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Following World War II, a heavily Republican congress was elected that strongly opposed the New Deal. Their leader was Sen. Robert Taft. President Truman was highly unpopular because of his heavily flawed economic policies that were causing widespread misery. He passed a Maximum Wage, leading to a growth in employer-offered health insurance benefits and price controls, which led to shortages. He also made all Televisions and FM Radios obsolete. Labor unions were attempting to turn every business into a closed shop, which would only hire workers who were already union members. After the Republican majority took hold, Sen. Taft helped to pass through the Taft-Hartley Act to get union violence under control, although not without opposition from many who wanted to simply repeal the Wagner Act. While the labor unions called it the "slave labor bill" and Truman claimed that it would "conflict with important principles of our democratic society," the American people were sick and tired of Truman and the unions didn't help their cause by aligning with him.
1948 Presidential Campaign
Unpopular incumbent Harry Truman was re-nominated by the Democrats and he offended both Southerners and the far-left with his platform. The Democratic Party split into three as the Southern faction nominated South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond and the far-left faction nominated former Vice President Henry Wallace, who was famous for giving a speech called the "Century of the Common Man" in 1942 in which he advocated socialism.
Sensing a golden opportunity to win the election, the Republicans debated which candidate would make the better nominee. In the end, Sen. Taft defeated New York governor Thomas Dewey, who was to the left of Truman, for the nomination. Taft chose to nominate Representative Howard Buffett for Vice President.
As the election neared, Taft and Buffett ran on a strong platform of Limited Government, isolationism, and Pure Capitalism. Their slogan was "America First." They opposed Communism and the United Nations.
Taft and Buffett were elected with over 60% of the vote. They won the Midwest and South easily and won out in the heavily pro-business states in Northern New England. Taft-Buffett even won California. Truman's strongholds were a few Northeastern states, such as Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts, as well as a few Southern states.
Taft's First Term
President Taft proceeded to dismantle the entire New Deal within his first 100 days in office, including Social Security (which was an unpopular program that few recipients wanted). American involvement in the Soviet-dominated United Nations would soon end and it would relocate to Moscow. The US military returned home and closed all foreign bases. Conscription was ended.
The Federal Reserve was shut down before the end of 1949. The Republican-led Congress soon proposed an amendment to repeal the Income Tax. In 1951, the 22nd Amendment limiting a president to 2 terms and the 23rd Amendment repealing the Income Tax were ratified.
In 1950, North Korea invaded and conquered South Korea, unifying the peninsula as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Korea was the main issue of the 1952 election. The Republicans unanimously re-nominated Taft-Buffett, while the Democrats nominated World War II hero Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson.
Taft-Buffett ran on a strong peace platform and emphasized their achievements. Eisenhower-Stevenson ran on intervention in Korea to put the South Koreans in control and the construction of an Interstate Highway System, as well as the return of some of the New Deal programs.
The most notable moment in the campaign was during the vice presidential debate when Buffett blasted the Democratic Party's proposed Interstate System as being a massive boondoggle that would bankrupt the United States of America.
Taft-Buffett would be re-elected by a sizable margin as the American people were unwilling to support another war and the economy had entered an unprecedented boom. Most of the American people would soon own television sets, which were fast decreasing in price.
Taft's Second Term
In April 1953, President Taft fell ill with cancer. He would die on July 31st. However, he had left a legacy as one of our greatest presidents and left America a free country once again.
Buffett's First Term
Vice President Buffett was sworn in as president on August 1st, 1953. He decided to implement a privatization program to sell off the Post Office. A young 1st-term Congressman from New York by the name of Murray Rothbard (who was only 27 years of age) wrote the legislation and helped to sell the American people on the idea. The Post Office Department would be dismantled by the end of 1953.
In the meantime, Marxist rebels in Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh (known as the Viet Minh) were well on their way to victory over the French. They would finally establish the People's Republic of Vietnam in January 1954 after defeating France at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The United States would not get involved, as President Buffett realized that communism was economically unsustainable.
