the maintaining of the Negro community in its condition of dependence and oppression.  This has not been on the level of individual acts of discrimination between individual whites against individual Negroes, but as total acts by the White community against the Negro community.

            Let me give you an example of the difference between individual racism and institutionalized racism...  When unidentified white terrorists bomb a Negro Church and kill five children, that act is widely deplored by most segments of the society.  But when in that same city, Birmingham, Alabama, not five but 500 Negro babies die each year because of lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities...that is a function of institutionalized racism.   

            We must organize black community power to end these abuses, and to give the Negro community a chance to have its needs expressed. A leadership which is truly "responsible"‑‑not  to the white press and power structure, but to the community‑‑must be developed.  Such leadership will recognize that its power lies in the unified and collective strength of that community. 

            The single aspect of the black power program that has encountered most criticism is this concept of independent organization.  This is presented as third‑partyism which has never worked, or a withdrawal into black nationalism and isolationism.  If such a program is developed it will not have the effect of isolating the Negro community but the reverse.  When the Negro community is able to control local office, and negotiate with other groups from a position of organized strength, the possibility of meaningful political alliances on specific issues will be increased.  That is a rule of politics and there is no reason why it should not operate here.  The only difference is that we will have the power to define the terms of these alliances.

            The next question usually is, "So‑‑can it work, can the ghettoes in fact be organized?"  The answer is that this organization must be successful, because there are no viable alternatives‑‑not the War on Poverty, which was at its inception limited to dealing with effects rather than causes, and has become simply another source of machine patronage.  And "Integration" is meaningful only to a small chosen class within the community.

            [The] "inner city" in most major urban areas is [sic] already predominately Negro, and with the white rush to suburbia, Negroes will in the next three decades control the heart of our great cities. These areas can become either concentration camps with a bitter and volatile population whose only power is the power to destroy, or organized and powerful communities able to make constructive contributions to the total society.  Without the power to control their lives and their communities, without effective political institutions through which to relate to the total society, these communities will exist in a constant state of insurrection.  This is a choice that the country will have to make. 

Source: Thomas R. Frazier, Afro‑American History: Primary Sources, (Chicago, 1988), pp. 414, 419‑420. 



By 1968 Black Student Unions had emerged on virtually every major university campus in the United States including the University of Washington.  The vignettes below provide rare glimpses into the campus mood which generated the UW BSU.  The first vignette describes black student athletes and the second is an interview with UW BSU leaders.  

            In March [1968] the U. of W. Athletic Department was jolted by charges of racism and discrimination made by some 13 black athletes.  Among the 13 was basketball player Dave Carr, who later spoke...about the feelings of Negroes on the campus.  "Except for some talk of 'niggers,' racism is not so noticeable these days," says Carr.  "White students just look at us like, 'What are you doing on our campus.'  Or sometimes we're considered exceptional Negroes.  Hell, I'm not exceptional, I'm just lucky.  So many of us now are hungry to compete and able to compete if we get the chance.

            "There are other aspects," he continued, "like not being able to find a place to live in the U. District.  But you know the single thing that bothers me most?  Nobody will ever talk to me about anything except basketball. 'You keepin' in shape?  You goin' to play pro ball?'  I'm supposed to be the dumb black athlete who can't do anything else.  I like basketball, but I also am taking a degree in business, and ultimately I intend to go into personnel work.  But no one's interested in that."

                                                                     *      *      *

            Hidden away in a far corner in the basement of the UW HUB is Room 92.  Though nothing on the door proclaims it, Room 92 houses the UW Black Students' Union (BSU).  Little more than a cubbyhole, the room is jammed with furnishings, and on one recent afternoon, a half-dozen BSU members.  Among those present are E.J. Brisker, BSU vice-president; Jesse Crowder, the BSU's sole Mexican American; Richard Brown, one of the four young men who had been charged with firebombing; and Larry Gossett, one of those involved in the Franklin High sit-in.  The conversation is a mixed bag of self-kidding, Whitey put-ons and serious discussion; Brown and Gossett do most of the talking.

            "The Black Student Union is for anything that advances the cause of black people," says Gossett.  "For example, we're in full support of the Olympic Games boycott.  This country has been using its black athletes far too long, showing them off in foreign lands to convince the people that racism doesn't exist in America--when we know it does."  Adds Brown, "Yeah, a black athlete is Mister when he's overseas, but he's nothing when he gets home--can't find housing, can't get a job."

            Gossett wears black-frame glasses and a big Afro; he gestures as he speaks, and he has a habit of gnawing his lower lip.  "In general," he explains, "the Black Students' Union is a political organization set up to serve the wants and needs of black students on white campuses.  The educational system is geared for white, middle-class kids, so it's never served black students.  We're educated to fit into some non-existent slot in white society, rather than to be responsible to the needs of our brothers in the ghetto.  To combat this, one thing we want to do is establish courses in Afro-American culture and history."  On Richard Brown's lapel is a button which displays a leaping black panther.  "No black person will be free," he says, ending the conversation, "until all blacks are free." 

Source: Ed Leimbacher, "Voices from the Ghetto," Seattle Magazine, 5:51 (June 1968) pp. 41-44. 



In mid-October 1965 a group of Washington State Indians staged one of their first "fish-ins" to protest state conservation prohibitions against traditional fishing.  In jeopardy were rights which Northwest tribes like the Nisqually, Puyallup and others enjoyed since the days of their treaties signed in 1855, to fish and net salmon on the Nisqually and other rivers.  According to the protesters, the white man's dams, pollution and commercial fishing were depleting the salmon, not their smaller operations.  During the controversy there were a number of "battles" around Puget Sound and on the Columbia River, between state officials and Indians who refused to stop fishing.  Janet McCloud, a Tulalip mother of eight was one of the protestors arrested and held in jail.  Her daughter, Laura McCloud, recounts her story at the trial.

    On October 13, 1965, we held a "fish-in" on the Nisqually River to try and bring a focus on our fishing fight with the State of Washington.  The "fish-in" started at 4:00 p.m. and was over at 4:30.  It ended with six Indians in jail and dazed Indian kids wondering "what happened?"  My parents, Don & Janet McCloud; Al and Maiselle Bridges; Suzan Satiacum and Don George Jr. were arrested that day.  They were released after posting bail a few hours later.  The charges against these six Indians was "obstructing the duty of a police officer."  Now, all we could do was wait till the trials started.  There was a seventh Indian who was later arrested for the same charge, Nugent Kautz.  And he had not been a Frank's Landing on that day.

    The trial was to begin on January 15, 1969, at 9:30.  We went into the courthouse that Wednesday certain that we would not receive justice as was proved to us in other trials.  As we walked into the hallways there were many game wardens standing there, some dressed in their uniforms and some in plain clothes, but we recognized all of them.

    Many of us were dressed in our traditional way with headbands, leggings and necklaces.  As we walked the length of the corridor to the courtroom, the game wardens were looking us up and down, laughing at us.  I said to my cousin, "Don't pay any attention to them, they don't know any better."...

    The first witness for the State was a field marshal for the game department--Zimmerman.  He stated that he was directing the game wardens at the Landing on Oct. 13.  Hw was in charge of the reinforcements from all over the State that come down on us like a sea of green.  At the time of the fish-in I thought that there were about a hundred game wardens...

    The next morning the State started off with their last witness, State Fisheries Biologist, Lasseter.  He talked about how we Indians are the ones who depleted the fish in the Puyallup River and if we weren't controlled we would do the same to the Nisqually River.  The Puyallup River is filled with pollution more than it is with water.  And why would we want to wipe out our livelihood?  Our attorney made Lasseter state that could have been the pollution not the Indians who depleted the fish in the Puyallup River.

    Now it was our turn!  The first witness for our defense was Bob Johnson.  At the time of the fish-in he was the editor of the Auburn Citizen newspaper.  He told of the tactics the game wardens use on us.  Mr. Johnson also had evidence with him, pictures of game wardens, showing billie clubs and seven-celled flashlights.  The Prosecuting attorney got real shook up about these.  It seemed like he was saying "I object" every few minutes...

    The next defense witness was Janet McCloud, Tulalip Indian. She told...why the Indians had the fish-in demonstration on that day and what the mood the Indians had before the fish-in... We were not expecting any violence because all my brothers and sisters were there and the youngest was 4 at that time... She told how she felt when she realized that the game wardens were going to ram our boat...and [how] these mean meant business with their...flashlights, billie clubs and brass knuckles.  My two little brothers were in the boat when it was rammed, the youngest was 7 and could not swim.  Besides, once you get tangled in nylon mesh it is very easy to drown.  While she was telling this story, we could tell she was trying very hard to keep from crying but...she started to...

    With all this testimony and evidence, it was plain to see that the game wardens had lied.  We only hoped that the jury would believe our side of the fish-in story.  We also learned the names of the game wardens whose pictures we had, especially the one who had been beating on Alison and Valerie Bridges...

    After the two lawyers gave their summations the jury went into session.  This was at ten o'clock at night.  They were out until midnight.  The foreman came in first and said, " The rest are afraid to come in."  I thought, here comes another guilty [verdict].  When the foreman handed the judge the decision the room became very silent.  Then the judge read, "The jury finds the defendant Nugent Kautz 'not guilty.'"  He read the rest of the names with the same verdict.  I didn't believe it.  I turned to my cousin and said, "Did I hear right?"  She nodded her head, yes.  Everyone was happy, except the State.  The game wardens were very hostile after this...

    So the war goes on--which goes to prove that the history books are wrong when they talk about "the last Indian wars."  They have never stopped!

Source: Peter Nabokov, ed., Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present, 1492-1992 (New York, 1991), pp. 362-366.



This title of a 1970 Newsweek article signaled for many in the United States an introduction to the Chicano Movement.  Excerpts of the article appear below.  

            It is impossible to ignore the handwriting on the wall--the enormous, angular jottings that spillover imaginary margins.  Across the peeling faces of neo-Victorian buildings, on littered sidewalks, anywhere where there is a decent-size blank space young chicanos scrawl their names, their slogans, their dreams.... On the ash-gray bricks of one nameless liquor store deep in the heart of the East Los Angeles barrio, someone has written a footnote to American history. "Tio Taco is dead," it says, "Con safos."

            Tio Taco--or Uncle Taco, the stereotype Mexican-American, sapped of energy and ambition, sulking in the shadow of an Anglo culture--is dead.  From the ghettos of Los Angles, through the wastelands of New Mexico and Colorado, into the fertile reaches of the Rio Grande valley in Texas, a new Mexican-American militancy is emerging.  Brown has become aggressively beautiful...

            Their are 5.6 million Mexican-Americans in the United States, divided roughly into two subgroups.  The first is made up of descendants of settlers who arrived in the Southwest before the Mayflower... The forefather of these Spanish Americans, as they prefer to be called, founded California and gave Los Angeles its name... Today, they live in rural communities scattered across New Mexico and Colorado...  The second, and larger, subgroup is made up of more recent immigrants from Mexico and their descendants.  Substantial migration to the U.S. began with the Mexican Revolution and went on through the 1960s with Texas serving as the way station to the great urban ghettos of San Antonio, Los Angeles, Denver, and points farther north...

            Through the Southwest today, were 90% of the Mexican-Americans live, a third of them are below the official poverty line--that is, they make do on less than $3,000 a year.  In some sections of Texas, poverty-stricken Mexican-Americans live in unbelievably primitive conditions.  Countrywide, the unemployment rate among chicanos is twice as high as the unemployment rate among Anglos.  And the vast majority of Mexican-Americans who are employed work at unskilled....jobs.  Mexican-Americans average four years less schooling than Anglos and two years less than Negroes.

            Statistics tell only part of the story.  On top of the poverty, Mexican-Americans have long been subjected to violence by the authorities.  For years, law-enforcement agencies in the Southwest acted as it was open season on muchachos.  "There's a lot to the saying that all Texas Rangers have Mexican blood," one witness told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  "They have it on their boots."  Just as often the Anglo attitude has been more subtle--and more crippling.  Guidance counselors regularly steer students into "realistic" vocational programs, advice that just about locks young chicanos into the poverty cycle.  Overall the insensitivity of Anglos--whether in government, in education or simply on a person-to-person basis--has amounted to psychological oppression of incalculable dimension.  "Why do they persecute us"? asks Bob Castro, a chicano activist in Los Angeles.  "Why do they beat us and throw us into prison?  Why do they insult our language, culture and history?  Why do they call us names?  Why do they hate us.?" 

Source: Newsweek, June 29, 1970, pp. 27-30. 



 In the following account historian Rodolfo Acuna describes the Brown Berets who emerged in the East Los Angeles barrio in the late 1960s.

