In 1965, the United States became involved in the Vietnam War. In order to contain the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, the USA began sending military troops to support the democratic government of South Vietnam. With casualties mounting on the battlefront and increasing deployment of Americans to Asia, the Vietnam conflict sparked a massive anti-war protest in America. In addition, the late 1960s and 1970s were defined by numerous “power movements,” groups that demanded equality (including African Americans, women, Mexican-Americans, people accused of crimes). The youthful, “hippie” counter-culture was a visible part of the era as well. Conservative Americans reacted to the counter-culture protests by electing Richard Nixon into office in 1968. Despite great success in dealing with China, the Soviet Union, and the economy, Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal led to widespread distrust of the government. Nixon’s successors, Presidents Ford and Carter, did little to instill hope among Americans.