In November 1953, President Buffett invited Nikita Khrushchev to the White House to discuss relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. The meeting was broadcast live on national television to the American people, as president Buffett believed that the people had a right to know what is going on in Washington. This meeting is famous for Khrushchev’s comments about how the Soviets had a program to develop a nuclear weapon, but that they had stopped when they realized that America was not going to be an imperialist power. Khrushchev announced that the Soviets intended to purchase more food from American farmers and that he saw no reason why there shouldn't be peace in our time. With their platform discredited, the Democratic Party fell heavily in the polls the very next day and the Republicans gained even stronger control of the Congress in the midterm elections, as it was becoming more and more clear to everybody just how great a president Robert Taft had been.
In early 1954, Ohio Senator John Bricker would propose what would become the 24th Amendment, which prohibited all treaties and executive agreements which conflicted with the Constitution. Another part of the Amendment called for lowering the voting age to 18. The purpose of the Amendment was to ensure that America's sovereignty would never be handed away to any foreign power, and to insure that young veterans could vote in the country they helped defend. It officially was ratified in 1955.
On December 7th, 1955, the Supreme Court ruled upon the case of ACLU v. Buffett. The plaintiff, "John Doe" of New York, NY, was a homeless man who enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a Democratic partisan organization, to get back his check from an entitlement program cut during the Taft administration. It finally made it to the Supreme Court in 1954 and the court ruled 5-4 in favor of the ACLU, claiming that the 9th Amendment guaranteed a right to a living wage. The 3 justices who ruled against it had been appointed recently, one of them Justice Robert F. Kennedy, son of the non-interventionist and Republican Joseph Kennedy and brother of maverick Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy who knocked Henry Cabot Lodge (known as Henry Sabotage to most of his Republican colleagues because he is more liberal than most Democrats) out of the Senate a few years ago.
President Buffett was outraged and soon the House had passed articles of impeachment against the 6 Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of the ACLU. Chief Justice John Marshall Harlan himself sat in the Senate to preside over the trial of the 5 Supreme Court justices on charges of having committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" by violating the Constitution. The impeachment trial was set for May of 1956, right in the middle of the election and would be broadcast live on national television. This is mainly considered to be the turning point of the Buffet administration, as it was seen (rightly) as a scam to take control of the Supreme Court, though Buffet still won reelection.
Meanwhile, the UK, France, Germany, and 12 others Eurasian nations have formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to guard against the Soviet Union.
The Republican Party re-nominated President Buffett for a second term and John Bricker was chosen as the vice presidential nominee.
The Democrats chose to nominate Adlai Stevenson, the 1952 vice-presidential nominee, with Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee as his running mate.
Stevenson and Kefauver attacked the Buffett Administration for its impeachment of Supreme Court justices on grounds that they claimed to be spurious, and supposed "appeasement" of Communism.
During the Election year, the American people watched as the impeachment trial of the alleged "rogue" Supreme Court justices. In the end, the Republicans got enough votes in the Senate to successfully impeach the 5 Supreme Court justices. Quickly, a bill was passed to reduce the size of the court to 7.
Buffett's signature issue during the campaign was his opposition to the Judiciary Act of 1789 and his support for eliminating all federal courts below the Supreme Court.
Later in the campaign, it started to appear that the indecency issue may be backfiring on the Democrats, as singer Elvis Presley, who had become extremely popular among the younger generation in the last year, endorsed Buffett.
At the final debate, a large contingent of young people voting for the first time showed up to cheer for Stevenson and to jeer at Buffet.
Though Stevenson drove it close, the public were not quite ready to throw off the Republicans and Buffet were reelected.
Buffett's Second Term
Following the 1956 elections, President Buffett worked to implement his platform.
During 1957, the repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed. After this was repealed and half of all federal courts below the Supreme Court shut down, Washington began to consider the question of civil rights.
In December 1955, a black woman by the name of Rosa Parks had refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person. She was arrested under a segregationist "Jim Crow" law on the books in Alabama and ended up being fined, but she refused to pay the fine and got sent to jail for a period of time. Then, a young preacher by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. led a boycott of the bus service for a year and they eventually gave in and changed their policy.
