lyndon johnson crushed republican senator barry goldwater simultaneously enshrining H u m a n i t i e s
Below are five standard questions and one hypothetical/creative question that cover a broad swath of our course since the midterm. In an essay answer the question you feel you can best support through readings and lecture. (Choose one question—and only one question!) Be sure to answer all parts of the question using a varietyof course material (including, but certainly not limited to, lecture). While a “works cited” page is not necessary, proper citation of your sources with footnotes or endnotes is critical (this is how historians not only show their evidence for claims, but allow a reader to follow up on an aspect the or she may find interesting).1 Be sure to give your paper a title that is something beyond
“Paper 1” or “History Paper #2.” A title should give your reader some idea about what your topic
is. (Imagine picking up a book titled “Book Number Three”–would you want to read that?) Your
paper should be double-spaced, use a 12-point font, and have 1” margins all around. To cite
lecture, use “Henry Maar, Lecture [number/title].” All the questions can be answered using
available course material (including the primary sources from The American Yawp). You may
use outside sources, but be certain those outside sources are credible; likewise, be certain to cite
them appropriately, giving the name, title of the publication, and the source (book, journal, or
website if found on the 4 internet).
1) Richard Nixon once confided to Henry Kissinger, “Henry, winning an election is terribly
important.” How have domestic politics shaped major decisions in American foreign
policy? Choose 2-3 examples and make the case that domestic politics is or isn’t central
to American foreign policy in the post-1945 era. Here are some ideas for you to think
about (though there may be others): Truman and the Korean War; Kennedy and the test
ban treaty; Kennedy/Johnson/Nixon and the Vietnam War; Nixon and détente; Reagan
and the nuclear freeze movement.
2) The 1960s are one of the most nostalgic decades in American history, so much so that
sixty-years on we still talk about them. But what actually were the 1960s? How do you
define them? Are they about the music and culture, the politics and the political figures,
the various social movements, or the war in Vietnam? Are they about all of these things
or are some more significant to the definition of “the Sixties” than others? When did the
decade begin and when did it end? (Think outside of the box here—this is an interpretive
question about periodization; for example, if Vietnam is central to the “Sixties” than we
1 This is a footnote. For more on how to place footnotes see:
would have to conclude the Sixties stretch through at least 1973; likewise, if Civil Rights
is central to your definition, your Sixties may start with the 1954 case of Brown v.
3) In the 1964 presidential election, Lyndon Johnson crushed Republican Senator Barry
Goldwater simultaneously enshrining the ideals of liberal government while soundly
defeating the modern conservative movement. Yet within a generation, Goldwater’s
brand of conservatism would pave the way for Reagan’s re-election and an era of
conservatism that is still with us today. How did the conservative movement emerge from
the failed Goldwater campaign to helping Ronald Reagan secure re-election in 1984?
Your answer should discuss the most significant events that shaped and created the
modern conservative movement. Among other events, you should consider Barry
Goldwater’s 1964 campaign, the emergence of televangelism, Phyllis Schlafly’s Stop the
ERA campaign, Ronald Reagan’s 1976 presidential primary campaign, as well the social
moments conservatism was reacting against.
4) In 1954, the Supreme Court famously ruled in Brown v. the Board of Education that
segregated educational institutions were inherently unequal. But far from ending
segregation across the country, the laws of Jim Crow continued on. Discuss the evolution
of the Civil Rights movement from the 1954 Brown decision through the late 1960s. How
did the movement change or evolve over the course of these years? In what ways did the
Civil Rights campaign influence other social movements of the 1960s?
5) Cold War historians have begun arguing in favor of a Second Cold War following the
period of détente and running through the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Discuss
the major events that constituted the so-called Second Cold War from 1979 – 1988. Do
you think there was such a thing as a “Second Cold War” or was the period of détente
(traditionally, 1967-1979 though dates—as always—are subject to interpretation) simply
a period of lesser tensions than the periods that preceded and followed it?