There was a substantial change in the country’s economic policy immediately; while Eisenhower had surrounded himself with all the collaborators chosen from among the large industrialists, thus obtaining immediate results in all sectors of production, Kennedy chose his collaborators more among progressive intellectuals. It had won with the steel tycoons who wanted to increase prices at any cost: it increased the expenses of the federal government by expanding foreign trade and obtained an increase in national production without the application of a corresponding increase in prices.
According to Abbreviationfinder, unemployment began to spread exceeding 5% of the workforce. For foreign policy, wanting to fight by any means the expansion of communism in the world, he met the defeat of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba when in April 1961 a group of Cuban exiles, with the help of the American secret services, attempted one landing in Cuba to overthrow the Castro government.
Yet another tragic event had to turn against him: his direct commitment to the Vietnam war. In August 1961, he promoted the Alliance for Progress in South America, which met in Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he pledged to pay $ 20 billion over a decade to carry out a plan. of reconstruction. In return, however, he asked for the expulsion of the Castro regime from the OAS. The result was that Cuba entered into even closer ties with the USSR.
At that point, instead of invading the territory or bombing the missile ramps installed in Cuba, Kennedy preferred to “quarantine” the island by creating a naval blockade to give Khrushchev especially the opportunity to reflect on the too precarious situation. And in December 1962, a crisis occurred between Cuba and the USSR, the latter was forced to dismantle all the missile bases and permanently leave the Caribbean area.
In August 1963 an agreement was signed in Moscow for the partial suspension of nuclear tests, the “Non-Proliferation Pact”. But after about three months, during an official visit to Dallas in Texas, President Kennedy was killed by a certain Oswald, not better labeled “anarchist”, causing a strong emotion all over the world and truncating that much desired policy of relaxation in the bud and even requested by the then Pope, John XXIII.
He was succeeded by the Texan vice-president Lindon B. Johnson, a skilled man especially in the Congressional Commissions. Already in February 1964 he obtained the approval of a tax reduction of ten billion dollars thus creating a significant increase in production and a greater purchasing capacity of consumers. In a short time he reduced the poor group of the country from 22% to 11%.
In the years 1964/65 with the motto “Great Society”, claiming to be education the most important vehicle for achieving progress and well-being, he awarded large grants to schools of all levels. When the presidential election was held again in 1964, Johnson had 60% of the vote, defeating Republican candidate B. Goldwater. Arizona did not join this majority, nor did the 5 southern states where the racial element was always predominant. And also the Houses registered the increase of elements favorable to him preparing a program of political and social reforms that could hardly have been boycotted.
Then he managed to establish free health care for the elderly and financial support for elementary schools for poor children.
Unfortunately, however, inflation, which was already galloping in the previous period, experienced a surge, also due to the continuous commitment made in Vietnam, which caused great rifts in American public opinion and took away from many countries in the world a good part of the sympathies for America.
Half a million victims occurred in that disastrous war and the costs were skyrocketing. There were requests from many sides to close definitively and in early 1968 Johnson announced that he would leave the burden of the feat to the troops of South Vietnam and would begin the gradual withdrawal of US troops. had student protests, also supported by the teachers. A shameful page in the history of the United States was handed over to posterity and even the talks in Paris with the North Vietnamese representatives contributed to highlighting the blow suffered by what can rightly be considered the greatest power in the world.
But meanwhile another plague, that of racism, was always growing. Everywhere explosions of racism led to dead and wounded in quantity. Among the most indicative events for the growth of their conscience, the American Negroes noticed those that brought the end of colonialism in the various African states. They understood that they were not an abandoned minority and organized themselves under the violent leadership of some leaders who rose to fame, such as Malcom X. who published his biography which proved to be very lucky among the readers of his race.
And unfortunately, in an explosion of racist violence, the charismatic character who had made “non-violence” his flag also had to succumb. Martin Luther King was assassinated by a white racist in Memphis Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
Also in 1968, while his candidacy for the presidential election was underway, Robert Kennedy, brother of the assassinated president, was also killed in Los Angeles by a Jordanian emigrant.
The elections were won by Republican Richard Nixon who overtook the ultra conservative, his party mate Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, with a past as a film actor.
Nixon was forced to adopt a prudent policy as his victory had not been plebiscite and in the Houses the major representation was that of the Democrats.
Difficult tasks had to be solved immediately, such as the Vietnamese question, with the intent of recovering at least the face, or as the institution of professional training that would allow young people an easier insertion into the economy of the country.
