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U.S. Presidents that Served in the White House During the '60s and '70s

Culture | May 9, 2018

The White House South Lawn Washington D.C. The White House South Lawn Washington D.C., the White House from the backside at blue hour.

United States Presidents of the '60s and '70s were among a demographic of men that were young enough to grasp the concept of change but old enough to implement the proper vehicles needed for change. They needed to be ever mindful of hippies, Baby Boomers,’ and various minority groups. This era brought about change quite unlike any other era. It was a wild time including civil rights protests, a presidential assignation, music festivals and, last but by no means least, the disco era.

The biggest stories regarding U.S Presidents occurred during the Groovy Era.

The 1960s kicked off on the right foot with the election of President John F. Kennedy. He was commonly referred to by only his initials, JFK. JFK was the first U.S. President to have been born in the 20th century.

What did U.S. Leaders do during the '60s and '70s?

JFK was elected as the 35th president of the United States in 1960. At the age of 43 years old, Kennedy became the youngest person as well as the first Roman Catholic president to be elected to the office. He was born into a very privileged American family. He came with an elite education and a reputation as a military hero. JFK boosted a culture for public service and was on course to do great things for the people

Historians count President John F. Kennedy as one of the best-loved presidents in American history.

JFK took office during an age of innocence. The era was an innocent one but out of that came frustration. The times were on the verge of change and social rebellion turned into violence. Young people and minority groups were testing the waters looking for radical social change.

Protesters began surfacing in opposition to social conformity.

JFK brought to this nation a feeling and spirit of hope. He was thought to have been slated for making great things happen. When this young president was assassinated in 1963, the Country collectively mourned. We mourned not only the loss of a leader, a husband and a father but also the loss of hope for all of the good things that were to have come out of his presidency.

The loss of JFK left the country scrambling to regroup. Shortly thereafter, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States. President Johnson wasted no time kick-starting an admittedly ambitious series of social reform.

Overnight we went from JFK to…..

President Johnson set out to create what he referred to as a “Great Society” for all Americans. This was the birth of programs including Medicare, Head Start, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. These programs were unlike any in the past and acted to restore some of the hope that was dashed when JFK was murdered.

President Johnson lost popularity over his failure to keep U.S. soldiers out of the Vietnam War.

Johnson’s achievements profoundly impacted the health, education and basic human and civil rights of many. His popularity was sullied, however, when he failed to please the people regarding the Vietnam War. America severely protested the Vietnam War and for good reason. It was a deadly war which many believed we didn’t belong in. Still today, we see the lasting effects of the men and women who fought there.

Musicians realized that they had the perfect platform to get the word out about hot-topics regarding social reform. They were able to give a voice to the people and get out the word that the war mentality and other social issues needed to change. Anti-war and other songs of protest were huge during this era.

In March of 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that he would not seek another term in office.

The legacy President Johnson created with his controversial handling of that war made up his mind not to run for reelection. He was stalked by angry mobs of war protestors and found it difficult to function outside of the White House. For this reason, he decided quietly to retire to his Texas ranch in 1969.

U.S. Presidents differed regarding their views on the Vietnam War.

Richard Nixon, a former U.S. Representative and Senator was elected the 37th President of the United States in 1969. President Nixon’s first order of business was to bring the painfully divided nation back together.

President Nixon successfully ended American fighting in Vietnam.

In addition to ending American fighting in Vietnam, Nixon was also known for improving international relations with the U.S.S.R. and China.

Richard Nixon’s ultimate undoing was his role in the Watergate scandal.

Despite his many successes, President Nixon ended up being the only U.S. President to ever resign his office. For all of the good he did for the anti-war population, Nixon set about a new division with his role in the Watergate scandal, from which he just couldn’t recover. He stepped down and then Vice President Gerald Ford took the office.

In August 1974, Gerald Ford took over the role of Commander and Chief of the United States. He is well remembered for his famous speech in which he said, “I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances…. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.”

The circumstances surrounding his assuming the office of the President of the United States was uncharted territory. Up until this time, this was an unprecedented circumstance. Gerald Ford was the first ever Vice President called to step up for the President as a result of a breach of power.

At the time he was called upon, he was faced with a nation of challenges. Hot topics of the time were the economy and inflation, the energy crisis and the ever-present world peace issue.

Ford was known for being ever vigilant trying to maintain U. S. power after the collapse of Cambodia and South Vietnam. His main goal was to prevent a new war in the Middle East, which remained his priority. Ford decided to lend aid to both Israel and Egypt and convinced the two countries to accept an interim truce agreement.

President Ford was known for his integrity. He was an honest man with a passion and a heart for his country. One of his acts as President was to grant Richard Nixon a full pardon. Not everyone was pleased but you just can’t please everyone.

Although President Ford won the Republican nomination in 1976, he lost the presidential election to Jimmy Carter, a former Governor and peanut farmer from Georgia.

Jimmy Carter was elected to office as the 39th President of the United States. From day one he faced a constant struggle surrounding increasing challenges including a major energy crisis, inflation and unemployment.

President Jimmy Carter was the last President of the Groovy Era.

President Carter was responsible for restoring U.S. relations with China. He also made major strides in his efforts to bring peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Despite his efforts, however, a hostage crisis in Iran set him back. Carter was known for coining the term of the nation’s “crisis of confidence.” This, however, did nothing to boost his popularity.

1980 Jimmy Carter lost the presidential office to Ronald Reagan. Carter, however, did not go away entirely. He went on to build a very distinguished career as a diplomat, humanitarian and an author. He made it his business to pursue peace and conflict resolution in countries around the world.

The groovy era saw many changes throughout his run. There were so many issues near and dear to our hearts. Running an entire nation comes with much responsibility and hard work.

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.