United States and American History: 1971

About the history of the United States in 1971, Nixon's increased paranoia and enemies list, Vietnam Veterans for Peace march, the Pentagon Papers are published, an amendment lowering voting age, the riot and siege of Attica prison.


Early Feb. Tape-recording equipment was installed in the Oval Office of the White House, the President's Executive Office Building office across the street, the Cabinet Room, and the Lincoln Sitting Room. The tape system was not revealed to those having conversations with President Nixon.

Mar. 23 President Nixon raised milk price supports. The dairy industry subsequently contributed $2 million to his reelection campaign.

Apr. 30 Two thousand Vietnam veterans, members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, rallied in Washington to protest the war. Many of them threw their combat medals on the steps of the Capitol.

May 3 Antiwar demonstrators engaged in civil disobedience in Washington. Police arrested 12,000 people at random. All of the arrest were overturned by a court ruling that they were unconstitutional.

June 13 The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, a government history of the Vietnam War, which revealed that the American public had been consistently lied to.

President Nixon authorized the establishment of a "special investigations unit," later known as the Plumbers, to "stop security leaks and to investigate other sensitive matters."

June 28 Daniel Ellsberg, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense, confessed that he had leaked the Pentagon Papers because he had become convinced of the Vietnam War's immorality.

June 30 The 26th Amendment, giving 18-year-olds the right to vote, took effect.

Aug. 16 White House counsel John Dean prepared a memo, "Dealing with our Political Enemies," suggesting ways "we can use the available Federal machinery to screw our political enemies." An "Enemies List" was subsequently drawn up by White House aides.

Sept. Donald Segretti was employed by the Committee for the Reelection of the President (CREEP) to infiltrate the campaigns of Democratic candidates and disrupt them.

Sept. 3 The Plumbers burglarized the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. The CIA assisted the leader of the group-ex-CIA agent, E. Howard Hunt-by providing him with a red wig, a special camera, and a "speech-altering device."

Sept. 13 Fifteen hundred armed police killed 31 prisoners and 9 hostages while retaking control of Attica State Prison in New York State. The prisoners had held the prison for 4 days and pressed their grievances. A State appointed commission, the McKay Commission, placed responsibility for the tragedy on Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (who refused to go the prison), prison officials, and conditions within the prison system.

Dec. 29 Daniel Ellsberg and a co-worker at the Rand Institute, Anthony Russo, were indicted for espionage and conspiracy.

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