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History and Politics


The World in 1966

1966 was a year of great turmoil that served as a catalyst for great change, both in America and the world.
Explore 1966

The Cold War
When the dust settled after World War II much of the world emerged a burnt husk of its former self, most countries uprooted by relentless shelling and firebombing. However, two nations loomed over the devastation, seemingly unfazed if not emboldened: the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Tension between these two nations had been present since even before the end of the second Great War, as the foundations of their societies, Capitalism and Communism, were diametrically opposed. However there was one key difference in 1946 as the two countries diverted their attention from the Axis Powers and stared down each other in the eyes. One difference that would forever change the world. They both held nuclear weapons now.

The Cold War was not a war in the traditional sense. The U.S. and the Soviets did not march to meet each other on the battlefield, instead, they endeavored to implement international policies and technological advancements that would put the other in check and negate the stalemate that arose from their mutual possession of weapons of mass destruction. The first strategy adopted by the U.S. was that of containment, in which the U.S. would attempt to impede on the growth of communism by preventing nations from adopting that style of government, thus starving it, allowing for the governments that had already adopted communism to collapse and adopt capitalism. This policy was actualized in the financial backing of rebellions and uprisings, rigging elections, and troop deployment, most infamously with the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

The Cold War was a period of unparalleled fear and paranoia. Nuclear weapons were and remain the most destructive force made by man, and the eradication of a nation or even the world was not unimaginable. Citizens were encouraged to prepare for Armageddon with fallout shelters, and children were instructed to practice “Duck and Cover” drills by hiding under their desks. While these practices existed primarily during the 1950’s, the paranoia remained until 1991 when the Soviet Union fell.

The War in Vietnam
After World War II the United States was committed to containing the spread of communism throughout the world and within itself (see “The Cold War” in the Political Issues section). During World War II, French colonies within Indochina had been occupied by Japanese forces. An indigenous resistance, the Vietminh, had proven instrumental in combating Japanese forces in this region, and the U.S. intended on giving Indochina independence after the conflict had resolved. However, developments in the Cold War prompted the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and France was permitted to reclaim its colonies in order to help ensure their prolonged commitment to the organization. As the French moved back into the territory they met resistance by Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh, whom received backing from the communist nations of China and the Soviet Union. This prompted a response from the U.S., first in the form of financial assistance and ultimately with boots on the ground in Vietnam.

By 1966 America had 389,000 soldiers deployed in Vietnam. The conflict had claimed 2,344 U.S. soldiers and would claim 6,350 more later that year. Additionally, the war cost the American people $700 million dollars in 1965 alone, with 1966 demanding $15.1 billion more. The Vietnam War had never been a popular conflict, primarily pushed by the Executive branch, but 1966 is about the time where unrest began to turn into disdain. Protest movements among the American populace gained strong momentum and became a driving force in popular culture and the arts.

The impact of the war was not felt among the American people alone, it was at this point that Congress began to express its doubts on the wisdom of fighting the Vietnamese. Democratic Representative Clement Zablocki (Wisconsin) predicted that the expenses from the war could bankrupt the U.S. treasury, prolonged action could become devastating to the American home front, additionally, Democrat and Senate Majority leader Mike Mansfield, once one of the biggest supporters of the Vietnam War, started to oppose the conflict as early as 1962 when he took a fact finding tour and arrived at the conclusion that the chances of not getting pulled into a large and aimless conflict were slim. However, congress was conflicted on pulling out, now that so many soldiers had died. This hesitation left LBJ virtually uncontested to expand the war effort by a large degree. This isn’t to say congress had a unanimous sentiment. In binary terms, the Democratic party was not in favor of a prolonged conflict, while the Republican party was concerned that allowing a communist force to persist could threaten the nation in the near to immediate future.

One of the first strategies in the active combat role of American forces in Vietnam was intense bombing campaigns. Operation Rolling Thunder began 1965 focusing on North Vietnamese in an effort to intimidate them from providing assistance to Vietcong forces and to coerce negotiations for surrender. In 1966 LBJ expanded the scope of the mission to target oil resources outside of Hanoi, however neither of these goals would be met.