In 1972 many issues were still on the table without a possible solution occurring.
Nixon’s policy failed due to rising inflation due to the exorbitant costs of the Vietnam war. He made cuts in the federal budget, monetary restrictions on the banks of issue, rising interest rates which brought many difficulties to investors and sharp falls on the stock market which made bankruptcies progress, some of which were sensational. Prices and unemployment rose and so did imports on exports, for the first time in 80 years.
With other unfortunate economic operations it paved the way for the devaluation of the dollar, which caused serious alarm in both Europe and Japan.
In foreign policy, Nixon was more fortunate, assisted by a very skilled Foreign Minister, such as Harry Kissinger.
Nixon embarked on diplomatic journeys, including that of February 1972 in China, after a few months earlier the US had declared that it was no longer against China’s entry into the UN. The trip to Moscow in May of the same year also brought about an improvement between US and USSR relations, especially in the age-old question of Berlin, which at the end of the war had been divided into 4 sectors, and remained so.
Only the Vietnamese question was still unsolved and the Paris meetings were not as profitable as Nixon had announced in his election campaign. Furthermore, another danger loomed in Cambodia and the US, through their president, decided not to intervene with American soldiers, but to militarize the South Koreans so that they were able to compete against their northern enemy.
Meanwhile the new electoral campaign proceeded and more for the errors of the others than for particular merits of its own Nixon was able to reply.
But in August 1974 he was indicted by Congress and therefore forced to resign for the famous “Watergate Affair”.
It was said that in the usual confusion of the election campaign, some elements of the pro-racist “mafia” had managed to infiltrate the President’s sequel in order to insert spy microphones in those places where important talks would take place, in order to acquire valid elements about the strategy of the opponents. Only it was shown that all this happened with the consent of the government and therefore it was collusion and corruption.
He was succeeded by Gerald Ford who, however, kept Kissinger as Foreign Minister in order to continue the peace talks in Vietnam by an experienced and already introduced person.
At first Ford’s succession was viewed favorably, but slowly several points of its policy disappointed the supporters. In the first place, that “relaxation” with the USSR so magnified by Kissinger. Trade agreements were established between the two countries. The US would have sold 6 to 8 million tons of wheat per year to the USSR in exchange for oil.
A plan was made to combat inflation, but the increase in difficulties finally resulted in the mass layoff of workers, so that unemployment rose to 7%. South Vietnam surrendered to the north, which then set up a communist government, after the US spent ten years in all kinds of aid.
In 1975 Ford attended two conferences held in Europe, one in Brussels and the other in Helsinki, also in an attempt to demonstrate that, despite everything, the American power had maintained its compactness.
But the subsequent presidential elections of 2 November ’76 assigned the victory to JE Carter, a democrat, coming from the deep South but in favor of the integration of the Negroes.
During his tenure as governor of Georgia he had the opportunity to do this and in fact he had managed to insert many black elements into the state bureaucracy. And this time too, the always ultra-conservative Ronald Reagan had failed to emerge.
Officially assumed office on January 20, 1977, Carter immediately went to work and together with his Minister of Foreign Affairs, C.
R. Vance, immediately proposed the “détente” accompanying her in the defense of human rights. Then he tried to improve the economy with the intention of reducing unemployment without increasing inflation. Its main objectives were the development of a national health plan, a federal energy plan and a reform of the tax system.
Internationally, he expressed himself in favor of restoring relations with Cuba and Vietnam’s entry into the UN. He granted permission to visit the US to the communists who had requested it, and despite being personally against abortion, he accepted the decisions of the Supreme Court; developed a bill that would allow government intervention in helping private businesses. He then resumed consultations with the USSR to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons and these agreements were reached in 1979.
But already in September 1978, after the blow to his policy in Iran, culminating with the deposition of the Shah, he was able to apply his ability as a mediator with the signing of the Camp David agreements of a separate peace between Egypt and Israel, enemies that have always been.
In late 1978 relations with Beijing resumed and Chinese Foreign Minister Dend Xiaoping came to visit the US. But then his prestige suffered a serious blow when in 1979 the USSR invaded Afghanistan and when Iran invaded the American Embassy in Tehran taking hostages.
A long dispute arose for their release: for this purpose between 24 and 25 April 1980 a failed blitz was attempted, for which economic sanctions against Iran were sanctioned.
Despite this, Carter obtained the “nomination” for the presidential elections to be held in November 1980.