In the meantime, there had been a national debate, with Senate Minority Leader Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a prominent Democrat opposing all efforts at desegregation, along with his party. President Buffett and the Republicans debated what to do on the question and eventually, they decided that it would be wrong to have the Supreme Court just "reinterpret" the Constitution and that segregation would need to be ended by amendment. However, the Republicans were concerned about freedom of association and decided to oppose all plans to force private individuals to desegregate.
The 25th Amendment was passed in late 1957 and ratified after some controversy in 1959 despite the opposition of the Deep South. The Amendment stated that "Neither Congress nor any other legislative body shall make any law requiring discrimination on the basis of race, nor shall any governmental body discriminate on the basis of race."
Thus, the desegregation of all of government, including the governments of the deep south, was mandated by law. This controversial Amendment led to gains among the Democrats in the Deep South, which the Democrats basically took over and the Democrats actually gained seats in 1958, but they went down to greater defeats in northern states.
In 1958, the most popular television program of the year was the television version of economist Ludwig von Mises's 1949 treatise Human Action, which quickly and decisively replaced the General Theory of J.M. Keynes as the most prominent economic work after its publication, as it was endorsed by President Taft and then-Vice President Buffett. The most popular book of the year was Altas Shrugged by novelist Ayn Rand, which was about an alternate universe version of the near future in which the Democrats ruled America and persecuted businessmen. Then, John Galt, an extremely talented engineer, got the most talented people in society to withdraw and form their own society, causing America to collapse. The book was also famous for its explicit sexual scenes and its rejection of traditional sexual norms. Another popular product was Ralph Baer's invention of an interactive TV machine, as young Americans spent countless hours playing baseball on the machine known as the BrownBox.
President Buffett, heavily influenced by Atlas Shrugged, decided to repeal laws against pornography even though he personally didn't look at it. Buffett decided to have the Supreme Court declare pornography laws as unconstitutional. In order to do this, he convinced the owner of Playboy, Hugh Heffner to stand trial on federal pornography charges. In the case of Heffner v. United States, the Supreme Court double-crossed Buffett ruling 5-2 (with Justice Robert F. Kennedy who had been the guiding force behind the ruling gave the majority opinion) that the 1st Amendment should be interpreted through the founders viewpoint and therefore the federal government is permitted to ban obscenity. Furthermore, the 1st Amendment is incorporated into the states under the 14th Amendment and therefore the states may restrict speech at all either, even "obscene" speech. This ruling, handed down on April 1st, 1959, was at first considered to be a the first major defeat for the Buffett administration. The Legion of Decency, whoever applauded the ruling and President Buffett for prosecuting a prominent pornographer. Eventually, they realized that Buffett was on the side of Heffner, condemned the president. Buffett requested that the Congress impeach the Supreme Court justices responsible. Public opinion soon turned against Buffett and he was forced to publicly announced that he had no intention of impeaching the Supreme Court and he acknowledged that their decision was in fact consistent with the Constitution. Vice President Bricker who had supported the League all along agreed.
The 1960 election was a hard-fought one and one of the closest elections in American history.
In the Republican primary, Vice President Bricker overcame a primary challenge from New York Congressman Murray Rothbard (the Congressman who wrote the Post Office Privatization bill, although he would not be eligible to serve as president until March of 1961), as well as a challenge by the liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller (who ran a quixotic campaign advocating going back to the America of the 30s and 40s), Bricker's post powerful opponent was Justice Robert F. Kennedy who was very popular and ran a strong campaign against Bricker. Bricker only won the nomination with 14 votes over the 50%+1 required to win at the GOP convention. Bricker chose Rothbard for his running-mate
In the Democratic primaries, there was a crowded field at first, but it eventually narrowed to 4 candidates. Maverick Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts (older brother of Justice Kennedy), 1956 Presidential candidate former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, Senator Strom Thurmond, and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas. Most of the Democrats decided it was time to throw off their old conservatism and opposition to civil rights, and Thurmond would later leave and form his own party, the Dixiecrats. At the Convention, the nomination was dead-locked, with Kennedy having a plurality of delegates, but not enough to nominate himself. After five ballots, Stevenson and Johnson released their delegates to Kennedy, with Johnson receiving the vice presidency, and Stevenson being promised the position of Secretary of State.