When America withdrew from Vietnam the war had cost over $173 billion (not adjusted for inflation) and the lives of 58,220 U.S. soldiers.

The Dominican Republic Conflict
On May 30, 1961 Rafael Trujillo, Dictator of the Dominican Republic, fell victim to an assassination attempt. The power vacuum that followed erupted into a civil war over control of the country in 1965. President Johnson saw this as an opportunity for forces allied with Fidel Castro to take control of the Dominican Republic, thus spreading communism. He deployed troops into the Dominican Republic that year with the publicly stated mission of protecting American lives, however, when America seized control and withdrew its troops in 1966 he revealed that the effort had been in the name of controlling the spread of communism. As America had begun to feel the sting of the Vietnam war at this point, President Johnson’s approval ratings were negatively effected by this event.
The Space Race
On October 4th, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man made satellite, into orbit. Sputnik only carried radio transceivers and emitted a beeping signal, however, its impact was astronomical and shook the United States of America to its core. The largest threat during the Cold War was in the form of missile technology, as it would allow one side to safely bombard the other with the devastating payload of nuclear weaponry. Gaining the upper hand in rocket science could prove a deciding factor in the outcome of the conflict between the Soviets and the U.S. This threat was the catalyst for a competition between the two nations in a race to achieve milestones in space exploration.

While the Soviet Union won the first leg of the race with such accomplishments of launching the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit in 19, the tide began to change when President John F Kennedy challenged NASA to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. NASA took the incredible challenge to heart and began several missions to perfect the art of manned space flight for prolonged periods of time. The mid 1960’s saw several milestones in the field of space exploration thanks to the Gemini program, such as the first space walk, and the first space docking. NASA would go on to successfully put a man on the moon when astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle lander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft in 1969, taking one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind.

Civil Rights Movement
Slavery had been abolished in America, but the wounds it left in the nation and her people healed poorly to an infamous degree. President Lincoln had developed a plan to reconstruct the United States of America in a fashion that would be kind to the states that had attempted to secede from her. This would help avoid resentment towards the North as oppressors and make it more likely that the values of Civil Liberty for newly freed slaves would be embraced. However, the President did not live long enough to enact this plan, and a more draconian approach was taken by congress. African Americans were free, but there was an astronomical amount of bureaucratic obstacles between them and the rights guaranteed unto them by the Bill of Rights.

While the Civil Rights movement has its roots in activism as early as the late 1800’s, the 1950’s and 1960’s saw the among the greatest pushes towards the ideals of equality, as this is when the movement began to protest the establishment. During this period of time Civil Rights protests took the form of non violent resistance, utilizing tactics such as sit ins, boycotts, and large demonstrations. Prior to this phase of the movement, efforts have been focused on mobilizing sympathizers, and then attempting to reform the system through litigation, with one of the greatest triumphs being 1954’s Brown V. Board of Education, which desegregated schools. In general, however, the U.S. government ignored the call for equality, not challenging the call, but approaching it with gross negligence.

There was also a sentiment that resistance should take a more violent direction, after activists began to observe the sometimes fatal consequence of demonstrations, but the non violent resistance proved itself as the far more effective strategy. The demonstrations of the 1950’s and 1960’s publicized the injustice African Americans endured like never before. Protesters calling for rights already promised to them within the constitution of their country were beset by police, assaulted by vicious dogs, and blasted with high pressure fire hoses. The great injustices inflicted over values held self evident made it difficult for the government to feign ignorance. They began to feel the pressure and the 1960’s saw a number of bills advocating civil liberties come into being.

War Protests
Prior to 1965 action in Vietnam met very little resistance from the American people. This was mostly because America was only assisting French forces at that point, and it was not until 1965 that soldiers were being sent to Vietnam in large numbers, numbers that intensified by a sharp magnitude in 1966. This was also a time of great paranoia, when expressing a sentiment that could be rhetorically interpreted as support for communism could devastate one’s way of life. However, by 1965 the stakes became too high for American civilians not to brave that risk, with polls showing that support for the war had dropped below 50% by 1966. 1966 saw many anti war protests with numbers of protesters in the tens of thousands and approaching one hundred thousand.

