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Domestic Stuff 1945-1991. Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 Helped veterans WWII Established hospitals Provided low-income mortgages Granted stipends for college and trade schools. The G.I. Bill.

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the g i bill

Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944

    • Helped veterans WWII
  • Established hospitals
  • Provided low-income mortgages
  • Granted stipends for college and trade schools
The G.I. Bill
1950s the affluent society

During Eisenhower’s presidency (1953-1961), Country as a whole experienced economic growth, with stable inflation and employment rates

  • Average American family saw its income more than triple during decade and enjoyed world’s highest standard of living
  • Modern conveniences became cheaper for Americans to purchase
  • As a result, America experienced second major consumer revolution as cars, televisions, and household appliances were snatched up from store shelves
  • Mass consumption culture of 1920s was eclipsed by spending of the 1950s
  • National Highway Act and the GI Bill impacted growth of American suburb and construction business
  • American dream of two kids, a dog, and a manicured front lawn was now reality for increasing number of Americans
  • American dream remained elusive for large number of citizens, however
    • “White flight” drained American cities of upper- and middle-class white families, poor and minority families and singles moved in to take their places
    • Downtown areas became rife with poverty and crime
1950s: The “Affluent Society”
conformity in middle class society

Stereotypical view of the 1950s consists of teenager sipping ice cream malts and dancing at the sock hop and men in grey flannel suits coming home to a pipe, newspaper, and beautiful wife after work

  • Americans strove to blend in to middle-class mold
  • Television was major contributor to middle-class myth: viewers often consumed as many as five hours a day of the “boob tube”
    • Comedies such as Father Knows Best and I Love Lucy painted portrait of “perfect” American family and household
    • Corporate America had an impact on society, as middle-class, white-collar workers donned the same suit, tie, and hat and left each day to make enough money to live the “American dream”
Conformity in Middle-Class Society
nonconformists

Not all Americans bought into middle-class, suburban myth

    • Artists such as Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock created paintings that did not follow form or function
      • Initiated beginning of the modernist movement
    • Novelists of the era often did not reflect American dream, attempting to challenge readers to think for themselves
      • J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye shocked parents as teens greedily read about the adventures of troubled teen Holden Caulfield
Nonconformists
beatniks

Another group of nonconformists rocked Greenwich Village area of NYC with their poetry and wild culture

    • Beatniks spoke to an audience that encouraged individuality in an age of conformity
    • Freely used mind-altering drugs and rebelled against social standards of the day
    • Studied art, poetry and philosophy and publicly criticized society in which they lived
    • The terms groovy and far out, along with snapping instead of clapping, became synonymous with the beatnik movement
    • These young people were mold from which “hippy” movement of 1960s would emerge
Beatniks
women in the 1950s and 1960s

Women also joined the protest

    • Cult of domesticity alive and well in the 1950s
    • In her book The Feminine Mystique (1963), author Betty Friedan encouraged women to leave myth of homemaking behind and pursue fulfillment outside of the home
      • Called into questions notion that women were meant to remain at home to care for husband and children and instead spoke of opportunities for women to become successful in business world
Women in the 1950s and 1960s
revolutions in science technology and medicine

Electronics industry experienced most growth in 1950s

    • Record players, refrigerators, new “transistor radio” (handheld and ran on batteries), hand-held calculators, super computers, commercial airlines began to fly Americans across nation and around world
  • People experienced increase in life expectancy as new discoveries and inventions emerged in 1950s
    • Penicillin, an antibiotic, became widely available to doctors in U.S.
      • Soon became very rare that an American would die from simple bacterial infection
    • 1955: polio vaccine discovered that eradicated disease within U.S. by 1960s
Revolutions in Science, Technology, and Medicine
early civil rights movement

Segregation and discrimination nothing new in America, social climate was changing

    • 1948: Truman desegregates armed forces
    • 1947: Brooklyn Dodgers encouraged to break color line in professional baseball by drafting Negro American League Champion Jackie Robinson
    • As African Americans moved to Northern cities during migrations of the World Wars, they began to exercise the rights granted them by 14th and 15th Amendments with no barriers
    • There was internal struggle within American psyche: country had just fought a war to liberate people to make their own decisions, but it could not offer the same freedom to some of its citizens
    • African Americans had experienced welcoming societies in Europe when they fought in two world wars and wanted that same treatment from their home country
Early Civil Rights Movement
brown v board of ed

As early as mid-1940s, NAACP began challenging segregation in Southern colleges, making modest gains in breaking down walls of segregation. Not until organization found test case did any real progress take place