During the debates, Kennedy did extremely well. Although the Republicans had run the country for 12 years, they were not at their peak in popularity as many Americans felt that they were promoting immoral activities (ACLU vs. Taft and Heffner vs. United States) and that it was time for a change. They had also lost much support from Southerners by ending segregation.
In the end, Kennedy clearly won the election. The Democrats gained control of the House by a 15 seat majority, while they also took a 51-49 seat majority in the Senate.
Kennedy's First Term
Following his narrow victory in the 1960 Presidential Election, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States on January 20. President Kennedy presented one of the most unforgettable inaugural addresses in U.S. history. He outlined his "New Frontier" proposals and proclaimed that a new generation of U.S. citizens had taken over the country. In his conclusion, he called upon the U.S. citizenry to "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for you country."
President Kennedy committed a first by appointing his brother Robert attorney general. For the first time, a president had a brother in his cabinet.
John F. Kennedy was prepared to make major changes to U.S. foreign policy. Early in his presidency, facing a hostile congress, Kennedy was forced to abandon his hopes for moderation in respect to American foreign policy.
Attempting to make early gains in his presidency Kennedy attempted to revive efforts to unite the country commercially. After intense congressional debate congress passed a compromised version of the new Federal Roadway Act of 1961. By allowing states to allocate funds independently for the construction of a new federal interstate system, Kennedy had successfully established a nation-wide highway system uniting the states without alienating Americans.
Kennedy's domestic success allowed for further expansion of his policies resulting in the signing of the Native American Settlement Rights Act of 1962, allowing for the property protection and guaranteed rights of Native Americans nation wide.
In October, 1961, Kennedy made a historic trip to Moscow, negotiating free and open relations with the Soviet Union. Following great diplomatic success, limited American tourism and socio-economic freedoms were granted to Americans wishing to do business within Soviet client states. By 1962 further Soviet plans to place missile installations within Cuba are abandoned.
The defining moment of Kennedy's first term in office came with the inevitable debate of civil rights. With blacks protesting and southern tensions flaming, southern congressional delegations stood fervently against Kennedy. In 1962, African Americans throughout the South were blocked from enrolling or participating on University campuses, leading Kennedy to deploy Federal Marshals throughout the former Confederate states. As self proclaimed "Dixiecrats" filibustered legislation President Kennedy soon realized that passage of any bill superseding states constitutional rights would be near impossible. Under advice from Senator Barry Goldwater, Kennedy reorganized changing the wording of the bill to regard the civil liberties of African Americans. By gaining support of the constitutionalist and conservative wing of the Republican party, Kennedy received a mandate large enough to override the objections of both Dixiecrats and a handful of Northern naysayers. The passage of the United States Minority Rights Act of 1963 made it illegal throughout the nation to in any way, shape or form block the rights, freedoms and liberties of any American.
With the passage of civil rights and the south enraged, a new election loomed ahead.
In the election of 1960, a twelve year Republican hold on the White House ended when Democrat John F. Kennedy won a narrow victory over John Bricker. During his term, Kennedy had seen many political successes, including the passage of his sweeping landmark civil rights legislation and the warming of relations with the Soviet Union. At the same time, however, the country had experienced large-scale race riots throughout the South and the revival of the Dixiecrats.
Initially entering the race for the Democratic nomination unopposed, President Kennedy faced an expected challenge when Alabama Governor, George Wallace declared his candidacy out of staunch opposition to Kennedy's Civil Rights legislation. Although gaining the support of many southern delegates, Wallace's campaign did little more than polarize Democrats. At the convention Kennedy was re-nominated on the first ballot.
On the Republican side a field of candidates quickly developed all hoping to win the Republican nomination. The frontrunners included Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, California Senator Richard Nixon and Michigan Governor George Romney. After several hard fought primary battles the party entered the convention without a presumed nominee. On the right wing Barry Goldwater held the lead with the staunch support from his delegates. With the left split and the moderate candidate, Nixon beginning to trail far behind by the fourth ballot, Nixon endorsed Goldwater giving him the nomination on the sixth ballot. Goldwater soon nominated Romney for Vice President.