The History Of America In “The American Pageant” By Cohen Kennedy ,15th Edition

Chapter 38

Describe the presidency of John F. Kennedy.  

John F. Kennedy was elected as a president of the United States in 1960. He was young and energetic, but also he was the youngest to die (1961-1963). His inaugural address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II, and he implemented plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privatization and poverty.

Describe the New Frontier.            

New Frontier was Kennedy’s social program, but conservative Democrats and Republicans threatened to kill many of its reforms. New Frontier was the economic and social programs of Kennedy’s presidency. It meant a set of challenges and set of promises, and summed up not what Kennedy intended to offer to Americans, but what Kennedy intended to ask of them.New Frontier program included: 

  • raising the minimum wage;
  • equal pay for women; 
  • rebuilding the inner cities;                                                                                       
  • initiating a Piece Crops; 
  • increasing federal aid for education.                                                        

Describe Kennedy’s handling of the Cold War.   

Kennedy was an active Cold Warrior. He provided tactic of the flexible response to contain Communism, narrowly avoided Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy expressed his Cold War vision, as “let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”. In 1963, Kennedy spoke urging better feelings towards the Soviets and starting the relaxed tension in the Cold War.

What were “flexible response” and detente?   

“Flexible response” was pushed by a Defense Secretary McNamara, which developed an array of military opinions that would match the gravity of whatever crisis came to hand. One of these was The Green Berets, AKA, the “Special Forces”. In June 1963 Kennedy spoke, implementing the modest policy of détente (relaxed tension in the Cold War).

Describe the escalation of the war in Vietnam.   

Both sides (the U.S. and North Vietnam) tried to have intervals of quite time in bombing, but they merely used those as excuses to funnel more troops into the territory. Jonson ordered the CIA to spy on domestic antiwar activists and encouraged the FBI to implement its Counterintelligence Program against the piece movement.  More and more, America was trapped in an awful Vietnam War.

Describe the Bay of Pigs Invasion & the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Kennedy backed the U.S. aided invasion of Cuba by rebels, but when the Bay of Pigs Invasion occurred (on April 17, 1961); it was a disaster, as Kennedy did not bring in the air support, and the revolt failed.

The Cuban Missile Crisis lasted 13 nerve-racking days, and put the U.S., the U.S.S.R., and the world at the brink of nuclear war. But in the end, Khrushchev blinked and lost his power soon afterwards. 

Describe the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.   

In 1960, group of Freedom Riders chartered buses to tour through the South to try to end segregation, but white mobs often reacted violently towards them. This draw more attention to segregation and what went on down South. Kennedy urged civil rights along, encouraging the establishment of the SNCC, a Voter Education Project to register the South’s blacks to vote.

Describe the assassination of JFK.

On November 22, 1963, while riding down a street in Dallas, Texas, JFK was shot and killed, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself shot by self-proclaimed avenger Jack Ruby, and there was much controversy and scandal and conspiracy in assassination. After Kennedy’s death, America realized what a charismatic, energetic and vibrant president they had lost. 

Describe Johnson’s presidency, the Great Society, and Johnson’s handling of the war in Vietnam.

Lyndon Johnson had been a senator in the 1940s and 1950s, his idol was  Roosevelt, and he could manipulate Congress very well; he was very vein and  egoistical. Johnson’s program was named as the “Great Society” and reflected its  New Deal inspirations. Johnson used the Tonkin Gulf Incident, in which North  Vietnamese ships allegedly fired on American ships, to attack Vietnam, and he got approval for the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. 

Chapter 39

Describe Nixon’s presidency.

This President was elected the 37th President of the United States (1969-1974). President Richard Nixon urged America’s to stop tearing each other apart and to cooperate. He was very skilled in foreign affairs, and divided America into his supporters and opponents.  He successfully ended American fighting in Vietnam and improved international relations with the U.S.S.R. and China.  

Describe Nixon’s handling of the Vietnam War & the protest movement.

Coping with the Vietnam dilemma he implemented a policy called “Vietnamization” in which 540,000 American troops would be pulled out of the Southeast Asian nation and the war would be turned back over to the Vietnamese.  The Southern Vietnamese would fight their own war, and the U.S. was only supply arms and money, but not American troops (“Nixon Doctrine”). 

