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The 1960s: A Decade Of Change

2269 words - 10 pages

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This quote, spoken by Neil Armstrong, easily explains what the ‘60s were about in general. It explains that it was a time of great change that left a huge mark in history and brought all new things to the table. This is why people need to know in detail what defined the decade. The 1960s would be impossible to describe without its political/social issues, technological and scientific advancements, and culture/entertainment sources that made the decade “far out.”
The Civil Rights Movement was a critical social issue that carried out during the entire duration of the decade. It was a period of time when the African American population of the U.S. was fighting for equal rights in education, voting, and even to go to the same bathroom. Leaders of this movement could be non-violent/pacifists or violent/rioters. Pacifist leaders would use a technique known as passive resistance or non-violent civil obedience. This technique turned out to be very effective as those who attacked them were seen as monsters. Violent leaders would encourage “interracial civil war,” promote self- policing, cause violent revolutions, and constantly threaten the government (Holland 76). This form was not as successful and brought about the death and arrest of many African Americans. Both types of people made a change in the fight for freedom and both their efforts were greatly rewarded. (Holland 57-78).
Eventually, people in high places took notice of the vicious racism and acted upon it. President Kennedy, for example, saw the destitute state of the blacks and the treatment and segregation they had to withstand. This led him to write the Civil Rights Act, which was later passed by Lyndon Johnson in 1964 (Davis). The act was aimed at areas of voting, education, public facilities, employment, and it just about made discrimination illegal (Jackson and Morton 378). It also obliterated the Jim Crow laws and any other segregation practice in the U.S. The media and the Feds also gave a hand by protecting the protesters of the movement (Holland 70- 73). By the end of the decade, help like this gave the blacks the freedom they had fought for.
Another major political situation of the time was the Cuban Missile Crisis, a standoff between the Soviets and Americans that almost led to nuclear war. The Crisis began when Cuba, under Fidel Castro, allied with the Soviet Union’s Prime Minister, Nikita Khrushchev. This led the United States to fear that Cuba would become a military post for the Soviets and that a nuclear bomb would be constructed on the spot. Nukes that were only ninety miles away from the U.S. Coast would allow the Soviets to strike with devastating results before the U.S. could even blink. All America could do now was hope for the best (Holland 17-18).
The fear of the Americans was proven correct when the pilot of a U-2 spy plane took aerial pictures of a nuclear launch site in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy...

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