Years 1954 To 1968 Question 1. The years 1954 to 1968 were particularly turbulent and important times in American history. In an essay of no less than four full pages and no more than five, explain the major events, movements, and trends of this fourteen-year span; discuss the most prominent political and social leaders who brought about these changes, evaluating the decisions they made and their successes/failures. 50 points. The period from 1954 to 1968 was filled with major changes that greatly influenced American history. During these years the United States encountered major changes from the civil rights movement, the space race, the influence of several different leaders and a prosperous economy.
The changes that happened during this time all had a significant impact in its own way. Everyone in society directly felt the results of the new movement they encountered. The products of this time period can still be seen very clearly in the world today. One major change was the Civil Rights movement. This movement became very apparent from the publicity of the Supreme Court case Brown v.
Board of Education of Topeka in 1954. The Civil Rights movement gained extreme power by the widespread unity in the black community and the influence of Civil Rights leaders. The arrest of Rosa Parks in Montgomery and the bus boycott helped Martin Luther King Jr. become a major leader in the movement. His idea of a peaceful movement was seen in many of the Civil Rights actions.
One of King’s views claim, “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we will not obey your evil laws. We will soon wear you down by pure capacity to suffer.” His view on the attitude of the Civil Rights movement helped keep the Civil Rights less violent and more successful. The Civil Rights did contain a large amount of violence despite the peaceful approach of some powerful leaders.
On several occasions strong notional guard presence had to be in place to carry out Supreme Court orders. Those in favor of an extreme violent movement sometimes joined groups such as the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan. Assassinations became prevalent during the movement that claimed the lives of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. The violent acts seemed to open the eyes of those that did not give the Civil Rights movement the attention it deserved. The first president to be involved during this time period was the republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.
His presidential period experienced some new obstacles that had never been encountered. He dealt with the introduction of the television, extreme transportation system improvements, growth of suburbs and the new lifestyles of the citizens. Eisenhower ran an election based on the fight against communism but he did not act as strongly as he had led many people to believe. Eisenhower was extremely focused on the educational programs even though he had to deal with a rebellious generation. Eisenhower was president during a growing period for the United States that was beginning. Kennedy’s administration set its own legacy but the actual presidency only lasted about three years until his assassination in 1963. Kennedy’s goal was to try and raise the economic growth rate that had been slowed by the Eisenhower administration.
The actual stimulation of the economy came from the greatly increased budgets for the defense and space programs. Kennedy’s defense programs had some reasoning because of the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962. He campaigned on the support of Civil Rights and his extreme beliefs in equality rights by appointing African Americans to important high government positions. A major accomplishment of the Kennedy administration was the development of the Peace Corps. This program sent Americans to third world countries to help educate and assist those in need.
Kennedy’s foreign policy was not as successful as the traditional “domestic policy”. The administration of Kennedy was known for its flexible response and not a clear and dominating action. Lynden B. Johnson took over the presidential position after Kennedy’s assassination. Johnson’s main obstacle was the Vietnam War. The Vietnam problem took a lot pride and strength from the American government.
The protesters claimed that the Vietnam War was a war of prestige and a waste of taxpayer money. A desire for peace and unity was reflected in the new counter culture of the baby boomers. The baby boomers showed a new view that came along with the introduction of rock N’ roll and the use of illegal drugs. Johnson’s weaknesses came from the Vietnam War, the war gave the country the exact opposite that he had desired for it. Johnson’s ambitions had been drowned out by the Vietnam’s toll on the United States.
The Nixon presidency started in 1968 and clipped the very end of this time period. The Supreme Court played a major role in the early 1960’s. During this time the Supreme Court was under the leadership of Earl Warren. The Supreme Court played a major role in the desegregation of schools, the scandals in the communism trials, and the ruling of representations in legislative bodies. Some of the Court’s power was put into question when they made powerful decisions.
Without the presence of the Supreme Court the desegregation of the public school system would have been a much greater challenge. The freedom of minority groups became real during this time period. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensured the votes of the minority groups. This act banned literacy test that many of the black voters could not pass. Acts to provide highway safety, clean air and water, funds for higher education, public housing, and the necessary funds to fight the poverty level all became available during this time period.
The majority of these acts indirectly affected the entire citizen population. These acts helped to ensure the continuing prosperity of the United States government. With a more prosperous government the lower class had the opportunity to grow out of their less successful lifestyle. The American government during this time period started out with not a great economic difference w …