President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson served as the 36th President of the United States of America from 1964 to 1968.

LBJ’s political career took off in 1937 when he won a seat in the House of Representatives for the state of Texas. He was an active supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, and was persuaded by the president to remain politically active despite his attempts to join the war effort in 1941. Johnson took President Roosevelt’s advice to heart and won a seat in the U.S. senate for the Democratic party representing the state of Texas in 1948. Johnson would go on to become the youngest Senate Majority Leader representing the Democratic party in 1955.

LBJ made his first grab at the White House in 1960. He was up for reelection to the Senate at the time, but pushed for legislation that would allow him to run for both positions simultaneously. Johnson had gained appeal, particularly in the northern United States, by pushing an unprecedented amount of Civil Rights legislation, but failed to overcome John F. Kennedy in the Democratic primary. His efforts did earn him an invitation to serve as Kennedy’s running mate, which he accepted.

Johnson was elevated to the Presidency with the tragedy of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1964. President Johnson’s first efforts were to push for many legislative actions support of Civil Rights and to wage a “War on Poverty” introducing programs such as Medicare in 1966.

However, President Johnson is perhaps most infamously known for escalating the war in Vietnam. President Kennedy had established a policy of financially backing the French efforts in the conflict, but the United States started sending more troops and began extensive bombing campaigns in 1965. The Vietnam War was devastating to President Johnson’s political image, and he opted not to run for reelection in 1968.

Mao Zedong
A figure of major influence in communism, Mao Zedong was the chairman and cofounder of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the founder and chairman of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Mao helped form the CCP in 1921 after he became confident that communism way the key to recovering China’s economy and political influence, however, the CCP soon entered a power struggle with the nationalist Guomindang party which began to purge communism in the late 1920’s. This conflict continued into the 1935, when Mao became chairman of the CCP. Mao was already working with others to form a efficient political machine than the CCP, frustrated by the lack of progress in implementing change and expelling the Guomindang party. The later became a reality in 1949, upon which Mao declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Mao’s leadership in the PRC can be broken down into three phases. The first phase of the PRC imitates and relies heavily on the Soviet Union. This is in part due to the birth of the PRC coinciding with the birth of the Cold War, a line was drawn in the sand, and the Soviet Union was the most obvious ally. The Soviet Union also had a socialist system under way, so imitating some elements of their infrastructure was an efficient idea. However, Mao did wish to implement certain elements, such as bureaucratic structure, differently than the USSR.

Mao did not want to merely imitate another country, however, and wanted China to become fully independent and self sufficient, and attempted to actualize this in phase two of the PRC. The second phase of the PRC is represented by Mao’s Great Leap Forward initiative, which focused on elevating China to an industrial superpower via backyard factories in communes. This initiative failed catastrophically, obliterating the Chinese economy and bringing about a large scale famine. It also cost China an alliance with the USSR, as Nikita Khrushchev yielded Soviet aid after witnessing the ends of Great Leap Forward.

The Great Leap Forward cost Mao influence within the Chinese government as he yielded to other officials to begin reversing the changes made by his initiative and undo the damage to the nation. In an attempt to regain power Mao influenced the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution by mobilizing radical youths into the Red Guard. This movement brought forth an extremely violent decade in China, designed to silence any opposition to Mao. The revolution, and the third phase of the PRC, ended with Mao’s death in 1976.

Ho Chi Minh
One of the most influential figures in Vietnamese history, Ho Chi Minh was the founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party and first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Politically active at a young age, Nguyen Sinh Cung (Ho Chi Minh’s birth name) became a leader within the Indochinese community in France, where he resided at the outbreak of World War I. On behalf of the French Socialist Party, Nguyen drafted a petition that would provide all colonized people self determination, however, this was not accepted by allied forces. The French Socialist Party would later crumble, but Nguyen would move on to galvanize communism in Indochina, culminating in the foundation of the Vietnamese Communist Party in 1930.