      Most Chicano organizations have had defensive postures and have reacted to crisis situations.  These organizations, for the most part, have worked within the system and have been reform oriented.  The Brown Berets is an exception; it is one of the few Chicano organizations advocating physical measures to defend the Chicano community's rights.  The Brown Berets.... has aroused a fear in Anglo‑Americans that a Chicano group would counter U.S. oppression with its own violence. Whether or not the threat was real is not at issue.  More important is that law enforcement authorities believed that the Brown Berets were capable of violence or arousing this kind of action in other groups.  In effect, it is an affirmation of the police's increasing awareness of the resentment toward police brutality and the realization that the theme of liberation is becoming more popular among Chicanos.  The Brown Berets, in effect, panicked police officials and exposed their basic undemocratic attitudes toward Mexicans or groups attempting to achieve liberation.  This is especially true in Los Angeles, where the Berets were founded.  The police and sheriff's departments there abandoned reason in harassing, intimidating, and persecuting the Brown Berets in a way that no other Chicano organization has experienced in recent times.  Police and sheriff's deputies raided the Berets, infiltrated them, libeled and slandered them, and even encouraged counter groups to attack the members.  The objective was to destroy the Berets and to invalidate the membership in the eyes of both the Anglo and the Chicano communities.

      The Brown Berets were formed in 1967 in East Los Angeles.  At first they were known as Young Citizens for Community Action (YCCA).  The group was sponsored by an interfaith church organization, and its founding leader was David Sánchez, a teenager from a lower‑class family.  Four other Chicanos joined Sánchez as charter members.  In time, the group's defensive posture crystallized, with the organization evolving from a community service club into a quasi "alert patrol." Later in the year, the YCCA opened a coffee shop called La Piranya to raise operating expenses.  Events meanwhile forced the organization to become more militant; this is reflected in the change in the group's name to the Young Chicanos for Community Action.  The members began to wear brown berets, and they took on a paramilitary stance.  The YCCA became popularly known as the Brown Berets.  This militant profile attracted a large number of young Chicanos and had considerable impact on the student organizations of the time.  Simultaneously, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department began a vicious "bust the Berets" operation. They raided them, picked up members, and spread rumors that they were Communists.

      Beret chapters spread throughout the Southwest and Midwest.  In Los Angeles, sheriff's deputies harassed the Brown Berets and so disorganized them that they were forced to shut down their coffee shop in March 1968.  That same month, the Berets were escalated into the national limelight by the East Los Angeles school walkouts.  There is little evidence that the organization itself took a leadership role in planning the walkouts, but as one observer stated: "When the crap came down, the Berets were there, offering to serve and taking the brunt of the police brutality.  They were the shock troops." During the walkout, the police and sheriffs departments attempted to make the Brown Berets the scapegoats, branding them as outside agitators, while playing down the legitimate grievances of the Chicano students.  A grand jury later indicted 13 Chicanos on conspiracy charges stemming from the walkout; seven were Brown Berets.  This case was appealed and later declared unconstitutional, but only after three years of legal harassment.  As the police and sheriff's repression increased, the popularity of the group spread. Ironically, the only offensive action during this time was on the part of law enforcement agencies. 

      Meanwhile, obvious parallels between the Brown Berets and the Black Panthers emerged.  Both organizations were paramilitary, and they had a similar organizational structure, e.g., the prime minister, the ministers of defense, education, etc.  There were also very real differences: the Black Panthers evolved from a Poverty Agency, whereas the Berets were much younger and their base was the barrio.  In addition, the Black Panthers attracted many middle‑class Black intellectuals as well as white radicals (nonmembers); whereas the leadership of the Berets was primarily comprised of high school dropouts who were highly suspicious of educated Chicanos and who almost totally rejected Anglos.  Moreover, the Panthers have received considerable financial support from the Anglo‑American liberal community; the Berets operated with no budget.  The lack of funds prevented the Berets from building a Panther‑like network among its own chapters, and they were not able to attract high‑powered legal assistance to advertise the police harassment of the group, or to obtain editorial help in producing sophisticated literature.

      The Berets inspired a revolutionary fervor in many youth, especially those in their early teens, who not only wanted to defend themselves, but wanted to stand up and fight.  The Battle of Algiers, a film depicting the Algerian struggle against the French, became a model.  These youth were attracted by the physical nature of the Beret‑defined form of confrontation.  Moreover, the Berets... attracted the street batos (guys) who directly felt the oppression of the police and the street.  At the same time, the batos were alienated from the mainstream of the Chicano community, which did not understand their hybrid culture or, many times, their frustrations.  Unable to articulate their feelings or their grievances, the uniform and the paramilitary nature of the group gave members and nonmembers the feeling that they could strike back in the manner that they felt and understood best--physically.

      The ability to serve and to protect the Chicano barrio by any means necessary provided a link with the Chicano community.  The Berets evolved into a radical group. Imbued with the politics of liberation, they dealt with the immediate needs of the barrio--food, housing, unemployment, education, etc.. Their philosophy has been molded by the conflict and the street....  A basic weakness in the Brown Berets is that it does not have the strong family structure that has heretofore marked survival and success for most Chicano organizations.  It has not been accepted as the "Army of the Brown People." ....Its attempt to operate a free clinic in East Los Angeles, for example, has been frustrated by outside interference such as police harassment and Red‑baiting.  Nonetheless, despite the failures, the Brown Berets are important, because they are one of the few Chicano groups that have not attempted to work entirely within the civil rights framework of the present reform movement.  They are the bridge between the groups of the past and those of liberation, which shall become more offensive.

Source: Rodolfo Acuna, Occupied America: The Chicano's Struggle Toward Liberation (New York, 1972), pp. 231-233.  


Robert Coles, a psychiatrist and noted author on racial attitudes, wrote an article titled "The White Northerner:  Pride and Prejudice," which attempted to explain the "backlash," the growing white resentment of black civil rights gains in the 1960s.  In the part of the article reprinted below Coles allows a Boston housewife to explain her fears following the integration of the nearby public school in 1967. 

            Why do they do it? [Call for integrated schools] I don't understand them at all.  They have their own people, just as we do, but suddenly they're not happy together.  They want to go here and there, and send their children everywhere.  All you hear these days is news about them.  You'd think Negroes were the only people in America that have a tough time.  What about the rest of us?  Who comes here asking us how we get by, or how we feel about what we had to go through? 

            They may be poorer than a lot of white people, but no by very much. Anyway, what they don't get in money they more than gain in popularity these days.  The papers have suddenly decided that the Negro is teacher's pet.  Whatever he does good is wonderful, and we should clap.  But if he does anything bad, it's our fault.  I can't read the papers anymore when they talk about the race thing.  I'm sick of their editorials.  All of a sudden they start giving us a lecture every day on how bad we are.  They never used to care about anything, the Negro or anything else.  Now they're so worried.

            And the same goes with the Church.  I'm as devout a Catholic as you'll find around. My brother is a priest, and I do more than go to Church once a week.  But I just can't take what some of our priests are saying these days.  They're talking as if we did something wrong for being white.  I don't understand it all.  Priests never used to talk about the Negro when I was a child.  Now they talk to my kids about them all the time.  I thought the Church is supposed to stand for religion, and eternal things. 

            I went to school here in Boston, and nobody was talking about Negroes and busing us around.  The Negroes were in Roxbury and we were here.   Everybody can't live with you, can they?  Everybody likes his own.  But now even the school people tell us we have to have our kids with this kind and that kind of person, or else they will be hurt, or something.  Now how am I supposed to believe everything all these people say?  They weren't talking that way a few years ago.  The governor wasn't either. Nor the mayor.  The same with those people out in the suburbs.  Suddenly they're interested in the Negro.  They worked and worked to get away from him, of course, and get away from us, too.  That's why they moved so far, instead of staying here, where they can do something, if they meant so well.  But no.  They moved and now they're all ready to come back‑‑but only to drive a few Negro kids out for a Sunday picnic.  Who has to live with all this, and pay for it in taxes and everything?  Whose kids are pushed around?  And who gets called `prejudiced' and all the other sneery words?  I've had enough of it. It's hypocrisy, right down the line.  And we're the ones who get it; the final buck gets passed to us. 

Source:  Thomas A. Bailey & David M. Kennedy, The American Spirit, Vol. II, (Lexington, Mass, 1984), pp. 997, 999. 



In 1962 the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issued the Port Huron Statement which outlined their vision of a just society.  Part of the statement appears below:

    In a participatory democracy, the political life would be based on several root principles: That decision-making of basic social consequence be carried on by public groupings; that politics be seen positively as the art of collectively creating an acceptable pattern of social relations; that politics has the function of bringing people out of isolation and into community, this being a necessary, but not sufficient, way of finding meaning in personal life; that the political order should serve to clarify problems in a way instrumental to their solution; it should provide outlets for the expression of personal grievance and aspiration; opposing views should be organized so as to illuminate choices and facilitate the attainment of goals; channels should be commonly available to relate men to knowledge and to power so that private problems from bad recreation facilities to personal alienation are formulated as general issues.

    The economic sphere would have as its basis the principles: That work should involve incentives worthier than money or survival.  It should be educative, not stultifying; creative, not mechanical; self-direct, not manipulated; encouraging independence, a respect for others, a sense of dignity and a willingness to accept social responsibility, since it is this experience that has crucial influence on habits, perceptions and individual ethics;

    That the economic experience is so personally decisive that the individual must share in its full determination;

    That the economy itself is of such social importance that its major resources and means of production should be open to democratic participation and subject to democratic social regulation...

Source: Jack Newfield, A Prophetic Minority (New York, 1966), pp. 125-126.



In 1960 ninety college students from 24 states, representing 44 colleges and universities met at the estate of William F. Buckley, Jr., in Sharon, Connecticut to form the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF).  Their founding statement appears below.

In this time of moral and political crisis, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

    We, as young conservatives believe:

    That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual's use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force.;

    That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

    That the purposes of government are to protect these freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

    That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power which tends to diminish order and liberty;

    That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

    That the genius of the Constitution--the division of powers--is summed up in the clause which reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal Government;

    That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

    That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

    That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history show periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

    That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

    That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace; and

    That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion; does it serve the just interests of the United States?

Source: Gregory L. Schneider, ed., Conservatism in America Since 1930 (New York, 2003), pp. 229-230



In the passage below, Walt Crowley recalls the first protest march in Seattle against the War in Vietnam.  The march took place on October 16, 1965, and involved 350 demonstrators who gathered in front of the Federal Court House and proceeded to the Westlake Mall.  In contrast marches the day before in Oakland and New York City involved 10,000 protestors in each city.

    On October 16, Seattle experience its first antiwar march led by the UW SDS and "Seattle Committee to End the War in Vietnam" (SCEWV).  I was among the nervous 350 or so who gathered in front of the Federal Court House that morning.  We marched down two lanes of Fourth Avenue, herded by motorcycle police and taunted as Communists and traitors by passing motorists, to a noon rally beneath the old Monorail station at Westlake Mall. Our every move was photographed by men with crew cuts who aimed cameras at us from doorways and rooftops.

    An ugly crowd surrounded us at Westlake, and they tried to drown out our speakers by singing the Mickey Mouse Club anthem.  When UW Professor Paul Brass began his remarks, a man rushed up and doused him with red paint.  He later identified himself to the press as, paradoxically, "Joe Freedom."  He turned out to be one of Brass's students.  There were a few scuffles when the rally broke up, but all of us got home with our skin, if not our nerves, intact.

    The press coverage was nasty and the public response was hostile.  Both the P-I and the Times editorialized that students were allowing themselves to be duped and exploited by Communists.  The Seattle Jaycees urged everyone to turn their lights on during the day to endorse the war and 10,000 pro-war anti-protestors marched in New York City.

    Americans were also dying: 240 fell in a single week in November [1965], more than had died in the previous year.  [Defense Secretary Robert] McNamara boasted, if that is the right word, that "we have stopped losing the war," but Senator Edward Kennedy, passing through Seattle warned, "We are deluding ourselves to think there is going to be a quick solution in Vietnam."

    On December 20, B-52s began bombing North Vietnam's primary seaport at Haiphong.  Three days later, President Johnson halted all bombing in the north as a "gesture of peace."  On Christmas Day Tom Hayden and Quaker activist Staughton Lynd arrived in Hanoi on the first of many such pilgrimages. 

    The year ended with 184,000 U.S. troops deployed in Vietnam, and a combat death toll of 1,350 accumulated since the U.S. started counting in 1961.  Most had fallen in the past six months.  Everyone knew much worse was to come.  The national mood was summed up by the surprise hit song of 1965, written by P. F. Sloan and intoned in urgent, rasping tones by Barry McGuire: "And tell me over and over again, my friend, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction."

Source: Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle, 1995), pp. 45-46.



