Iranian rebels and religious leaders overthrew the American-backed government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini assumed power. With the shah exiled and anti-Western sentiment growing in Iran, President Carter ordered Americans out of the country. On November 4, 1979, Americans remaining at the embassy in Tehran were kidnapped in retaliation for the US freezing funds for Iran and taking in the former shah. Sixty-six American hostages were held captive for 444 days, until their release on Jimmy Carter’s last day in...
Congress enacted the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, which allowed tribes to directly make federal contracts and receive grants and gave tribal governments control over their own law enforcement, education, health programs, and social services.
Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which declared that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridge by the United States or any State on account of sex,” but the amendment was never ratified.
Created by the Soviet Union, Sputnik I became the first satellite launched into space in October 1957. It was followed by Sputnik II a month later. The launch of the two satellites marked the beginning of the space race as a high stakes competition with national security implications between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviets’ success in launching the satellites also prompted the US to increase federal spending on education and technology advances.
Senator Joseph McCarthy began a series of televised Congressional investigations into Communists in the US Army. The broadcasts exposed McCarthy as an unscrupulous bully, and the Senate eventually voted to censure McCarthy for his conduct during the hearings.