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United States in the 1960s - Essay Example

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The election of the charismatic and handsome John Kennedy as President, made a lot of Americans to believe that the government had answers to the challenges and the problems they…
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United States in the 1960s
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United s in the 1960s At the start of the 1960s, many Americans have confidence in the systems and sectors of the USA. Theelection of the charismatic and handsome John Kennedy as President, made a lot of Americans to believe that the government had answers to the challenges and the problems they faced; for example high unemployment rates (Hunt, 1999).
The Civil Rights Act was enacted on May, 6th 1960 by the United States federal government. The act introduced inspection of the local voter registration polls. The act also illustrated penalties for individuals who obstructed the attempts of other individuals to register as voters. The Civil rights act was meant to solve discriminatory issues and practices in segregated areas of the USA. The act enabled the term extension of the Civil rights Commission (which was previously a two year fixed term), to ensure proper oversight of the registration and voting practices (DeKoven, 2004). President Dwight Eisenhower signed the act into law, and it eliminated legal loopholes found in the 1957 Civil Rights Act.
Post modernism during the late 20th century entailed movements in the criticism, arts and architecture that departed from modernism. Postmodernism entails skeptical interpretations or analysis of architecture, literary criticism, culture, philosophy, history, arts, economics and fiction. Postmodernism is at times associated with several movements that acted against tendencies of modernism, and are generally marked by historical elements (Palmer, 2009). For example; Jane Jacob’s book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities published in 1961, represented a critique of urban planning. This is because the book was written within modernism, and illustrated change form modernity to postmodernism in urban planning issues.
Part of the cold war phase was experienced in the 1960s in the USA; for example the duration after the Cuban Missile crisis towards the end of 1962, and the beginning of the détente duration in 1969. The USA engages in cold war with the Soviet Union in the 1960s, despite internal issues like John Kennedy’s assassination, anti-Vietnam war movements, and the civil rights movements. In 1968, Czechoslovakia started reforms; however, the reforms halted when the Soviet Union invaded the country. The cold war led to division in the third world. Governments like Libya supported the soviets; on the contrary, governments like Saudi Arabia supported the west were USA is represented (Heale, 2005).
The USA economy started the 1960s with a recession. In 1961, the unemployment rate in USA was high, at approximately 7%. During presidential campaigns, John Kennedy described his plan for improving the economy of USA. His objective was to achieve economic growth of approximately 5% every year, and to realize unemployment levels below 4%. To realize this objective, President John Kennedy implemented a 7% credit for enterprises that invest in new machinery, equipment or plants. At the end of the decade, the median family earning rose from $8,540 to $10,770 in 1963 and 1969 respectively. By 1966, unemployment rate was reduced to 3.7% and inflation levels remained low at 2% (Marwick, 1998).
Towards the end of the 1960s, the American society experienced both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits included improved economic growth with low inflation and unemployment levels. The civil rights act also improved democratic space through ensuring free and fair electoral practices (Hunt, 1999). On the contrary, drawbacks faced included the cold war which created suspicions among countries during foreign relations. Assassination of John Kennedy also made the political environment hostile.
References
DeKoven, M. (2004). The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern. Duke University Press.
Heale, J (2005). "The Sixties as History: A Review of the Political Historiography." Reviews in American History, 33#1 pp 133-152.
Hunt, A. (1999). "When Did the Sixties Happen? Searching for New Directions," Journal of Social History, 33#1 pp 147-161.
Marwick, A. (1998). The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Palmer, D. (2009). The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Read More
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