What were the Pentagon Papers?

In June 1971, the New York Times published a secret Pentagon study of America’s involvement of the Vietnam War – Pentagon Papers. These papers exposed the deceit used by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations regarding Vietnam and people spoke of “credibility gap” between what the government claimed and the reality.  

Describe the Philadelphia Plan.

Nixon’s Philadelphia Plan (1969) required construction-trade unions working on the federal payroll to establish goals and timetables for black employees. This plan changed affirmative action to mean preferable treatment on minorities, not individuals. But whites protected to reverse discrimination (hiring of minorities for fear of repercussions if too many whites were hired).       

Describe the Watergate Scandal. 

On June 17, 1972, five men working for the Republican Committee for the Re-election of the President (CREEP) were caught breaking into the Watergate Hotel and planting some bugs in the room. A huge scandal was followed where many prominent administrators resigned. Scandal provoked the illegal or improper use of the FBI and the CIA.    

Describe Carter’s presidency.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter promised to never lie to the American people. He was a champion for human rights, and in Zimbabwe and South Africa he championed for black rights and privileges. He capitalized on being a “Washington outsider”. In 1978, Carter got an $18 billion tax cut for America, but the economy soon continued sinking. Despite an early spurt of popularity, he soon lost it.    

Describe the Iran Hostage Crisis.

On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages. The cause of this incident was Carter’s decision to allow Shah to come to the United States for cancer treatment. It was a dramatic way for the student revolutionaries to declare a break with Iran’s past.  

Chapter 40

Describe Reagan’s presidency.  

Ronald Reagan was a conservative former actor, chosen by Republicans (the 40th President, 1981-1989). Reagan adopted a stance that revealed “big government” as bad federal invention in local affairs as condemnable, and favoritism for minorities as negative. His photogenic personality and good looks on television helped him to win the election. The Reagan’s years saw a restoration of prosperity.

Who were the “moral majority”? 

“Moral Majority” (1979-1987) included new groups that spearheaded the “new right” movement and other conservative Christian groups. The U.S. political action group composed of conservative fundamentalist Christians. The group played an important role in the 1980 elections through its strong support of conservative candidates.  It was founded by Jerry Falwell.    

What were Reaganomics & trickle-down economics?

The President appeared on TV for passage of the new tax-cut bill. The bill used “supply side economics” or “Reaganomics” (policies favorable to businesses) to lower individual taxes, almost eliminate federal estate taxes, and implement new tax-free saving plans for small investors. But it backfired as the nation reached the unemployment nearly 11% in 1982.        

“Trickle-down economics” – the idea of helping the rich who own business would see money trickle down to working classes.                                                         

Describe Reagan’s handling of the Cold War. 

Reagan took a get-through stance against the USSR. He started his Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”), proposed a system of lasers that could fire from space and destroy any nuclear weapons fired by Moscow before they hit America. SDI was never built.     

Describe the Iran Contra scandal. 

In November, 1986, it was discovered that a year before, American diplomats led by Olive North had secretly arranged arms sales to Iranian diplomats in return for the release of Americans hostages and used money to help Nicaragua contra rebels. This violated the congressional ban on aiding Nicaragua rebels. This scandal was a dark mark over Reagan’s foreign policy success.    

Describe George H.W. Bush’s presidency.

Bush (the 41th President, 1989-1993) was committed to a public service and dedicated himself to traditional American values, which were directed towards making the United States “a kinder and gentler nation” in the world. Bush had responsibility to make his contribution both in time of war and in peace. In 1993 Bush signed the Star II accord with Yeltsin to reduce their long nuclear arsenals.      

Describe the end of the Cold War.

In 1990, Yeltsin stopped a military coup that tried to dislodge Gorbachev, then took over Russia when Soviet Union fell and disintegrated into the Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Russia was the largest member. As a result, the Cold War was over. This shocked experts who predicted that the Cold War could only end violently.

Describe the Persian Gulf War- Operation Desert Storm.

