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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 40
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Examine Nixon's domestic policies, including his corruption and resignation after Watergate. Explain the connection between the immediate Watergate scandal and the wider attacks on "the imperial presidency" as reflected in, for example, the War Powers Act.

    REFERENCES: Stephen Ambrose, Nixon (1989); Stanley Kutler, The Wars of Watergate (1990).

  • Analyze the ebb and flow of American foreign policy in the seventies, from Nixon's Moscow-Beijing (Peking) visits to Afghanistan. Particular attention might be paid to the difficulties in implementing Kissinger's plans for a stabilizing agreement among the three great powers in a still-volatile world, and to Jimmy Carter's attempt to bring a stronger moral dimension to American foreign relations.

    REFERENCE: Robert D. Schulzinger, Henry Kissinger: Doctor of Diplomacy (1989); Gaddis Smith, Morality, Reason, and Power (1986).

  • Explain the closely interrelated problems of the Middle East, energy, and economics in the seventies, perhaps focusing on the way America's growing economic difficulties made it more vulnerable to Middle East events, which in turn added to economic trouble. Consider the U.S. crisis with Iran in relation to the general political tensions of the region.

    REFERENCE: Michael B. Stoff, Oil, War and American Security (1980); James Bill, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations (1987).

  • Examine the reasons for the successes of American feminism at a time when most social movements spawned in the 1960s had fragmented and lost broader public appeal. Consider the relationship between more liberal or radical feminist activists who actively promoted social and culture changes and the large numbers of American women who entered the workforce and altered family roles even if they were not politically engaged.

    REFERENCE: Susan M. Hartmann, The Other Feminists: Activists in the Liberal Establishment (1998).



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