History 65

The 1950s Senate

February 7, 2006


I. Eisenhower and the World


1. The New Look (budgetary constraints, altered international environment)


2. Reallocation of Resources (nuclear weapons, covert operations, allies)


3. Accomplishments and Failures (budget, peace/Hungary, Guatemala, pacts, bluffs?)


II. Congress Confronts Eisenhower


            1. The Setup (split nature Republican party; Taft and legislative power; Dewey, Lodge, and Eisenhower effort; nomination of Nixon and appeasing GOP right; Checkers speech; McCarthy issue; demise of the Democrats—Lucas and McFarland defeats)


            2. The Demise of the Revisionists (Bricker amendment controversy; Eisenhower response; George amendment and after-effects; Army-McCarthy hearings—McCarthy and LRO, emergence of PSI, Democratic boycott, CIA and executive authority, Army and overreach, power of television, censure; McCarran death and Democratic partisanship)


            3. Lyndon Johnson’s Senate (aging of Senate and entrenched Southern power; LBJ as majority leader: Morse defection, confronting the seniority system and committee assignments, role of campaign contributions, Democratic Policy Committee and Bobby Baker, scheduling matters, role of unanimous consent agreements—shift from public debate to backroom dealing)


III. Asserting Congressional Influence


            1. The Civil Rights Acts (Johnson, Russell, and setting the stage; administration bill and congressional response: House Rules Committee and Judge Smith; Senate situation--Eastland and Judiciary Committee, Thurmond and filibuster, cloture question; Title III and public accommodations; LBJ and Church—role of jury-trial amendment; significance of passage?)


            2. Foreign Policy (effects of LRO and “subcommittee government”; LBJ and space subcommittee; Symington and Air Force; Jackson and challenge to NSC; Humphrey and disarmament; Morse and Latin America)


            3. 1958 Elections and the Changing Face of Congress (six-year itch and Eisenhower weaknesses; House changes and challenge to Rules Committee order; new caucus in Senate—Democratic pickups, ideological composition of new members, roles of Alaska and Hawaii)