Soon afterwards in the early 1940’s Nguyen adopted the name Ho Chi Minh (“Bearer of Light”) and lead a resistance to combat the Japanese and French occupation of Vietnam, supported mostly by China throughout the second World War. When Japan surrendered in 1945 Ho Chi Minh expected Vietnam to be given back to the Vietnamese, however, the Allied forces returned the colony to the French. Ho Chi Minh’s forces, the Viet Minh, moved quickly to occupy Hanoi, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1946 with Ho Chi Minh as president. Though diplomacy was attempted, eventually hostilities broke out between the DRV and French leading to the Vietnam War.

Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the greatest figures in to fight for Civil Liberty to ever live, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a figure of incomparable significance during the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King came from a family that was active in the struggle for equality, a legacy spanning several generations. Dr. King’s family often employed both religion and politics together to articulate their message, a method Dr. King would embolden with his extensive education in theology and philosophy allowing him to articulate progressive ideas with unparalleled potency and clarity.

In 1955 an official of the NAACP, Rosa Parks, was imprisoned for refusing to forfeit her bus seat to a white passenger. This lead to a boycott as a form of protest, organised by the Montgomery Improvement Association. Dr. King accepted the role of president of the organization, serving as spokesman of the protest. Dr. King galvanized local churches, and advocated non violent resistance, appealing to sympathetic whites to lend their voices to the movement. In 1956 the Montgomery Improvement Association proved victorious as Supreme Court outlawed the bus segregation laws enforced by Alabama. This thrusted Dr. King into the national spot light as the key to the success of the boycott.

Dr. King would continue to advocate Civil Liberties throughout the 1960’s despite facing harsh adversity, and being arrested on several occasions. One particular jailing of note followed a massive campaign in 1963 within Birmingham, Alabama. The peaceful protesters at Birmingham were televised being abused by officials, who attacked them with dogs and fire hoses. Dr. King was jailed and wrote an extremely influential letter defending the protests in Birmingham. President John F. Kennedy had intervened on Dr. King’s behalf before, releasing him from jail, however the events at Birmingham are what persuaded him to begin introducing significant legislation to ensure Civil Rights on a federal level.

The fame of Dr. King peaked after his speech on August 28th, 1963 which advocated equality with the now immortal phrase “I have a dream.” Dr. King would be named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year that same year and he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The following year demonstrators planned a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery in order to protest the measures taken to deny African American’s their voting rights within the southern states. The march only reached the outskirts of Selma before officials attacked demonstrators with tear gas and physical violence by order of the Governor. Dr. King then arrived in Selma to galvanize demonstrators and sympathetic whites to protest these injustices. These actions persuaded President Lyndon B Johnson to push for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. With federal legislation on their side, Dr. King was able to speak to demonstrators from the steps of the Montgomery capitol building on March 25th.

Dr. King met some harsh resistance following his victory in Selma as different sentiments within the Civil Rights movement began to surface. In 1965 James Meredith was shot while attempting to march across Mississippi to advocate voting rights. Some members of the movement began to feel that they were starting to see diminishing returns in regards to white sympathy, and Dr. King’s methods of nonviolent resistance were becoming a liability. Dr. King held true to his convictions, playing key roles in maintaining peace amongst the ranks, such was the case when riots broke out amongst protests in Chicago during 1966.

Dr. King refocused his campaigns from addressing voting rights to poverty in 1967, advocating for federal measures to address the issue. In 1968 sanitation workers went on strike in Memphis, and Dr. King soon arrived to lead demonstrations advocating change. However, demonstrations soon broke out into violence, but Dr. King continued to plead and advocate for a peaceful approach. Soon after, Dr. King was assassinated as he stood upon a balcony at the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was instrumental in social change like none before or since, and was imperative to America as we know it today. He was invaluable in saving the soul of America, a soul that from inception was constituted with the verve of liberty, the idea that all men and women are created equal, a soul that from inception had laid obscured and dormant within a body that was American in name and number alone.