The following are excerpts from Betty Freidan's 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique.

    The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women.  It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States.  Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay besides her husband at night--she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question--"Is this all?"

    For over fifteen years there was no word of this yearning in the millions of words written about women, for women, in all the columns, books and articles by experts telling women their role was to seek fulfillment as wives and mothers...Experts told them how to catch a man and keep him, how to breastfeed children and handle their toilet training, how to cope with sibling rivalry and adolescent rebellion; how to buy a dishwasher, bake break, cook gourmet snails, and build a swimming pool with their own hands; how to dress, look, and act more feminine and make marriage more exciting...  They were taught to pity the neurotic, unfeminine, unhappy women who wanted to be poets or physicists or presidents.  They learned that truly feminine women do not want careers, higher education, political rights--the independence and opportunities that old fashioned feminists fought for...  A thousand expert voices applauded their femininity, their adjustment, their new maturity.  All they had to do was devote their lives from earliest girlhood to finding a husband and bearing children.

    The suburban housewife--she was the dream image of the young American woman and the envy, it was said, of women all over the world.  The American housewife--freed by science and labor-saving appliances from drudgery, the dangers of childbirth and the illnesses of her grandmother. She was healthy, beautiful, educated, concerned only about heir husband, her children, her home.  She had found true feminine fulfillment.  As a housewife and mother, she was respected as a full and equal partner to man in his world.  She was free to choose automobiles, clothes, appliances, supermarkets; she had everything that women ever dreamed of...

    If a woman had a problem in the 1950s and 1960s she knew that something must be wrong with her marriage or herself.  Other women were satisfied with their lives, she thought.  What kind of woman was she if she did not feel this mysterious fulfillment waxing the kitchen floor.  She was so ashamed to admit her dissatisfaction that she never know how many other women shared it.  If she tried to tell her husband, he didn't understand what she was talking about.  She did not really understand it herself... "There's nothing wrong really," they kept telling themselves. "There isn't any problem..."

    Gradually I came to realize that the problem that has no name was shared by countless women in America.  As a magazine writer I often interviewed women about problems with their children, or their marriages, or their houses, or their communities... Sometimes I sensed the problem not as a reporter, but as a suburban housewife, for during this time I was also bringing up my own three children in Rockland County, New York.  I heard echoes of the problem in college dormitories and semi-private maternity wards, at PTA meetings and luncheons of the League of Women Voters...in station wagons waiting for trains...  The groping words I heard from other women, on quiet afternoons when children were at school or on quiet evenings when husbands worked late, I think I understood first as a woman long before I understood their larger social and psychological implications.

    Just what was this problem with no name?  What were the words women used when they tried to express it?  Sometimes a woman would say "I feel empty somehow...incomplete."  Or she would say, "I feel as if I don't exist."  Sometimes she blotted out the feeling with a tranquilizer.  Sometimes she thought the problem was with her husband, or her children, or that what she really needed was to redecorate her house, or move to a better neighborhood, or have an affair, or another baby...  Most [women] adjusted to their role and suffered or ignored the problem that has no name.  It can be less painful for a woman, not to hear their strange, dissatisfied voice stirring within her.

    It is no longer possible to ignore that voice, to dismiss the desperation of so many American women.  This is not what being a woman means no matter what the experts say...  I do not accept the answer that there is no problem because American women have luxuries that women in other times and lands never dreamed of; part of the strange newness of this problem is that it cannot be understood in terms of the age-old material problems of man: poverty, sickness, hunger, cold.  The women who suffer this problem has a hunger that food cannot fulfill.  It persists in women whose husbands are struggling interns and law clerks, or prosperous doctors and lawyers; in wives of workers and executives who make $5,000 a year or $50,000...

    It is no longer possible to blame the problem on loss of femininity; to say that education and independence and equality with men have made American women unfeminine...the problem cannot be understood in the generally accepted terms by which scientists have studies women, doctors have treated them, counselors have advised them, and writers have written about them.  Women who suffer this problem, in whom the voice is stirring, have lived their whole lives in the pursuit of feminine fulfillment.  They are not career women (although career women may have other problems); they are women whose greatest ambition has been marriage and children.  For the oldest of these women, these daughters of the American middle class, no other dream was possible.  The ones in their forties and fifties who once had other dreams gave them up and threw themselves joyously into life as housewives.  For the youngest, the new wives and mothers, this was the only dream.  They are the ones who quit high school and college to marry, or marked time in some job in which they had no real interest until they married.  These women are very "feminine" in the usual sense, and yet they still suffer the problem.

    If I am right, the problem that has no name stirring in the minds of so many American women today...is far more important than anyone recognizes.  It is the key to...problems which have been torturing women and their husbands and children, and puzzling their doctors and educators for years.  It may well be the key to our future as a nation and a culture.  We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: "I want something more than my husband and my children and my home."

Source: The Feminine Mystique (New York, 1963), pp. 11-16, 21-22, 27



The National Organization of Women was organized in 1966 to campaign for women's rights.  Here are excerpts from the founding statement of the organization. 

            WE, men and women who hereby constitute ourselves as the National Organization for Women, believe that the time has come for a new movement toward true equality for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world‑wide revolution of human rights now taking place within and beyond our national borders.

            The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men...

            There is no civil rights movement to speak for women, as there has been for Negroes and other victims of discrimination.  The National Organization for Women must therefore begin to speak...

            WE BELIEVE that the power of American law, and the protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to the civil rights of all individuals, must be effectively applied and enforced to isolate and remove patterns of sex discrimination, to ensure equality of opportunity in employment and education, and equality of civil and political rights and responsibilities on behalf of women, as well as for Negroes and other deprived groups...

            WE DO NOT ACCEPT the token appointment of a few women to high‑level positions in government and industry as a substitute for a serious continuing effort to recruit and advance women according to their individual abilities.

            WE BELIEVE that this nation has a capacity at least as great as other nations, to innovate new social institutions which will enable women to enjoy true equality of opportunity and responsibility in society, without conflict with their responsibilities as mothers and homemakers.      

            WE BELIEVE that it is as essential for every girl to be educated to her full potential of human ability as it is for every boy‑‑with the knowledge that such education is the key to effective participation in today's economy...     

            WE REJECT the current assumption that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and family, and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage, or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman's world and responsibility‑‑hers, to dominate, his to support.

            WE BELIEVE that women must now exercise their political rights and responsibilities as American citizens.  They must refuse to be segregated on the basis of sex into separate‑and‑not‑equal ladies' auxiliaries in the political parties....

            IN THE INTERESTS OF THE HUMAN DIGNITY OF WOMEN, we will protest and endeavor to change the false image of women now prevalent in the mass media, and in the texts, ceremonies, laws, and practices of our major social institutions.

            WE BELIEVE THAT women will do most to create a new image of women by acting now, and by speaking out in behalf of their own equality, freedom, and human dignity. 

Source: Mary Beth Norton, Major Problems in American Women's History Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath and Company, 1989), pp. 397‑400.   



Two measures in the 1970s, the Equal Rights Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court Decision on abortion in Roe v. Wade, have come to symbolize the complex issues raised by the feminist movement and reflect the deep divisions among women and men as to the implications of sexual equality.  The ERA is reprinted below as well as excerpts from the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. 

The Equal Rights Amendment, 1972  

Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged    by the United States or by any State on account of sex. 

Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. 

Section 3: This Amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification. 

*   *    *

            Roe v. Wade:  We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires.  One's philosophy...religious training...attitude toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes... are all likely to influence and to color one's thinking and conclusions about abortion.

            In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the problem.

            It perhaps is not generally appreciated that the restrictive criminal abortion laws in effect in a majority of States today are of relatively recent vintage... They derive from statutory changes effected, for the most part, in the latter half of the 19th Century...

            The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy.  In a line of decisions, however, the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution... This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action...or in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

            The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment...  The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words...  But in nearly all of the instances the use of the word is such that it has application only postnatally.  None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible prenatal application... 

Source: Mary Beth Norton, Main Problems in American Women's History (Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath, 1989), pp. 422, 425‑427. 



In the passage below historians Roger Waldinger and Mehdi Bozorgmehr describe the impact of the 1965 Immigration Act on the United States with particular reference to Los Angeles, the destination for the largest number of newcomers.  

            Passage of the Hart-Celler Act in 1965 provided the conventional date for the onset of the new immigration the United States.  The 1965 reform transformed the immigration system with a few bold strokes.  First, it abolished the old country-of-origins quotas, which allotted small quotas to southern and eastern Europe and still smaller--almost prohibitively small--quotas to Asia.  Second, it established two principal criteria for admission to the United States: family ties to citizens or permanent residents or possession of scarce and needed skills.  Third, it increased the total numbers of immigrants to be admitted to the United States...

            The reformers thought that the new act would keep immigration to modest proportions.  But for various reasons the numbers quickly spiraled; 7.3 million new immigrants arrived into the United States during the 1980s, an influx second only to the peak of 8.8 million newcomers recorded during the first decade of the 20th Century.  To be sure, at 8%, the immigrants constituted a far more modest share of the nation's population in 1990 than was true in 1910, when fifteen of every hundred Americans were foreign-born.  Still, the 1990 level represented a substantial increase over the 5% level recorded when the foreign-born share of the U.S. population hit its historic nadir in 1970.

            A second unexpected twist concerned the act's beneficiaries.  The 1965 legislation was principally targeted at eastern and southern Europeans, the groups hardest hit by the nativist legislation of the 1920s.  By the 1960s, however, workers from Italy or Yugoslavia had fallen out of the orbit of trans-Atlantic migration.  Instead, the newcomers who took advantage of the newly liberalized system came from Asia, Latin American and the countries of the Caribbean.

            What no one expected in 1965 was the burgeoning of Asian immigration... The 1965 reforms created opportunities for immigrants whose skills--as engineers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists--were in short supply.  Along with students already living in the United States, who enjoyed easy access to American employers, these professionals made up the first wave of new immigrants, in turn creating the basis for the kinship migration of less-well educated relatives.  The system was sufficiently flexible for longer-established groups, like the Chinese, to renew migration streams while also allowing entirely new groups--most notably Koreans and Asian Indians--to put a nucleus in place and then quickly expand.

            Political developments added momentum to the migrant flow across the Pacific...  Unexpected pressures repeatedly forced the United States to expand greatly its admission of refugees.  The collapse of the U.S.-supported regime in South Vietnam, followed by Communist takeovers in Cambodia and Laos, triggered a sudden, massive outflow of refugees, many of whom settled on the West Coast... By the 1980s, Asia emerged as the number two source area of the foreign-born, accounting for 37% of all newcomers...

            Asian immigrants passed through the front door opened by the 1965 reforms... Mexican and later on Central Americans were more likely to come through the back door of unauthorized migration.  The immediate roots of Mexican unauthorized migration lie in the Bracero Program begun during the Second Word War to eliminated the shortage of agricultural workers.  Ostensibly, the Bracero Program was destined for a short existence, and the workers it imported were supposed to head back to Mexico after a short stint of temporary labor in the U.S.  But the influence of agribusiness kept the Bracero Program alive until 1963, and with time, an increasing number of migrants dropped out of the bracero stream, heading for better jobs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other urban areas.  By 1964...networks between the United States and villages throughout Mexico's central plateau were already in place, providing all the information and connections needed to keep the migrants coming, whether or not they had legal documents.

            While Mexicans were drawn by the inducements of American employers, the Salvadorans and Guatemalans who headed for the U.S. border in increasing numbers in the late 1970s and afterwards were responding to different factors.  Like the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, the Central Americans were escaping political unrest, but unlike their Asian counterparts, the Central Americans had the bad fortune to be fleeing right-wing regimes propped up with U.S. government support.  Hence, these newcomers mainly moved across the border as unauthorized migrants...

            Just how many newcomers have arrived without authorization has long been a matter of dispute; wildly disparate estimates...ranging from 2 to 12 million are stock-in-trade... [The best estimate] suggests about 2 to 4 million residing in the United States as of 1980, of whom over half had come from Mexico...

            Given the many circumstances of migration, it should be no surprise that the newcomers of the post-1965 years are an extraordinarily diverse lot...  The extraordinary educational differences among various immigrant groups suggest that skill levels have gone up and down.  Highly educated professionals and managers dominate some streams, most notably those from the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia; among many of these groups, median levels of schooling leave America's native white workers far behind.  Manual workers with little schooling predominate among other groups--Mexicans are the most conspicuous example--and the contribution of low-skilled workers to America's immigrant pool has risen substantially in recent years... 

Source: Roger Waldinger and Mehdi Bozorgmehr, Ethnic Los Angeles, (New York, 1996) pp. 9-12. 