But in the meantime American society had created a situation diametrically opposite to that advocated by the Democrats. Strikes, unrest, unemployment caused a countertrend in the American family, more eager for order, traditions and morality.
In this context could not miss the victory to conservative Republicans in the 1980 elections
were two candidates: George Bush, former head of the CIA, and Ronald Reagan, still governor of California. The latter obtained 51% of the votes as more charismatic and, without a doubt, owner of a more immediate communication. He was able to illustrate his government program with great simplicity of expression, but with just as much clarity: this pleased the Americans and he was elected.
The House and Senate also had the republican neo-conservative preponderance, so the victory was complete.
Reagan assigned the most important positions to expert and trusted men and with their support he immediately started radical changes in the economy, immediately re-launching the reindustrialisation of the US.
Then a three-year plan for the 30% tax reduction was drawn up and for the years 1981/82 a cut of 50 billion for federal expenses was foreseen.
Taking advantage, therefore, of his popularity as a “friend of the man in the street”, as he defined himself, rather than withdrawing all the benefits due to subsidies and aid to the most deprived, he preferred to cut spending on aid to the Third World and removed the subsidies from students of the poorest segments because, for him, it was an immoral question, given that the interested parties, confident that they could survive with these funds, did not take the search of a job in the least.
On 30 March 1981 he was subjected to an attack but shortly afterwards he was already in the breach, showing his strength once more to those who had not yet understood it. And he did so by asking for a strike by the flight controllers who fired almost completely in the trunk, showing, at the same time, how weak the union organizations were.
In 1982 the economic situation worsened, to recover clearly in 1984 and this probably happened because the benefits of the Reagan administration were delayed.
He also demonstrated all his skill and perspicacity by supporting the illegality of abortion, the restoration of prayer in schools and the death penalty in some states, without ever speaking openly in his own name, preferring that the various political movements take on the greater responsibilities.
Instead, he favored the appointment of conservative judges in the management of the Supreme Court with an open face, including the conservative S. O’Connor, the first woman to take on such an important position.
With his strong policy Reagan restored the prestige of the US in the world but not everything could be done according to his plans and relations with the USSR deteriorated; in 1983 when a Korean plane was shot down by the Russians by mistake and entered the Soviet airspace and in 1984 with a boycott by the Russians of the Olympics which took place in Los Angeles.
Reagan’s policy, however, also recorded sensational failures as in Central America when he cut aid to the “contras”, keeping the anti-communist sentiment alive in the area; then when, with the landing of 2000 men (marines) in Lebanon, it worsened the local situation; and then again, when wanting to resolve the Jordanian-Palestinian question, about 300 US and French soldiers lost their lives in the territories occupied by Israel: without results the armed forces in February 1984 had to withdraw from those territories.
Despite this, Reagan was re-elected in 1984 but bad operations in the economy and the 1986 “Irangate” scandal marked his decline.
The famous “Irangate”, which really gave the coup de grace to his administration, was the discovery of secret arms sales to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages; but it wasn’t just that that hit American public opinion. It was also known that the proceeds from these sales were destined for the Nicaraguan contras, despite the Congress ban.
Other failures registered in the last two years of his office caused a deep rift between Congress and Reagan which thus began at the end of his term.
The 1988 presidential election was won by George Bush, a republican; but Congress saw its democratic majority strengthen.
Bush, while not fully sharing the internal politics of his predecessor, nor did he continue the journey, however, trying to make the state more human towards its citizens.
Where he applied his work more, it was the field of foreign policy. He had talks with Gorbachev to whom, at first, he did not believe. That is, his plan to restore peace in freedom in all those countries subject to the Moscow dictatorship did not inspire confidence. He met him in Malta on 2/3 December 1989 and a real collaboration was established between them.
The internal situation, however, still recorded recessions and started a real crisis. All the unresolved issues of the Reagan administration had repercussions on that of Bush and not only in the economic field. In the social one there were the most disparate movements such as the “radicalism of blacks”, both American and Hispanic, the “movement of women and homosexuals” who no longer demanded equal rights as much as the “right to difference”. And all this established the beginning of “cultural wars” between liberals and democrats and which went beyond the Bush presidency.
In 1990 there was a glimpse of improvement in the international field with the normalization of relations with the USSR and the signing of agreements for the reduction of atomic and chemical weapons. And while all this was going well, the invasion of Iraq by Kuwait intervened.