The New Left
The New Left was a political movement that arose with the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s but was dead by the 1970’s. It accused the United States Government of serving itself rather than it’s people, citing the almost exclusive background of wealth, military status, or family in politics and the symbiotic nature of bureaucracies. The New Left called for more individual participation in government. This would not entail a revolution, but reform drastic to the point where the distinction becomes very slight. The New Left was not a communist movement, but it recognized similar ideologies like the value placed on the individual and the thoroughness of change that they sought.

The Vietnam War proved to be a violent catalyst for the New Left Movement. The group organized many rallies in 1964, and despite gathering healthy numbers towards their cause members began feeling the impact of butting heads with the adamant nature of the war effort. Morality started dropping and the group started becoming more radical to compensate, advocating more communist ideals towards the end of the 1960’s, which ended up further splitting their numbers until the group faded away.

The Black Panther Party for Self Defense
In the mid 1960’s the sentiment that nonviolent resistance had started to produce diminishing results had begun to grow within the Civil Rights Movement. These sentiments came to a head when James Meredith was shot during his march across Mississippi in 1966. Dissenters from Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision had become convinced that the movement was not going to earn any more White sympathy and they were only risking African American lives for a system where there was not enough White support to elicit change. Instead of attempting to reform a party, they should just form their own.

In 1965 Stokely Carmichael mobilized African Americans in Lowndes County Alabama. Despite being the majority population, no African Americans had registered to vote, so in order to mobilize voters several advocates formed the Lowndes County Freedom Organization with the symbol of a black panther, leading to the party nick name “The Black Panthers.” The Black Panthers managed to get their representatives on Lowndes County ballots and succeeded in registering enough voters to outnumber any opposition, however, not a single representative was elected due to voter fraud, cheating the party out of a significant win.

In 1966 student activists Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale adopted the name and logo of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization to form The Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The group was originally founded to protect African Americans from White hostility and police brutality. The Black Panthers’ first actions were to deploy armed members to observe political demonstrations held by African Americans advocating Civil Rights, in particular within communities where the police have demonstrated a habit of harassment. The armed patrols did not intervene in police misconduct, rather their presence was intended to intimidate officials from violence, however, police soon opened fire resulting in a number of heated gun fights between Black Panthers and the authorities. In response California began drafting legislature to ban citizens from carrying loaded fire arms in public, leading the party to form a protest that thrust the Black Panthers into the public consciousness in 1967.

As the party grew its ideals started to change from protecting Civil Rights advocates to violently over throwing a corrupt bureaucracy, leading to an escalation in violence against police officers committed by party members. In 1968 J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, began a serious effort to crack down on the Black Panther Party. As a result the party entered a state of disarray and had dissolved by 1970.

Significant Events
United States of America
Kentucky becomes the First Southern State to Pass a Civil Rights Law
The Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination in accommodations or employment based on race, national origin, color, or religion. This bill was signed on January 27, 1966 and was the first civil rights law in the south.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a federal law which prohibited discrimination in all public accommodations, operations affecting commerce, and any program receiving federal funds. It also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is Founded
The National Organization for Women among the most prominent women’s rights organization and was founded during a luncheon in 1966. The group was motivated by a failure of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it came to matters of gender. Though the catalyst for forming NOW, correcting the mistakes of the EEOC was not the mission statement of NOW, instead the organization endeavored to bring women into “mainstream of American society”. NOW quickly proved itself to be one of the strongest forces in the fight against discrimination.

NOW was named “The National Organization for Women” instead of the “National Organization of Women” in order to avoid alienating men who supported equal rights.

