Muscle cars of the 1960s were big, fast, and obnoxious. They symbolized Americas confidence and swagger of the day. The Ford Mustang, the Chevy Corvette, and the Dodge Charger were built for a generation of post World War Two Americans that loved freedom and expression though steel and gasoline. Those who drove these relics of the past were admired through the eyes of jealous high school boys and oogled at by all of the prettiest girls.
Once thought forgotten, the age of the muscle car has dawned on us once again, more than forty years later. The resurgence of huge engines, clean cut lines, and loud exhaust systems have brought automakers back to the forefront of our culture. Our society is once again projected through the Mustang, the Corvette, and the Charger. The newest generation of Americans now has their own cars to envy, as did the Baby Boomers of the past.
Similarities to the past are not only reflected in the factories of Detroit. From Monroe to Madonna, and Edison to Einstein, each generation is similar to those that came before. Each new age, in essence, fits a mold that has been filled for hundreds of years. Whether it is societal trends or progressive attitudes, the foundation of American culture has changed very little since its existence.
Dating back to the Revolution, generations are often defined by achievements or undertakings that have shaped society. In the mid nineteenth century, Manifest Destiny literally swept the country. This was the belief that the American nation should span from Sea to shining sea. President Polk, with the countys full support, was to expand our borders through any means. The presidents confidence in his message unified a nation and inspired great exploration. By the end of his short four years in office, Polk had successfully annexed both the Oregon Territory and California, which was then the entire western United States. This rapid expansion was the defining achievement of a generation.
James Polk was not the only president, though, that made a declaration that would unify the United States. More than a hundred years later, John Kennedy would define a generation when he declared that we would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. At the time, his proclamation was laughed at by critics, because the technology he spoke of was not yet available. The nation rallied around his call and before the end of the decade, as promised, an American flag stood proudly on the surface of the moon, nearly a quarter of a million miles away.
Whether it is the 1860s, the 1960s, or the 2060s, each generation will be remembered in history books by its great achievements. Triumphs of society are not always measured in miles or acres, though. Another part of the mold that makes up each American generation is a continuance on the idea of human rights. To every single age in American history, this idea has been a major area of concern and conflict.
The Founding Fathers of our country...