Total Number of Immigrants 




















Percentage of Immigrants By Country of Origin

South and Central America\West Indies 










Great Britain




France, Switzerland & Low Countries


Central Europe 









Great Britain
















West Indies 






















The Netherlands










Source: Lewis Todd and Merle Curti, Rise of the American Nation, (New York, 1982), pp. 798, 843. 


In the brief discussion below Sucheng Chan describes the growing importance of "grassroots" political activism among younger Asian Americans.  Her assessment challenges the widely held belief of political apathy within Asian communities.  

            Very few Asian Americans participated in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s., but the movement against U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam caught their attention in the late 1960s.  With the help of the television evening news, an increasing number of Asian American college and high school students realized with a shock that the "enemy" whom American soldiers were maiming and killing had faces like their own.  A number of the more radical students began to think of the war not only as an imperialist but also a racist one.

            Young Asian Americans, as well as youth of other backgrounds, also drew inspiration from China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution...in the ten years between 1966 and 1976.  The Cultural Revolution, an officially sanctioned campaign by young Red Guards against a segment of China's political establishment, fired the imagination of rebellious students everywhere.  Bookstores in the United States that imported the red plastic-covered booklets containing the sayings of Mao Zedong did a thriving business.  Like the Red Guards in China, many Asian American students, along with their black, Chicano, and white peers, waved the pocket-sized talismans as they marched in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, for civil rights, for racial pride, and for the establishment of ethnic studies courses and programs.

            The activists eagerly adopted the Chinese Communists' political work style; they held long meetings, practiced collective leadership, and engaged in sectarian struggles.  But since there was no "countryside" to go to, where they might learn from "the masses"--as the Red Guards in China were doing--the Asian American activists descended on their surprised communities.  Some members of these communities--especially the leaders of the traditional organizations--looked askance at the students' unkempt long hair, Mao jackets, and rude (and terribly un-Asian) manners.

            Nonetheless, the activists tried to organize garment and restaurant workers; set up social service agencies; recruit individuals to leftist organizations, which mushroomed overnight; and protested against a variety of ills.  These included not only those created by American racism and capitalism but also those spawned by the increasing presence of Asian "flight capital," which allowed entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, and various other Asian metropolises to buy up buildings in the major Chinatowns and Japantowns of America, driving real estate prices sky high and causing severe hardship on the old residents.

            The political activists were of two kinds: radicals who were mostly concerned with articulating the "correct" leftist political "lines" and reformers who put their energy primarily into setting up legal aid organizations, health clinics, and bilingual programs for the elderly and youth.  In the long run, the former has had relatively little effect, but many of the agencies set up by the latter have remained.  They continue to render important assistance to the needy and have been crucial in providing services to non-English-speaking new immigrants.

            Within the political arena, the radicals were initially firmly opposed to "bourgeois" electoral politics, but a number of them later became actively involved in Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition.  Some of the reformers, meanwhile, have run for office or supported candidates.  Ironically, those who paved the way for Asian American involvement in mainstream politics are now slowly outnumbered by more conservative individuals who support the domestic and foreign policies and programs of the Reagan and Bush administrations.  The new immigrants who have come in search of a good life under capitalism, as well as the refugees who risked their lives to escape communism, are natural allies for the Republican party. 

Source: Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans: An Interpretive History (Boston, 1991), pp. 174-175. 



In a 1992 Register-Guard article, reporter Larry Bacon describes the experiences of recently arrived Latino immigrants in Newport, Oregon.  Here is his account.  

NEWPORT‑‑Narciso Tamayo and Jesus Hernandez came to Newport in search of a better lives for them­selves and their families Tamayo, 37, a former shoemaker from the industrial city of Purisime del Bustos in central Mexico, left his family behind and came to Newport four years ago when there were few Hispanics in the area Hernandez, 23, a former fisherman from the seacoast city of Puerto Angel in the south of Mexico, arrived in March with his wife and two children.  At the same time Hernandez arrived, hundreds of other Hispanics also came looking for jobs in Newport's new whiting processing industry.  The workers brought racial diversity to a community where few people of color have lived before.  But life in the United States is not always easy for the two men, and their dreams have proved somewhat elusive.

            Yet Tamayo has grown comfortable with his new life in Newport.  He's learned to speak English fairly well.  He has friends in both the Anglo and Hispanic communities.  He's been able to find enough work at the seafood plants to stay employed almost year-round.  He makes from $18,000 to $24,000 a year‑‑much more than he could hope to make in Mexico‑‑and still spends two months each winter at home with his family. 

            Even though he hopes to bring his family to this country someday, he has some reservations. "I am afraid the white people have prejudice about my kids," he says.  Most of the prejudice he's experienced has not been not overt "It's something you can feel when they see you."  He recalls a white co-worker telling him a joke based on the racial stereotype that Mexicans steal. "It's like he was trying to be nice, but at the same time‑‑put the knife inside," Tamayo says. Prejudice kept the local Eagles lodge from accepting him as a member, both he and a lodge official say.  Tamayo rejected a friend's advice to sue the lodge for discrimination, however. "I don't want to make trouble with anybody," he says.  Dick Gearin, president of the Ea­gles lodge, says Tamayo and three other Hispanics were "blackballed" by three members who were angry about problems some other Hispanics had caused at a lodge function.  At the time, three negative votes could bar anyone from membership.  Gearin, who helped sponsor Tamayo..., says he and most other lodge members were so up­set by the blackballing that they changed the rules.  Now members are admitted by majority vote.  Tamayo and his friends have since joined the Eagles lodge at nearby Toledo.

            Meanwhile, Hernandez and his wife, Saray Gabriel Luna, are less concerned about prejudice than learning English and making their way in a new country. They say they have made Anglo friends who have been warm and friendly. The friends, primarily from their church, have invited them to dinner and given them clothes for their children.

            They have had help learning American ways from Luna's older sister, Maria Luisa Dale, who married an An­glo and moved to Newport eight years ago.  The young newcomers lived with the Dalles for four months until they could rent a one-bedroom apartment of their own.

Hernandez dreams of making enough in the fish plants to return to Puerto Angel and buy a small fishing boat for about $3,000.  But it is expensive for them to live in Newport, and they have saved little so far.  Their salaries‑‑$5.75 an hour for him and $5.25 an hour for her part-­time work‑‑are eaten up by living expenses, particularly rent.  Their tiny apartment costs $340 a month.  Now the whiting season is over, and they have both been laid off. They are looking for any type of work to tide them over until whiting season begins again next April... 

Source: Eugene Register-Guard, November 8, 1992, p. 1 


During the 1930s when the United States was in the throes of the Great Depression most Americans welcomed and indeed demanded an activist government that would reinvigorate the economy and protect their rights.  Over the years however, attitudes toward government and what it can and should accomplish have undergone a dramatic shift.  The quotes from four American Presidents reflect that shift. 

            The liberal party is a party which believes that, as new conditions and problems arise beyond the power of men and women to meet as individuals, it becomes the duty of the Government itself to find new remedies with which to meet them.  The liberal party insists that the Government has the definite duty to use all its power and resources to meet new social problems with new social controls‑‑to insure to the average person the right to his own economic and political life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, June 16, 1941 

            Statements are made labeling the Federal Government an outsider, an intruder, an adversary... The people of this (TVA) area know that the United States Government is not a stranger or not an enemy.  It is the people of fifty states joining in a national effort...  Only a great national effort by a great people working together can explore the mysteries of space, harvest the products at the bottom of the ocean, and mobilize the human, natural, and material resources of our lands.

John F. Kennedy, May 18, 1963 

            Government cannot solve our problems.  It can't set our goals.  It cannot define our vision.  Government cannot eliminate poverty, or provide a bountiful economy, or reduce inflation, or save our cities, or cure illiteracy, or provide energy.

Jimmy Carter, January 19, 1978 

            Government is not the solution to our problem.  Government is the problem.

Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981 

Source: John M. Blum, The National Experience: A History of the United States (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989), p. 812. 



The vignette that follows is a brief description of the worst political scandal in the history of the United States. 

            The capture of five burglars inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washing­ton, D.C., on June 17, 1972, had aroused widespread suspicion about White House involvement. Despite official denials, two investigative reporters of The Washington Post, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, printed stories claiming that the burglars had obtained money from the Committee for the Re-election of the President (popularly known as CREEP) and that illegal campaign contributions had been "laundered" in Mexican banks. "What really hurts,” replied President Nixon in a news conference on August 29, "is if you try to cover it up... I can state categorically that no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”

            Two weeks later, a federal grand jury indicted the five burglars as well as two former White House aides, Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, on charges of tapping telephones, electronic surveillance, and theft of documents. "We have absolutely no evidence to indicate that any others should be charged,” announced a Justice Department official...

            The trial of the Watergate burglars opened in January 1973 in the court of Judge John Sirica...  Four of the burglars, all connected to the anti-Castro Cuban community of Miami and believed to have participated in the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs fiasco, maintained silence by pleading guilty.  Hunt, Liddy, and former CIA operative James McCord were also convicted.  But unlike his codefendants, McCord, determined to protect the CIA, and in the process, save his own skin, refused to participate further in the Watergate cover-up.  In a letter to Sirica in March 1973, McCord admitted that “political pressure” had led the defendants to plead guilty, that perjury had been committed, and that the web of complicity reached high into the administration...

            Persuaded that the Nixon White House would never adequately investigate itself...the Senate es­tablished the Ervin committee to probe possible violations of campaign law.  Nixon, fearing exposure of the Watergate cover-up and confident in his ability to defy congressional power, promptly announced his refusal to cooperate with the Senate on the grounds of “executive privilege.”

             “Executive poppycock,” retorted Ervin.  White House personnel were not“nobility and royalty,”he stated, and would face arrest if they refused to appear before a congressional committee.           

            On April 17, 1973, White House press secretary Ron Ziegler announced the discovery of new evidence that made all previous statements about Watergate“inoperative.” The President told a stunned television audience that four major advisers--H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, John Dean, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst—had resigned because of the Watergate affair, but that Nixon alone, as chief executive, was responsible for what he termed “a series of illegal acts and bad judgments by a number of individuals.”Nixon pledged to "bring the guilty...to justice..." 

            The President named as attorney general Elliot Richardson,“a man of incomparable integ­rity and rigorously high principle,” and agreed to appoint an independent special prosecutor to deal with the Watergate case.  In May, Richardson selected...Archibald Cox. “I have the greatest confidence in the President,” maintained House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, “and am absolutely positive he had nothing to do with this mess.”

            On Friday, the thirteenth of July...former White House appointments secretary Alexander Butterfield was describing the administration's office procedures when an investigator asked about the possibility of recording presidential conversations. “I was hoping you fellows wouldn't ask me about that,”replied Butterfield.  The President ordered the Secret Service to install voice-activated tape recorders in White House offices to preserve a historical record.  Such tapes...promised to resolve the conflicting testimony presented to the Ervin committee, would reveal at last who had told the truth and who had lied. 

            On July 31, 1973, Representative Robert F. Drinan, a Catholic priest from Massachusetts, introduced a resolution listing four presidential actions—the bombing of Cambodia, the taping of conversations, the refusal to spend impounded funds, and the establishment of a “super secret security force within the White House”—as grounds for impeachment.  Public opinion polls found that large majorities doubted the President’s honesty and most Americans believed he had an obligation to surrender the White House tapes... “It may well be,” wrote columnist William Raspberry in The Washington Post, “that the biggest threat to the presidency today is the President.”

            As Nixon struggled to recapture public confidence, his admin­istration received a severe blow from its sturdiest supporter—Vice President Agnew.  On August 6, 1973, the Justice Department revealed that the second highest executive officer was under inves­tigation for receiving bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland. “I am innocent of any wrongdoing,” asserted the Vice President...  But with the administration/s credibility already suspect, Agnew could no longer rally public support...  Facing incontrovertible evidence of bribery, even while serving in Washington, Agnew agreed...to plea-bargain for a reduced sentence.  On October 10, 1973, in exchange for his resignation, Agnew offered a “nolo contendere” plea.. the full equivalent to a plea of guilty--to a single count of income tax evasion, amounting to $13,551.47.  In leaving government service, the former Vice President received a three-year suspended sentence, a $10,000 fine, and a letter from Richard Nixon expressing “a great sense of personal loss.”

            The departure of Agnew also served the crucial symbolic role of weakening public allegiance to the entire administration.  “We've demonstrated that we can replace a Vice President," remarked William Rusher, publisher of the conservative National Review, “so I expect we could replace a President.”  After a decade of assassination—the sudden loss of the two Kennedys, King, George Wallace—the idea of finding substitute leadership no longer seemed odd or implausible.