Huey P. Newton and Boby Seale found the Black Panther Party for Self Defense
In 1966 student activists Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded a political organization with intent to protect Civil Rights activists from police hostility, inspired by the violence committed against James Meredith that year as he marched across the state of Mississippi to advocate voter registration only to be shot. The organization soon came into violent conflict with authorities and grew at a rapid rate in 1967 as they became more publicized, eventually becoming a target of the FBI. The party began to fall apart in 1970 do to a federal crackdown.
Dr. Robert Weaver Becomes the First African American to Hold a Cabinet Position
Dr. Robert Weaver received his Ph.D in economics and employed it for education and politics. In 1938 President Roosevelt appointed Dr. Weaver to serve as the special assistant to the head of the federal Housing Authority. He went on to become the first African American to hold a state level cabinet position as New York’s Commissioner of Rent. He was recognized by President Kennedy in 1961 when he was appointed the director of the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency. Kennedy had actually planned on Dr. Weaver holding a cabinet position by making the agency a cabinet level department, however, this was blocked by conservative efforts. President Johnson pushed for Kennedy’s intentions for Dr. Weaver to be actualized and succeeded in 1966, making Dr. Weaver the first African American to ever hold a cabinet position.
Televised Fulbright Hearings Begin
In 1966 Senator James William Fulbright, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began to hold hearings regarding the war in Vietnam. Fulbright had voted to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, which allowed the U.S. to send forces into Vietnam, but by 1966 was highly critical of the decision to enter the conflict. These hearings were televised to the nation, and helped mobilize the anti-war sentimentality amongst the general population. The Fulbright Hearings continued until 1971.
The Narcotic Rehabilitation Act Aims to Rehabilitate Drug Abusers Instead of Punish Them
Prior to the mid 1960’s the American judicial system acted very aggressively towards violators of narcotic laws with heavy jail time and in some cases capital punishment. By the mid 1960’s health professionals began to advocate a less punitive approach, encouraging the rehabilitation of addicts as a more ideal solution. The methods they introduced convinced congress to pass the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act in 1966, which allowed the U.S. Public Health Service to treat convicted drug offenders and addicts who willingly committed themselves.
The Production, Manufacture, and Distribution of LSD Becomes Illegal
LSD was first developed in 1938 and is a hallucinogenic drug in the same family as Peyote and PCP. The drug gained a great deal of momentum in the early 1960’s as it was embraced by youth culture as a means of expanding their consciousness. Once certain intellectuals and scholars began to advocate the drug as a gateway to a deeper insight to life the federal government stepped in to outlaw the drug before it became too difficult to impede the dangerous substance.

LSD, even in small doses, can cause acute mental distress and disturbance. The drug has been experimented with the ends of both mind control and torture.

Medicare is First Administered
President Harry Truman was among the first to advocate a form of national comprehensive health insurance back in 1945, however, this measure was resisted until Lindon B Johnson took office. Healthcare for the elderly met a great deal of resistance, but congress managed to keep it alive by introducing bills that would not pass, but would keep a program up in the air of discussion.

Medicare’s greatest opposition came from politicians who felt that health insurance should be a matter left to states, not the federal government, and claims that Medicare was a measure of socialism. However, by 1963 over half of elderly Americans had no health insurance what so ever. Politicians began to see the urgency of this issue.

Medicare was drafted by Wilbur Mills (Democrat, Arkansas) to be available to citizens over the age of 65 who were eligible to receive social security or railroad retirement benefits. Coverage would come in two parts: hospital and nursing coverage, and supplemental medical coverage. Congress approved of the program and it became an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. President Johnson signed the bill on July 30th 1965 and began to be administered in 1966.

The National Traffic and Motor Safety Act is Passed and the Department of Transportation is Established
By the early 60’s many Americans had become to depend on private transportation thanks in part to a booming automotive industry. The automotive industry at this point was unregulated, resulting in vehicles of inconsistent stability on the roads making transportation unsafe for everyone, with statistics finding that one out of every five cars produced by the industry were recalled. America saw as many as 50,000 traffic accidents and fatalities a year! Congressional efforts towards road safety awareness were bolstered even further by Ralph Nader and his book “Unsafe at Any Speed” which attacked the automotive industry for designing their vehicles with style in mind, not safety, identifying behaviors like the resistance to adopt seat belts.

In 1966 the National Traffic and Motor Safety Act was passed. This act created standards for vehicles on the highway and stipulated that they be inspected regularly. All vehicles had to meet specific standards beginning in 1968.

