Exam preparation materials


Rapid Review

To achieve the perfect 5, you should be able to explain the following:

• One of the low points of American political life in the twentieth century was the Watergate Affair.

• Richard Nixon’s greatest accomplishments were in the field of foreign policy, as he crafted new relationships with both China and the Soviet Union.

• The Watergate Affair developed from the paranoid view of American politics held by Richard Nixon and several of his top aides.

• Gerald Ford’s presidency was tainted from the beginning by his pardoning of Richard Nixon.

• Ford faced huge economic problems as president; during his presidency America suffered from both inflation and unemployment.

• Jimmy Carter and many politicians of the post-Watergate era emerged victorious by campaigning as outsiders.

• President Carter’s outsider status hurt him, especially in terms of getting legislation passed in Congress.

• Carter demonstrated his diplomatic skills by forging the Camp David Accords; he was unable to negotiate a release of the American hostages in Iran, and this may have cost him the presidency.

• Ronald Reagan was elected as a conservative and restored the pride of many Americans in America.

• Reagan practiced “supply-side” economics, which benefited the American economy but which also helped to create large deficits.

• Under Reagan the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest Americans increased.

• Reagan reinstituted Cold War rhetoric but later created cordial relations with leaders of the Soviet Union.

• Reagan’s lack of direct control over the implementation of presidential policies was demonstrated by the Iran-Contra Affair.

• The legacy of Ronald Reagan is a large one.

Time Line

1968: Richard Nixon elected president

1971: Nixon imposes wage and price controls

Pentagon Papers released

1972: Nixon visits China and Soviet Union

Nixon reelected

SALT I signed

Watergate break-in

1973: Watergate hearings in Congress

Spiro Agnew resigns as vice president

“Saturday Night Massacre”

1974: Inflation peaks at 11 percent

Nixon resigns; Gerald Ford becomes president

Ford pardons Richard Nixon

WIN economic program introduced

1975: South Vietnam falls to North Vietnam, ending Vietnam War

1976: Jimmy Carter elected president

1977: Carter signs Panama Canal treaty

Carter issues Vietnam-era draft amnesty

1978: Camp David Accords

1979: Americans taken hostage in Iran

1980: Ronald Reagan elected president

1981-1982: Major recession

Assassination attempt on Reagan

1981-1983: Major tax cuts instituted

1983: Reagan proposes “Star Wars”

Americans victorious in Grenada

1984: Reagan reelected

1985: Gorbachev assumes power in Soviet Union

1986: Additional tax reform measures passed

Iran-Contra Affair

“Black Monday”

1988: George Bush elected president

Review Questions

1. What tactic was not used by supporters of Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential campaign?

A. Breaking into private offices

B. Reviewing income tax records of suspected “enemies”

C. Falsifying war records of opposing presidential candidates

D. Attempting to halt official investigations of actions of campaign officials

E. Planting false stories about opposing candidates in the press

(Answer: C. Of all of the “dirty tricks” practiced by the Republicans in 1972, this was not one of them.)

2. According to supply-side economics, when wealthy Americans received tax cuts, they would precede to do all but which of the following:

A. Invest heavily in the economy

B. Open new factories

C. Purchase stocks

D. Increase their savings dramatically

E. Buy more consumer goods

(Answer: D. The key to supply-side economics is that when tax cuts give individuals large amounts of money, they will turn and reinvest that money in the economy.)

3. Which of the following did not help create the deficits of the second term of the Reagan years?

A. Reduction of federal tax rates

B. Desperately needed increases in funding for education

C. Increases in military spending

D. The SDI program

E. Changes in the tax code that favored wealthier Americans

(Answer B. Even though education advocates were saying that funding had to be drastically increased in many urban school districts, funding for education declined during the Reagan era.)

4. Critics of Ronald Reagan would most emphasize

A. the relationship between Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 and 1988

B. the effects of the 1981-1983 tax cuts

C. the U.S. response to threats from Libya

D. the effects of Reagan’s economic policies on the middle and lower classes

E. his public image and political skills

(Answer: D. The 1981 to 1983 tax cuts did help bring down inflation; at this same time employment possibilities increased. Compared to the wealthiest Americans, the middle and lower classes experienced little benefit from Reagan’s economic policies, especially from the tax cuts of the second term.)

5. Gerald Ford's WIN program demonstrated to many Americans that Ford

A. had no real grasp of economic issues

B. had the uncanny knack of knowing how to inspire the American public

C. was still under the shadow of Richard Nixon

D. understood sophisticated foreign policy issues

E. was a supporter of supply-side economics

(Correct Answer: A. Many Americans saw the WIN program as a public relations gimmick, demonstrating that Ford did not truly understand the economic problems of America; many equated WIN to some of the public pronouncements of Herbert Hoover in 1930 and 1931.)

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