            On the day he announced [Gerald] Ford’s nomination [as Vice President], an appellate court denied the President's “incantation of the doctrine of separation of powers,” rejected his claim “of special presidential immunities,” and ordered him to produce the subpoenaed White House tapes for Judge Sirica... Disregarding the court order, Nixon announced his intention to comply with the spirit of the ruling...by providing written summaries of the tapes...  The Ervin committee...consented to Nixon's compromise.  But prosecutor Cox questioned the reliability of such secondhand evidence and rejected the proposal. “I think it is my duty as the special prosecutor,” declared Cox in a televised news conference on Saturday, October 20, 1973, “to bring to the court’s attention what seems to me to be noncompliance.”

            Enraged by his subordinate’s audacity, Nixon immediately ordered Attorney General Richardson to fire Cox.  But Richardson, having assumed office the previous April on assurances that the President would not interfere with the special prosecutor, refused the task and instead submitted his resignation.  Nixon then ordered deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox.  But he, too, refused and was promptly fired by the President.  Solicitor General Robert Bork then assumed the attorney general's post and executed the order.

            This Saturday Night Massacre, reported immediately by the television networks, provoked waves of protest that White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig likened to “a fire storm.” “The office of the President does not carry with it a license to destroy justice in America,” objected Senator Robert Packwood.  More than a quarter of a million telegrams denouncing the President’s action poured into Washington, and on Sunday huge crowds surrounded the White House, urging passing motorists to “honk for impeachment.”  In the House of Representatives, eighty-four congressmen sponsored twenty-two different bills calling for Nixon’s impeachment, and the Demo­cratic leadership instructed the judiciary committee, headed by Representative Peter Rodino of New Jersey, to begin an impeach­ment inquiry. 

            The President's hope to restore public confidence in the new year [1974] abruptly collapsed when a panel of expert technicians reported or January 15 that a particular eighteen-and-a-half minute gap in conversation between Nixon and Haldeman had been deliberately erased... “We know that there is corruption in the... Oval Office,” concluded political columnist George Will.  Listing the names of all the White House aides who had left the administration because of Watergate--Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Dean, Strachan, Porter, Caulfield, Ulasewicz, Mitchell, Stans, Hunt, Mardian, Segretti, Liddy Kaimbach, McCord, Chapin, Gray, and Magruder-—Will asked, “Of all the significant men who were around the White House when the cover-up began [and], who are still there providing the continuity in this ongoing cover-up, one name,” he said, “springs to mind.”

            In audacious attempt to preserve his administration, Nixon commanded television airtime on April 29, 1974... Still maintaining that "the President has nothing to hide," Nixon released a 1,308-page edited transcription of the subpoenaed tapes, in place of the actual evidence.

            The publication of the transcriptions revealed the most intimate details of White House conversations and stripped away the remaining shreds of presidential dignity. “We have seen the private man and we are appalled,” commented the conservative Chicago Tribune. “He is humorless to the point of being inhumane.  He is devious. He is vacillating.  He is profane.  He is willing to be led.  He displays amazing gaps in his knowledge...his loyalty is minimal.”  “Nobody is a friend of ours.  Let’s face it,” said Nixon on one of the tapes.  Congressional leaders, embarrassed and angered by such disclosures, prepared to take him at his word.

            [O]n July 27, the [House Judiciary] committee voted 27—11 to adopt the first article of impeachment, charging the President with obstruction of justice for blocking a full investigation of the Watergate affair.  On July 29, the committee recommended 28—10 the second article of impeachment, accusing Nixon of abusing his powers of office to violate constitutional rights.  On July 30, the committee approved 21—17 the third article of impeachment, citing the chief executive's violations of congressional subpoenas...

            Certain that the full House would ratify the recommendations, Nixon prepared to carry his fight to the Senate... On August 5, in an act of apparent political suicide, the President released additional transcriptions of conversations which showed unmistakably that on June 23, 1972, six days after the Watergate burglary, Nixon personally ordered a halt to a full investigation of the crime.  Shocked by this disclosure, Republican loyalists quickly withdrew their remaining support... On August 7, three of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Scott, House Minority Leader John Rhodes, and Senator Barry Goldwater, journeyed to the White House to con­firm estimates of minimal support.

            Facing certain conviction, the 37th President of the United States addressed the American people for the 37th time on August 8, 1974. “I have never been a quitter,” he admitted.  "To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body."  His struggle, he announced, would end the next day at noon.  For the first time, an American president had resigned.

            In a somber White House, Nixon bade farewell to the mem­bers of his administration on the morning of August 9. “Always give your best,” advised the outgoing President. “Never get discouraged.  Never be petty.  Always remember: others may hate you.  Those who hate you don't win unless you hate them.  And then you destroy yourself.”            

Source: Peter N. Carroll, It Seemed Like Nothing Happened: The Tragedy and Promise of America in the 1970s (New York, 1982), p. 140-43, 145, 148-51, 153, 155-58. 



The vignette below describes the gay-rights movement of the 1970s. 

            The emergence of a gay life-style triggered a demand for homosexual rights. Activists dated the beginning of gay militancy to a hot June day in 1969 when New York City police invaded a homosexual bar, the Stonewall Inn, and angry patrons fought back.  In subsequent years, numerous municipalities enacted ordinances extending equal protection to homosexuals, and a gay-rights bill lingered in Congress.  Gay lobbyists met with [President] Carter's aide Margaret Constanza to seek the right to serve in the military, FBI, CIA, and the State Department... Though Carter rejected the pressure, he acknowledged the legal rights of gays. "I don't feel that society, through its laws, ought to abuse or harass the homosexual," he stated on Father's Day, 1977.

            These assertions of gay rights...prompted a powerful backlash that swept the nation in 1977.  The issue coalesced first in Miami, Florida, soon after the city adopted a law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals.  "The ordinance condones immorality, and discriminates against my children's rights to grow up in a healthy, decent community," charged singer Anita Bryan, who quickly launched a Save Our Children movement to overthrow this measure...   

            Fighting back, gay activists defined the issue as a defense of civil rights. "Miami is our Selma," claimed one gay activist, alluding to the black crusade of the sixties... What if the people of Selma, Alabama, had been asked to vote on equal rights for blacks in 1964?"

            In June 1977, Miami voters spoke--by a two-to-one margin rejecting the antidiscrimination ordinance.  The outcome outraged liberals through the nation. "Terribly wrong," commented San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, as five thousand of his city's homosexuals marched in protest.  In New York City, angry gays paraded the streets chanting, "Gay rights now!"

            Division within the homosexual communities--distrust between lesbians and gay men, disagreements between homosexuals who urged anonymity and exhibitionists who flaunted their preferences--left this group vulnerable to further attack... In the spring of 1978, the spirit of Miami spread to St. Paul, Minnesota, Wichita, Kansas and Eugene, Oregon [where] popular referenda repealed existing antidiscrimination laws... But in a hotly contested municipal election in Seattle, voters overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to repeal a law protecting civil rights regardless of sexual orientation.

            San Francisco, with one of the largest homosexual communities in the country, boasted a gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, first elected in 1977, and a gay rights ordinance signed by Mayor Moscone in 1978. [Yet even here] a substantial constituency criticized gay rights and a conservative police department resented the mayor's prohibition of the harassment of homosexuals.  The only supervisor to vote against the antidiscrimination measure was a former policeman named Dan White who had campaigned against "splinter groups of radicals, social deviates, incorrigibles."  Unable to influence municipal policy, White overcame his political impotence with the help of a police special .38 and a dozen hollowed bullets, assassinating Moscone and Milk in their offices in November 1978.  "If a bullet should enter my brain," Milk had prophetically tape-recorded his own eulogy, "let that bullet destroy every closet door." 

Source: Peter N. Carroll, It Seemed Like Nothing Happened: The Tragedy and Promise of America in the 1970s (New York, 1982), pp. 290-293. 



During the 1970s the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dramatically, if temporarily, changed the world balance of power by first embargoing and then raising the price of oil sold to the West.  Those years of change are described in this excerpt from David Halberstam's book, The Reckoning.  

            For twenty years the companies were able to stabilize the posted price of oil─in effect, the price at which they chose to sell (vastly above the cheap price at which they bought)...  From about 1948 to 1971 the price was remarkably even, staying near $2 a barrel.  But beneath the seeming stability there was volatility.  For the first time the Arab nations began to talk of unity...  In 1967 the Egyptians and the Syrians attacked Israel in what became known as the Six‑Day War.  The speed and completeness with which the Israelis defeated their Arab opponents only made the Arabs more aware of their weakness and deepened their rage...  The impotence of the Arabs simply created more contempt for them in the West.  But it was this demonstration of their own ineffectuality that prompted real change, at last compelling the Arab nations to cooperate with one another.

            At the same time the buyer's market in oil was beginning to become a seller's market.  The Six‑Day War took place twenty‑two years after the end of World War II.  By then Western Europe had become a full‑fledged member of the oil culture....From 1950 to 1965 the six Common Market countries' reliance on oil as an energy source increased from 10 to 45 percent...  Japan's economy, a scaled‑down replica of the American model, became ever more oil‑based, and countless smaller countries were also beginning to demand oil...

            The first substantial break came in 1969 in Libya.  In September of that year, King Idris was overthrown by a group of radical officers headed by a young army colonel named Muammar Qaddafi, bitterly anti‑Israel, fiercely anti‑Western...  Unlike other Arab countries, where the government dealt with only one main concessionaire, Libya had opened itself up to a variety of companies, and its fields were allotted among them.  Thus someone like Qaddafi could exert considerable leverage on a single firm he chose to isolate.  Advised by experts that his oil was under priced, he sought an increase; the companies rejected his request.  In May 1970, his patience exhausted, he took on Occidental Petroleum, an independent and, among the many companies doing business in Libya, the weakest link...

            It was probably the first time one of the oil countries did to a company what the companies had been doing to them.  Occidental quickly offered a modest increase in price, but it was too late...

            At a meeting of OPEC in December 1970, the new Arab confidence was obvious.  Not just the leaders of the radical countries but even supposedly moderate leaders like the Shah were behaving in a new way..."The oil-producing countries know they are being cheated," he declared.  "Otherwise you would not have the common front...  The all‑powerful seven sisters [the international oil companies] have got to open their eyes and see that they are living in 1971 and not in 1948 or 1949."

            The negotiations between the companies and the Iranians became intense.  The Iranians wanted 54 cents more a barrel, and the Americans offered 15 cents.  They finally settled on 30 cents, increasing to 50 by 1975...

            In March the companies doing business with Libyans agreed on a posted price of $3, an increase of 76 cents.  Word of that price spread swiftly through the Arab world.  The Shah, hearing the news, was furious; he realized how much more he could have gotten...

            In June 1973 there was another OPEC meeting, at which the countries announced an additional 12 percent increase...  Sheik Yamani [the Saudi oil Minister] told reporters that this was the last time the countries would negotiate with the companies on price; from now on they would meet, work out the price, and announce it unilaterally to the companies...

            Now two powerful currents came together─a changing market value for oil and an enraged Arab sensibility over American support of Israel.  Four Arab foreign ministers flew to Washington to warn the Americans of the possibility of a boycott.  The most important of them was Omar Saqquaf, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia.  On the day that Saqquaf hoped to see President Nixon, the President pleaded too busy a schedule, and that angered the Saudis.  A press conference an American reporter suggested to Saqquaf that the Saudis might have to drink their oil, and Saqquaf retorted, "All right, we will."

            On October 21 the boycott, aimed primarily at the Americans, began.  The embargo helped drive the price per barrel skyward, for those allowed to buy.  It seemed a particularly cruel irony that only a few weeks earlier the companies had sneered at Yamani's request for a $5 price...

            On December 16, 1973, the Iranian State Oil Company for the first time conducted an auction of its oil.  The highest bid was $17 a barrel.  Shell was said to have bid at $12.  Another auction in Algeria produced bids of $22.  It was clear that the posted price and the market price no longer had anything to do with each other... 

            The American economy and the American people were completely unprepared for the change.  The squandering of oil was built into the very structure of American life.  Everyone had become dependent upon cheap energy.  Almost all American cars, for example, had automatic transmissions, which used 25 percent more gas than manual transmissions...  Eighty-five percent of the job holders in America drove to work every day─and as a result, public transportation had atrophied.  Suddenly gas was expensive and scarce.  In a short time it went from 36 cents a gallon to 60.  People lined up for hours at every service station.  There were fights as drivers tried to jump the line, reports of bribes, and even one murder committed in a struggle for gas.  In the neurosis created by the boycott there was a new craze called "topping off," which was an attempt to keep one's tank perpetually filled.  At one service station in Pittsburgh a motorist came in and bought 11 cents worth and the attendant spit in his face...