In another effort to regulate automotive safety, President Johnson pushed for the consolidation of federal automotive departments towards the end of focusing on air, water, and road transit. This resulted in the Department of Transportation.

James Meredith is Shot While Marching Across Mississippi
James Meredith began marching across Mississippi on June 5, 1966 in an effort to demonstrate that African Americans should not be afraid to act on their right to vote. Though a brave measure, James was met with gunfire after a single day into his campaign, but survived the attack. As he recovered civil rights leaders met within Memphis to complete his march, which they succeeded in doing on June 26th, 1966.

The attack on James Meredith was one of the contributing factors in a split among civil rights groups along the lines of peaceful protest and violent retaliation and was where the slogan “Black Power” originated.

Riots in Chicago
On July 10th 1966 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeared at Chicago a rally organized by a group of forty five civil rights groups, encouraging peaceful resistance in the form of boycotting discriminatory businesses. On July 12th a riot broke out, with Dr. King ultimately proving instrumental in restoring the peace despite escalating violence from bigots against the peaceful demonstrations he lead.
France Announces Plans to Withdraw From NATO
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 to form an alliance with intent to block Soviet expansion into Europe. France was one of the founding countries of NATO, and as a result the President of the Fifth Republic of France, Charles De Gaulle, inherited membership when he took his office in 1959. On of De Gaulle’s defining political characteristics was his foreign policy. Although he agreed that it was imperative that communism be contained, he resented the Cold War, in particular, how two super powers alone controlled the political landscape. De Gaulle’s desire for French autonomy can be seen in his push for France to develop its own nuclear weapon in 1964, and in his criticism of American intervention, such as in Vietnam.

De Gaulle did not agree with the structure of NATO, namely with how much control the United States held over the use of nuclear force. He demanded that France be on equal footing within NATO, however, these demands fell upon deaf ears. As a result, De Gaulle began to pull forces out of NATO.

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
In an effort to recover China’s economic stability, Mao Zedong, the chairman and leader of the People’s Republic of China, put forth the Great Leap Forward program in 1958. The Great Leap Forward was to focus on improving the industrial strength of China, calling for an over 75% increase in industrial production. This was achieved via a few steel plants built thanks in part to Soviet intervention but mostly through communes along the Chinese countryside, communes being a significant aspect of the PRC vision. A commune is a small community that, in theory, is able to produce everything it needs on its own and thus is self sustaining and independent. Unskilled laborers in these communes were expected to construct crude furnaces using locally acquired resources in order to produce goods such as pots, pans, and farming implements. In order to satisfy the expectations put on communes, about 98% of rural China was forced into these communes.

The Great Leap Forward proved to be a complete failure. The industrial manufacturing plants failed to produce an acceptable yield, and were neglected to a state of disrepair. Communes were unable to produce goods at acceptable rates either do to the lack of locally available resources, resulting in the few products manufactured being of very poor quality. In addition to this, farmers had been relocated to commune assignments and restricted from farming using time proven techniques, resulting in famine and ruined farmland. The economic impact of the Great Leap Forward was so devastating that it forced Mao Zedong to step down as the chairman of the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Communist Party in 1959, though he remained in power. Mao’s successors immediately dismantled communes and began returning property to rural farmers in a successful attempt to reverse the damages caused by the Great Leap Forward.

Mao took this as a step backwards, and in 1966 began to assemble a counter cultural movement that would discourage disobeying Mao and utterly rejecting “Old China.” Mao recruited students into a group called the “Red Guard”, so named after a little red book containing Mao’s sayings. Mao’s Red Guard took to the streets to destroy Chinese cultural artifacts and harass bureaucracy that was not in Mao’s favor. The Cultural Revolution, or Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, managed to ban cultural works of art (to be replaced with pro Mao art), closed schools down to divert students towards labor camps, and physically assaulted and arrested political leaders, leaving Mao virtually unopposed until a prolonged power struggle with his former second in command Liu Shaoqi.

