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Required Reading: American YAWP Chapter 27
The 1960s was a pivotal decade in American history. The legacy of the 1960s, for example, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and feminism, still resonates in America today. When John Kennedy assumed the presidency in 1961, he inspired a generation of young people to serve their country in organizations like the Peace Corps. Millions of Baby Boomers, born after World War II, went to colleges and universities in the 1960s. Many young people in the 1960s felt they could change the nation for the better. Early in the decade, many young Americans fought for civil rights and the end to racial discrimination in public places and in voting. The Civil Rights movement had major successes in the 1960s with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
By 1964-65, the growing anti-war movement grew on college campuses across the country as the United States increased its military involvement in South Vietnam. Vietnam had been divided in 1954 between a communist North Vietnam and a democratic South Vietnam. The United States supported South Vietnam with economic and military assistance because we did not want South Vietnam to fall to communism. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson began to dramatically increase US military involvement in South Vietnam as hundreds of thousands of American troops were sent to fight the war. The war became deeply unpopular in the United States among young people, and by the late 1960s, other Americans as well who became disillusioned by the lack of progress in the war.
The 1960s saw the rise of many movements to address sexism, homophobia, and the environmental crisis in America. The Second Wave feminist movement challenged the gender norms of the 1950s that women belonged in the home. The modern gay rights movement started during the Stonewall Riots in 1969 against police brutality and discrimination of gay and lesbian people. Finally, we also saw the environmental movement gain national attention as it focused on clean air and water.
QUIZ 10 (Short Essay format- Please use direct quotes/proper citations only from the primary sources listed above).
Describe some of the ways the Civil Rights movement worked to end Jim Crows laws in the 1960s? How did Lyndon Johnson help the cause of Civil Rights? What did he say to students at Howard University in 1965? What was the Great Society? How did the young people who wrote the Port Huron statement in 1962 see the United States? What issues did they care about? How did the United States get involved in Vietnam? What event in 1964 gave President Johnson the ability to escalate American military forces in South Vietnam? Provide details on George Garcia’s experiences fighting in South Vietnam. How did Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique spark the feminist movement of the 1960s? What were some of the important issues the National Organization of Women wanted to address in 1966?
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