Ch 16 Nixon and Watergate 1969-1981


Kent State massacre (4 unarmed students are killed by National Guardsmen during protest at Kent State University)  LISTEN to "What Really Happened at Kent State" Podcast. (26 min)


Voting age lowered from 21 to 18


Watergate break-in. A break-in at Democrat Party Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel eventually is tied to the White House. 
Watergate Scandal History Short    Watergate Scandal Timeline


U.S. involvement in Vietnam War ends.
Military overthrows government of Chile.
Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision legalizes abortion


President Nixon becomes 1st President in history to resign – August 9, 1974
Gerald Ford becomes 1st unelected President 
National speed limit in all states is reduced to 55 mph to conserve gas


Vietnam War ends. Saigon falls. South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam.


America celebrated its bicentennial (200th birthday) July 4, 1976
Jimmy Carter is elected president.
Swine flu epidemic threat moves government to order nationwide vaccine. More people die or suffer side effects of vaccine, than the flu. 


Iran hostage crisis. Iran takes over 50 Americans hostage holds for 444 days. Rescue mission fails.  (1976-1981)  
Iran Hostage Crisis        Iran Hostage Crisis Timeline
Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.


Incumbent President Carter is beaten in landslide by Ronald Reagan in Presidential election


American hostages are released by Iran.

Chapter 17 – Years of Doubt (1969-1981)


The chapter traces the Nixon presidency from its peak of foreign successes through the gradual revelation of the extent of the Watergate scandal.  It describes the administrations of Presidents Ford and Carter and the Reagan victory in 1981.



BS-C3  Students will understand how groups and institutions influence people, events, and the cultures in contemporary settings.



Nixon Confronts Problems

*Nixon has difficulty with Congress

*the nation’s economy stalls

*Nixon has success in foreign relations, especially with China and the Soviet Union

*Henry Kissinger, revenue sharing, détente, SALT


Watergate Brings Down Nixon

*Republicans burgle the Democratic campaign headquarters

*Nixon denies involvement

*As investigations reveal wrongdoing, Nixon resigns rather than face impeachment

*Committee to Reelect the President, Watergate scandal


Issues of the Seventies

*Vice-President Gerald Ford becomes president in 1974

*President Carter has difficulty with Congress

*The Iran hostage crisis contributes to Reagan’s victory in 1980

*Camp David Accords, environmentalism, Rachel Carson





Review sheet for Chapter 17 


  • Henry Kissinger:  A national security adviser under Nixon
  • Détente:  The relaxing of tensions between rivals
  • Environmentalism:  A concern about pollution and pesticides
  • Richard Nixon:  The president who went to China in 1972
  • SALT or Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement:  An agreement limiting nuclear weapons
  • Jimmy Carter:  The president who signed a treaty to return the Panama Canal
  • Watergate Scandal:  A group of crimes under Nixon
  • Gerald Ford:  The president who pardoned Nixon
  • Camp David Accords:  A peace treaty between Israel and Egypt
  • Iran Hostage Crisis:  The seizure of 52 Americans in Tehran
  • Revenue Sharing:  One of Nixon’s popular ideas which was a system of distributing federal money to state and local governments
  • Committee to reelect the president:  Burglars linked to this committee were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters on June 17 1972
  • Richard Nixon:  He cut funds for Great Society programs and then proposed a guaranteed minimum income of $1,600 for every family.
  • Jimmy Carter:  After running as an outsider to Washington political life Carter walked to his inauguration instead of riding in a limousine.
  • Gerald Ford:  Ford’s Whip Inflation Now campaign did not solve the country’s economic problems.