            In March 1974, just five months after it began, the boycott was over.  The Arabs had flexed their new muscles, had made both their political and economic points, and were now being richly rewarded by the high price of oil.  The oil began flowing again, though much more expensively... 

Source: David Halberstam, The Reckoning, (New York, 1986), pp. 452‑459. 



The following account describes the 444 day Iranian hostage crisis which of 1979-1981. 

            Like Richard Nixon, President Carter valued Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran, whom the United States had been supporting since 1953, when the CIA helped pave his way to power, as an instrument of American interests in the Persian Gulf region.  On a visit to Tehran in 1977, Carter complimented the shah on "the admiration and love which your people give to you."  In fact, the shah had long been violating his subjects' human rights--his secret police, which had close times to the CIA, had tortured and imprisoned some 50,000 people and had been spending unprecedented amounts of Iranian wealth on arms from the United States instead of investing it in economic development.  Opposition to his regime was bitter and widening, especially among the country's religious leaders, who strongly disliked the Westernizing trends the shah supported. 

            In January 1979, a revolution led by Shiite fundamentalists forced the shah to flee to Europe.  The new head of Iran was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, seventy-nine years old...who rapidly turned the government into a theocracy that condemned modernization and preached hatred of the West.

            In early November, Carter admitted the shah to the United States for cancer treatment, despite warning that the action would jeopardize American diplomats in Iran.  On November 4, 1979, armed students broke into the American embassy compound in Tehran and held fifty Americans hostage...  The crisis increasingly frustrated and angered Americans as television carried nightly clips from Tehran of anti-American mobs demonstrating at the embassy and shouting "Death to America."  Carter immediately froze Iranian assets in the United States and prohibited the importation of Iranian oil.  A mission to rescue the hostages in 1980 fell apart when two American aircraft crashed into each other in the desert.  The attempt had been pushed by the White House over the misgivings of the military...  But after being invaded by Iraq in September, the Ayatollah Khomeini's government decided it did not want to deal with two enemies at once.  It released the hostages on Carter's last day in office, having held them for 444 days. 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States (New York, 2003) pp. 997-998 ,1101 



In the following vignettes we see the views of Phyllis Schlafly, a lawyer, author and political activist who emerged in the 1970s as the principal opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment and Rev. Jerry Falwell, a Baptist Minister from Lynchburg, Virginia and the founder of the Moral Majority.

    Schlafly: The first requirement for the acquisition of power by the Positive Woman is to understand the differences between men and women.  Your outlook on life, your faith, your behavior, your potential for fulfillment, all are determined by the parameters of your original premise.  The Positive Woman starts with the assumption that the world is her oyster.  She rejoices in the creative capability within her body and the power potential of her mind and spirit.  She understands that men and women are different, and that those very differences provide the key to her success as a person an fulfillment as a woman.

    The women's liberationist, on the other hand, is imprisoned by her own negative view of herself and of her place in the world around her.  This view of women was most succinctly expressed in an advertisement designed by...the National Organization for Women (NOW), and seen in many magazines and newspapers... The advertisement showed a darling curly headed girl with the caption: "This healthy, normal baby has a handicap. She was born female."

    This is the self-articulated dog-in-the manger, chip-on-the-shoulder, fundamental dogma of the women's liberation movement.  Someone--it is not clear who, perhaps God, perhaps the "Establishment," perhaps a conspiracy of male chauvinist pigs--dealt women a foul blow by making them female.  It become necessary, therefore, for women to agitate and demonstrate and hurl demands on society in order to wrest from an oppressive male-dominated social structure the status that has been wrongfully denied to women through the centuries... Confrontation replaces cooperation as the watchword of all relationships.  Women and men become adversaries instead of partners...

    The second dogma of the women's liberationists is that, of all the injustices perpetuated upon women through the centuries, the most oppressive is the cruel fact that women have babies and men do not... Women must be made equal to men in their ability not to become pregnant and not to be expected to care for babies they may bring into this world...

    The Positive Woman will never travel that dead-end road.  It is self-evident...that the female body with its baby-producing organs was not designed by a conspiracy of men but by the Divine Architect of the human race.  Those who think it is unfair that women have babies, whereas men cannot, will have to take up their complaint with God because no other power is capable of changing that fundamental fact...

    The new generation can brag all it wants about the new liberation of the new morality, but it is still the woman who is hurt the most.  The new morality isn't just a "fad"--it is a cheat and a thief.  It robs the woman of her virtue, her youth, her beauty, and her love--for nothing, just nothing.  It has produced a generation of young women searching for their identity, bored with sexual freedom, and despondent from the loneliness of living a life without commitment.  They have abandoned the old commandments, but they can't find any new rules that work...

    The differences between men and women are...emotional and psychological.  Without woman's innate maternal instinct, the human race would have died out centuries ago.. Caring for a baby serves the natural maternal need of a woman.  Although not nearly so total as the baby's need, the woman's need is nonetheless real... The overriding psychological need of a woman is to love something alive.  A baby fulfills this need in the lives of must women.  If a baby is not available to fill that need, women search for a baby-substitute.  This is the reason why women have traditionally gone into teaching and nursing careers. They are doing what come naturally to the female psyche.  The schoolchild or the patient of any age provides an outlet for a woman to express her natural maternal need...

    Finally, women are different from men in dealing with the fundamentals of life itself.  Men are philosophers, women are practical, and 'twas ever thus.  Men may philosophize about how life began and where we are heading; women are concerned about feeding the kids today.  No woman would ever, as Karl Marx did, spend years reading political philosophy in the British Museum while her child starved to death.  Women don't take naturally to a search for the intangible and abstract.  The Positive Woman knows who she is and where she is going, and she will reach her goal because the longest journey starts with a very practical first step.

    Falwell: I believe that at the foundation of the women's liberation movement there is a minority core of women who were once bored with life, whose real problems are spiritual problems.  Many women have never accepted their God-given roles.  They live in disobedience to God's laws and have promoted their godless philosophy throughout our society.  God Almighty created men and women biologically different and with differing needs and roles.  He made men and women to complement each other and to love each other.  Not all the women involved in the feminist movement are radicals.  Some are misinformed, and some are lonely women who like being housewives and helpmates and mothers, but whose husbands spend little time at home and who take no interest in their wives and children.  Sometimes the full load of rearing a family becomes a great burden to a woman who is not supported by a man.  Women who work should be respected and accorded dignity and equal rewards for equal work.  But this is not what the present feminist movement and the equal rights movement are all about.

    The Equal Rights Amendment is a delusion.  I believe that women deserve more than equal rights.  And, in families and in nations where the Bible is believed, Christian women are honored above men.  Only in places were the Bible is believed and practiced do women receive more than equal rights.  Men and women have differing strengths.  The Equal Rights Amendment can never do for women what needs to be done for them.  Women need to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and be under His Lordship.  They need a man who knows Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and they need to be part of a home where their husband is a godly leader and where there is a Christian family... ERA defied the mandate that "the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church" (Ep. 5:23). In 1 Peter 3:7 we read that husbands are to give their wives honor as unto the weaker vessel, that they are both heirs together of the grace of life.  Because a woman is weaker does not mean that she is less important.

Source: Mary Beth Norton, Major Problems in American Women's History (Lexington, Ma., 1989), pp. 429-433.   .



Historian Pauline Maier, in this vignette, provides one description of the 1980s. 

            The Reagan years reminded some observers of the 1920s, not only in the ebullience of the prosperity but in the unevenness of it, and in the naked materialism of the culture associated with it. Between 1982 and 1988, the gross domestic product grew at an average annual rate of about 4 percent, generating more than 630,000 new businesses, 11 million jobs, and a drop in the unemployment rate from 7.4 percent to 5.5 percent. By 1988, mortgage rates had plummeted roughly 40 percent, and by 1989 median family income corrected for inflation had shot up 12.5 percent.

            Corporate profits broke records, and so did the stock market-‑at least until October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones industrial average (an indicator of stock‑market value) plummeted 508 points, losing almost a quarter of its worth wiping out $750 billion in paper wealth, and generating fears that the country might be headed for another Depression. But the jitters were short‑lived. By 1989, the Dow Jones had more than doubled its level in 1982.

            The decade produced a new group called "yuppies," a derivative acronym for "young urban professionals," upwardly mobile men and women with degrees in law or business, dressed for success and exuding the ambitions of an unrestrained materialism. Americans of all sorts became absorbed with celebrities‑professional athletes, television newscasters, entertainers, clothing designers, even chefs, most of whom were admired for their professional skills but also for their opulent incomes.  Among the heroes of Wall Street ere manipulators of junk bonds, loans issued to finance the purchase of corporations for prices far higher than the corporations were worth. Some of the heroes, who received several hundred million dollars a year in commissions, were later exposed as crooked and went to jail.

            Tom Wolfe's best‑selling novel Bonfire of the Vanities relentlessly explored the culture of avarice, but reality outdid fiction. Amid the weakened oversight of Reaganite deregulation, a number of savings‑and‑loan institutions were looted by white‑collar thieves, some of whom bought yachts and threw lavish entertainments. Ivan Boesky, one of the financial buccaneers of the decade‑he later went to jail for fraudulent manipulations proclaimed, "Greed is all right...everybody should be a little greedy," a sentiment that pervaded the popular film Wall Street. 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), pp. 1026-1027. 



The vignette below describes the emergence of the personal computer and ironically its debt to the counterculture generation. 

            One of the most significant technical developments of the 1970s was the personal computer.  Personal computers (PCs) sprang from several sources, notably the military's patronage of microelectronics and the interests of hobbyists in democratizing the use of computers.  An essential component of the PC was the integrated circuit, which formed all its electrical parts out of a flat piece of silicon, photo etching the connections between them. It was devised independently at Texas Instruments and at Fairchild Semiconductor Laboratories, in Palo Alto, California, which was an incubator for many of the engineers who would develop the computing industry in what came to be known as Silicon Valley, the region heavy with computer firms on the peninsula south of San Francisco.  Although integrated circuits were not developed with military patronage, the Defense Department and NASA provided a sizable fraction of the early market for them.  One Minuteman II missile used 2,000; the Apollo guidance system, 5,000.  By the late 1960s, engineers in Silicon Valley were creating an integrated circuit on a small chip containing the calculating circuits equivalent to all those in a mainframe computer of the 1950s.  In 1973, the Intel Corporation, founded by several veterans of Fairchild, announced that it had produced such a chip: the 8080.

            The development of the personal computer was encouraged by the abundant technical resources of Silicon Valley notably the electronics graduates from nearby Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley and the engineering innovations from local firms such as Hewlett-Packard‑-and by the inspiration that hobbyists drew from time‑sharing computers.  Built around a central computer that automatically allocated processing time to different individuals, time‑sharing gave users in their offices access to their personal files and encouraged them to think they could have interactive access to their own computers at any time for any purpose.  Computer hobbyists, some of them in tune with the countercultural ambience of the San Francisco Bay Peninsula, called for bringing computing power to the people by, for example, providing the public with free access to timeshared terminals.  One enthusiast recalled the "strong feeling that we were subversives.  We were subverting the way the giant corporations had run things."

            In 1974, a small firm that three hobbyists had founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to sell radio transmitters for model airplanes went beyond the dream of universal terminal access to put computers themselves into everyone's hands.  They started marketing a personal computer kit called the Altair.  Selling for $397, the Altair ran on the Intel 8080 chip and was an instant hit with hobbyists, even though it had no keyboard or monitor. It spurred Bill Gates, a twenty‑year‑old Harvard student, and his high school friend Paul Allen, twenty‑two, to write a software program for it that they licensed to the Albuquerque firm. Gates dropped out of Harvard to develop the Microsoft Corporation, a software firm he and Allen founded in 1975 for the Altair venture.  In 1976, Steve Wozniak, twenty‑five, and Steve Jobs, twenty, began marketing a comparable personal computer, the Apple.  Both were T‑shirts‑and‑jeans devotees of the hobbyist electronics culture in Silicon Valley, where they grew up; Jobs, with long hair and sandals, was an acolyte of vegetarianism, the Beatles, and transcendental meditation.  They built the first Apples in the home garage of Jobs's parents.

            Eager to expand the business, Jobs and Wozniak relinquished their T‑shirts for suits, obtained venture capital, and in 1977 brought out the Apple II, which included a keyboard, a monitor, and a floppy‑disk drive for storage.  A later version, introduced in 00 operated with a mouse and pull-down menus, both of which had been originally developed under contracts the Defense Department and NASA.  By this time, several other companies were selling personal compute software for them was initially confined to educational programs and games such as the wildly popular "Pacman," but in 1979 VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program, came on the market and demonstrated the value of the PC for business.