    • Linda Brown, a 1st grader, had to leave her home an hour and a half early to travel across town to attend the all-black school, when there was a white neighborhood school less than a mile from her house. NAACP encouraged Brown family to file suit against Topeka, Kansas school board on grounds that Linda’s right to equal protection had been violated by segregation policy
    • 1954: Case made it to floor of Supreme Court, NAACP lawyer (and later, first African American to serve on Supreme Court) Thurgood Marshall represented Brown family. He argued that 14th Amendment guaranteed all citizens equal protection under the law, which translated into equal opportunity
    • Warren Court agreed with Marshall, and in Brown v. Board of Ed.the ruling overturned the 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson
    • Court decision read that separate facilities were inherently unequal and had no place in public education.
    • Court soon ordered desegregation of all public school facilities with “all deliberate speed”
Brown v. Board of Ed.
the little rock nine

Brown v. Board of Ed.Decision not well-received by Southerners

    • Many states claimed they would close public schools if they had to integrate
    • White families refused to send their children to integrated schools
  • 1957: situation came to a head in Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Governor of the state ordered National Guard to bar the entrance of nine black students into the all-white Central High School
    • The Little Rock Nine were allowed entrance to the campus by Federal Court ruling, but violent protests immediately broke out in city
    • President Eisenhower ordered federal troops into city to restore order and escort students to their classes
      • Within a year of forced integration, all Little Rock public schools had been shuttered
        • White families sent children to segregated private schools or public schools outside of the city
        • It was not until another Warren Court ruling that the Little Rock School Board finally relented and integrated the public schools
The Little Rock Nine
rosa parks and a bus boycott

December 11, 1955: Rosa Parks, recent volunteer for local chapter of NAACP, refused to give up her seat to white man on bus

    • She was arrested and fined: started ball rolling for the NAACP
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., young minister from Georgia, along with other black leaders organized bus boycott by black community until buses were desegregated
    • This would be enormous blow to city’s revenues: blacks made up 95% of bus riders
    • Boycott lasted 400 days, with black community organizing car pools and walk buddies for hundreds of people needing to get to school, work, and home
    • Warren Court ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional and soon boycott was over
    • It was negotiations by Dr. King with city managers and downtown business owners that truly desegregated bus system in Montgomery
Rosa Parks and a Bus Boycott
dr martin luther king jr

MLK and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) took torch from bus boycott and began to challenge more Jim Crow Laws in Alabama and other Southern cities

  • King believed in teachings of Henry David Thoreau and Mahatmas Gandhi
    • Followed tenants of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance
    • Believed that engaging whites in violence would only feed stereotype that blacks were savages
    • Other boycotts emerged across country as followers took King’s message to heart
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
protests across the country

Greensboro, North Carolina became stage for new king of protest in 1960: local college and high school students entered local drugstore and sat at whites-only lunch counter, refusing to leave until they were served

    • Began with 4 students, sit-ins grew to involve more than a thousand students, who rotated on and off lunch counter seats until store owners gave in 6 months later
    • Several other sit-ins occurred across nation in motel lobbies, beaches, public schools, and libraries
    • Students became torchbearers for Dr. King, as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC or “Snick”) formed to keep movement alive among nation’s young population
  • President Eisenhower was reluctant participant in Civil Rights movement
    • Preferred to maintain support of Southerners and the status quo
Protests Across the Country
john f kennedy

Became president in 1960 election, despite being Roman Catholic, and was youngest president in history

  • Domestic policy named New Frontier with promises of equality, employment, and aid to the poor
    • Congress would block many of the president’s attempts to provide federal support to cure urban problems and reduce income taxes
      • Most of his domestic policies were not passed until after his assassination
  • November 22, 1963: Kennedy was assassinated while on a trip to Texas to gain support for his domestic programs
    • Lee Harvey Oswald shot president from book depository window across the street from motorcade route
    • Americans sat riveted to their televisions as they waited for news of their beloved president: announced passing of JFK and swearing in of LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) aboard Air Force One
    • As his first act as president, LBJ ordered appointment of special investigatory commission to study assassination of JFK
    • The Warren Commission, headed by Chief Justice, concluded that Oswald was lone gunman who killed the president
    • Many conspiracy theories abounded after the commission delivered its final report, and to this day many question the conclusions of the Warren Commission
John F. Kennedy
lbj and the great society