Bush, taken by surprise, immediately reacted by sending a strong military contingent, not accepting the fait accompli. Then, through an intense diplomatic effort, he managed to create a strong alliance between various European states with which Japan joined, all interested in Kuwait oil, and with rapid actions of war, bombings and attacks by land, in a few days he forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Not a few characters wondered why, at this point, G.Bush, who had suffered slight losses from this war, had not continued until Saddam Husayn ended. Well, he preferred to obey the contents of United Nations resolutions which did not contemplate the fall of the dictator.
At the end of 1991, with the end of the cold war following the disintegration of the USSR and the seizure of power by Boris Yelzin, the US remained the only world superpower. Bush was able to successfully undertake the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, cooperation with the Russian Yelzin, improving relations with China and Vietnam.
However, these political successes were accompanied by a social and ideological crisis that Bush was unable to face. Some Los Angeles police officers, accused of violence against a Negro, were tried and acquitted on April 29, 1992. A violent racial uprising that lasted 6 days and resulted in 58 deaths.
In June 1993 the Supreme Court ruled, contrary to all expectations, the right to abortion. These events highlighted the weakness not only of the individual president but of the entire government organization.
The 1992 presidential election awarded the victory to William J. Clinton (Bill), Democrat, governor of Arkansas, who during his campaign had declared that his primary objective would be health reform, aimed at protecting all citizens, containment of expenses and taxes, start of requalification programs, hard fight against crime and drug trafficking.
But despite the commitment, in the two years following his election, Clinton did not get the desired results, especially in health care reform. He was especially opposed by the insurance companies and employers who were supposed to bear the greater burden of the expenses.
Furthermore, in 1994 the congressional elections assigned the majority to the Republicans, led by the ultra-conservative N.Gingrich.
The subsequent presidential elections of 1996 were equally the prerogative of Clinton who has always continued the relaxing policy devoted entirely to the realization of “American Peace” in the world. For this reason, his efforts to reach a definitive peace between Palestinians and Israelis had a first effect such as the return of Gaza to the Palestinians, led by their leader Yasser Arafat, while continuing the peace process with repeated meetings of the major exponents of the two countries.
However, his international political achievements were contrasted by personal facts that have scratched the personality, which is also surrounded by strong sympathy from all over the world. His gallant adventures have given him many problems which, although without reaching the goal of resigning him from his position, have certainly not strengthened the solidarity of his political opponents. In this year, 2000, there will be new presidential elections in America in which Clinton will not be able to participate because the US Constitution does not allow the re-election for the third time to the Presidency.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of 1998, with the wise economic policy pursued by Clinton, unemployment and inflation declined to the point that the state budget for the following year was already announced in parity. In fact, in 1999 the forecasts were far exceeded and between the two groups of the Congress there were even controversies about the use that each of them would have liked to make of these means.
Then in March 1999 the United States was involved, together with other NATO countries, in the Yugoslavia operation to help Kosovo, subject to ethnic cleansing against the Albanians, wanted by S. Milosevic, Serbian president of Yugoslavia. And here Clinton achieved success after two months of actions brought exclusively by the American air force. This is to avoid loss of life as had happened in Vietnam, still painfully remembered by the American people.
Operations for the 2000 elections took place throughout 1999. The two candidates nominated were: for the Republicans George Bush jr., Son of the former president, and for the Democrats Al Gore, vice president of Clinton.
But still a novelty appeared in the American political framework: Hillary Clinton, the “first lady”, had registered her candidacy for the New York senatorial seat as opposed to the already known R. Giuliani, Mayor of New York City, and with full success.
In November 1999 Clinton reached important bilateral economic agreements with China and within the country he still registered an important success on the Republicans, preventing them from cutting taxes for 2000 to the detriment of social expenses, which the Republicans were asking for from time, to use what had come from the flourishing democratic economic management.
The year 2000 was characterized above all by the electoral campaign taking place between the two candidates and Clinton was able to use most of his work in the search for means of peace for the Middle East. He organized various meetings between the Palestinian and the Israeli leaders and for a certain period it was possible to count on a certain calm in the related territories, so tormented.
Unfortunately, in the late 2000s, there was a strong upsurge in the conflicts, with an attached Palestinian “intifada” followed by Israeli shootings.
Meanwhile, at the end of the election campaign, voting was carried out which decreed the victory of Republican George Bush jr.
Clinton continued to deal with the Middle East but without seeing his efforts crowned so much that at the end of the year 2000 the situation had not undergone happy changes.