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Tag: vietnam

Records of Rights Vote: “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote”

Cast your vote for the 26th Amendment to be displayed first in the new “Records of Rights” gallery. Polls close on November 15!

Congress can move quickly. The 26th Amendment was ratified in 100 days, faster than any other amendment.

In April 1970, Congress controversially lowered the voting age to 18 as part of legislation to extend the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many people, including President Richard Nixon, believed that it was the right of the states, not the federal government, to set the voting age. President Nixon, nevertheless, signed the act, which was to go into effect January 1, 1971.

The effort to lower the voting age to 18 had begun three decades earlier. “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” a slogan first heard during World War II, was adopted by student activists during the Vietnam War.

In 1942, the slogan prompted Congressman Jennings Randolph of West Virginia to propose an amendment to the Constitution lowering the voting age to 18. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson both championed the cause. Activists during the Vietnam War increased pressure on Congress to change the voting age, and in 1971, when Senator Randolph reintroduced his original proposal, it passed overwhelmingly.

On December 21, 1970, the Supreme Court ruled that the government had indeed overstepped its legislative bounds in lowering … [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Regina Greenwell, Johnson Presidential Library

We are continuing to celebrate American Archives Month by showcasing the work of our Presidential Libraries archivists. This edition takes us to Austin, TX.

Name: Regina Borders Greenwell

Occupation: Senior Archivist at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum

How long have you worked at this library?

Thirty-seven years, since March 1976. Prior to coming to the library, I worked at NARA for an additional two years. I’ll have my 40th anniversary this December.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?

I’ve always had a love of history, and particularly presidential history. As a 13-year-old, I persuaded my parents to let me go downtown and see President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade when he came to Dallas on November 22, 1963. I saw him just minutes before the assassination.

I later majored in history at the University of Texas. When my husband got an engineering job in Washington, DC, after graduation, I learned that the Archives was gearing up for a new declassification effort headed up by Alan Thompson. I was lucky enough to get the job, and worked with some great collections covering Army intelligence. Later, I was detailed to work with the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Office with Nixon materials, which was a fascinating experience. That led to a job with the Johnson Library when we moved back to Austin, and I’ve been here ever since.

What are some of [ Read all ]

Transcripts on the evacuation of Saigon

Gerald Ford called April of 1975 the “cruelest month.”

Having inherited a Presidency and the closing act of an unpopular war, Gerald Ford convened his National Security Council in April 1975 to discuss the final evacuation of Saigon. The North Vietnamese were on the outskirts of the city. While there were once over 500,000 troops in Vietnam, now there were only a handful of civilian personnel, and the time had come to leave.

The decisions that brought America’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict to a close were tough, calibrated decisions, and few documents highlight this more than the minutes of that fateful National Security Council meeting on April 28, 1975. Forty-eight hours later, the last American would leave Vietnam.

Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (1/9)

Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (2/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (3/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (4/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (5/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (6/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (7/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (8/9)Minutes from the NSC meeting to evacuate Saigon (9/9)

These documents are part of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. You can also view them here. The message mentioned in the minutes, and later sent by Secretary of State Kissinger to Ambassador Graham Martin, follows.… [ Read all ]