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Decades of Change: America's Changeable Political and Economic Scene - Essay Example

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The essay "Decades of Change." explores the Great Society that was aimed, above all, at ending poverty. In order to accomplish that goal, the administration sought to provide opportunities for all Americans, regardless of their economic background, and to eliminate inequality…
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Decades of Change: Americas Changeable Political and Economic Scene
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"Decades of Change: America's Changeable Political and Economic Scene"

Download file to see previous pages The essay "Decades of Change: America's Changeable Political and Economic Scene" highlight that Johnson put forth Medicaid/Medicare; urban development/renewal; and increased funding for education and the arts. The introduction of programs such as food stamps and an emphasis on higher education helped reduce poverty, though many of the chronic problems the Great Society was designed to eradicate remain serious problems today.
Vietnam began the transformation of America’s concept of the Cold War and its belief in the value of direct and unilateral military intervention (Foner, 2008, 976-89). It would also have the effect of heightening domestic suspicion of government actions and motivations abroad. The government’s tendency to reduce mass slaughter (body counts) to the level of statistics and quasi-corporate projections, along with escalating American casualties, also stirred outrage over the government’s conduct of the war. The use of napalm and President Nixon’s decision to bomb Cambodia did much to stir up popular dissent, leading to the most widespread anti-war movement in the nation’s history. Vietnam served to radicalize American politics and drove many anti-war groups (such as the Weather Underground) to adopt desperate, even violent measures to force an end to the war. Persistent anti-war protests by the SDS, the 1967 march on the Pentagon and widespread resistance to the military draft eroded the nation’s will to continue waging war (Foner, 2008, 976-89).
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Another transformative phenomenon, the rights revolution, was in large measure a response to the rightist transgressions of the McCarthy years and the leverage it gave the government vis a vis civil rights. From 1953 to 1969, the Warren Court restored civil rights in a number of landmark court cases, including New York Times v. Sullivan, NAACP v. Alabama and Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer and Company. The Warren Court, which has been accused of judicial activism ever since, also reasserted the protections offered by the Bill of Rights in decisions such as Miranda v. Arizona, and through the prohibition of illegal monitoring and search and seizure by authorities (a situation exacerbated during the Vietnam War protests). In one of its broadest interpretations of the Constitution, the Warren Court used the First Amendment to assert the separation of church and state. The high court also addressed the issue of women’s rights in Roe v. Wade, perhaps its most controversial decision (Foner, 2008, 989-1002). As with the court’s other rulings, its intent was to remove government from the private lives of its citizens, the aim of which was to strengthen and reinforce the protections accorded to all Americans in the Constitution. II. The Triumph of Conservatism The election of Richard Nixon in 1968 marked the rise of the modern conservative movement in the United States. The assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1967; the withdrawal of Lyndon Johnson from the 1968 presidential election; and violence at the 1968 Democratic Convention led Americans to conclude that a harder line on law and order and domestic social unrest was needed. This “conservative backlash,” which Nixon ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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