539,000 U.S. military force members joined 270,000 troops from 28 other countries to attack Iran in war (began on January 12, 1991). On January 16, the U.S. and U.N. unleashed an air war against Iraq for 37 days. Iraq responded at Saudi Arabia and Israel, and on February 23, “Operation Desert Storm” started with an attack that lasted for 4 days, and ended with Saddam’s forces surrender.

Chapter 41

Describe Clinton’s presidency.

Bill Clinton (the 42th president, 1993-2001) was the first baby-boomer generation President. His took office at the end of the Cold War. Clinton proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. He proposed legislation to upgrade education, to protect jobs of parents with sick children, to resist handgun sales, and to strengthen environment rules.     

Describe the election of 2000.

The role of Ralph Nader was one irony of the election. He energized the liberalist liberals. The irony – Green votes for Nader stole votes that would have gone to Gore and ostensibly gave the election to Bush. Bush won. Gore actually got more popular votes (50,999,897 to Bush’s 50,456,002), but lost the critical electoral vote (266 to Bush’s 271).       

Describe George W. Bush’s presidency.

Bush took on hot questions and fired up both sides of the political spectrum: 

  • withdrew U.S. support from international programs that supported abortion;
  • advocated faith-based social welfare programs; 
  • opposed stem-cell research, which had great medical possibilities;  
  • angered environmentalists with his policies;                                    
  • worried conservatives by cutting taxes $1.3 trillion.

Describe the September 11th attacks.

On September 11, 2001, militant Muslim radicals attacked America. The radical hijacked passenger planes and used the planes, and hostages, as guided missiles. Terrorism came to America:

  • two planes slammed into the World Trade Center in New York City; the towers caught afire, then came down; 
  • a third plane slammed into the Pentagon;
  • a fourth plane was aiming for the White House, but passengers took back the plane before it crashed in Pennsylvania field. America was shocked.               

Describe the war in Iraq. 

Bush’s decisions:

  • Bush sought the U.N.’s approval for taking military action, but it did not work; 
  • Bush decided to go it alone;
  • in October, 2002, heavy majority of Congress approved armed force against Iraq;
  • Hussein blocked the inspectors; 
  • Bush launched an attack and Baghdad fell within a month; 
  • Hussein went on the run;
  • taking Iraq was swift and successful. 

Describe the election of 2004.

Republicans put Bush up for reelection in 2004. Democrats chose John Kerry of Massachusetts. National security was the key issue of the 2004 election. The central question was the war in Iraq. Bush said to “stay the course”, Kerry took an anti-war position. Kerry received much support by criticizing Bush’s management of the Iraq situation. He focused only on Bush’s failure and failed. Bush won with a surprisingly strong showing of 286 votes to Kerry’s 252.

Chapter 42

Describe the debate over stem cell research.

Steam cell research started where zygotes or fertilized eggs offered possible cures for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The Bush administration and many religious groups believed that this research was killing people in the form of human fetus. Bush claimed a fetus is still a human life, despite its small size, and experimenting and destroying it is therefore incorrect. For this reason, he limited government funding for stem cell research.   

What was the Welfare Reform Bill of 1996?  

The Welfare Reform Bill (1996) restricted access to social services and required able-bodied welfare recipients to find work. It dramatically reshaped cash and food welfare programs and helped reduce federal welfare spending. It imposed a citizenship requirement for many benefits.  This further weakened the financial footing on many impoverished families.   

Describe the Family Leave Bill.  

In 1993, Congress passed the Family Leave Bill, mandating job protection for working fathers as well as mothers who needed to take time off from work for family reasons. The Bill was a main part of Clinton’s agenda in his first term, he signed the bill into law on February 5, 1993, and it took effect on August 5, 1993, six month later. The Family Leave Bill was aimed to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families.   

 Define multiculturalism.     

Controversial issues of color and culture pervaded the realm of ideas in the late 20th century, thus many people embraced the creed of “multiculturalism”.

Multiculturalism stressed the need to preserve and primate, rather than squash   racial minorities. Multiculturalists attacked traditional curriculum and supported a greater focus on achievements of black, Latinos, Asians, and Indians.

Works Cited:

Kennedy, D. M. & Cohen, E. The American Pageant. 15th Edition.  January 1, 2012. Press.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: October 27, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]
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