Red Guard leaders were arrested shortly after Mao’s death in 1976, concluding the long and violent revolution.

Arthur Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI Meet in Rome
In 1961 Arthur Michael Ramsey became the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury. Ramsey did not approve of the power governments held over the church, and advocated easing laws that prohibited and condemned homosexuality. Ramsey also publicly spoke out against apartheid and the Vietnam War. Ramsey met Pope Paul VI on March 23rd, 1966 within Rome. Pope Paul VI presented Ramsey with the Episcopal ring that Pope Paul VI had worn while he was the Archbishop of Milan.

Important Court Cases and Legislation
Evans V. Newton
In his will Senator Agustus Bacon handed a park over to Macon, Georgia on the provision that the park be open to whites only. The provision was obeyed until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 persuaded Macon officials to open the park to everyone. This was challenged by Bacon’s family and local landowners, who managed to re-segregate the park. This decision was appealed by the city of Macon in the Georgian Supreme Court but the decision was upheld. Macon eventually succeeded in bring the case to the Supreme Court.

The Bacon family and local residents of the park had argued that the park was a private one, and as such, is not subject to the Civil Rights Act. However, Supreme Court ruled that the park served a public function, and as a result must be treated as a public entity. This ruling extends to all parks, and dictates that all parks must be protected by the fourteenth amendment.

State of South Carolina V. Katzenbach
In 1964 the American people populated both the White House and Congress with Democrats. Previous to that year there had been a strong conservative resistance to any civil rights legislation LBJ had attempted, and he recognized this as a golden opportunity. On March 15th LBJ held a nationally televised address to Congress declaring that action must be taken in the name of stomping out bigotry, outlining measures to reform voting practices in the name of civil rights. Despite conservative push backs such as filibustering, Congress managed to pass the Voting Rights bill on August 1965.

This bill allowed Federal authoraties to step in and administer voter registration should it be determined that discrimination was preventing citizens from voting. This also suspended literacy requirements, which was a popular method of turning away voters.

This bill was challenged in 1966 by South Carolina’s State Attorney General, Daniel R McLeod. He claimed that the bill violated state rights and was therefore unconstitutional. Federal Attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach defended the bill before the Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the Voting Rights Act, as it is an example of the Federal government defending the fifteenth amendment rights (the federal and state governments are prohibited from restricting a citizen’s right to vote based on “race, color, or condition of servitude”) of her people.

Harper V. Virginia State Board of Elections
In 1965 Virginia charged residents over the age of 21 $1.50 poll tax, which if left unpaid allowed the state to waive their right to vote. Annie E. Harper filled a suit against the state of Virginia on behalf of Virginia residents claiming that their poll taxes were unconstitutional. The case was initially dismissed by Virginian courts, as precedence had been established in a 1937 case where the tax was challenged and upheld. However, 1964 brought the twenty fourth amendment, which prohibited any taxation in the election of federal officials. As Harper focused only on the federal context of these taxes, she succeeded in bringing the case to Supreme Court on January 25th 1966.
Miranda V. Arizona
On March 10, 193 Ernesto Miranda was arrested and detained on charges of rape and kidnapping after he was seen in a car matching the description provided by the victim a week earlier. Miranda was placed in a line up with three other men and identified as the assailant. He was then escorted into an interrogation room where he was persuaded to sign a confession.

Miranda’s trial was held on June 7th, 1963. His attorney, Alvin Moore, argued that Miranda had not been informed of his right to legal counsel before his interrogation and thus was denied his fifth amendment rights which protected him from self incrimination. The judge did not rule in Miranda’s favor, sentencing him to two consecutive 20-30 year prison terms. Moore appealed this decision eventually succeeding in bringing the case to Supreme Court.

On June 6, 1966 Supreme Court ruled in favor of Miranda in a 5-4 decision. Miranda established that prior to questioning authorities must inform a person of their right to remain silent, that any statement they make may be used as evidence against them, and that they have the right to an attorney. Because Miranda had been denied his fifth amendment rights due to negligence towards legal counsel before signing a confession, Miranda’s sentence was lifted.