Became president in 1963, and won in his own right in 1964

  • Determined to continue the liberal path of his predecessor and expand upon some of the New Frontier ideas he thought too modest
  • Named his plan The Great Society, and was determined to expand civil rights, cut income taxes, and rid society of poverty
    • Created the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), which oversaw the creation of Job Corp program that provided career training to inner-city and rural citizens
    • Continued and strengthened New Deal programs started by FDR: saw the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, which provided low-cost medical care for elderly and poor
    • Department of Housing and Urban Development founded in 1966 to provide low-cost housing and federal funding to rid cities of urban blight
    • Immigration Act of 1965 repealed discriminatory practices of the Quota Acts of 1920s by allowing first-come, first-serve entrance into U.S.
      • Helped change face of America by allowing millions of immigrants from Latin America and Asia live in U.S. over course of next 4 decades
  • The Johnson administration created the Department of Transportation, increased funding for universities and colleges, and enacted laws to protect consumers and the environment
  • Aside from FDR, no other president had overseen this amount of legislation and increase in the role of the federal government
LBJ and the Great Society
civil rights movement expands

For first 2 years of presidency, JFK sat by while Civil Rights Movement gained momentum

    • Was reluctant to take a stand b/c he needed support of Southern Democrats to get critical legislation passed
  • Pushed to act in 1961 when Freedom Summer was declared by Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
    • Boarded integrated buses in North bound for Deep South to show their support for desegregation of public transit and bus stations
    • As buses reached Alabama, waiting mobs firebombed and severely beat Freedom Riders as state troopers and local police stood by and watched
    • Attorney General Robert Kennedy at first asked Freedom Riders to stop, but more and more boarded buses and travelled south so he sent federal marshals to protect bus riders, signaling victory for CORE
Civil Rights Movement Expands
mlk s peaceful protests

1962: JFK sent in federal marshals to protect University of Mississippi student James Meredith as he attended classes on the once all-white campus

  • All the while, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began all-out peaceful assault on town of Birmingham, Alabama
  • City had closed all public facilities to avoid integration
  • King and his followers staged march on Good Friday 1963 and were arrested and jailed for 2 weeks
  • Upon his release, King began using children in his protests and staging them where they would get the most media attention and most violent reaction from Birmingham whites
  • Nation and world watched in horror as Birmingham police commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor used dogs, fire hoses, and cattle prods to disperse the nonviolent protesters, many of whom were children
  • Pressure was mounting on president to take more vigorous stand
  • Federal troops once again summoned to state of Alabama, as Governor George Wallace attempted to stop black students from attending University of Alabama in 1963
    • This was last straw for JFK
  • After Birmingham marches and debacle with George Wallace, president actively began to seek legislation to protect African American civil rights
  • August 28, 1963, Dr. King organized single most successful march in U.S. history to show support for civil rights legislation on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
    • His “I Have a Dream” speech touched audiences and lawmakers, and civil rights bill made its way to passage just after JFK was assassinated
MLK’s Peaceful Protests
civil rights act and voting rights act

Continuing and expanding scope of civil rights was major goal for LBJ

  • Saw ratification of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, which abolished another barrier to voting rights by outlawing the poll tax
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation of public accommodations, established Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce the law, made federal government responsible for finding instances of discrimination; and made illegal discrimination based on race, religion, ethnic origin, or gender
    • This was the greatest legislative success of the civil rights movement and it signaled the end of lawful segregated in all cities and towns across America
    • The Civil Rights Act, unfortunately, did not effectively address problems associated with voting rights
    • To show lawmakers just how serious problem with voting was, King organized march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965
    • March came to violent end outside of Selma, as state police beat and taunted marchers
    • King tried again but was stopped just outside Selma
    • This time President Johnson sent urgent message to King asking him to stop marching until he could finalize work on voting rights bill
    • As promised, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, making literacy tests illegal and more or less nationalizing the voter registration system in states where African Americans were denied voting rights
Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act
mlk is assassinated

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as he stood on a Memphis motel balcony in April, 1968.