            Bill Gates had already warned the hobbyists that he would consider free sharing of the software that Microsoft had produced for the Altair a form of piracy.  By the late 1970s, personal computing was rapidly turning away from its countercultural origins into a lucrative for‑profit enterprise.  In 1981, IBM entered the PC market, enlisting Microsoft to provide the operating software for its machines.  In response, Microsoft bought a software package that had been devised at Seattle Computer Products by Tim Paterson, a recent college graduate, and provided it to IBM as MS‑DOS (short for "Microsoft Disk Operating System").  Gates sold IBM the right to use the system but maintained Microsoft's ownership, an arrangement that permitted the company eventually to earn billions of dollars by selling the right to use the system, which soon became an industry standard, to other makers of personal computers. The PC caught on so fast that two years later Time magazine designated the personal computer its "Man of the Year." 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), pp. 991-993. 



Few late 20th Century inventions have so profoundly changed U.S. society as the Internet.  Indeed, you are reading this vignette courtesy of internet technology.  A brief history of the Internet appears below.  

            Like so many innovations that changed the way people lived, the Internet originated in the national defense program's patronage of science and technology.  It was principally conceived in the late 1960s by a computer scientist at MIT named J. C. R. Licklider as a network that would preserve communications in the event of nuclear attack.  In the seventies, scientists and engineers at different institutions developed the essential hardware and software that would permit different types of computers and networks to communicate with each other through an intermediate service provider.  With the sponsorship of the Defense Department, a nationwide network rapidly developed among industrial and university scientists.  It was used mainly for e‑mail, which was pioneered in 1971 and which an authoritative 1978 report dubbed a "smashing success" that would "sweep the country."

            Between the mid‑1980s and early 1990s, partly at the initiative of then‑Senator Al Gore, the Internet was transferred to civilian control and then opened up to commercial use.  In the meantime, scientists in Europe developed a program to retrieve information from any computer connected to the Internet by latching on to its standard address (called a "URI," for universal resource locator).  They also devised a language ("html," for hypertext markup language) for presenting text and images, and protocols ("http," for hypertext transfer protocol) for transferring them from one computer to another.  Programmers at a government computing facility in Illinois, having devised a browser, left in 1994 to develop a new, commercial version that they called Netscape.  Together, these innovations led to the birth of the World Wide Web.  After the mid‑1990s, the Web spread with the freely accessible Internet across the globe.  Its diffusion was accompanied by an avalanche of companies founded to exploit it commercially, most of them with URLs that ended in the designation ".com" and were known accordingly as "dot com" companies.  By early 1999, about 74 million people, including two out of five adults, were accessing the Internet. 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), p. 1065-1066. 



The following passage from a 1985 Los Angeles Times article describes the advent of electronic mail.  At the time electronic mail services charged $40 to sign-up or $10 for a monthly service rate.  Ironically Microsoft advertised its Word program for the Apple-Mcintosh in that section of the paper for $149.95 

            From offices in San Francisco, the Bechtel Group, Inc. coordinated its Tedi River gold mining operations around the globe in Papua New Guinea by exchanging information over a computer message network.  In Mexico agricultural scientists are using computer links to remote experimental crop stations to monitor data of new strains of wheat being grown there.  And in Dearborn, Michigan, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers coordinates plans for its annual convention and distributes abstracts of technical papers to engineers across the United States over a computer communications system.

            Today, information that might otherwise require costly long distance calls or delay for postal delivery can be exchanged across town or around the world virtually in an instant via "electronic mail"-- a computer-to-computer communications system regarded as the most revolutionary since the telegraph and telephone replaced horseback couriers more than a century ago.

            "Electronic mail will be the 21st Century version of the telex--which it clearly makes obsolete," said communications consultant Richard Miller, president of International Telematics in Palo Alto.  He predicated dramatic changers in international communications.  "It allows me, for example, to send you a message regardless of where in the world either one of us is at the time."

            Although still a fledgling industry, with revenues last year estimated at $200 million, electronic mail use is growing at an annual rate of nearly 60%--faster than any other segment of the computer industry, according to analysts.

            Last year, for example, Columbus, Ohio-based CompuServe--the nation's largest electronic mail service--doubled its subscribers to 185,000.  And Echo, a Marina del Rey-based newcomer, has established 14,000 subscribers in less than a year, adding 3,000 in the last month alone.  Today there are an estimated 1 million electronic "mailboxes" in use...

            "In the next decade electronic communication is going to become as routine as making phone calls," said Jan Lewis, an analyst for InfoCorp, a Cupertino, California-based marketing research firm.  She predicted that the average home in the mid-1990s will be equipped with a telephone with a built-in computer that will permit easy access not only to electronic mail, but to various databases, the latest stock quotes, weather reports and computerized directory assistance.  "We won't even have to memorize telephone numbers anymore," Lewis said.  

            The electronic mail concept is not new.  Back in the days when mail was delivered by horseback, telegraph--the original electronic communications system--revolutionized the way the world conducted business.  News of a gold discovery in the West, for example, could be relayed in a matter of hours to financial centers in the East.  Today, however, the computer has squeezed the hours down to milliseconds.  It is technically possible today to move the contents of an entire set of encyclopedia from a computer in Chicago to another terminal in Los Angeles in the time it takes to read this sentence.

            The increasing business use of electronic mail will affect consumer use as well. "People who use it in the office are going to want to use it at home," said Michael J Cavanagh, executive director of the Electronic Mail Association--a Washington-based industry group...citing the example of an early electronic mail network set up a few years ago through the Defense Department--a system designed for the exchange of important scientific information.  "After a time they found that there were also personal messages being exchanged like plans for Friday night poker games." said Cavanagh. 

            He conceded, however, that consumer growth will lag behind business use of electronic mail.  "More people need to buy personal computers and telephone modems for their homes," he said.  "Until they do, we'll have the same problem that the telephone had for the first few decades--that is, even if some the of earliest users had a telephone, the chances were that very few of their friends did.  So, who could they call?"  That's the case now with electronic mail," Cavanagh said. "Its consumer value will increase as the numbers of subscribes increase." 

Source: Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1985, Part VI, p. 1. 



In an article titled "Why Can't America Catch Up," James Risen offers an explanation of the success of Japanese auto manufacturers vis-à-vis their American counterparts.  The explanation describes the challenge auto manufacturers and indeed all American industry faces in an increasingly competitive world market. 

TOKYO-As the worldwide auto industry enters the 1990s, the Japanese are still holding the competitive edge over Detroit's auto makers that they first asserted more than a decade ago.  Despite a 10 year, multibillion dollar effort by the American auto industry to catch up with Japan in terms of reliability and overall quality, the Japanese are still building better cars.

            This winter, Detroit is paying an awful price for its failure to close the quality gap in the 1980s.  A free-fall plunge in car sales has forced General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to lay off tens of thousands of workers during the last few months.  A staggering 42 of 62 Big Three assembly plants are being shuttered temporarily during January.

            The Big Three auto makers have dramatically improved the quality of their cars over the last 10 years, a trend that has, at the very least, kept America in the ball game and Detroit has produced its share of winning products...  Ford's Taurus helped redefine automotive styling, while Chrysler's mini-van single-handedly created a whole new market.  But many automobile industry analysts believe the Japanese are in fact widening their quality lead once more, after several years in which Detroit did narrow the gap.

            "The quality gap is still there" warned Chris Cedergren of J. D. Power & Associates.  "The domestics are certainly improving, but the Japanese are too.  The domestics are now only about where the Japanese were in 1983 or 1984."

            Today, one of every four cars sold in America comes from the Japanese─more if the Japanese-built cars hiding behind American nameplates, Ford's Probe and Plymouth's Geo Storm, for example, are included.  The Japanese now sell more cars in America than does Ford and they are rapidly catching up with industry leader, GM.

            Ironically, the Japanese seem to have a better understanding of American consumers than the American auto companies do.  Said Cedergren, "I think the domestics, after all this time, are still out of touch with what a whole generation of car buyers─and I mean anyone under 45─wants in a product.

            Remarkably, the Japanese have kept their competitive lead during the period in which they lost their once-formidable labor-cost advantage over Detroit.  Thanks to the rise in the value of the yen relative to the dollar and a worsening labor shortage, assembly-line workers in Japan command higher wages than their counterparts in Detroit; the average Toyota worker made the equivalent of $49,000 compared to $40,000 at Ford.  The Japanese have adjusted by drastically upgrading the automation of their factories.

            Most embarrassing for auto executives in Detroit has been that they have had to watch as the Japanese have rapidly set up shop in the Midwest with plants that can approach the best quality levels of Japan─while employing the same kind of American workers that Big Three management once blamed for the poor workmanship in American cars.  "We screamed at them to come over here and build cars where they sold them, and now they are doing it─and they are still beating us," one Ford official said with a sigh.

            Why are Japanese cars still better?

            First, the Japanese can design and develop a new car much faster than American companies can.  It often takes two years longer in Detroit to develop a new model than it does in Japan─virtually assuring that Japanese cars will always seem newer, fresher and just plain better. 

            In addition, the Japanese do a better job of planning ahead for problems, placing a much greater emphasis on what they call "designing-in" quality.  When their engineers design new models, they spend a great deal of time making sure that the cars will be easy to build on the assembly line, taking a big load off their workers and their factories.

            The Japanese have also developed far more sophisticated relationships with their parts suppliers, who often perform critical research and development work for the auto makers.  By bringing their parts suppliers into their development process, the Japanese are consistently able to offer newer and better technology for much less money than Detroit.

            They have also perfected the complex art of building many different models on the same assembly line─something Detroit has never quite mastered.  In Japan, it is quite common for six different cars to be built on the same line.  That allows the Japanese to offer a wider array of new models without going to the huge expense of building new plants.

            But what may be most important is the Japanese attention to detail, which borders on the obsessive.  That willingness by both managers and line workers to focus on even the smallest problems until they are solved springs from a genuine sense of team spirit, which continues to elude Detroit's auto makers even after years of rhetoric about it.  The difference is that Japanese assembly-line workers are made to feel like a team, not through words but through deeds.  The pay gap between executives and the people on the shop floor is much smaller in Japan than in the U.S.  The chief executive of a major Japanese auto company earns only about 10 times as much as the youngest line worker; top executives in Detroit, by contrast, usually make at least 50 times as much and sometime as much as 500 times.

            Along with their fixation on detail comes a sense in Japan that quality isn't stationary.  Instead, the function of quality control in Japan is kaizen─the search for constant improvement.  So what is most frightening for Detroit today is that the Japanese are, more than ever, a moving target.

            "We are never satisfied," said Kaname Kasai, general manager of Honda's massive assembly plant in Sayama, Japan.  "We are moving now so that in the next couple of years we can open the quality gap even wider over America." 

Source:  James Risen, "Why Can't America Catch Up," Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1990. 



As the table below indicates, the United States is now a post-industrial economy.  Ford and General Motors are the fifth and six largest employers and only eight of the top twenty-five employers are primarily manufacturers.




Current (2004)

5 years ago

10 years ago



Wal-Mart Stores












United Parcel












Ford Motor






General Motors












General Electric






Home Depot












Yum Brands






Tyco International






Sears Roebuck


















United Technologies






























Berkshire Hathaway






SBC Communications






Altria Group






Kmart Holding










Source: Investor's Business Daily (September 2004).



In the following vignette historian Pauline Meier describes the emerging Al Qaeda terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden and its relationship to the Taliban, who controlled Afghanistan through the decade.           

            The sanctions against Iraq and the civilian suffering they generated, the presence of American troops on Saudi Arabian soil during and after the Gulf War, and the United States' support of Israel all angered a number of Muslims in the Middle East.  They infuriated Osama bin Laden, a rich Saudi exile living in Afghanistan.  Bin Laden hated the United States enough to finance a network of terror called Al Qaeda, directed against the country.  In February 1993, four Muslim terrorists connected to bin Laden exploded a car bomb in the garage under one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.  Although they failed in their ambition to topple the tower into its twin, they succeeding in killing 6 and injuring more than 1,000.  In 1996, terrorists drove a truck bomb into an American army barracks in Saudi Arabia itself, killing 19 U.S. military service people.  And in 1998, several other suicide truck bombers blew up the American embassy in Tanzania, killing 11, and [the one] in Kenya, killing 213 Kenyan citizens and injuring thousands of civilians.

            A few hours after the attacks in 1998, President Clinton declared, "We will use all the means at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice, no matter what or how long it takes." In an operation code‑named "Infinite Reach," U.S. planes attacked two targets believed to be associated with bin Laden‑the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, alleged to be a source of biochemical weapons, and a temporary base camp in Afghanistan, labeled by Clinton "one of the most active terrorist bases in the world."  (The owner of the plant denied that he had anything to do with bin Laden, and reporters visiting the site saw no evidence that he did.)  During the trial of the organizers of the Africa bombings, testimony indicated that bin Laden and Al Qaeda had attempted to acquire weapons of mass destruction about five years earlier.

