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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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Congress and the Politics of Troop Withdrawal, 1966–1973

Congress and the Politics of Troop Withdrawal, 1966–1973

(p.309) Fifteen Congress and the Politics of Troop Withdrawal, 1966–1973
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the politics of U.S. troop withdrawal from Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s in order to identify the strategies employed by Congress to check an imperial executive and to regain its constitutional prerogatives. When the Vietnam War escalated in 1964 and 1965, most policymakers, including Lyndon Johnson, were very sensitive to the role Congress might play in its evolution. During this period, Congress challenged presidential decisions and helped to create the political pressure that led to a drawdown in American troops fighting the war. The chapter first considers how Senator William Fulbright brought the problems with the Vietnam War to the forefront of public debate before discussing the politics of troop withdrawal since the time of Johnson, with particular emphasis on Richard Nixon's Vietnamization and a range of legislative initiatives such as the War Powers Act (1973) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978).

Keywords:   troop withdrawal, Congress, Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson, William Fulbright, Richard Nixon, Vietnamization, War Powers Act 1973, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 1978

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