SAT Subject US History Practice Question 989: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 989

70. The Saturday Night Massacre was important in that it

A. exposed the role of the Ku Klux Klan as mortal enemies of the Civil Rights Movement.
B. showed that the CIA had cooperated with the South Vietnamese to assassinate a head of state.
C. led to the indictment of Lieutenant William Calley in connection with the killing of unarmed civilians in Vietnam.
D. created a backlash against the insanity defense when John Hinckley was declared innocent of the attempted assassination of President Reagan.
E. set the stage for the downfall of President Nixon.

Correct Answer: E


One of the major events in the Watergate scandal was the successive resignation and dismissal (or Saturday Night Massacre) in 1974 of two attorneys general, Elliot Richardson and Nicholas Katzenbach. They had both refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon insisted that they fire Cox because he had ordered the president to hand over tapes of conversations between Nixon and his aides concerning the Watergate break-in and cover-up. When the story came out that Nixon was attempting to fire the head of the Watergate investigation, the call for impeachment and resignation became a firestorm. The Ku Klux Klan (A) had killed the civil rights workers Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney in 1963 and the young girls in the basement of a Birmingham Church the same year, but the murders were known as lynchings, not massacres. The CIA (B) cooperated in the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963, when John Kennedy was president. William Calley (C) was indicted for his role in the My Lai massacre in 1968. John Hinckley (D) pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, not on Nixon.

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