    • Dr. King had lost some support when he publicly opposed increased American involvement in the war in Vietnam, but in reaction to his death, riots broke out across the country as African Americans expressed their frustration and anger with society
MLK is Assassinated
election of 1960

One of the closest elections in American history

    • Republican candidate: Richard Nixon-experience as Vice President for 8 years under Eisenhower
    • Democrat candidate: John F. Kennedy
  • Kennedy youngest person elected president at 43
  • Kennedy=Catholic and Irish
    • No Catholic had ever been elected before: afraid they couldn’t place national interests above the wishes of the Pope
  • Both candidates seen as moderates on every policy issue, but hailed from different backgrounds
    • Kennedy: wealthy and graduated from Harvard
    • Nixon: grew up poor and worked his way through school
  • Most decisive battle in campaign: first televised debate
    • Kennedy: well-tanned and well-rested, extremely telegenic and comfortable in front of camera
    • Nixon: recovering from knee injury, nervous, sweaty, couldn’t find make-up artist that could hide his five o’clock shadow
    • Radio listeners narrowly awarded Nixon a victory
    • Larger television audience believed Kennedy won by wide margin
Election of 1960
camelot new frontier liberalism

Camelot=nickname for American politics during JFK’s time in office

  • Kennedy embodied optimism of early 1960s
    • Young president and his wife drew parallels to magical time of King Arthur and Camelot
    • His New Frontier program asked nation’s talented and fortunate to work to eliminate poverty and injustice at home, while projecting confidence overseas
Camelot: New Frontier Liberalism
lbj and the great society1

Became president in 1963, and won in his own right in 1964

  • Determined to continue the liberal path of his predecessor and expand upon some of the New Frontier ideas he thought too modest
  • Named his plan The Great Society, and was determined to expand civil rights, cut income taxes, and rid society of poverty (War on Poverty)
    • Created the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), which oversaw the creation of Job Corp program that provided career training to inner-city and rural citizens
    • Continued and strengthened New Deal programs started by FDR: saw the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, which provided low-cost medical care for elderly and poor
    • Department of Housing and Urban Development founded in 1966 to provide low-cost housing and federal funding to rid cities of urban blight
    • Immigration Act of 1965 repealed discriminatory practices of the Quota Acts of 1920s by allowing first-come, first-serve entrance into U.S.
      • Helped change face of America by allowing millions of immigrants from Latin America and Asia live in U.S. over course of next 4 decades
  • The Johnson administration created the Department of Transportation, increased funding for universities and colleges, and enacted laws to protect consumers and the environment
  • Aside from FDR, no other president had overseen this amount of legislation and increase in the role of the federal government
LBJ and the Great Society
vietnam war generation in conflict

As Johnson escalated American commitment to war, peace movement grew

  • Television changed minds
    • Americans watched body bags leave Asian rice paddies every night from living room
Vietnam War: Generation in Conflict
antiwar movement

Peace movement leaders opposed war on moral and economic grounds

    • North Vietnamese fighting patriotic war to rid themselves of foreign aggressors and innocent Vietnamese peasants being killed in crossfire
    • American planes hurting environment by dropping defoliant chemicals
    • Ho Chi Minh most popular leader in Vietnam: U.S. supporting undemocratic, corrupt military regime
    • Young American soldiers suffering and dying
    • Military spending took money away from Great Society social programs
Antiwar Movement
deferments and teenage soldiers

Average age of American soldier in Vietnam was 19

    • 7 years younger than WWII
  • Draft deferments granted to college students
    • If drafted, Americans with higher levels of education given military office jobs
    • 80% of American ground troops in Vietnam came from lower classes
    • Latino and African American males were assigned to combat more regularly than drafted whites
Deferments and Teenage Soldiers
counterculture

As 1950s became 1960s, America’s “baby-boomers” were now teenagers hoping to break away from conformity that their parents subscribed to

  • Many American teens grew their hair longer or wore clothing their parents did not approve of.
  • Only small percentage of teen and young adult population was truly involved in the counterculture and antiwar protests.
  • 1962: college students met in Port Huron, Michigan to form Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
    • Meeting produced the Port Huron Statement in which students demanded greater voice in the course of their lives
    • This signaled the birth of the “New Left”
    • Soon afterwards, the Free Speech Movement would begin in 1964 on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley
  • Nothing typified the youth movement like the 1969 counterculture festival on a farm in New York State called Woodstock
    • Hippies gathered at the concert for a 3-day party that involved sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
    • Artists such as Jimi Hendrix Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan wowed crowd with protest songs
    • Flower children of Woodstock soon changed course to protest the Vietnam War with their shouts of “Make Love, Not War”
Counterculture
election of 1968

JFK’s younger brother Robert decided to continue Kennedy legacy and entered race for president in 1968

    • RFK had uncanny ability to gain votes of working-class and liberal Democrats
    • June, 1968: after delivering his victory speech for winning the California primary, a young Palestinian nationalist named SirhanSirhan shot and killed RFK as he left the podium at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
  • Republicans gave Richard M. Nixon another try at presidency, and he won election by a slim margin with third party candidate George Wallace of the American Independent Party
Election of 1968
richard nixon

