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Jim Berryman cartoon, "Anybody Working?" October 6,1957

In a deft drawing of an observatory that resembled both the U.S. Capitol and Sputnik, political cartoonist Jim Berryman captured America’s anxious response to the successful launch of the Soviet satellite. The “men watching” sign emphasized the United States’ position of witness as the Soviet Union surpassed it in the space race.

U.S. Senate Collection, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration

Jim Berryman cartoon, "Anybody Working?" October 6,1957

The National Defense Education Act

The Soviet Union’s successful 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, spurred Congress to pass the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958. Perceiving an urgent need to train Americans in science, technology, languages, and other essential skills for Cold War defense, Congress committed the federal government to its most active role in education since the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. The NDEA fostered the development of new school curricula and supported student loans.