In 1960, as President Eisenhower’s second term was drawing to a close, the mood of American voters reflected one of restlessness. Between the U.S. economy experiencing a recession and recent Cold War achievements by the Soviets including the successful launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 and the development of long range missiles, Americans were feeling vulnerable. Along with U.S. foreign powers setbacks in 1960 (the U-2 incident and the alignment of Cuba with the Soviet Union) many Americans were beginning to question whether the U.S. might be losing the Cold War. Therefore, as two very different personalities campaigned for the Presidency, the role of the media took center
High School U.S. History
High School U.S. History Collection Resources (10)
Segregation in the South in the 1950s might not have existed if, in 1883, the Supreme Court hadn’t declared The Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. A federal law enacted during Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act of 1857 was to guarantee African Americans equal treatment in public accommodations like hotels, restrooms, and other public spaces, and public transportation, and prohibited exclusion from serving on a jury. Additionally, the 14th Amendment declared that all races were to be granted equal treatment under the law. However, an 1883 Supreme Court decision clarified that the law did not apply to private persons or corporations. In the decade that followed, a number of other federal court decisions and state laws severely restricted the rights of African Americans. For example, in 1890, the State of Louisiana passed a law that required railroads to provide “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races.”
In 1870, the United States was primarily an agricultural nation. Most Americans made a living from farming. Flash forward fifty years and the United States underwent a major transformation as more Americans left farming in search of industrial jobs in cities.With the discovery and usage of raw materials, creation of new inventions, and expansion of big business; the Industrial Revolution transformed the American economy and the lives of millions of Americans.
During the end of the 1800s, society had changed dramatically as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Cities had grown and the demographics of the American population had become increasingly diverse. Although the economic gains were substantial, this came at a significant social cost. The nation began to struggle with issues of unemployment, dangerous working conditions, and political corruption. Although private citizens had long been making attempts to reform these issues, many began to feel that an increased role of government would be necessary to effectively address the nation’s problems.
As progressives worked for domestic reform in political, economic, and social matters, others focused on and pushed for U.S. expansion overseas. American Imperialism was partly rooted in 'American exceptionalism,' the idea that the United States was different from other countries due to its specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. While many Americans favored imperialistic endeavors, others wondered if the contradiction to democratic ideals was too large of a gamble in the area of foreign affairs
America’s involvement in WWI left most Americans exhausted--in more ways than one. Soldiers returning home had suffered huge emotional distress from the war itself as well as from the physical injuries that many had suffered. Americans at home were deeply divided over the issues at the forefront of the League of Nations debate and the impact that the war had on thousands of immigrants with relatives overseas, many suffering in war-torn lands. Many Americans wished to return to what President Harding described as “normalcy.” Because of this desire by the American public, three trends in American society began to develop, both in rural towns and in urban areas across the country
Even though the 1920s were “roaring” in many respects, from an economic standpoint it became clear that serious problems threatened the nation’s economy. Important industries were in trouble and overproduction plagued the agricultural sector. As the decade came to a close, the slipping economy would soon crash, thus ending a decade of innovation, cultural advances, and individual prosperity.
After four long and bitter years of a disastrous conflict that claimed the lives of over 620,000 soldiers, a haggard and worn president looked over the crowd and uttered the immortal words: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
As Soviet and U.S. soldiers worked together to liberate Germany at the end of World War II in Europe, many on both sides hoped for continued friendship between the two countries. However, problems had been building between the two nations both before and during the war. Combined with the incompatibility of the economic and political systems that drove both countries, significant foreign policy clashes were imminent.
The Cold War had a significant impact on domestic life in the decade after the WWII; however, for most Americans, economic prosperity and social aspects such as pop culture and the building of suburban lifestyles by the middle class dominated thoughts of anti-Communist fear. Even though the 1950s were known as a time of unprecedented prosperity, not every subgroup of American society benefitted. The urban poor, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans were left untouched by the economic boom, living in poverty.