            In 1996, the Taliban, a group of extreme Islamic fundamentalists, gained control of Afghanistan and extended their protection to bin Laden as a "guest."  In October 1999, the U.N. Security Council, alarmed, resolved to impose limited sanctions against the Taliban in an effort to force them to turn over bin Laden immediately to a country where he could be brought to justice.  The Taliban refused, and bin Laden and Al Qaeda grew bolder. A year later, terrorists linked to bin Laden attacked the USS Cole while it was anchored in the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 of its crew and injuring 47.

            Between 1993 and 1999, the FBI's counterterrorism budget more than tripled, to some $300 million a year.  Still, in the wake of so many successful assaults, a number of analysts believed that the United States was inadequately on guard against the war of terrorism that was increasingly being waged against it.  Some contended that it was only a matter of time before the terrorists would strike on American shores with far greater destructive effect than they had achieved in the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center. 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), pp. 1062-1063. 



In the vignette below historian Pauline Meier describes the Monica Lewinsky Scandal which prompted the second impeachment of a President in the nation's history. 

            From early 1998, [President Bill] Clinton's ability to advance even a modest domestic agenda was greatly undermined by the scandals that began washing over him and led to his impeachment the following year.  The scandals came to light as a result of the work conducted by Kenneth Starr, who in August 1994 had been appointed a special prosecutor to look into the Whitewater affair.  During the next several years, Starr was authorized to investigate several other allegations of impropriety in the Clinton administration.  Then in January 1998, Starr received evidence from a government employee named Linda Tripp that Monica Lewinsky, a young government intern, had been having an affair with the president that included her performing oral sex on him during visits to the Oval Office.

            Meanwhile, in late 1997, the attorneys for Paula Jones, who was still pursuing her sexual harassment suit against the president, had heard rumors of an affair between Lewinsky and Clinton.  Hoping to demonstrate that Clinton showed a pattern of predatory sexual behavior, they obtained a ruling from the Supreme Court requiring Clinton to answer their questions, establishing the precedent that a sitting president could be compelled to testify in a civil suit concerning actions that took place before his presidency. On January 17, responding under oath to questions by Jones's lawyers, Clinton denied having a romantic relationship with Lewinsky.

            At Starr's request, Attorney General Janet Reno authorized him to enlarge his multiple investigations of Clinton into whether the president had lied in his testimony to Jones's lawyers and had sought to obstruct justice by encouraging Lewinsky to cover up their affair.

            By now, January 1998, word of the information Tripp had given Starr was making headlines. In a statement on national television at the end of January, Clinton, shaking his finger, emphatically declared, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."  He refused to discuss the matter further publicly, but he told his family, cabinet, and advisers that the stories about his relationship with Lewinsky were absolutely untrue.  Hillary Clinton blamed the array of investigations into the couple's activities on a "vast right‑wing conspiracy." Frenzied discussions of the case fined newspapers, television, radio, and the Internet for months.  In 2000, Philip Roth remarked in his novel The Human Stain that in the summer of 1998 "a president's penis was on everyone's mind," and his alleged Oval Office peccadilloes "revived America's oldest communal passion...the ecstasy of sanctimony."

            In August, Lewinsky, whom Starr had threatened to prosecute, agreed to testify in return for a grant of immunity.  Besides telling a federal grand jury in graphic detail about her affair with Clinton, she turned over a blue dress that, according to her, was stained with the president's semen.  Clinton realized that DNA testing of the stain would demonstrate that the semen was his.  In mid‑August, in videotaped testimony to Starr and the federal grand jury, he conceded that his conduct with Lewinsky had been "wrong," but insisted that he been legally accurate in denying to Jones's lawyers that he had engaged in a "sexual relationship" with Lewinsky because he took such a relationship to mean intercourse.  He told the American people in a four‑minute nationally televised address that he had "misled" them and done injury to his family.  Still, he defiantly insisted that he had not lied under oath nor asked anyone to lie for him.

            On September 9, Starr gave Congress a videotape of Clinton's grand jury testimony and a 445‑page report.  The report detailed Clinton's sexual contacts with Lewinsky and listed eleven possible grounds for impeachment, some of which focused on charges that he had lied under oath.  Congress quickly released both the full report and the videotape to the public.  On October 8, the House voted to launch an impeachment inquiry by a solid majority of 258 to 176, with 31 Democrats joining most of the Republicans in support.

            The public had long thought Clinton was lying about his relationship with Lewinsky, but it had persistently registered high approval of his performance in office.  Now Clinton's conduct was brushed off by leading Democrats and his supporters among feminists, blacks, gays, and union officials as sex between two consenting adults, covered up as anyone might conceal an illicit affair, but by no means worthy of impeachment.  "It's hard to get really excited," a waitress remarked. "What does the Clintons' sex life have to do with me?" Meanwhile, the public standing of Starr, Linda Tripp, and the Republican Congress plummeted.  In the congressional elections in November, the Democrats gained five seats in the House while maintaining their number in the Senate and in state contests.  Newt Gingrich, under fire himself for questionable financial dealings, announced that he would leave Congress.  His expected successor in the speakership, Robert Livingston of Louisiana, also left as news stories began to circulate that he had engaged in adultery.

            All the same, on December 19, 1998, the House in a strongly partisan vote resolved to impeach Clinton on two articles‑perjury and obstruction of justice‑making him the second president (after Andrew Johnson) to be so treated.  On January 27 1999, the impeachment trial began in the Senate, with the House leadership presenting the case against the president: After more than a month of partisan debate, the prosecutor failed to come near the two‑thirds majority (67 votes) necessary for conviction.  The Senate voted 55 to 45 against the perjury charge and 50 to 50 on the charge of obstructing justice (Neither charge gained a single Democratic vote; 10 Republicans opposed the charge of perjury, 5 the charge of obstructing justice. 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), pp. 1073-1074.


                                           AMERICAN URBANIZATION, 1980-2000 


20 Largest Cities


24 Largest Cities







New York, N.Y. 




New York, N.Y. 



Chicago, IL 




Los Angeles, CA 



Los Angeles, CA 




Chicago, IL



Philadelphia, PA




Houston, TX.



Houston, TX




Philadelphia, PA 



Detroit, MI




Phoenix, AZ 



Dallas, TX




San Diego, CA



San Diego, CA




Dallas, TX 



Baltimore, MD




San Antonio, TX 



San Antonio, TX 




Detroit, MI



Phoenix, AZ 




San Jose, CA 



Honolulu, HI 




Indianapolis, IN 



Indianapolis, IN




San Francisco, CA



San Francisco, CA




Jacksonville, FL



Memphis, TN




Columbus, OH 



Washington, DC




Austin, TX 



San Jose, CA




Baltimore, MD



Milwaukee, WI




Memphis, TN  



Cleveland, OH 




Milwaukee, WI



Columbus, OH 




Boston, MA 




Washington, DC




Nashville, TN 




El Paso, TX




Seattle, WA   



Top Twenty U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 2000

According to the U.S. Census, the total U.S. population in 2000 was 281,421,906.  The total number of people in 2000 living in the twenty largest metropolitan areas displayed below was 119,838,639.   Thus, 42.6% of the nation's people lived in these major urban areas.


Metropolitan Areas in U.S.

Total Population in 2000


New York – Northern NJ – Long Island



Los Angeles – Riverside – Orange County



Chicago – Gary – Kenosha



Washington D.C. - Baltimore



San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose



Philadelphia – Wilmington – Atlantic City



Boston – Worcester – Lawrence



Detroit – Ann Arbor – Flint



Dallas – Fort Worth



Houston – Galveston – Brazoria






Miami – Fort Lauderdale



Seattle – Tacoma – Bremerton



Phoenix – Mesa



Minneapolis – St. Paul



Cleveland – Akron



San Diego



St. Louis



Denver – Boulder – Greeley



Tampa – St. Petersburg



It is fitting that the final vignette in this manual address the events of September 11, 2001.  Here historian Pauline Maier describes the cataclysmic events in New York City and Northern Virginia and the massive, spontaneous outpouring of support for both the victims and the nation.  The events and our response serve to remind us of our connection to our collective history and to each other. 

            On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, America's world was suddenly and dramatically transformed.  Within the space of an hour and a half that morning, two passenger airlines took off from Logan in Boston, and two others took off from Newark Airport in New Jersey and Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.  All four, bound for California, were loaded with fuel.  At some point not long after the planes were airborne, each was commandeered by four or five hijackers armed with box cutters and knives.

            At 8:45 A.M. one of the planes from Boston crashed into the north tower of the 110‑story World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, tearing a huge hole in the building and setting it ablaze.  Eighteen minutes later, the second plane out of Boston struck the south tower and exploded.  At 9:43, the plane from Dulles crashed into the Pentagon. Shortly after 10, the south tower of the World Trade Center, its reinforced concrete supports severely weakened by the intense heat of the jet fuel fire, collapsed, showering a torrent of  debris into the streets below. Just before 10:30, the north tower followed its twin into Vie dust, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke and severely damaging a nearby 47‑story building--later in the day it, too, fell‑‑and setting others in the area on fire.  In Washington, in the meantime, the portion of the Pentagon that had been hit also collapsed.

            Passengers on the fourth flight, in touch with relatives via cell phones, learned about the attacks on the Trade Center and the Pentagon; they concluded that their plane was being flown to a target as well.  Some decided to storm the cockpit, with the result that the Plane crashed in a field southeast of Pittsburgh rather than into a building. (It was, in fact, headed toward the nation's capital.)  All forty‑four people aboard were killed.

            Within less than an hour of the first crash at the World Trade Center, the Federal Aviation Administration halted all flights at American airports for the first time in the nation's history and diverted to Canada all transatlantic aircraft bound for the United States. President Bush was in Florida, but the White House was evacuated and so were all other federal office buildings in the capital.  Secret Service agents armed with automatic rifles were deployed opposite the White House in Lafayette Park.  In New York, the stock exchanges and all state government offices were closed.

            At a news conference in the mid‑afternoon, New York's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, asked about the number killed, said, "I don't think we want to speculate about that‑more than any of us can bear."  That evening, the city reported that hundreds of its police officers and firefighters on the scene were dead or missing.  In the weeks that followed, estimates of the deaths at the World Trade Center ran as high as 6,000 (they were later reduced to 3,000).  Some 200 people died in the crash at the Pentagon... 

            The attacks of September 11 prompted an outpouring of patriotism rarely seen since Pearl Harbor.  American flags appeared in shop windows and on homes, buildings, cars and trucks, overpasses, and bridges.  Millions of Americans pinned red, white, and blue streamers on their jackets. Across the country, people attended services for the victims, sent money to assist their families, and gave blood for the survivors.  Commentators everywhere extolled the heroism of the firefighters and police who died in the line of duty at the World Trade Center.  Thousands flocked to Ground Zero, now hallowed ground, solemnly peering at the smoldering ruins and the workmen removing the debris. Many posted prayers, notices of the missing, and poems on the protective chain‑link fences at the site and on any available wall space (including phone booths) around the city.

            September 11 heightened awareness of the fact that the United States, as the world's sole superpower, was an integral part of what was becoming a global civilization. The day after the attacks, the French newspaper Le Monde ran the headline "Nous sommes toutes les Amiricaines" (We are all Americans).  The victims at the World Trade Center included the nationals of more than eighty nations.  The multinational and multicultural nature of American society was revealed by the names of lost spouses, parents, and children, hundreds of them on posterboards pleading for information about them--people named Schwartzstein, Henrique and Calderon, Kikuchihara and Tsoy, Cassino, Staub, and Egan, Williams, Caulfield, and Wiswall.

            On a sheet of paper tacked up in New York's Grand Central Station in late October, an anonymous poet cried out: 

            Six thousand fallen heroes

            The six thousand angels, their trumpets blaring

            Are calling us to arms, Waking us up from our selfish slumber

            To the truth of our lives, the evil in the world

            We must stop, turn, stand up together as one,

            Arm in arm, pillars of strength  

            Many observers declared that September 11 had ushered the United States into a new era.  Perhaps it had...  Another poem posted at Grand Central Station told the perpetrators of September 11 why the nation remained strong and resilient: 

            Well, you hit the World Trade Center, but you missed America

            America isn't about a place, America isn't even about a bunch of buildings

            America is about an IDEA. 

            The idea, forged and enlarged through almost four centuries of struggle, had come to include many elements.  The overarching ones—the Fourth of July standards of freedom, equality, democracy, and opportunity--continued to transcend the nation's diversity, bind it together, and at once invigorate and temper its response to the shadowy threats it was now compelled to confront. 

Source: Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), pp. 1082-1086.