At various times, Nixon abused his power as executive by claiming a right to protect documents from Congress and refusing to spend funds appropriated by Congress by “impounding” them

  • Also inherited economic problems that began when President Johnson refused to raise taxes while he escalated both the war effort and government domestic spending
  • 1970s saw the emergence of new economy phenomenon called stagflation, in which high inflation was coupled with high unemployment
  • Nixon first attempted to curb inflation by cutting government spending
    • Didn’t know this would prove to be disastrous—there was nothing the government could do to rid the country of this new form of economic crisis
    • Fortunately, the president enacted monetary policy near end of 1971, taking country once again off the gold standard to bring its value down relative to foreign currencies
    • This stimulated foreign investment and spending in the U.S. and helped economic recovery
Richard Nixon
nixon and watergate

Nixon struggled to gain legitimacy after his slim victory in 1968 election, Nixon presidency was damaged beyond repair, however, after the election of 1972

  • A break-in of the Democratic Party National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. in June 1972 seemed at the outset to be innocent of political intent
  • Through the investigations of Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, it was discovered that the burglars were connected to the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP) and were attempting to bug the headquarters
    • The Nixon White House had hoped to stop “leaks” by hiring a team of “plumbers”, who used wiretaps, coercion, and threats to keep people quiet
    • It was discovered that the Watergate break-in was just the tip of an iceberg of illegal activities linked all the way to the Oval Office
    • A voice-activated tape system was discovered in the Oval office and led to Congress’s insistence that the tapes be released for investigation
    • President Nixon refuseddby claiming he was protected by executive privilege and fought with Congress for over a year
    • Just as things could not get worse, Vice President Spiro Agnew was convicted of tax evasion during his tenure as governor of Maryland and was forced to resign
    • Facing certain impeachment and conviction by Congress on the charges of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt, Nixon resigned the office on August 9, 1974
    • The Oval Office tapes, finally released due to Supreme Court ruling in Nixon v. United States in July 1974, contained the “smoking gun” that directly linked the president to the Watergate Scandal
    • Vice president Gerald R. Ford took oath of office and became only president in history who was not elected
    • In his first days as president, Ford pardoned former president Nixon of all charges (even though he had not been charged with a crime)
    • Ford’s next task was to try to repair the economy by asking for tax cuts and reduction of government spending
    • President Ford witnessed the failure of U.S. foreign policy in Asia, as Saigon and Cambodia both fell to the communists in 1975
Nixon and Watergate
shaping a new america
Shaping A New America

Black Power Movement, Feminist Movement, Anti-war Movement, Environmental Reform, Chicanos and Native Americans, Reproductive Rights, Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution

malcolm x and the black panthers

Radical African American groups rose up as many blacks grew tired of the “love thy enemy” rhetoric of Dr. King

  • The Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) followed the teachings of Elijah Muhammad as spoken by his disciple Malcolm X
    • Malcolm X openly criticized King and his followers as “Uncle Toms” who had sold themselves out to whites
    • While not advocating use of violence, he did encourage his followers to respond to violence perpetrated against them with violence in self-defense
    • 1964: took his requisite pilgrimage to Mecca and returned a changed man
    • Preaching love and understanding, left the Nation of Islam and was assassinated by members of the Nation as he spoke to a congregation in February, 1965
  • Meanwhile, once nonviolent SNCC changed course under leadership of Stokely Carmichael in 1966, when it rejected integration and began touting “Black Power”
    • Carmichael left SNCC for Oakland, California-based Black Panthers, who openly carried weapons and clashed with police on regular basis
    • Black Panthers were successful in organizing the community of Oakland to serve as self-sufficient network for black citizens, providing free day care for working mothers and food for the poor
    • Panthers succumbed to arrests and deaths of major leaders by the 1970s
Malcolm X and the Black Panthers
sexual revolution

Counterculture led to sexual revolution in which America’s views regarding sexual relationships and gender roles softened

    • With the advent of the birth control pill and the beginnings of the feminist movement in the mid-1960s, many Americans believed that old sexual mores of their parents were old-fashioned
    • Casual sex and multiple partners became more openly practiced
  • Founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966 by Betty Friedan, women began to become more vocal with regard to their desire for greater role in American society
  • 1972: Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment which disallowed states and the federal government to discriminate on basis of sex
    • Amendment fell short of required number of ratifying states and died in 1980s
Sexual Revolution